Kenneth Burke's "identification" and Chaïm Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca's "communion": A case of convergent evolution?

Richard Graff, Wendy Winn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

9 Scopus citations


Histories of rhetoric regularly emphasize the tension and interplay between preservation and innovation, between intellectual conservatism and originality or even iconoclasm. Contemporary rhetorical studies have been invigorated by reflection on this dialectic, with scholars frequently fixing their gaze on the problem of "rhetorical tradition." In one recent contribution to the discussion, Alan G. Gross proposes that the rhetorical tradition be conceived in terms of the development, refinement, and occasional contestation of key concepts, that is, of distinct idea-elements within larger theories ("Rhetorical Tradition"). Thus construed, the tradition emerges as a historical and intertextual process, as authors in different places and times engage-explicitly or possibly implicitly-with one another's ideas. Although the case Gross uses to illustrate this process (tracking from Aristotle's "bringing-before-the-eyes" to George Campbell's "vivacity" to Chaïm Perelman's "presence") stresses the development of concepts over a long period and across disparate cultural circumstances, we believe the idea can be usefully employed to investigate a concept's emergence and elaboration in shorter spans as well and to illuminate, by means of comparison, the work of roughly contemporary thinkers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Promise of Reason
Subtitle of host publicationStudies in The New Rhetoric
PublisherSouthern Illinois University Press
Number of pages31
ISBN (Print)0809330253, 9780809330256
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011


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