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Right Rhetoric: What Lawyers May Learn from the Study of Rhetoric

LIBER AMICORUM DE GUY HAARSCHER: QU'EST-CE QUE LA PHILOSOPHIE DROIT?, Forthcoming

9 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2011  

Francis Joseph Mootz III

University of the Pacific - McGeorge School of Law

Date Written: August 19, 2011

Abstract

This paper was written for a Festschrift honoring Guy Haarscher of the Free University of Brussels. It addresses Haarscher's analysis of the rhetorical efforts by religious fundamentalists to limit the scope of rhetorical exchanges, and particularly their use of psuedo-argument. I commend Haarscher's analysis, but question his conclusions about the famous Scopes trial. William Jennings Bryan was justifiably offended by the racist eugenics in the biology book being used by Scopes, and so we should not be too quick to brand the Christian perspective as unsuitable to contemporary rhetorical exchange. Haarscher is correct that rhetorical argumentation must have integrity and rise above sophism, a thesis that he demonstrates clearly in challenging the politically correct rhetoric of some on the left. I conclude that Haarscher's balanced and thoughtful approach to public discourse is precisely what contemporary society requires.

Keywords: Rhetoric, Guy Haarscher, Chaim Perelman, Hans-Georg Gadamer, William Jennings Bryan, Clarence Darrow, Eugenics, Evolution, Law and Religion

Suggested Citation

Mootz, Francis Joseph, Right Rhetoric: What Lawyers May Learn from the Study of Rhetoric (August 19, 2011). LIBER AMICORUM DE GUY HAARSCHER: QU'EST-CE QUE LA PHILOSOPHIE DROIT?, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1912885 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1912885

Francis Joseph Mootz III (Contact Author)

University of the Pacific - McGeorge School of Law ( email )

3200 Fifth Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95817
United States

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