Pragmatism, Democracy, and the Necessity of Rhetoric
Danisch highlights the similarities between pragmatism and classical rhetoric, including pragmatism's rejection of philosophy with its traditional assumptions and practices. Grounding his argument on an alternative interpretation of pragmatism and its antifoundationalist commitments, he discusses the need to find appropriate rhetorics for American democracy and to delineate the intellectual conditions for the realization of such rhetorics.
Danisch suggests that first-generation pragmatists articulated an orientation to the world that necessitates the practice of rhetoric. To establish such claims, he addresses William James's philosophy of pluralism, Dewey's attention to the practical arts, Addams's belief in a social democracy, Alain Locke's celebration of African American art, and Oliver Wendell Holmes's judicial decisions. In each instance Danisch shows how different iterations of pragmatism point to and recommend the development of unique rhetorics capable of shaping particular forms of democratic life.
About the Author
"In this suggestive study, Robert Danisch proceeds in typically pragmatist fashion, combining old ideas with new in order to achieve consequential results toward meeting our current intellectual and political challenges. Danisch usefully helps us think through the relations of rhetorical strategy to pragmatist principle and of classical rhetorical traditions to contemporary turns in neopragmatism. This is a welcome contribution to rhetorical pragmatism and its ongoing effort to promote sustainable cultures of democratic politics"—Steven J. Mailloux, professor of English and Chancellor's Professor of Rhetoric, University of California, Irvine
"This valuable and wide-ranging study creatively rereads the pragmatist tradition and brings it into contact with rhetorical theory. Robert Danisch reanimates sophistic and Aristotelian categories and convincingly argues that rhetoric completes the pragmatist philosophical projects of William James and John Dewey. In a particularly exciting series of chapters, Danisch goes on to show how Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jane Addams, and Alain Locke remake judicial, deliberative, and epideictic rhetoric in ways fitting for a large-scale, heterogeneous democracy. The book enriches our understanding of both pragmatism and rhetoric."—Peter Simonson, University of Colorado, Boulder
Other Titles from Studies in Rhetoric/Communication