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The Essential Enthymeme

Propositions for Educating Students in a Modern World

Edited By Jorge Juan Vega y Vega

The enthymeme in education is essential because it reflects what humans do when they think. It informs not only how we make inferences about the world to discover new knowledge, but also how we express those discoveries to influence the minds of others. Thus, the enthymeme provides an effective pedagogical approach to the analysis and synthesis of ideas in the classroom. In this volume, such an approach is applied to composition instruction, second-language learning, advertising, specialized medical texts, and detective fiction to help prepare students for the challenges of modern life. (Michael D. Hood)

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Preface: The Enthymeme Within Reason (John T. Gage)

Extract

Preface: The Enthymeme Within Reason As someone who has written widely, if not always prudently, about the en- thymeme, I am pleased to see the level and variety of attention given to this rhetorical concept in this collection, and flattered to be have been asked by the editor to write a preface. It is not my intention in this brief preface to introduce the reader to the studies contained here, which speak for them- selves, except to say that they attend provocatively to all of the aspects of the enthymeme that have concerned me also: the theoretical, the historical, the analytical, and the pedagogical. Rather, I want to reflect on why such focused attention matters, why the enthymeme is a subject worthy of con- tinued study from all of these perspectives. Whether it is seen as a sadly neglected concept in rhetorical and pedagogical studies, or whether on the contrary it is viewed as too obvious to merit in-depth study, the enthymeme has achieved a kind of inevitable role in rhetoric. Once seen, it is hard to ignore. At stake for me in continuing to look deeply into the nature and use of the enthymeme is the question of what it means to be rational. So let me begin my reflection with an apparent truism. Everybody reasons. Stated like this, as a universal proposition, “Every- body reasons” is both self-evident and highly problematic. But these are both elusive qualities. I might take the claim to be self-evident because...

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