The Need for More Rhetoric in the Public Sphere. A Challenging Thesis About Post-Truth

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Abstract

Since it hit the headlines and aroused the interest of scholars, the phenomenon of posttruthhas received two main different interpretations: someone has observed that in thephenomenon there is nothing really new: lies and fakes are always existed and the onlyreal difference is represented by the speed with which today, thanks to the means ofcommunication, they spread. Others, on the other hand, have emphasized the close relationshipbetween postmodernism and post-truth, arguing that the first one is the ideologicalbackground of the second one. Our paper aims to show that in order to frame post-truthin the right perspective, we need the theoretical framework offered by the rhetoric. Infact, we will try to show that this theoretical framework (reconstructed starting from theGreek rhetoric) has three fundamental strengths: 1) a conception of truth which is moreflexible but which does not lack a normative dimension; 2) an idea of communicationin the public sphere that already contemplates not only the presence of subjective andemotional elements, but also the conflictual dimension linked to them; 3) the presence ofa strong educational component that appears fundamental in the formation of citizenswho must avoid being passively victim of the post-truth circulating in the public sphereabove all, but not only, through the web.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-241
Number of pages17
JournalVS
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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