10: Intro to Practical Reasoning
This course will introduce students to the notion of rhetoric, or the study and the practice of how arguments, discourses, and language in general can be efficacious
, that is, productive of effects in listeners. The goal of the course, however, will be to broaden what it means to think of an argument or discourse as productive of effects, since, as we will see, language generally can be efficacious not simply for transmitting ideas or persuading audiences. This course will introduce students to other, perhaps more underlying ways in which language and discourse can produce effects, and in addition to providing students with a basic definition of rhetoric, we will consider how any kind of utterance or expression can be said to display a fundamental “rhetorical” quality. Authors we will read include Aristotle, René Descartes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Friedrich Nietzsche, J.L. Austin, Karl Marx, Louis Althusser, Sigmund Freud, and Michel Foucault.