List

Eubanks, Phillip. “An Analysis of Corporate Rule in Globalization Discourse:  Why We Need Rhetoric to Explain Conceptual Figures.” Rhetoric Review 27.3 (2008): 236-258.

In this article, Eubanks performs a metaphoric analysis of the term “corporate rule” in discourses about globalization (bet you couldn’t figure that out from the title!).  By working with Lakoff and Johnson’s definition of the conceptual metaphor (metaphors and other figures are so pervasive and fundamental that we cannot think without them – in other words, metaphors STRUCTURE thought), Eubanks demonstrates how the conceptual metaphor must be treated carefully to understand just how it influences discourse.  Instead of working with a unexamined acceptance of the idea that conceptual metaphors often work through the unconscious, Eubanks recommends that we don’t simply accept the conceptual metaphor as “unconscious frame” (238).  Rather, by thinking of conceptual metaphors as embedded in “licensing stories” or the “discourse that carries with it the philosophical, political, and economic commitments of those who often use it to make their point” we can better understand how the conceptual metaphor operates on a rhetorical level (246).  In Eubanks words, “Stories license metaphors because they give structure to evidence that supports a point of view.  Thus the dystopian story also licenses metaphors and metonymies such as Corporations Are Governments, Free-Trade ideology Is Religious Fundamentalism, Washington consensus, and sometimes the related commercial metaphor Trade Is War”  (254).  The conceptual metaphor, then, must be taken up not only in the unconscious, but also in the ways that participants in public debates weigh in with purpose and make sense of their evidence.  One way this occurs is through stories – licensing stories.  In this sense, conceptual metaphors are also rhetorical.

Ritter, Kelly. “E-Valuating Learning:  Rate My Professors and Public Rhetorics of Pedagogy.” Rhetoric Review 27.3 (2008): 259-280.

In this article, Ritter takes up the question of public rhetorics of pedagogy in the digital public sphere.  She advocates an engagement with public evaluations sites like RateMyProfessors.com because in doing so academicians can more easily help students understand evaluation as a tool for civic exchange.  In addition, Kelly also demonstrates how Rate My Professors is a representation or artifact of changing attitudes toward post-secondary education.  Because of neoliberal theories of education, college and university are often not thought of in terms of a “public good” but a form of “consumerism” (277).  In other words, because college has become intensely “individualistic” because the university no longer functions solely on “merit” but also on “choice” and “results” (276).  In closing, Ritter hopes that faculty will learn to see how online public rhetorics like RateMyProfessors.com are just as important as the physical and intellectual factors shaping our teaching and learning (277).

Elliot, Norbert. “A Midrash for Louise Rosenblatt.” Rhetoric Review 27.3 (2008): 281-304.

What a different piece for this journal to publish.  I think that it might fit as a rhetorical piece – a piece that wishes to reclaim the legacy of the mother of reader-response.  The midrash – a Hebraic form – is divided into parable, paraphrase, prophecy, and dramatic monologue.  This midrash aspires to being both imaginative recovery and playful projection – an exercise in inductive interaction rather than deductive persuasion.  Yet, through Elliot’s tracing of Rosenblatt’s life, he is supremely rhetorical.  Great conversations here on reader-response, formalism, and the possibility of literature for democratic use.  Central to the author’s purpose (of which there are many) seems to be answering the question, “If formalism has triumphed as the mechanistic agency by which the literary experience has been manufactured for students, what is there in Rosenblatt’s theory of literary education that held and holds the potential to interrupt such unwitting despair [the formalist aspects of assessment standards]” (297).

Danisch, Robert. “Aphorisms, Enthymemes, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. on the First Amendment.” Rhetoric Review 27.3 (2008): 219-235.
Before we begin, a bit of definition:

  1. Enthymeme – This is a syllogism with an unstated premise.  Joe always wondered about visual enthymemes.  Here’s an example: Socrates is mortal because he’s human.  What’s hidden?  Socrates is a human.  All human beings are mortal.  Socrates’ is mortal because he’s human.
  2. Aphorism – an original thought spoken in a very terse or concise way.  Something of an epiphonema! J  Example:  Believe nothing you hear and only half of what you see – Mark Twain

But so much for definitions.  In this analysis, the author defines the aphorism as mysterious in that they “all share a sense that what is most valuable to grasp lies beyond our reach” (221).  For the enthymeme, we have a different definition as well.  Danisch notes that he’ll use enthymeme in the sense that “a more sophistic view. . . as a ‘stylistically striking, kairotically opportunistic, argumentative turn that not only presents a claim but also foregrounds an inferential, attitudinal complex” (221).  Because the mysterious nature of the aphorism doesn’t end, Danisch extends the use of the aphorism to Holmes court decisions.  Because Holmes felt that experience is really the referential base for law – not logical science – then all decisions are contingent on the social realities in which they are made.  In this sense, Holmes decisions are not dicta (unchangeable, unquestionable RULES) but aphorisms.  Because his conception of law was socially constructed (I didn’t want to  use constructed there) through the use of the ‘reasonable man’ his aphoristic decisions tend to carry with them the worldview in which they were conceived.  As Danisch notes,

  1. As carriers of a worldview, or a philosophy of democracy, Holmes’s decisions celebrate uncertainty and the inevitability of endless chains of interpretation (227).
  2. These decisions mark  a beginning in debates over the role and limits of free speech in democratic life (227).

In other words, Holmes decisions are really about competing rhetorics, not justice.  The big takeaway in this article is that when we read the enthymeme as aphorism, we have to rethink the relationship between style and argument.  Because aphorisms are stylistic, we often don’t think of them as argumentative; however, because they are also often enthymatic, they are inherently rhetorical?

Leave a Reply