Chaïm Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca founded the Brussels school of argumentation in 1958, when they published their famous Traité de l'argumentation. Even if, in Brussels, Eugène Dupréel had already set out to rehabilitate the Sophists, the intellectual atmosphere in the French-speaking world was not very propitious for rhetoric. Most French intellectuals were plunged into ideological debates linked to the intellectual monopoly of the French communist party on societal issues. Free discussion was certainly not very topical. It was only after the (...) fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, five years after Perelman's death, that rhetoric began to draw increasing attention. His ideas then gained momentum in France, as .. (shrink)
For the passions represent a force of excess and lawlessness in humanity that produces troubling, confusing paradoxes.In this book, noted European philosopher Michel Meyer offers a wide-ranging exegesis, the first of its kind, that ...
Contemporary or postmodern thought is based on the lack of foundation. The impossibility of having a principle for philosophy has become a position of principle. As a result, rhetoric has taken over. Content has given way to the priority of form. Michel Meyer's book aims at showing that philosophy as foundational is possible and necessary, and that rhetoric can flourish alongside, but the conception of reason must be changed. Questioning rather than answering must be considered as the guiding principle. What (...) the author calls "problematology" is not only the study of questioning but also the analysis of the reasons why it has been repressed throughout the history of philosophy. Since Socrates, philosophers and scientists have reasoned by asking questions and by trying to solve them. Questioning has been the unthematized foundation of philosophy and thought at large. Philosophers, however, have preferred another norm, granting privilege to the answers and thereby repressing the questions into the realm of the preliminary and unessential. They have not considered their discursive practice as being based upon some question-answer complex, but exclusively on the results they call propositions. Meyer argues that propositions ensue from corresponding questions, and not the other way around. Anthropology, ontology, reasoning, and language thus receive a new interpretation in the problematological conception of philosophy, a conception in which questions and problems are thematized afresh. The theory of language in everyday use, in argumentation, or in literary analysis receives a full and decisive treatment here, making Meyer's question-view one of the leading theories in contemporary thought, alongside his rhetoric for which he is already well known. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to exhibit some important features of the two versions of the deduction. In the first edition, Kant emphasizes the role of imagination as an autonomous faculty; in the second, On the contrary, Imagination, Though keeping its synthetic function, Is subordinated to the understanding. This reversal in the role of imagination is bound up to a paradoxical conception of the object which pervades the two editions of the "critique". The deduction should be conceived as a (...) way out of the paradox, Each edition favoring one alternative against the other. The role of the subject is correlative of the way the object is conceived: this article shows how german idealism radicalized kant's position in the first edition, And positivism, The second version, Though both were led to depart from kant's general requirement that knowledge was a result of the equilibrium of concepts and intuitions. (shrink)
The rejection of rhetoric has been a constant theme in Western thought since Plato. The presupposition of such a debasement lies at the foundation of a certain view of Reason that I have called propositionalism, and which is analyzed in this article. The basic tenets of propositionalism are that truth is exclusive, i.e. it does not allow for any alternative, and that there is always only one proposition which must be true, the opposite one being false. Necessity and uniqueness are (...) the ideals of propositionalism. But the question of the necessity of such a necessity is bound to arise. Foundationalism and propositionalism are intrinsically related. Since necessity excludes alternatives, rhetoric, which is based on the possibility of opposite standpoints, is unavoidably devalued as the crippled child of Reason, identical to sophistry or eristic. But propositionalism cannot justify itself and provide a justification for its own foundation without circle or contraditction. Since it responds to the problem of eradicating problems and alternatives through propositional entities, propositionalism is ultimately based on questioning to which it replies in the mode of denial. The unavowed foundation of Reason is therefore the question of questioning, even though this very question is suppressed as propositionalism. The trace of such a question is not only historical, but can also be seen, for instance, in the role played by the principle of contradiction in the constitution of propositional Reason (Artitotle): opposite “propositions” are not the expression of a problematic situation, they are either possible or successively unique propositions.We want to replace propositionalism by problematology which allows for the conceptualization of alternatives, thereby rendering a true rhetoric possible. Argumentation cannot then be equated with eristic any more, as propositionalism maintained.Rationality must be seen as having questioning as its true starting-point. Reason must be rhetorical if it is to survive the death of propositionalism which took place after the radical criticisms of Marx, Nietzsche and Freud. Even if it is still hard ffor philosophers and rhetoricians to think within another framework and even though they prefer endlessly to deconstauct the old one instead of changing it, problematology is bound to impose itself as the new voice for rationality, because Reason has always endeavored to solve problems. Propositionalism has been only one way of conceiving problems, based on the view that solutions could be but the suppression of questioning. (shrink)
SummaryThe aim of this paper is to exhibit some important features of the two versions of the Deduction. In the first edition, Kant emphasizes the role of imagination as an autonomous faculty; in the second, on the contrary, imagination, though keeping its synthetic function, is subordinated to the understanding. This reversal in the role of imagination is bound up to a paradoxical conception ot the object which pervades the two editions of the Critique. The Deduction should be conceived as a (...) way out of the paradox, each edition favoring one alternative against the other. The role of the subject is correlative of the way the object is conceived: this article shows how German Idealism radicalised Kant's position in the first edition, and Positivism the second version, though both were led to depard from Kant's general requirement that knowledge was a result of the equilibrium of concepts and intuitions. (shrink)