Rhetoric as Critique: Towards a Rhetorical Philosophy

Theory, Culture and Society 40 (3):41-61 (2023)
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While philosophy has been defined as a critical endeavour since Plato, the critical potential of rhetoric has been mostly overlooked. In recent years, critique itself – as a means of enlightenment and emancipation – has come under attack. While there have been various attempts to renew and strengthen critical theory and practice, rhetoric has not yet played a part in these attempts. Addressing this lacuna, the article argues that rhetoric can function as a critical force within philosophy. The rhetorical perspective confronts the claim to rational discourse and universal knowledge with the contingency of philosophical languages, means of representation, and social practices. Moreover, it allows us to think of critique as an activity of a subject that is at the same time constituted and transformed by it. This opens up the possibility of a rhetorical philosophizing that meets its critical standards by taking into account both the conditions of its own speaking and what it must exclude as its ‘other’ in order to function.



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Andreas Hetzel
Universität Hildesheim

Citations of this work

Unruly Truth: On Parrhesia and/as Political Refusal.Sergej Seitz - 2024 - Res Pública. Revista de Historia de Las Ideas Políticas 27 (1):31-36.

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References found in this work

Critique of Forms of Life.Rahel Jaeggi - 2018 - Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.John Locke - 1979 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 169 (2):221-222.

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