The Human Rhetorical Potential
Case Western Reserve University - Department of Cognitive Science
Written Communication, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 93-128, 1999
This article explores the possible grounds for a research program in cognitive rhetoric that aims to forge a tight link between the structures of meaning and structures of brain, body, and world. In section one, I outline a theory of human meaning-making in terms of pragmatic, epistemic, and symbolic actions as they relates to the principles of intentionality, projection, publicity, and materiality. In section two, I consider recent global theories of mind and brain to assess the theory's neurobiological plausibility. The common link between these two sections is the phrase, 'tombstone technology,' taken from a voice-over narration from a television show about plane crashes. I first analyze this construction in terms fits effects on attention, value, categorization, and memory; I then use it to speculate on the neurophysiological processes subtending our ability to use symbolic resources to make inferences and decisions. I conclude with some suggestions for future research in discourse production and comprehension.
Keywords: Cognitive rhetoric, neuroscience, neurophysiology, persuasion, embodiment, symbolic actionworking papers series
Date posted: August 24, 2009 ; Last revised: November 29, 2009
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