Phyllis Ryder (pryder@CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU)
Fri, 2 Aug 1996 14:04:24 -0700


In your discussion of "critical thinking through rhetorical theory" vs.
blind faith, I feel a bit trapped. I acknowledge that I teach as if
these two were, in fact, very separate things, and I talk about how there
are some issues that perhaps we will not be able to persuade others about
because, at their foundation, the issues are rooted in a faith that
cannot be uprooted through discourse (ie whether an embryo is 'life' or
not). But, at the same time, it seems to me that we can reduce most, if
not all arguments, down to an assumption that can not be disproved or
proved. I am a democrat because I believe that we have a responsibilty
to aid our fellow humans. Much of the rhetoric of the democratic party
appeals to me because it relies on this fundamental assumption. But is
it a matter of "blind faith" that I believe that we have this
responsbility? In some ways, I think it is. So where does that leave
us, as we seek to teach students a "critical" sort of rhetoric? The
distinction seems so difficult to justify. --Phyllis

PS Are you not constantly making appeals to authority by refering to the
Classical rhetors' definitions of rhetoric (even as you point out that
they don't value appeals to authority?)

Be patient towards all that is unresolved in your heart, and try to love the
questions themselves. Do not seek the answers that cannot be given to you,
because you would not be able to live them, and the point is to live everything.
Live the questions now. Perhaps you will gradually, without knowing it, live
along some distant day into the answers. --Rainer Maria Rilke
Phyllis Mentzell Ryder/3438 East Bellevue Street/Tucson, AZ 85716/(520) 326-5416