Listening Rhetoric, A New Old Idea?

In one of my many Teaching Company lectures, enjoyed on my daily commutes, I enjoyed a survey of rhetoric, but one of the referenced works was equally powerful in explaining some important concepts.

The Rhetoric of Rhetoric, by Wayne C. Booth, presents the many types and forms of rhetoric and focuses heavily on a form of rhetoric that he believes are extremely important in moving along the path toward a productive rhetorical and, indeed, intellectual future.

Listening rhetoric, the practice of speaking and, far more importantly, listening with the intent of finding a core, collective truth, is, he believes, the truest and best use of language and rhetoric. This is a fascinating concept and speaks to the many years of experience of Professor Booth, an author on the subject rhetoric since at least 1961.  While it may seem obvious that “getting to the truth” should be the object of any discussion, clearly the way most of us use words and see them used by others and “the media,” we have clearly forgotten this point.  Professor Booth breaks down the subject and provides a great set of reasons to return to this form of communication structure.

There is much more to say, but I encourage anyone to read this book.  It will change the way you think about discourse.

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