ERIC Number: ED349556
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Mar-19
Reference Count: N/A
Neo-Sophistic Rhetorical Theory: Sophistic Precedents for Contemporary Epistemic Rhetoric.
Interest in the sophists has recently intensified among rhetorical theorists, culminating in the notion that rhetoric is epistemic. Epistemic rhetoric has its first and deepest roots in sophistic epistemological and rhetorical traditions, so that the view of rhetoric as epistemic is now being dubbed "neo-sophistic." In epistemic rhetorics, the human mind interacts dialectically with reality, and individuals interact dialectically with each other, producing knowledge. Two general approaches to sophistic doctrines have emerged recently: historical interpretation and neo-sophistic appropriation. To demonstrate the affinities between ancient sophistic epistemic rhetorics and contemporary neo-sophistic epistemic rhetorics, a close comparison of the epistemic rhetorical theories of Gorgias and Kenneth Burke is enlightening. For both Gorgias and Burke, the human mind interacts dialectically with reality through language. Also, for both, humans interact dialectically with other humans, and this social and linguistic interaction constructs knowledge. Although the rhetorics of Gorgias and Burke emerged from vastly different social, economic, and political situations, they are both epistemic in nature and share numerous similarities. Only recently have theorists begun to recognize the relatively neglected sophists as of great value to present scholarly concerns. (Eighteen references are attached.) (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Burke (Kenneth); Classical Rhetoric; Gorgias of Leontini; Rhetoric as Epistemic; Sophists
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (43rd, Cincinnati, OH, March 19-21, 1992).