chapter  2
34 Pages

Presentations of Heritage School Classical Rhetoric: "Logic" and False Oppositions of Ancient and Modern Language Issues

The "interpretive options" that Jameson refers to in The Political Unconscious, and the value systems that each option necessarily brings with it, form the center of rhetoric and composition studies in the United States, as they form the center of other fields of study. The field of rhetoric and composition-along with the field of critical theory-has perhaps displayed the greatest awareness of the unavoidable presence of value systems in language. A crucial self consciousness has pervaded the field of rhetoric and composition studies and has enabled researchers to advance knowledge and pedagogy in English and Speech Communication, if not always in other disciplines. These self-conscious, systemconscious writers compose what I have called the Dialectical School of rhetoric and composition studies. Their primary shared characteristicin the midst of their great diversity-as revealed in their writing, consists of some access to the epistemologies and the intellectual contexts that enable them to have ideas about rhetoric and composition studies in the first place. This attribute is shared by people working in critical (or postmodern) theory across many disciplines, from English to architecture to legal studies to sociology. This self-aware attitude of dialectical

critics is difficult to maintain, partly because no one can have full access to the value system that she or he operates with. In addition, we all tend to find particular belief systems "natural" and "normal."