Rhetorical Hermeneutics . . . For the Win?

Rhetorical hermeneutics argues that any explanatory attempt must embed the act of interpretation first in its most relevant critical debates (and there may be several); then the act and its participation in ongoing arguments must be situated in the rhetorical traditions within relevant institutional discourses; and then the interpretive act, its arguments, and its framing … Continue reading Rhetorical Hermeneutics . . . For the Win?

Burke and Derrida

While re-reading Kenneth Burke's Counter-Statement (1931), I couldn’t help noticing a thematic similarity between the end of Burke’s “Thomas Mann and Andre Gide” and a chunk from the middle of Derrida’s famous essay, “Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences.” These two passages seem linked in a kind of call-and-response relationship, with … Continue reading Burke and Derrida

Thoughts on Value as a (Contingent) Social Construct

Currently reading Barbara Hernstein Smith’s Contingencies of Value (1988, Harvard UP) and thinking a lot about how value (literary, aesthetic, moral, or otherwise) could operate as a contingent yet rigorous system of interrelated evaluative decisions. Echoing Chaim Perelman’s notion that ‘knowledge’ is determined via a network of socially agreed-upon standards and rules (cf. Wittgenstein’s “language … Continue reading Thoughts on Value as a (Contingent) Social Construct