205 | CCN: 31419

Contemporary Rhetorical Theory

Instructor: David Bates,

4 Units

This course will examine influential conceptions of human reasoning in the modern period. We will pay particular attention to the way that reasoning has been linked with language, with the understanding of the nervous system, and with new technological developments (especially computing). Our focus will be on the tension between reason as “critique” and reason as one of many different ways human beings produce meaning in their world.

The seminar will start with iconic starting points in the Enlightenment and nineteenth century – Rousseau, Kant, and Hegel, before tracking a line of thought that will include pragmatism (Peirce and James), psychoanalysis (Freud), Continental philosophy (Heidegger), critical theory (Horkheimer and Adorno, Arendt), cybernetics and AI (Turing, Newell and Simon, Hofstadter, ), psychology and cognitive science, poststructuralism (Derrida), and we will conclude with contemporary efforts to rethink human reason within biology and technology (Malabou, Latour, Stiegler).