Rhetorik und Ethik

In Gerald Posselt & Andreas Hetzel (eds.), Handbuch Rhetorik und Philosophie. De Gruyter. pp. 585-616 (2017)
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If we regard discursive practice as constitutive for the way we relate to the world, ourselves and others, then it is vitally important to ask how this practice can be formed or cultivated. For this reason, rhetoric has always been closely connected to ethics. This article attempts to explicate this relationship. It revolves around ancient conceptions of rhetoric that do not aim at establishing a system or a theory of speech, but at cultivating speech as a practice of good life. This “rhetorical ethics” of antiquity remains instructive for contemporary thinking, since it points to a way of reflecting discourse that accounts not only for the content of speech but also for how it shapes human life. In particular, it is instructive for modern ethics, since it reveals that moral discourse can be regarded as a rhetorical practice too: it is not ethically neutral but has to be reflected upon as a practice of life.
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