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Philosophical Heuristics

Translated by Ben Koschalka


Jan Hartman

«Philosophical Heuristics» aims to translate philosophical issues into meta-philosophical issues examined from a unique perspective. The analytical and interpretive practice of heuristics seeks to grasp synchronously all the processes leading to the formation of philosophical discourse, its language, form and content. The book takes hermeneutics and pragmatism as a starting point for a multifaceted and systematic examination of philosophical heuresis and promotes a style of philosophising «in the suspense of heuristic reflection», something more than ordinary theoretical self-awareness.
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4. Rhetorical Thinking


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4.  Rhetorical Thinking

4.1  Cognition and Persuasion. The Duality of Rhetoric

If we can agree that a philosophical statement ought to be clear and convincing, this means also admitting that philosophy has something in common with rhetoric. Yet the history of this link is marked with ambivalence in which the negative side has generally dominated. This is why rhetoric today, although it has essentially become “philosophised”, and is sometimes even treated as a certain way of doing philosophy, is not unreservedly regarded as part of the discipline. Rhetorical thinking has therefore become thinking in terms of its own duality. This gives it a dialectical character, as well as continually referring to the issue of being philosophical and the fundamental notions associated with it, for which rhetoric is apparently no match.

The fact that rhetoric is closely linked to philosophy, but does not belong to it, means that rhetorical thinking has an extremely attractive rhetoric position. In it, the philosophical pursuit can be thematised not as philosophy’s simple acquisition of self-knowledge, but as an “equal partner”, sometimes designating itself as a rival. “Rhetoric is the counterpart of Dialectic”, go the first words of Aristotle’s Rhetoric. Many whose philosophising has led them to breach the inviolability of the concept of philosophy, seeing this as more meaningful than simply contrasting their philosophy with bad philosophy, have identified the area in which they found themselves after “leaving” philosophy as that of rhetoric. It is...

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