Rhetoric of Reason
Author: James Crosswhite
To those who have lost faith in the abilities of people to reach reasoned mutual agreements, and to others who have attacked the right-or-wrong model of formal logic, this book offers the reminder that the rhetorical tradition has always viewed argumentation as a dialogue, a response to changing situations, an exchange of persuading, listening, and understanding. Crosswhite’s aim is to give new purpose to writing instruction and to students’ writing, to reinvest both with the deep ethical interests of the rhetorical tradition. In laying out the elements of argumentation, for example, he shows that claiming, questioning, and giving reasons are not simple elements of formal logic, but communicative acts with complicated ethical features. Students must learn not only how to construct an argument, but the purposes, responsibilities, and consequences of engaging in one. James Crosswhite’s The Rhetoric of Reason was published by the University of Wisconsin Press in 1996. It was awarded the Mina Shaughnessy Prize of the Modern Language Association for the year’s outstanding scholarly book in the fields of language, culture, literacy, and literature that has a strong application to the teaching of English.