Historical Rhetorics/Rhetoric During the Birth of the Modern University/Verene, Donald Phillip. "Philosophy, Argument and Narration." Philosophy & Rhetoric. 22.2 (1989): 141-144. Print.
Verene makes a claim for philosophy being about argument as long as the argument exists within a wider range of rhetorical elements, notably metaphor and narrative. He asserts that such forms of speech “are not part of argument’ arguments are part of them” (144), drawing on Grassi’s discussion of rational language as dependent on semantic language (Grassi 21) to ground his view of rhetorical speech as the “beginning point of reasoning” (142). The article assesses Grassi’s assertion that “rhetoric is a necessary moment in argument” (142), acknowledging that this places rhetoric within the realm of philosophical argument. Verene expands on Grassi’s claims by adding observations about philosophical systems which he feels are both compatible with the discussion of argument as well as useful in revealing additional roles for argument within these systems (142). These views incorporate what Verene refers to as “senses of speech” and recognizes that his view sees “philosophical reasoning as essentially meditation” in that philosophy is attempting the consider a problem “through a question to an answer” (143).
In this brief article, Verene begins his argument by mentioning the work of Johnstone, Passmore, Toulmin, Perelman and Meyer as he asserts his claim that philosophy is steeped in rhetorical speech and that logic/dialectic and rhetoric are forever connected as forms of thought. He questions the purpose and form of philosophy as well as how much argument factors into the truths of philosophy, among other things. He notes the work of humanist Ernesto Grassi who suggests that all speech comprised of argument and claims and that relies upon deduction “depends upon another form of speech that is non-rationalistic, non-argumentative, and non-deductive,” or the archai (142). The starting points of reasoning are not provided by the form of deduction, and because of this, Verene notes, Grassi believes that argument requires the use of rhetoric; in this equation, rhetoric allow reasoning to begin and is required for philosophical argument to begin. Verene also carefully notes the relationship between argument and narration as he discusses Vico and Grassi’s idea of fable in brief; in this metaphor, the archai is a narrative-based, as it “exists in the way the metaphor begins the speech of the argument” (143). He concludes by summarizing the connection between argument and narration and asserts that argument is a part of narrative, among other forms of speech.