Communication and knowledge : an investigation in rhetorical epistemology /

Main Author: Cherwitz, Richard A., 1952-
Other Authors: Hikins, James W., 1947-
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Columbia, SC : University of South Carolina Press, c1986.
Edition: 1st ed.
Series: Studies in rhetoric/communication
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Review by Choice Review

Essentially this is a synoptic account of well-established schools of thought on the nature of knowledge, rhetoric, meaning, and epistemology supplemented by the authors' theory of ``rhetorical perspectivism''-that knowledge is inevitably a rhetorical activity transferred through language. The orthodoxy of this is apparent, and it derives largely from Panayot Butcharov's The Concept of Knowledge (1970). The text, which is repetitive, asserts that ``a fully articulated rhetorical epistemology'' is still needed: this is irrefutable. Several definitions are offered: knowledge is the traditional ``justified true belief''; rhetoric is ``the art of describing reality through language'' (though reality is not convincingly defined); and meaning is ``a function of a linguistic unit's embodiment of relations among rhetor, tacit audience, and extralinguistic phenomena.'' As a consequence, we are told that to act rhetorically is ``to use language in asserting or seeming to assert claims about reality.'' This definition will be far too capacious for some readers. Others will object to the statement that the morpheme has ``of late'' been considered the basic unit of meaning; still others will recall Aristotle's Rhetoric when they are advised that ``rhetoric, or persuasive potential, is an integral part of nearly all verbal activity.'' There are numerous bibliographical inconsistencies; the entire bibliography is presented in MLA endnote format. For philosophers, this is a primer; for communication students, a useful conspectus with few challenging insights.-M.B. McLeod, Trenton State College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.