108 | CCN: 32245

Rhetoric of Philosophical Discourse

On the open hand, the closed fist, and other symbolic actions

Instructor: Nathan Atkinson,

4 Units

Instructor: Nate Atkinson - n8atkinson@berkeley.edu

F 9:00am-12:00pm, 7415 Dwinelle

The rhetorical tradition is, in many respects, a tradition that defines itself in relation to philosophy. Although understandable given philosophy’s prominence in the academy, the results for rhetoric have been mixed. As a scholarly discipline, and as a theoretical perspective, rhetoric’s identity remains a point of contention. Our course will proceed from this problematic in order to better understand the relationship between philosophy and rhetoric, and to answer the question:  What can rhetoric be?

The course will proceed in three parts: In part one, we will read foundational texts on the antagonisms between philosophy and rhetoric. In part two, we will read scholarship that seeks to reconcile rhetoric and philosophy in light of the linguistic turn. In part three, we will read recent work by scholars who frustrate easy distinctions between philosophy and rhetoric. These readings will include foundational works by Aristotle and Nietzsche, influential meditations on rhetoric and philosophy Burke, Rorty, and Barthes, and more recent work at the intersection of rhetoric and philosophy.


Prerequisites: Consent of instructor