ERIC Number: ED362857
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993
Reference Count: N/A
Ontological Hermeneutics and the Aims of Discourse.
Miller, Bernard A.
The dialectic of pitting reality against the perception of reality has been a proclivity of philosophers since the days of Plato and Greek civilization. Most philosophers today regard the availability of a pure reality to be impossible. The world is as it appears to be: thinkers have no access to perfect truth. Accordingly, the matter of perspective is unsettled and elusive. Hermeneutics is the effort to raise exegesis to the level of an art by which interpreters can get at the meaning of a text under such circumstances. The aims of discourse have most often been integral to rhetorical theory. The commitment to a subjective ego constitutes the basis of not only the aims of discourse but also the process of communication. This view conceives of language as a tool. Such traditional notions of rhetoric are at odds with today's hermeneutical imperative, which contemplates an interaction between subject and object, or interpreter and interpreted. In short, knowers are what they know; humans are their perspectives. This concept has had tremendous influence among rhetorical theorists. Since thinking is being, and since language attests to this fact, language, rather than humans, speaks. In practical terms assignments in discursive prose (such as argumentation and research papers) contribute as much to achieving a vision of self-hood as do assignments in expressive writing. A close consideration of the Vietnamese word for village "Xa," shows that words have profoundly elaborate nuances grounded in being. A full sense of the play of language provides a sense of being that is authenticated only by virtue of being comprehended. (HB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Classical Rhetoric; Composition Theory; Ontology
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (44th, San Diego, CA, March 31-April 3, 1993).