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Rhetoric, Postmodern

Gary E. Aylesworth

Subject Linguistics
Communication Studies » Rhetorical Studies

People Derrida, Jacques, Foucault, Michel

Key-Topics postmodernism

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Postmodern rhetoric is a set of discursive and critical practices that diverge from →  Persuasion by means of ethos , pathos , and logos (→  Rhetoric, Greek ). Where classical rhetoric addresses a known and identifiable →  audience , postmodern rhetoric puts into question the identities of the speaker, the audience, and the messages that pass between them, interrupting and displacing senders, receivers, and messages by realigning the networks through which they pass (→  Postmodernism and Communication ). The most important precursors to postmodern rhetoric are Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger. Nietzsche proposed that language is the result of a series of transformations, where bodily mechanisms are transformed into sensations and feelings that we express in sounds. Sounds become words when they designate things that are similar in certain respects, and they communicate the perspective of a community as if they referred to an independently existing reality (→  Realism ). Logical categories are the result of equivocation and synecdoche, since they posit identities where there are only similarities, and they take as universal what is only a partial view. “ Language is rhetoric ,” says Nietzsche, “because it desires to convey only a doxa [opinion] not an epistêmê [knowledge]” ( Nietzsche 1989 , 23; →  Rhetoric and Epistemology ; Rhetorics: New Rhetorics ). Heidegger ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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