“Rhetoric and pragmatics: suggestions for a fruitful dialogue“

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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to show that classical rhetoric can provide valuable insights in the contemporary debate in pragmatics. This is especially true for Aristotelian rhetoric, due to its philosophical approach. In the first part of the paper, we discuss the conditions under which ancient rhetoric can be a real partner of current pragmatics: 1. rhetoric must be understood as a type of knowledge (a techne) and not as a “jumbles of techniques”; 2. we need to consider persuasion as an anthropological feature and not only as a specific case of communication; 3. we should not exclude truth from the rhetorical field. The second part of the paper focuses on what can be considered the basic insight of classical rhetoric (stated in a well-known passage of Aristotle's Rhetoric, 1358a 37-b1): speakers and listeners are inside and not outside discourse. If adequately interpreted, this statement has important consequences that can be interesting for current pragmatics. These consequences can be schematically summarized as follows: 1. a broader conception of persuasion, useful to overcame the opposition informative/persuasive; 2. the consideration of speaker and listener as internal component of discourse (with the latter in a key position); 3. the consideration of the stylistic elements of a discourse from a cognitive point of view; 4. the overcoming of the sharp opposition cognitive/emotional due to the consideration of ethos and pathos as discoursive elements.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospite“Perspectives on Pragmatics and Philosophy“
Pagine537-555
Numero di pagine19
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2013

Serie di pubblicazioni

NomePerspective in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Applied Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language

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