Ambiguous Weighting and Nonsensical Sense: The Problems of “Balance” and “Common Sense” as Commonplace Concepts and Decision-making Heuristics in Environmental Rhetoric

Social Epistemology 26 (1):115-144 (2012)
Abstract
Balance and common sense are commonplace concepts used to bring an audience to a place of shared understanding. These commonplaces also function as decision-making heuristics. I argue in this paper that the commonplaces ?balance? and ?common sense? are problematic because they suggest decision-making strategies that strip associated information of complexity and value. Through an examination of theory and responses to interviews conducted in relation to an ongoing project on environmental rhetoric, I problematize these concepts and consider how awareness of the interaction of these commonplaces and heuristics can benefit rhetors and agencies seeking environmental change
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