William Covino And Jolliffe's Definition Of Rhetoric

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William Covino and David Jolliffe’s provide their view of the definition of rhetoric in the article “What is Rhetoric?” published in their rhetoric textbook in 1995. More recently, Joshua Rothman discusses the limitations of the system of academia and what it means to be an academic writer producing rhetoric in his article “Why is Academic Writing So Academic?” published in The New Yorker in 2014. Both articles focus on the importance and effects of audience on the rhetoric created and the effect these notions of conceptual audience have on the actual audiences. They also both comment on the style and level of exclusivity in academic writing whether it be discussed explicitly or is evident in the article itself. To achieve their respective …show more content…
The view discounted is one of an antagonistic relationship between auditor and rhetor which is thought to be the definition because rhetoric has been used to manipulate and persuade, however that is not what rhetoric is. Covino and Jolliffe believe that this definition is false and that rhetoric is a discussion between auditor and rhetor as they debate and reach consensus or disagreement. Covino and Jolliffe’s more controversial claim that truth is relative is one that provokes thought and is an example of their logos. Truth is said by them to be a general consensus between auditor and rhetor, so once the auditor agrees with the rhetoric the material of the rhetoric is the truth. In their replacement of the traditional view of rhetoric and their claim of the true meaning of truth, they convey not only their purpose but their thesis. Clearly synthesized and conveyed by their arguments and evidence, their thesis is that rhetoric can be defined as a never-ending discussion that is thought-provoking and invites debate not antagonistic …show more content…
The student must work and learn to become a part of the discourse community in order to fully engage and understand academic rhetoric. Rhetoric can and is defined in a multitude of ways, but overall understanding of rhetoric’s context can be helpful in the analysis of any individual piece of rhetoric. For example, when applying Covino and Jolliffe’s definition and canons of rhetoric to articles such as Rothman’s, Rothman’s claims and analysis of academic writing become more substantial and significant because there is an understanding of the components of rhetoric. When the auditor applies knowledge from Covino and Jolliffe’s article to Rothman’s, they are better able to understand that academics are attempting to capitalize on relevance to other academics in their primary audience and caring less about their secondary audiences, hence losing

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