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STROUD, Scott R.

FAll 2009, 39:4, pages 353 - 379

Pragmatism and the Methodology of Comparative Rhetoric


As rhetorical scholars increasingly investigate traditions and texts from other cultures, new challenges arise as to what method one ought to follow when practicing what is called comparative rhetoric. In this article, I argue that pragmatism offers a framework for a methodology of comparative rhetoric that allows for the plurality of purposes involved on all sides of the encounter between a critic and a text. I will explore how pragmatism gives primacy to the plurality of purposes in human communicative endeavors, as well as what this means for how one can practice comparative rhetoric. I conclude by analyzing a case study in comparative rhetoric involving experiential rhetorical tactics in classical Indian and European philosophical texts.

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