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- Emily Dickinson, Lesbian?: Her Letter to Susan Gilbert, in June of 1852, Might Tell Us Less Than You Think
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- Walt Whitman: "To be indeed a God!"
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Tag Archives: rhetoric
Chris Mooney at Slate reports on some actual psychological research that has been done on Internet trolls: [R]esearch, conducted by Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba and two colleagues, sought to directly investigate whether people who engage in trolling … Continue reading
Accompanied by a black and white dog, a huntress, not young, steps from a blue grove into the dawn light. It’s spring; we are outside of Athens in 508 BC. Pericles will not be born for another 13 years. The … Continue reading
If you’re an atheist and have concluded that free will doesn’t exist, where does that leave praise and shame? Atheist Jerry Coyne, who does not believe humans have free will, suggests that it leaves praise and shame in the dust: … Continue reading
This blogger nails it: Perry’s rules of rhetorical engagement boil down to 1) constantly impugn your opponents’ motives by insinuation; 2) shamelessly misrepresent their policies; 3) tag existing federal programs and functions with inflammatory and manifestly inaccurate labels; 4) eschew … Continue reading
Evolution vs. Creation Rhetoric Watch: Cornelius Hunter Notices an Interesting Rhetorical Move That Charles Darwin Made in the Origin of Species
At his blog recently, Cornelius Hunter called attention to this statement of Charles Darwin’s from the Origin of Species: If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, … Continue reading
Given the broad debate over right-wing responsibility (or not) for the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabriella Giffords, I wonder why this story, from August of last year, got so little play. It appeared in the Washington Post: When California Highway Patrol officers … Continue reading
In a free country’s courts of law, the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty. This burden of proof rests with the accusers because a free society has a vital interest in protecting the rights of individuals. When one makes a claim against an individual … Continue reading
At Marginal Revolution today, economist Tyler Cowen was asked about whether there are some especially good economic ideas out there that are hard to popularize, and his answer led to a brief digression on complexity and agnosticism: [I]t is hard to popularize … Continue reading
A Thoroughly Awesome Take on Civility in Public Discourse from Terry Teachout (and George Washington)
Not that I always live up to it, but I think that this is great: George Washington once drew up a list of rules of civility. Here is the first one: “1st Every Action done in Company, ought to be … Continue reading
Christopher Hitchens was recently interviewed by Hugh Hewitt, and offered an interesting tidbit on a rhetorical strategy that tends to work for him: [W]hen I write, as often as I can, I try to write as if I’m talking to people. It … Continue reading
Giambattista Vico was, from 1699-1741, a professor of rhetoric at the University of Naples, and I love the open way that he ended his speech, “On the Study Methods of Our Time” (1709). It represents well the spirit of Italian humanism that … Continue reading
An Invitation: Believe in Evolution and You Too Can Join Richard Dawkins, and His Alien Friends, in the Universe’s Superior Club
When I read this Richard Dawkins quote on page 194 of Schick and Vaughn’s How to Think about Weird Things (5th edition), I smiled at its echoes of religious manipulativeness: If superior creatures from space ever visit Earth, the first question they … Continue reading
Something that jumped out at me early on in chapter 3 of the college critical thinking text, Schick and Vaughn’s How to Think about Weird Things (5th edition, 2008), is the distinction that was made between argument and persuasion. To win support for … Continue reading
Peitho is the goddess of rhetoric, persuasion, and seduction, and in ancient depictions, she tends to accompany Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Why Aphrodite? Because it is by artful and pretty words that your rational defenses—especially against love—are overcome and conquered (as in Gorgias’s “Encomium for … Continue reading
Scrappy! And cutting through the neo-conservative crap:
Salon today reviews Jack Lynch’s new book, The Lexicographer’s Dilemma (2009), an evolutionary history of proper grammar. So is Lynch, in writing his history, sympathetic to the describers (the camp of linguists) or the prescribers (the camp of traditional grammarians)? Should we, … Continue reading
My habit (though I’m not always consistent about this) is to look for diamonds in the rough of ideas, even apparently bad ideas. And I find that this sometimes gets me in trouble with some readers of this blog. For example, … Continue reading
In the mid-1800s, when Sojourner Truth was in her early 50s, she addressed a convention on women’s rights and gave this speech. I love the way that she turns the tables on white male patronage of white women (putting them … Continue reading