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Speaking Hermeneutically
Understanding in the Conduct of a Life
John Arthos
John Arthos discovers and promotes an organic reciprocity between rhetoric as a humanist practice and hermeneutics as a theoretical comportment. Although these two
traditions have a long and fruitful collaboration, it is only now that we begin to realize
their potential for radically remaking the way we think and speak as social animals.
Arthos marries the performative competencies of rhetorical practice with the circularity of hermeneutic understanding in a way that redefines the syntax of a humanist
education in the twenty-first century. As a counter to the linear, technical rationalism
that permeates common culture and educational praxis, Speaking Hermeneutically
shows how a hermeneutically inflected rhetoric can lead to refashioning habits of
thought and speech, the constitution of personal identity, the conventions of social
engagement, and the deliberative practices that form the basis of public institutions.
Arthos adapts the hermeneutics of Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Paul
Ricoeur to a series of classic rhetorical texts and landmark political moments, modeling
the revitalized interchange of traditions in a way that will be accessible to scholars and
students in both fields of inquiry.
John Arthos is an associate professor
in the Department of Communication
and the John and Christine Warner
Chair at Denison University in Granville,
Ohio. He is also the author of The Inner
Word in Gadamer’s Hermeneutics.
Studies in Rhetoric/Communication • Thomas W. Benson, series editor
April 2011, 208 pages
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