ERIC Number: ED281193
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Mathematical Approaches to the Composing Process.
Hall, Dennis R.
Rhetoric and mathematics have much in common that can help explain the composing process. Common elements of rhetoric and mathematics important to the teaching of writing are (1) relationships between syntax and semantics, (2) practices of representation, and (3) focus on problem solving. Recent emphasis on "repair processes" in mathematics is similar to rhetoric's concern for the processes of revision and drafting. The artificiality of algebra maintains a distinction between the language that speaks directly about objects and the language in which the object language is spoken about. Rhetoric, on the other hand, tends to blur this language/metalanguage distinction. However, by applying mathematical logic to the writing process and using mathematical language in the writing class, the distinction can be clarified. Though both rhetoric and mathematics are means of knowing, of discovery, they mainly seek solutions to solve problems and communicate effectively. In the classroom, treating rhetoric as mathematics could provide an antidote to some of the "natural language" biases that plague the contemporary writing class. It may also encourage a problem-solving approach to the composing process. Finally, it may earn status for rhetoric by associating it with an idiom common in the natural and social sciences--areas that have established credibility. (Figures illustrating the relationship between rhetoric and mathematics are appended.) (SRT)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (38th, Atlanta, GA, March 19-21, 1987).