A worksheet I hand out early in my Comp/Rhet classes to help students think about the kinds of pathos/logos claims they can make…
An unexpected upside? It gives them a way of articulating what OTHER writers are doing too. It works as a diagnostic tool as much as a creative one…
Continue reading “Pathos and Logos Claims”
I come to Stanley Fish’s Winning Arguments having just heard him on a seminary podcast (here) where he was insightful about the Christian condition but non-committal as to his own faith. I wondered if this new book would tip Fish’s theological hand. No such luck.
But there was this meditation-worthy passage from the chapter Living in the World of Argument:
We live in a world where God and Truth have receded, at least as active, perspicuous presences, and the form they take at any moment will be the result of a proposition successfully urged, or an argument: believe me, this is what God is like and what he wants, or, believe me, this is the truth of the matter. Rhetorically created authorities are all we have; absolute authority exists only in a heaven we may hope someday to see, but until that day we must make do with the epistemological resources available to us in our fallen condition; we must make do with argument. For all intents and purposes, and as far as we know or can know, we live in a world of argument. (13)
- This is an argument. According to Fish’s own rules, he has to back this up?
- When did this recession happen? From what he indicates in the phrase “our fallen condition” it is part of post-Garden-of-Eden life.
- This is in keeping with the apologetics of Cornelius Van Til: there is no neutral knowledge. All facts must be interpreted. Everything’s an argument.
- Just because all authorities are rhetorical doesn’t let us off the hook. Paul tells the Romans that men are without excuse for not believing God.
- This is a hook for ENGL 111, my freshman composition course.