[RHETOR 20] - Final Exam Guide - Ultimate 129 pages long Study Guide!

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29 Mar 2017
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RHETOR 20
FINAL EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
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Rhetoric 20
Lecture 1 -- 1/17/2016
Course: emphasis on visual components over the textual, done in a verbal context
Why rhetoric (over substance)?
- Training on intangible critical thinking and communicative skills
Normal situation (Stanley Fish): Not need interpretation, the text itself should deliver
its meaning
Important terminology
Literal meaning (essentialist, anti-essentialist)
Interpretive conventions
Text/ Context
Paratext
Illocutionary force
Anti-definition view (Mascuch): definitions narrow one’s view of a word/ phrase by
offering the “essential” aspect
Fish deals with oral argument situations, “copresence”
Eco explores mediation (in situations of copresence, it seems irrelevant to think
about this)
- E.g. illocutionary force: gesticulating to communicate
- Versus textual/ written material, illocutionary force cannot be used
Reading: Normal Circumstances… and Other Special Cases, Stanley Fish
Essentialist view: wants literal meaning to be transcendent (sticks for all time -
transcultural, transhistorical)
- People want fixed meaning for many reasons: trustworthy, allows for planning
- Grounded in the notion that text is the basis of meaning, accessible by
everyone
Anti-essentialist view: against fixed meanings
- No literal meanings at all - “free play, ” “anything goes”
- Like literal meanings but emphasize that meanings move in space and time
and changes accordingly
- Just because there are plurality of literal meanings, does not mean that any of
them are non-binding, a built in flexibility
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Fish’s stance: Stable meanings are necessary for us to get work done BUT they are
contingent on the situation, the circumstances
- We are always in a situation > Now, classroom situation
- When we leave a situation and enter another, other interpretative conventions
may apply
- In a given moment, we may specify the meaning, but since there are some
many rhetorical modes, we need to negotiate and come to the appropriate
meaning in a given context
Fish gives 5 examples of text to demonstrate notion of literal meaning
- 1: baseball player with streak of homeruns, when asked why, the player
attributed to him having experienced the grace of God (metaphysicality) >
journalist designates a “normal situation” and thinks that baseball should be
thought of physicality
- 2: Poem about Christ when Christ is not mentioned: a text may refer to
something even when there is an absence of evidence, there is an
interpretative convention which states that the absence of evidence is in itself
evidence of something
- 3: Sign at JHU that says “private members only,” Fish asks students what this
means, many interpretations are proposed
- If broken down differently, (PRIVATE members only), the spacial
relation renders a different meaning
- Meaning of text in a linear relation or meaning of text in a hierarchical
relation (private places on top of “members only”)
STOP sign
- In the context - a street corner - tells you to stop the car without having to say
“stop driving)
- Rhetorical conventions are built into texts, even when they are not verbal
Paratext - fringe of a text
- Color, shape, size of the stop sign
- Materiality of the sign (Cardboard vs. metal)
- Environment, location
Need to set limits on conventions in a given rhetorical moment
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Document Summary

Course: emphasis on visual components over the textual, done in a verbal context. Training on intangible critical thinking and communicative skills. Normal situation (stanley fish): not need interpretation, the text itself should deliver its meaning. Anti-definition view (mascuch): definitions narrow one"s view of a word/ phrase by offering the essential aspect. Eco explores mediation (in situations of copresence, it seems irrelevant to think about this) Versus textual/ written material, illocutionary force cannot be used. Reading: normal circumstances and other special cases, stanley fish. Essentialist view: wants literal meaning to be transcendent (sticks for all time - transcultural, transhistorical) People want fixed meaning for many reasons: trustworthy, allows for planning. Grounded in the notion that text is the basis of meaning, accessible by everyone. No literal meanings at all - free play, anything goes . Like literal meanings but emphasize that meanings move in space and time and changes accordingly.

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