ERIC Number: ED346513
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1991-Oct-31
A Rhetorical Systems Approach Based on a General Systems Theory Analog.
Douglas Ehninger's conceptualization of rhetorical theories as "systems" has been criticized for its vagueness in terminology, its potentially skewed perspective, and its inability to apply a stasis to a kinetic phenomenon--namely, rhetoric. The seven recommendations offered in this paper attempt to expand upon the approach and correct for shortcomings. Each recommendation for change is based on the more detailed and fully developed theory of Ludwig von Bertalanffy. First, a system should be limited only by method and hierarchy of ends, not by size. Second, rhetorical systems should be conceptualized as open systems that exchange components with their environment. Third, systems analysis (particularly at the level of a single rhetoric or smaller) should attempt to determine interaction patterns among rhetorical elements or subsystems upon an evaluation of their hierarchy. Fourth, environmental needs should be conceptualized as hierarchies ordered from the most general to the most specific, with only certain needs being emphasized at a given time. Fifth, systems from different time periods should be compared to see how emphasis patterns within the hierarchy of potential needs have changed over time. Sixth, systems should be contrasted to see why they differ. Finally, rhetorical systems analysis should focus on long term changes within particular systems. (One table, 5 figures and 19 endnotes are included.) (Author/SG)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A