The Dao of Rhetoric (Suny Series in Communication Studies)

The Dao of Rhetoric (Suny Series in Communication Studies)

Steven C. Combs

Language: English

Pages: 178

ISBN: 079146282X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In the first book to systematically deal with Daoism (Taoism) from a rhetorical perspective, author Steven C. Combs advances the idea that the works of Daoist (Taoist) sages Laozi (Lao Tzu), Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu), and Sunzi (Sun Tzu) can be fused into a coherent rhetorical genre, which can then form a methodology for rhetorical criticism. This notion of Daoist rhetoric enables critics to examine discourse from new vantage points with novel processes and concepts that honor the creativity and complexity of human communication. Combs also critically examines four contemporary films The Tao of Steve, A Bug s Life, Antz, and Shrek to amplify rhetorical Daoism, to indicate clear differences between Western and Daoist values, and to offer fresh perspectives on individuals and social action. The book argues that Daoism provides a lens for viewing limitations of current Western rhetorical theorizing, positioning Daoist rhetoric as a potent critical perspective in the contemporary, postmodern world."

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however, must be employed cautiously. In the classical Chinese view, a number of practices are considered appropriate for restoring harmony that may be considered unethical to those holding the classical Greek view of a fixed truth. Yet, even with audiences holding a traditional Western ethical perspective, the speaker-warrior should be able to take advantage of a number of tactics designed to induce formlessness. For example, one can reduce an opponent’s anticipation of one’s arguments by not

notions about rhetorical genre, thereby enriching Western rhetorical theory. Campbell and Jamieson’s (1978) notion that rhetorical genres are constituted by the fusion of substantive, strategic, and stylistic forms is problematic for Daoist 76 ᪑ THE DAO OF RHETORIC rhetoric for two reasons. First, the term “style,” which typically refers to the use of language, is too narrow. Because Daoists often rely on nonverbal elements, such as music and visual images, to convey an idea, we must either

contradictions. OVERVIEW OF THE FILM While the elements of Daoism in the film are significant, and will be discussed later, the basic story is about the transformation of Dex, a bright, underachieving man who is unwilling or unable to make a commitment to a particular woman. Dex combines a Western fantasy of masculinity with bits of Daoist philosophy to create an ongoing strategy of womanizing: “The Tao of Steve.” The opening scene, a ten-year college reunion, introduces the idea that Dex hasn’t

some bearing on meaning. Texts are connected to time and place because, in Daoism, nothing stands apart from the world. The artifact is a product of all aspects of the environmental field, and the more we know about the interconnected aspects of the environment, the more we can understand. Of course, when we refer to something as a distinct entity or product of a particular set of circumstances we are speaking of how it presents itself at a particular time. We can propose an arbitrary historical

longer alone, and he has learned a valuable lesson about trusting his feelings to select others, but he is otherwise the same. This chapter demonstrates that Daoist rhetoric can be used in conjunction with other analytical schemes, such as Campbell’s monomyth, in its application to rhetorical criticism. The analysis also indicates that Campbell’s claim that the hero is an archetype is an overstatement. A more reasonable conclusion is that concepts of the hero are more products of culture than the

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