This book offers a new approach to the principles and functioning of rhetoric. In everyday life, we often debate issues or simply discuss questions. Rhetoric is the way in which we answer questions in an interpersonal context, when we want to have an effect on those with whom we are communicating. They can be convinced or charmed, persuaded or influenced, and the language used can range from reasoning to the sharing of narratives, literary or otherwise. What is
Rhetoric? provides a breakthrough in the field, offering a systematic and unified view of the topic. The book combines the social aspects of rhetoric, such as the negotiation of distance between speakers, with the theory of emotions. All the principal authors from Plato and Aristotle to contemporary
theorists are integrated into Michel Meyer's 'problematological' conception of rhetoric, based on the primacy of questioning and answering in language and thought.
Michel Meyer is Perelman Professor of Rhetoric and Argumentation at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles, having previously taught at Berkeley, McGill University, the Sorbonne, and the College de France. He is the chief editor of the Revue Internationale de Philosophie and editor of the book series L'Interrogation Philosophique at the Presses Universitaires de France. His publications in English include Of Problematology (University of Chicago Press, 1995), and Philosophy and the Passions (Penn State University Press, 1999). He is the co-editor, with Jas Elsner, of Art and Rhetoric in Roman Culture (CUP, 2014). He is the founder of a philosophy called problematology, based on the priority of questioning in thought. The main works of this radical new foundation of thought have been translated into a dozen languages.