Monday, November 07, 2011

"Philosophy and Rhetoric," Boston College, March 2012.

Keynote Speakers:
John Lysaker, Department of Philosophy, Emory University
Colin Heydt, Department of Philosophy, University of South Florida
Marina McCoy, Department of Philosophy, Boston College

Traditionally, philosophy as the art of rational argumentation has been distinguished from rhetoric as the art of persuasion. However, the analytic grounds for this distinction are not immediately evident
and the borders between them are often porous. As a mode of address philosophy makes its appeal to rational intelligence more narrowly conceived, while rhetoric makes its appeal to a more expansive human intelligence, which encompasses dimensions of affectivity and historicity. Yet, when philosophical or rhetorical argumentation succeed this seems to require and appeal to both reason and
affectivity.

And so the uneasy relationship between philosophy and rhetoric continues to be reconceived throughout the history of philosophy. Recent debates in the philosophy of language, for example, have questioned the structures and stability of language and the role that it plays as the ground of both sound argumentation and the art of persuasion. Much work in moral and political philosophy has examined the roles of rational, affective, and historical reasoning in the formation of our basic moral and political beliefs. The relationship between philosophy and rhetoric seems to hold further implications for fields as diverse as political philosophy, informal logic, philosophy of language, ethics, meta-philosophy, literary theory, and hermeneutics.

This conference invites thoughtful papers examining the nature of this relationship in any of its conceptions throughout the history of philosophy as well as in contemporary analytic and continental
discourses. Papers are to be prepared for blind review, and should not exceed 4000 words. Applicants may forward their submissions to philgrad@bc.edu.

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