Location

University of Windsor

Document Type

Commentary

Keywords

disagreement space, exhortation, speech act

Start Date

18-5-2016 9:00 AM

End Date

21-5-2016 5:00 PM

Abstract

People often have conflicting values, goals, and beliefs, and these present special challenges for those who seek to influence them. Kauffeld and Innocenti suggest that these situations of conflictedness are opportunities for a speaker to “exhort” the audience to resolve the conflict in favor of their highest principle. Exhortation, in their view, has high-mindedness as a constitutive feature. At Cooper Union, Lincoln exhorted Republicans to face their fear of disunion and steadfastly maintain the evil of slavery—a confirming example for the Kauffeld and Innocenti account. But looking at a broader set of examples, it seems clear that exhortations do not always fit the pattern of appeal to higher principles. Exhortation may occur for any conflictedness the speaker imagines the audience as having, including mundane matters of self-interest (such as what to eat or how much exercising to do). A speaker's attributions of belief, goal, motive, or other cognitive state to an addressee is always rhetorically risky, and these attributions may themselves become a space for disagreement. We can learn from speakers who manage this rhetorical risk well, but also from the much greater number of speakers who do it poorly.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Response to Submission

Fred J. Kauffeld and Beth Innocenti, Inducing a Sympathetic (Empathic) Reception for Exhortation

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May 18th, 9:00 AM May 21st, 5:00 PM

Commentary on “Inducing a Sympathetic (Empathic) Reception for Exhortation”

University of Windsor

People often have conflicting values, goals, and beliefs, and these present special challenges for those who seek to influence them. Kauffeld and Innocenti suggest that these situations of conflictedness are opportunities for a speaker to “exhort” the audience to resolve the conflict in favor of their highest principle. Exhortation, in their view, has high-mindedness as a constitutive feature. At Cooper Union, Lincoln exhorted Republicans to face their fear of disunion and steadfastly maintain the evil of slavery—a confirming example for the Kauffeld and Innocenti account. But looking at a broader set of examples, it seems clear that exhortations do not always fit the pattern of appeal to higher principles. Exhortation may occur for any conflictedness the speaker imagines the audience as having, including mundane matters of self-interest (such as what to eat or how much exercising to do). A speaker's attributions of belief, goal, motive, or other cognitive state to an addressee is always rhetorically risky, and these attributions may themselves become a space for disagreement. We can learn from speakers who manage this rhetorical risk well, but also from the much greater number of speakers who do it poorly.