Mode of address

This book will take up the same rhetorical stance as its proposes be offered to adult literacy students—or any and all other students for that matter. That is, it will put forward its views, ideas, theories and and stakes always with the thought in mind that this is only a perspective, and that there is always more to be said both from other points of view and in clarifying or deepening my own point of view. This is rhetorical dialogism: the claim that we are always ‘on the way’ to knowing; that full and complete knowledge (‘the truth, the whole truth and only the truth’) is always just out of reach. What makes it more reachable, even though still out of reach, is the response of others. 

However, Amossy and others (??) argue that recognising that we disagree is just as important as agreeing. Mouffe argues that violent contestation should be transmuted, sublimated, into agonism which she dubs ‘conflictual consensus’ – the agreement to disagree. In this case there is no projected horizon or place of agreement or truth, only a place of conflict, difference and disagreement. However, this is just as illuminating for us as finding a final agreed vision or representation of the way the world is. The fact that the world and the way it is is still indeterminate, contingent, ambiguous, conflicted, unresolved—is an important stay on our temptation towards the dogmatic, the premature closure of discourse.

  • Perelman a, dans la NR, comme dans d’autres textes, établi une distinction entre le raisonnable et le rationnel : selon lui, dans toutes les affaires humaines, il importe de replacer le raisonnement dans le champ du plausible en l’arrachant au domaine de la Vérité absolue qui ne leur est pas propre. En d’autres termes, l’argumentation part en quête de ce qui peut être admis par une communauté donnée comme acceptable, raisonnable, sur une question débattue, pour autoriser un accord, levier de la décision et de l’action collectives.

There is always an excess, an umbrella of unthought, an unsaid, hovering around and within our thoughts and discourse. Our statements are condemned to fall short: to not encompass everything and to not express fully  everything.

Sometimes I know these others, sometimes even individually, but more typically as a contrasting point of view. Sometimes they are just imaginary interlocutors in my own head and imagination who raise doubts or queries or different views on what I am writing.

  • C’est l’idée que l’auditoire universel doit être conçu comme un Autre que l’orateur anticipe dans un dialogue intérieur où il le construit en imaginant les objections possibles. Il esquisse ainsi une relation interlocutive dont le modèle est intérieur – le soi comme deux parties engagées dans une délibération : « débattre avec soi-même, à savoir, subir le nécessaire procès de la contradiction et de la justification » (52). En bref, laisser l’Autre parler dans un dialogue fictif, dans une incessante anticipation des objections, critiques et protestations que tout un chacun peut soulever.

About Rob McCormack
I am a retired second chance educator living in Melbourne, Australia. Theory I am interested in includes: Rhetoric, both ancient and contemporary; Post-structural discourse theory, Laclau; Halliday's systemic functional linguistic theory; Hermeneutics (esp. Gadamer); philosophy, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Derrida; 'practice theory' in social theory such as Schatzki, Bourdieu; political theory, such as Arendt, Laclau, Tully ; pedagogic theory and philosophy such as Biesta, didaktik. Praxis I am interested in include: Adult education and adult literacy; second chance education; academic discourse and writing; langauge and learning; Indigenous education.

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