ERIC Number: ED331067
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Accommodating Virtue: Weak and Strong Discourse.
Rivers, Thomas M.
The tradition that promoted "sophia" instead of "philosophia,""oratio" instead of "ratio," and promoted the pursuit of wise decision making based on character has been replaced by a pedagogy that focuses on decision making independent of the role of virtue in making minds up. In courses in argumentation, critical thinking is often taught as if it involves no more than logic or reasoning powers that can be divorced from emotion and desired ends. The orator's tradition is a viable one, and, theoretically, there is good reason to see the sophistic or orator's tradition as amenable to a community based, historically based, non-revealed, non-self-evident set of character standards that are fought for, and with, what Jasper Neel calls, "strong discourse." It is not enough to teach students how to argue, they must be taught "how to be." Composition theory and pedagogy ought to consider carefully whether they promote the tension between self and community, and promote also the idea that how a person behaves (virtue) is always a public gesture conditioned by and subject to public scrutiny. Teaching students to write strong discourse requires a pedagogy and a theory of virtue and character. (Eight notes are included, and 10 references are attached.) (TD)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Moral Reasoning; Rhetoric as Epistemic; Sophists
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (42nd, Boston, MA, March 21-23, 1991).