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Being, Rhetorical: Aristotle, Heidegger and the Temporal Ontology of Rhetoric

Morrison, Catherine E. (2014) Being, Rhetorical: Aristotle, Heidegger and the Temporal Ontology of Rhetoric. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The following dissertation project seeks to answer the question what it means to call a thing rhetorical. Contemporary rhetorical theory currently places more emphasis upon the relations between speakers, hearers and act or form of speaking itself, rather than the things of which speakers and hearers speak about. Such an orientation makes the relation between speaking and the things with which we deal and of which we speak unclear. I argue, in contrast, that rhetoricity, or a thing’s capability of being-rhetorical, indicates a spoken relation to things that can become otherwise in shared time. The spoken relation is not simply a matter of symbols or representations; it expresses and makes manifest speakers’ and hearers’ concrete, present and immediate relation to the world. Rhetoricity expresses human beings’ existence and experience with things as they are in everydayness initially, generally and for the most part.

The dissertation applies an analysis of temporality, elucidated by the early (1919-1929) hermeneutic, phenomenological philosophy of Martin Heidegger, to Aristotle’s Rhetoric. I then perform a critical reading of Heidegger’s later “Dialogue on Language” (1954), in which the philosopher rejects rhetoricity as a fundamental way of relating to the world in speaking and seeks to escape into a philosophico-poetic mode of language. The critical reading illustrates the conditions under which speaking engages with things individually in terms of sameness over time, rather than as embedded in shared matters of pressing temporal concern for everyday life. The dissertation closes with a reflection upon a recurrent, recursive conversation among rhetorical theorists over the past 40 years on the methods, objects and aims of rhetorical theory. I suggest that a re-orientation toward things in their concrete, material relation to everyday life offers a stronger foundation for the study of rhetoric looking into the future.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Morrison, Catherine E.cem107@pitt.eduCEM107
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairPoulakos, Johnpoulakos@pitt.eduPOULAKOS
Committee MemberLyne, JCjlyne@pitt.eduJLYNE
Committee MemberMitchell, Gordon Rgordonm@pitt.eduGORDONM
Committee MemberGarrett,
Date: 31 January 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 16 October 2013
Approval Date: 31 January 2014
Submission Date: 3 December 2013
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 329
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Communication: Rhetoric and Communication
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Heidegger, Aristotle, rhetoric, philosophy, phenomenology, language, ontology, temporality, time, speaking, hermeneutics
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2014 21:25
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:16


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