108 | CCN: 32245

Rhetoric of Philosophical Discourse

Instructor: Felipe Gutterriez,

4 Units

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

“I think I summed up my position when I said: philosophy ought really to be written only as a form of poetry.”

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Culture and Value


"This might have remained a clinical problem, but it has entered for me, I can say sublimed itself, into the critical question of the writing of philosophy, most particularly into the idea I have of eliciting philosophical conviction, according to which one becomes its addressee only to the extent one imagines becoming its origin or sender, so that you accordingly realize that you are being told nothing, nothing exactly new. It is more or less understandably difficult to get credit for writing this way, say, unassertively, especially when writing is at its most successful. “

Stanley Cavell, A Pitch of Philosophy


Description: In his essay, “Performative and Passionate Utterance”, Stanley Cavell compares John Austin’s “How to Do Things with Words” to Aristotle’s Rhetoric, describing it as “another systematic study of ways of effecting or affecting action by or in speech. Taking as our starting point Austin’s account of doing things with words as Cavell extends it (some say transforms it), we will consider the somewhat complicated relationship of passion, reason, the illocutionary, and the perlocutionary in philosophical discourse. My present plan is to confine our considerations to relatively recent works of philosophy, with particular attention to the work of Stanley Cavell and Ludwig Wittgenstein. However, students will be encouraged to propose other works that might be appropriate for the class to read.

Prerequisites: Consent of instructor

ATTENDANCE IS REQUIRED