Posts Tagged ‘politics’


The Nineteenth Biennial Conference of the International Society for the History of Rhetoric (ISHR) will be held in Chicago, USA, from Wednesday, July 24 to Saturday, July 27, 2013. The Biennial Conference of ISHR brings together several hundred specialists in the history of rhetoric from around thirty countries.


The Society calls for papers that focus on the historical aspect of the theory and practice of rhetoric. The special theme of the conference will be “Rhetoric and Performance.” Papers dedicated to this theme will explore the theory and practice of rhetorical delivery, the historical contexts of rhetorical performance, the performativity of rhetorical texts, and other related topics.

Papers are also invited on every aspect of the history of rhetoric in all periods and languages and the relationship of rhetoric to poetics, literary theory and criticism, philosophy, politics, art, religion, geographic areas and other elements of the cultural context.


Proposals should be submitted for a 20-minute presentation delivered in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, or Latin. Group proposals are welcome, under the following conditions. The group must consist of 3 or 4 speakers dealing with a common theme in order to form a coherent panel. The person responsible for the panel has the task of introducing the papers and guiding the discussion. Each speaker in a panel should submit a proposal form for his or her own paper and send the finished paper to the head of the panel before the conference; proposals for such papers must specify the panel for which they are intended. In addition, the person who is responsible for the panel must complete and submit a separate form explaining the purpose of the proposed panel. (more…)

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Jonathan Haidt, is a moral psychologist at the University of Virginia.  In this short talk he outlines what he takes to be the basic axes of human morality and describes, using his own research, how liberals and conservatives tend to line up on those axes.  His conclusion is an interesting one and one I think should be of interest to anyone working on political argumentation.

You can get more information about Haidt and his work at his website.

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An interesting distinction is made by Andrew Cline in this recent post on his rhetoric and journalism blog, Rhetorica, between “punditry” and “opinion journalism”.

According to Cline, opinion journalism is reporting informed by or explicitly written from a particular political perspective.  It includes acting as a “custodian of fact” and observing a “discipline of verification”.  The offers this description of that discipline via a link to an older post:

A discipline of verification should be basic to any practice that we would understand as journalism. Practicing such a discipline means that journalists must be custodians of fact, i.e. journalists should get to the bottom of civic disputes by gathering and verifying facts rather than simply allowing interested sources to spout off. Journalists should protect the facts from those who would spin them, ignore them, or distort them. When journalists don’t practice this discipline, they are guilty of spinning, ignoring, and distorting, often in the name of fairness and balance.

As to being a custodian of fact, Cline has this to say in another older post on Rhetorica:

What I’m getting at here is this: facts are not necessarily easy things to nail down unless we’re measuring (and even then we can run into problems). […] There can be no argument over facts in themselves. We argue about how facts are measured and what facts mean. And we argue about assertions of fact until such assertions are established as fact. Reporters should consider the statements by sources as assertions of fact until such time as the reporter can establish them as facts. The news organization, then, should not publish unverified assertions without disclaimers or qualifiers.

In contrast to opinion journalism, according to Cline, punditry is simply about “winning politically” and does not include the imperatives to be a custodian of fact or to follow a discipline of verification.


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