Propositions for Educating Students in a Modern World
Edited By Jorge Juan Vega y Vega
Preface: The Enthymeme Within Reason (John T. Gage)
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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