Study Sheet

The following was prepared by Robert Tinajero and Cristina Ramirez in preparation for the Comprehensive Doctoral Exam in Rhetoric and Writing Studies for the section Composition Studies 1900-2005 taught by Dr.Helen Foster. The following “eras” in U.S. Composition Studies are covered:

Current-Traditional   Expressivist   Cognitivist   Social Construction   Social Epistemic  Paralogic Hermeneutic

Dr. Foster’s(Eng. 6319) “hints” for comprehensive exam question:

–          have an argumentative framework (structure to your argument)

–          “tracing” a concept (from one rhetorical period to the next)

–          Show history and research

–          Show particular readings/scholars (look through syllabus and pick high points)

–          Speculate about repercussions of view of rhetoric of that period (what does it mean? Why is it important?) on that concept (i.e. view of writer, writing, audience, invention, pedagogy, etc.)

Scott’s advice: Look at Lauer’s 4 criteria for disciplinarity (history; domain of objects of study—i.e. grammar, invention, basic writing, etc.; methodology-historiography, etc.; epistemic courts—journals and editors, conferences, scholarly books, etc.) if answering a question on disciplinarity. [look at Lauer’s Dappled Discipline]

Look at pp1183-1202 in The Rhetorical Tradition—it has a good overview of 20th century of rhetoric.

Also look at introductory chapters of Moving Beyond Academic Discourse

Theories of Rhetoric (Berlin and Inkster helped compose this spectrum


Rules                           questioning for ideas               student-centered (can’t be taught)

Current/trad                social                                       expressivism

Cognitivist                  social epist.

cultural studies


post process

Current/Traditional Rhetoric: (late 1800’s to mid 1900’s) major article (Berlin & Inkster “Current-Traditional…” from August 30 class); Sharon Crowley “The Methodical Memory”; Maxine Hairston “The Winds of Change…”     Algorithm- rule centered

Focus was on skill, “correctness,” practice practice practice, not epistemic (knowledge making), language represents thought exactly (dress of thought), simple world view. A repercussion was that it privileged certain discourse and people over others.

See p.35 in Berlin’s Rhetoric and Reality “The Growth of the Discipline 1900-1920” (Eng. 6319 syllabus) and p36-43

Writer- needs to be trained; lone writer; writer is dressing thought; not creating reality/knowledge; replicate objective TRUTH

Writing- dress of thought; replicate objectivity; there is a Correct form and function to writing; mechanical; followed a scientific mode; classic 5-paragraph essay; utilitarian

Rhetoric- language is pure and… (Robert Connors p125 “Composition-Rhetoric, Grammar…”; grammar dictates rhetoric; first learn form then you can handle discourse; “Baldwin concluded by asserting that rhetoric has thus come to serve for us the function that logic served for the ancients.  It is our “organon,” the organizing discipline of our educational system.” (p42 “The Growth..”)

Teachers and Scholars of Writing- teacher centered; text-book centered; exact rules; finding new ways to teach grammar; tell student what to do and what to write; p152 of Robert Connors “Composition-Rhetoric, Grammar…”; also p154 (spelling, capitalization, punctuation..”

Nature of Teaching and Learning Writing- grammar emphasized, focused on utility of writing, strict forms, superficial correctness; “banking” method; did not teach argumentation (too complex for students); see page 41 and 42 in “The Growth of the Discipline 1900-1920” (Berlin);

Nature of Writing Curricula: grammar, themes,

Nature of Disciplinarity: subservient to Literature in English Dept.; rhetoric demoted to rules of grammar and themes; no rhetorical power; a necessary evil that had to be taught because high schools weren’t doing their jobs ; learn to write for literary analysis

[process begins]

Expressivist- (1960’s) authors: Elbow “A Method for Teaching Writing” Donald Murray “Finding Your own Voice”  Aleatory- student centered       [labeled as touchy-feely]

Expressivism was a movement in Rhetoric and Composition which reached its zenith in the 1960s.  It was a very student-centered approach whose most famous proponent was Peter Elbow.  The view of composition that expressivists perpetuated was that composition should allow students to express thoughts and feelings about their own life and that that should be the central aim of the classroom.  It was proposed that the classroom should be as “teacherless” as possible, with the instructor merely serving as a guide to students.  For expressivists, invention was central and students should write about things that they felt related to their own lives.  For many, this theory was too “touchy feely” and certainly didn’t take into account the social and political implications of language.

Writer- should not be constrained; invention should not be constrained; student-centered classroom; write from within the self (p122 Elbow); quickest path to good reasoning and decent sentence writing is to write words that reveal conviction and a person (p123); express their voice;

Writing- very expressive of personal thoughts and feelings; Murray’s responsibilities for students “find own subject; content comes before form (writing comes from incisive bite of student’s intellect); earn an audience (students become peer editors); find your own form (cannot choose form until he knows his subject and audience) (pp119-120)

Rhetoric- express self; explore through writing; students find their own voice;

Teachers and Scholars of Writing- student centered teaching; “teacherless classrooms”; teacher as a guide; Murray’s responsibilities for teachers “environment needs to be conducive to writing, enforce deadlines and write frequently, cultivate an environment where failure leads to revision/drafts which leads to better writing (grades are irrelevant), teacher should write with the students (the teacher diagnosis problems with the paper—teacher as diagnostician);

Nature of Teaching and Learning Writing- produce writing that emulates that of strong and loud voice (p120 Elbow); produce writing that sounds like someone (a real person); student-centered; peer tutoring; students become each other’s audience; don’t dictate form; teacher as a diagnostician that points out how student writing can improve; for certain kinds of writing, spelling and grammar isn’t the most important—an intended affect was most important [suggested students to get feedback from others outside the classroom—the shows teacher isn’t the only authority on standards of good writing [ex. How to get a refund for a faulty product; send off letters to newspapers];***side note—in Weisser’s “Moving Beyond Academic Discourse” he says that this type of public writing wasn’t really public because it didn’t affect any change***; let class invent its own assignments (Elbow pp116); (p123 Elbow—“I am abandoning the teaching of what is observable and explainable-truth and good style-for what is mysterious and unexplainable-whether it affects the reader in the desired way and whether a self is revealed in the words; bring back Aristotle (truth/reason and style are secondary to producing effect in audience and developing strong voice; nothing helps students like having an idea…they write better when they immobilize their natural skills of language and write within themselves (p125 Elbow); suggested that the class grade themselves;

Curricula- students pick own writing assignments; based on “real-world writing” (writing to newspapers, business world to get their responsed); not based on grammar; shied away from textbooks; freed from teaching etiquette and forced to design curriculum which trains students to accept responsibilities of free speech through writing, the most disciplined form of thinking, and publication, the most revealing act of the intellectual life (p118 Murray)

Disciplinarity- should focus on student’s feeling and thoughts; disagreement and conflict were not intended (everyone has something good to say; everyone should be listened to, etc.); not focused on grammar/rules (a shunning of current/traditional);

Cognitivist- (late 1970s and 1980s) Algorithm- followed a rigid process of writing; demonized because they don’t allow for creativity; Big names: Flower and Hayes; there is a correspondence between structures of the mind and structure of nature; circular process with main and sub categories (opposite of stage model: pre-write; write, rewrite); cognitivists are trying to indentify the underlying process a writer naturally goes through.  Revision is a process not only to draw on the writer’s knowledge, but actively generates new knowledge

4 key points: process of writing understood as set of distinctive thinking processes which writers orchestrate or organize during act of composing; processes have hierarchical, embedded organization in which any given process can be imbedded with any other; act of composing is goal directed thinking process guided by the writers own growing network of goals; writers create own goals in two key ways—generating both high level goals and supporting sub-goals which develop writers developing sense of purposes and then at times changing major goals or even establishing entire new ones based on what has been learned in act of writing (p366 Flower and Hayes)

Writer- guided by thinking processes; can become better writers by learning the steps/processes of writing; can better affect change with writing by learning the processes of writing;good writers are involved in recursive writing (not a stage model of pre-write, write, rewrite)

Writing- act of writing involves three major elements which are reflected in the three units of the model: the task environment; the writer’s long term memory, and the writing processes (planning, translating and reviewing) p369 Flower and Hayes; writing is more a circular process (recursive) than in the stage process (pre-write, write, rewrite); the processes of writing are hierarchically organized;

Rhetoric- the rhetorical problem begins the writing process; it’s a rhetorical act not a mere artifact; respond through writing (p369 Flower and Hayes);

Teachers and Scholars of Writing- (in studies) had students “think outloud” as they wrote to study how they wrote and their process of writing;

Nature of Teaching and Learning Writing- set processes to learning writing; all students can learn these processes and improve their writing; by placing emphasis on the inventive power of the writer, who is able to explore ideas to develop, act on, test, and regenerate his or her own goals we are putting an important part of creativity where it belongs, in the hands of the working, thinking writer. (p386 Flower and Hayes)



[as stated in Bruffee] Cognitivists assume a vertical, hierarchical relation between theory and practice.  It regards theory or concept making, products of the mind’s “inner eye,” as the more privileged, more powerful level of thought.  It regards practical application as less privileged and less powerful (781 in Brufee).

Theories of Rhetoric as Epistemic

Barry Brummett “Three Meanings of Epistemic Rhetoric” (1979)

Asserts a relationship between knowledge/discourse between how people know and how they communicate

Methodological:  rhetoric is a means to the “discovery” of truth; contest between two versions of truth; rhetoric discovers a world to be found; rhetoric is a distinct activity that people engage in at some times but not at others; rhetoric as a discipline has not real subject matter of its own; it is dialogical—focuses on its agonistic and pedagogical form; leads people to the truth…the truth can be found; there is just one truth to be discovered; questions of ethics, politics, morals, have “one right answer” as surely as do questions of physics and math (first page); some theorists Brummett places in this category—Orr, Cherwitz; Disciplinarity—rhetoric as discipline does not have a real subject matter of its own

Sociological:  role of rhetoric in social issues—not only discovers but creates reality in the sphere of ethics, politics, moral, religion; rhetoric has limited on no action in the material realm…a rock is  rock but moves beyond the material–rhetoric not only discovers but creates reality and knowledge about reality in the social sphere; social reality is created in discourse; separates the social realm of rhetorical discourse from the material realm of scientific discourse; Bitzer also seems sociological…he argues that the “public” is the source of “some” truths. Also some of Cherwitz and Farrell; sociological viewpoint has implications of rhetoric as a discipline—rhetoric has a subject matter of its own insofar as it explains how social reality is created and shared; there is one danger in the sociological viewpoint—the assignment of a given problem or interest to one realm or another is difficult. Disciplinarity—rhetoric has a subject matter of its own insofar as it explains how social reality is created and shared (rhetoric has something to study as long as the reality is of the social realm and not material)

Ontological (nature of being):  [the most radical of the three] rhetoric creates ALL of what there is to know—discourse creates realities; reality is always comprehended through the constructs of meanings; meaning is a thing created in discourse; reality is polymorphous (diverse)—implies that rhetoric has a co-equal status with any other discipline; studies a dimension of all action; all the disciplines study dimensions of experience;  there may exist different, even contradictory truths because there may exist contradictory realities;  Disciplinarity—has equal status with all other disciplines and studies a dimension of all action just as other fields study dimensions of experience

Michael Leff “In Search of Ariadne’s Thread: A review of the recent literature on rhetorical theory”

Social Construction (mid 1980s)- language and knowledge are socially constructed; Kenneth Bruffee “Social Construction, Language, and the Authority of Knowledge: A Bibliographical Essay” (1986); not TRUTH, THEORY, KNOWLEDGE, etc. but truth, theory, knowledge, etc. Primary texts: Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and Geertz’s Local Knowledge and Rorty’s Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. Secondary texts: see page 779

Kuhn: scientific knowledge is a social construct—àRorty: generalizes Kuhn in a very philosophical manner (using Wittgenstein, Heidegger and Dewey)–àGeertz: very readable and applies Kuhn to other fields

Similar terms to social construction are dialogism and new pragmatism and even Kuhn who says that scientific knowledge is a social construct.

“A social constructionist position in any discipline assumes that entities we normally call reality, knowledge, thought, facts, texts, selves, and so on are constructs generated by communities of like-minded peers…they are community-generated and community-maintained linguistic entities…”(Bruffee 774)

Breaks down Cognitivist notions of objectivity and an inner being trying to “view” and learn the outer world. Cognitivist view is that writing is an individual act with some social context but Social Construction states that writing and knowledge are intertwined and a social act (created and maintained by a society)

Writer- ideas are not created by an individual writer or genius but writer is part of a community and social matrix and uses the vernacular language of a community; even what we think of “ourselves” is a construct largely community generated and maintained (777).

Writing- Writing is a social process; “objectivity” is a social construct; not an individual experience; a community creates and maintains what is meant by the written product; even our thinking is a social creation; knowledge is identical with language and other symbol systems so writing is epistemic, creating knowledge and a reality;

Rhetoric- We generate knowledge by “dealing with” our beliefs about the physical reality that shoves us around.  Specifically, we generate knowledge by justifying those beliefs socially (777). Thinking is an internalized version of conversation (777). Knowledge and language are inseparable; knowledge is identical with language (778);

Teachers and Scholars of Writing- teaching and researching is a social affair; anti-traditional, anti-Cartesian mode of thinking, teaching and researching,; goes against notion that knowledge is based on a un-changing framework or structure of knowledge; there is only an agreement or consensus arrived at for the time being by communities of knowledgeable peers (776-777) Research is talking about a way of talking (777).

(778)**Cognitivists understanding placed writing as a skill by which ideas are communicated from one individual mind to another but Socail Construction states that knowledge and language or inseparable, thus the work done by teachers and researchers is essential…

Nature of Teaching and Learning Writing- the classroom is also a social construct; breaking down of dichotomies of teacher-learner and objective-subjective; teaching students how to write and interact within changing social situations; Classroom structure should be horizontal and cooperative (787);

Curricula- (see below, also) According to Rorty (in Bruffee), don’t tie our study and teaching of the humanities to a notion of “truth as something which exists and endures apart from” human beings (787). Students learn better through non-competitive collaborative group work than in highly individualized and competitive classrooms (787). Rorty would have humanists provide students with a “sense of tradition, of community, of human solidarity” (788 in Bruffee).  Read major humanist texts not as attempts at TRUTH or REALITY but as attempts to solve problems and work out the potentialities of the languages and activities available to them (788).

Disciplinarity- ..placing language at the center of our understanding of knowledge and of the authority of knowledge, it thereby places reading and writing uniquivocally where it belongs, at the center of the liberal arts curriculum and the whole educational process; education must prepare us to live in the “enormous multiplicity” of our world that Geertz calls attention to (779).  Our very survival depends on relations between social communities (779);

Social Epistemic Rhetoric (1990’s)

A development in language studies that sees language, writing and knowledge as intertwined social acts, thus making them political entities which are bound up with struggles for power.  Unlike Social Constructionism, which predates it, Social Epistemic does not merely stop at saying language and knowledge are social creations but goes further in understanding the power struggles inherent in those, and all, social phenomenon.  Some, like Christian Weisser in Moving Beyond Academic Discourse, label Social Epistemic Rhetoric as radical in nature for it is interested in politicizing composition and struggling for social change.  Developed in the 1990s with James Berlin being the major proponent. “Social Epistemic Rhetoric, Ideology, and English Studies” by James Berlin (week 9 of class) Other major figures: Kenneth Burke, Richard Ohmann, Richard Young, Alton Becker, Kenneth Pike, Kenetth Bruffee, Greg Myers, Patricia Bizzell, Lester Faigley

Power, politics and the distribution of control are central to social-epistemic rhetoric.

As a political act involving a dialectal interaction engaging a material, social and individual writer with language as the agency of mediation (p488 of “Rhetoric and Ideology in the Writing Class” **not part of course packet…Christina Ramirez has this article).

“Social Epistemic rhetoric is in accord with this perspective, pointing out that rhetoric was invented not because people wanted to express themselves more accurately and clearly, but because they wanted to make their positions prevail in the conflicts of politics.  In other words, persuasion in the play for power is at the center of this rhetoric, and studying the operation of signifying practices within their economic and political frames is the work it undertakes.” (p83 Berlin)

See page 77 if Berlin’s Social Epistemic Rhetoric (last paragraph of page)

Writer- a political agent caught in the web of political/power realities. Critics of economic and political arrangements (p490 Berlin ** “Rhetoric and Ideology…)

Writing- Always a social and political act. No single person is in control of language. Poetic not places above rhetoric.  Writing is thus discovery and invention, not mere reproduction and transmission (p81 Berlin). Self-reflexive (aware of own limits, biases and ideology.

**Audience- (p83 Berlin)  Members of an audience are thus both members of communities and separate subject formations.  The result is that the responses of an audience are never totally predictable, never completely in the control of the sender of a coded message or of the coded message itself.

Teachers and Scholars of Writing: “studying the operation of signifying practices within their economic and political frames is the work it undertakes” (p83 Berlin).  Teach students that writing is political and not innocent.  “Convince students that change is possible…because under Expressivism and Cognitivism students were made to feel they were trapped in ideologies.  Social Epistemic contains within it self-criticism and self-revision (p490 “Rhetoric and Ideology in the Writing Class** Berlin). Becoming agents of social change rather than victims.  Teachers/Scholars understand that they are political agents…agents of the state, school, etc.

Help students re-experience the ordinary…e.g. studying the “hamburger”—economics, markets, sociology (Ira Shore qtd. in Berlin’s “Rhetoric and Ideology in the Writing Class **)  ~~~~sounds like Abarca’s class on food, culture and rhetoric~~~

The focus is to empower the individual.

**Pedagogy**–p93 Berlin:  “Instructors cannot be content, on the one hand, to focus exclusively on teaching the production of certain kids of utilitarian texts—the academic essay, the business letter, the technical report, the informal essay.  On the other hand, they cannot restrict themselves to reading bona fide works of the literary canon.  Our business must be to instruct students in signifying practices broadly conceived—to see not only the rhetoric of the college essay, but also the rhetoric of the institution of schooling, of politics, and of the media, the hermeneutic not only of certain literary texts, but also the hermeneutic of film, TV, and popular music.  Students must come to see that the languages they are expected to speak, write, and embrace as ways of thinking and acting are never disinterested, always bringing with them strictures on the existent, the good, the possible, and the resulting regimes of power.”

Nature of Writing Curricula:  (p85-86 of Berlin)  Tries to break down the simple binary between literary studies (creative) and rhetorical texts.  Wants to show that “language, in all its uses, structures, rather than simply records, experience.  Language never acts as a simple referent to an external, extralinguistically verifiable thing-in-itself.  It instead serves as a terministic screen (burke) that forms and shapes experience.  Politicizing textbooks, English departments, etc.  Moving away from strict textbooks and forms.

Nature of Rhetoric: Attempts to question the ideology at the center of the teaching of writing (p492 Berlin ** “Rhetoric and Ideology…) Rhetoric is a complex, political, non-innocent reality. It is self-reflexive…aware of its own limits, biases and ideology

Berlin p86, “no single person is in control of language.  Language is a social construction that shapes us as much as we shape it.  Language is a product of social relations and so is ineluctably involved in power and politics.

P82 Berlin “different groups constantly vie for supremacy, for ownership and control of terms and their meanings in any discourse situation”

Nature of Disciplinarity:  “the distinction between action and contemplation likewise collapse as we recall that all texts are involved in politics and power—all tacitly or explicitly underwrite certain platforms of action  The division between high culture and low culture becomes merely a validation of the class structure—a hierarchy of texts created from the perspectives of a group devoted to representing its own interests (p87 Berlin)  The poetic/literature seen as above rhetoric in English department is obliterated as social epistemic looks to complicate, politicize and destroy the binary (sees that literary studies is not really doing this).

P94 Berlin “Members of English departments must take up this work with a special concern for its place in the classroom.  It is here that theory, practice, and politics will intersect in an enlightened conception of the role English studies plays in preparing students for their lives as citizens, workers, and sites of desire.

**aesthetics are discussed at end of Berlin’s article if needed**

[commentary on some individual essays]

Critical/cultural studies/postmodern

Victor Villanueva “’Rhetoric is Politics’ Said the Ancient. ‘How much so I wonder.”  (from week 10 of class)      [critical/cultural theory]

In graduate school he learns from Plato, Aristotle, the Bill of Rights, Kenneth Burke, Mikhail Bakhtin, Louis Althusser, the Sophists, Quintilian, Paulo Freire (p328); notices that he, as a person of color and poverty is the exception to the rule in the academy though he is sometimes seen as the symbol of the current system’s successes with minorities; rhetorical studies too easily accepted ethnocentric and uncomplicated cultural views of rhetoric (such as essentializing all of Africa or African-Americans) (p330);

Pedagogy- expose students to college level written texts and have them read out loud

Hegemony is central; organic intellectuals are rhetors who become community leaders (Cesar Chavez).

“ I do not believe that epistemic rhetoric has been sufficiently problemitized.  It is still too neat…(p334).

Rhetoric:  [work toward] a clearer understanding of how rhetoric is politics, a precedent for action, for more than token changes

Postmodern (from week 11 of class)

Patricia Bizzell “Marxist Ideas in Composition Studies”

(makes references to Freire and Althusser)

Writer- saw student writing problems as affected not only by the student’s social groups membership, but also our own as academics; students must learn interpretations of resistant behavior for themselves; be self-reflexive of social injustice

Writing- emphasizes contextual or social elements of composing; students tend to conform totally to community expectations to withdraw or withdrawal (drop out from school) because they just don’t get the academic discourse

Rhetoric- calls on theories of Jameson (postmodernist); should be more inclusive; emphasize the social elements in composing (p59)

Teachers/Scholars of Writing: teach students about academic discources—teach teachers in faculty seminars about writing instruction—writing across the curriculum; putting students in touch with institutional resources—showing them language of the academy (p59); students and teachers are resistant when teacher/student don’t play by the rules/academic norms; opposition should be mindful (not simply accepting the making of mistakes as ok); true resistance is self-reflexive and have a revealing function (social injustices in the system) and lead to further action

Learning Writing-we are caught in the hinterlands as gatekeepers; revealing social injustice; semiotic (study of symbols)  reading of behavior (why is it that we behave in certain ways and give certain symbols power

Writing Curricula: make the academic community more welcoming and more flexible; as teachers we need to reveal the histories of culture and immediate environments, and become critical/cognizant of the “contradictions that the dominant society has tried to conceal” (p65);’ Marxist thought can help us live with contradictions…experience subjective contradictions; challenges the individual

Disciplinarity: pushes us to construct a more just world through a Marxist critical project—those not strongly motivated by this goal in scholarly work; value of Marxism work lies in its ability to offer methodologically sophisticated and ethically informed modes of social anaylysis

Bruce Herzberg “”Michel Foucault’s Rhetorical Theory”

Writer: the author as a “function” of discourse, not as its source; look for exteriority—opposes the interpretation of the text and looks instead for external conditions;

Writing: when discourse is produced it is infused with ideology of a system; discursive practices; we must challenge the conventions that have been traditionally followed

Rhetoric: is a “true discourse” according to Foucault”; the truth is social; will to truth/rhetor would “contaminate” the truth; discourse is imagined simply as naming things in the world; discourse not simply manifests desire, it is the object of desire—discourse is the power which is to be seized; truth is a rhetorical construction, creative us of language for the purpose of making an effective social arrangement; truth is outside of language; the world is not the accomplice of our knowledge; critical rhetoric must be concerned with the consequences of knowledge and the ethics of rhetoric

James Porter “Developing Ethics of Rhet/Comp”

Writer: rhetorical ethics—a set of implicit understanding between writer/audience

Writing: places principles from various sites in dialectic (p222); process of writing within this particular composing model is one of neg. between various positions; every composing event is itself an ethical decision not simply a presentation of an already performed ethical position

Rhetoric: there are those who would argue for the neutrality of rhetoric (p211); rhetoric cannot be isolating itself and yet not too specialized; writing is both product/action; compartmentalized rhetoric (rhetoric as an island) may lead to alienating ourselves vs. intertwined rhetoric (interdisciplinarity) where we may be too muddled—we need to move back from one to the other(p213); if invention is allowed into the study of rhetoric “then I believe that we then admit questions of truth, knowledge, power (p214); Burke helps us to determine what is ethical; Weaver states that rhetoric is important because it si the means by which people are persuaded to be ethical; Foucault—archeology of rhetoric is the analytic by which he examines how knowledge is constructed and the genealogy studies the relation between power (or action) and knowledge

Teachers/Scholars of Writing: use of praxis—practical wisdom—sophistic and contingent in nature; examines the way that knowledge, power and ethics intersect; phronesis—judgement/practical wisdom

Nature of Teaching Learning Writing:

Nature of Writing Curricula:

Disciplinarity: taking rhetoric into account and the revival of invention—we are obliged to consider how invention involves the constitution and distribution of knowledge; ethical axis is an important, indeed necessary concern of rhetoric (p208)—pertains to questions about the writer’s relationship with audiences—rhetoric with a means of discussing motives; “ethics is made of questioning” (p218/223)

Post Process

Paralogic Hermeneutic

“Paralogic Hermeneutics and the Possibilities of Rhetoric” by Thomas Kent

[Dobin later critiques and expands Kent’s theories to include issues of power in “Paralogic Hermeneutic Theories, Power, and the Possibility for Liberating Pedagogies”]

Other systems of writing believe that writing can be reduced to a systemic process that can be systematically taught

Anti-“discourse communities” (from Helen Foster’s e-mail on paraglogic hermeneutics) [Kent argues against ‘the claim that discourse production occurs in specific communities’ along with ‘the related claim that ethnographers can account for the community’]

(from Helen’s e-mail) This theory rests on two premises, the first that ‘communicative interaction is thoroughly hermeneutic act’ and, the second, that this act ‘cannot be converted into a logical framework or system of social conventions that determines the meaning of our utterances.”

Reverting to the Sophists

Non-systemic and paralogic; [find out connection between antilogic and paralogic—was on Plato and one the Sophists? Are they similar? Opposites?]

Plato was actually parlogic even though he didn’t realize it and propose it. Sophists understood clearly…the paralogic nature of the labyrinth of language, and they understood, too, the way out.  They understood that we are prisoners of language in that we interpret the world only through language, but they understood as well that language also provides the means for our freedom in the world (p34)

Nature of Writer- adjusts hermeneutic strategies to others in order to communicate; hermeneutic guessing-linguistically shift around (p29); paralogic elements-skill, intuition, taste; levels of understanding (29); Heidegger says that the pre-understanding cannot be codified or learned through conventional rules; taking on a dialogic approach opens the possibility furthermore; the writer is always guessing at the game of discourse; writer cannot rely on the hermeneutic strategies, though they cannot be taught from a textbook which presupposes that the knowledge of writing cannot be formalized and taught

Hermeneutics involves sort of a guessing game…adjusting our rhetoric to try to understand and communicate with each other.

No link between the word/symbol and its effect. We are only trying to bridge the gap between the symbol and its effect on the world.  There is not a convention to link the two. We are constantly playing a guessing game in trying to understand and communicate with each other.

Language is iterable (Derrida), a radical interpretation of language.  A sign cannot be linked in any conventional way with its effect on the world. Words and sentences are iterable.  It requires radical interpretation (p27).

Hermeneutic act: the interpretive guess we must make about our hearer’s or reader’s code that occurs even before invention becomes possible (p27).

Nature of Writing- iterability of the sign/sentence—no conventional link between the sign and its effect in the world; discourse production/analysis is non-systemic and paralogic activity; also dialogic in nature—meaning open-ended non-systemic, paralogic interaction

Requires hermeneutic activity (guessing game).

Nature of Rhetoric: interpretation—a hermeneutic activity common to both discourse analysis and production is unsystemic and paralogic in nature/paralogic dimension; dialogic in nature—using hermeneutic strategies, dialogic guessing

Teachers/Scholars of Writing: Donald Davidson and Derrida are against the notion that production/analysis of discourse can be systemic; should reshape the geneology of the rhetoric to be pre-Socratic/Sophistic; Plato condemns anti-logic which acknowledtes that language is inherently contradictory; dialogic; the instructor must first talk about her hermeneutic strategy to be employed in that specific class (p40)…before any quizzes, papers, dialogue, etc. Discourse production and analysis should be taught by every professor in the university which would be a radical change from what we have right now [it would require a Sophisitic mentality]; teachers ask students to enter into the conversation of the discipline (p38); students writing treated with same regard as colleagues writing; collaboration between instructor and student (dialogic writing). Dialogic asks the students to enter a conversation with a specific discipline. Monologic simply asks the student to end it (paralogic hermeneutic does not agree with monologic approach).  Students must enter into the “conversation” of the discipline—be dialogic.

[Dobin] asks teachers to focus beyond notion of larger structures of power and to attack power at the instance of where it begins **

Nature of Teaching and Learning Writing: hermeneutics skill cannot be taught from a text because they presuppose the know-how needed to carry out the interpretive act; students should be jumping into the conversations of the discipline.  A students should be lead to apply his/her background knowledge.  The teacher is a advisor to the student and must relinquish the traditional role of lawgiver (p37).

Nature of Wring Curricula: Should allow students the possibility of entering the conversation of the discipline; anti-traditional textbooks

(Dobin  145)  [Dobin is criticizing and expanding Kent’s theories]  Move beyond processes to larger structures but also beyond those larger formations to the individual acts of communication that create the perception of “power structures”.  We are able to see how triangulations creates prior theories that occur in oppressive moments.

Nature of Disciplinarity: must reconsider the range of traditional common places that form the foundation of rhetoric; moving back to the pre-Socratic/Platonic tradition and back to the Sophists; reconsidering the history and beginning of rhetoric.  We are forced to reconsider our assumptions that writing and reading are epistemologically centered bodies of knowledge (p39).  Reconsider the history of rhetoric that comes from the brain of Aristotle (and Plato and Socrates).  Reconsider our ideas about separation of reading from writing (39).

[get strict definitions of dialogic and paralogic and hermeneutics from helen]

Parologic hermeneutics is just “guessing games.”

[from Helen’s e-mail on Paralogic Hermeneutic]

“Those who self-identify with post process and address post-process reference Thomas Kent, who based his theory of communicative interaction of analytic philosopher Donald Davidson”

“conventions of language do not ‘control’ language use; rather, conventions of anguage are ‘established’ through the give and take of communicative interaction”

Paralogic hermeneutics rests on the assumption that ‘human subjectivity is all that we can know of the world’

What is paralogic/paralogy?  “the feature of language-in-use that accounts for successful communicative interaction.  More specifically, paralogy refers to uncodifiable moves we make when we communicate with others, and ontologically, the term describes the unpredictable, elusive, and tenuous decisions or strategies we employ when we actually put language to use,…paralogy should be distinguished from the rhetorical concept of paralogism, which refers to a sophism, an illogical argument, or an example of false reasoning. Paralogy is NOT faulty logic.  Rather [it] seeks to subsume logic.  As the etymological origin of the term suggests, paralogy means “beyond logic” in that it accounts for the attribute of language-in-use that defies reduction to a codifiable process or to a system of logical relations. (paralogic 3).