Cultivating emotions: a rhetorical and agonistic framework for political passion.

  • Mauro Serra
Keywords: passions, rhetoric, agonism, politics, doxa

Abstract

The role of passions in politics is paradoxical. They are traditionally considered a threat, but at the same time, also as a result of research in neuroscience, we recognize more and more that we can’t do without them. Hence a stalemate well represented by the relationship between the two main conceptions of democracy, agonistic democracy and deliberative democracy. The former appeals to the passions but without being able to explain how to urge them without being a victim of them, the latter describes a reason free from passions, but has the problem of engaging citizens and can be susceptible to the charge of motivational impotence. Faced with this situation, rhetoric seems to be a discipline that can provide a theoretical framework to connect fruitfully reason and passions in political sphere. This framework has three distinctive features: the role of doxa (belief) as link between reason and passions, an agonistic conception of truth, a tragic view of world based on a deep awareness of the limits of human reason and the belief that rhetorical action is the means by which identities become temporarily enacted and forged in response to the needs of a specific contingent situation.

References

ABIZADEH, Arash (2007), «On the philosophy/rhetoric binaries. Or, is Habermasian discourse motivationally impotent?», in Philosophy & Social Criticism, 33, 4, pp. 445-472.

DOW, Jamie (2008), «The Role of Emotion-Arousal in Aristotle’s Rhetoric», PhD thesis, University of St. Andrews.

DOW, Jamie (2015), «Passions and Persuasion in Aristotle’s Rhetoric», Oxford University Press, Oxford-New York.

GROSS, Daniel M. (2007), «The Secret History of Emotions in Aristotle’s Rhetoric to Modern Brain Sciences» Chicago University Press, Chicago-London.

GROSS, Daniel M. (2005), Introduction. Being-Moved: The Pathos of Heidegger’s Rhetorical Ontology, in, GROSS, Daniel M., KEMMANN, Ansgar, Heidegger and Rhetoric, State University of New York Press, Albany, pp. 1-45.

HABERMAS, Jürgen (1984), Theory of Communicative Action, vol. 1, Beacon Press, Boston (MA).

HABERMAS, Jürgen (1996a), «What is universal pragmatics?» in The Habermas reader, Polity Press, Cambridge, pp. 118–131.

HABERMAS, Jürgen (1996b), «Discourse ethics», in The Habermas reader, Polity Press, Cambridge, pp. 180-192

HEIDEGGER, Martin (2009), Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy, Indiana University Press, Bloomington & Indianapolis

IJSSELING, Samuel (1995), Power, Language, and Desire, in B. E. Babitch (edited by) From Phenomenology to Thought, Errancy, and Desire, Kluver Academic Publishing, pp. 335-353

KINGSTON, Rebecca (2011), Public Passion. Rethinking the Ground for Political Justice, McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal & Kingston

KRAUSE, Sharon R. (2008), Civil Passions. Moral Sentiment and Democratic Deliberation, Princeton University Press, Princeton-Oxford

KRAUSE, Sharon R. (2013), Democracy and the Nonsovereign Self, in James E. Fleming (edited by) Passions and Emotions, (Nomos LIII), New York University Press, New York-London, pp. 226-239

MARCUS, George M. (2002), The Sentimental Citizen: Emotion in Democratic Politics, Penn State University Press,

MARCUS, George M. (2013), Reason, Passion, and Democratic Politics: Old Conceptions – New Understandings – New Possibilities, in James E. Fleming (edited by) Passions and Emotions, New York University Press, New York-London, pp. 127-188

MARTIN, James (2013), «A feeling for democracy? Rhetoric, power and emotions», in Journal of Political Power, 6, 3, pp. 461-476

MCCREADY FLORA, Ian (2011), Belief and Rational Cognition in Aristotle, PhD Dissertation, University of Michigan

MIHAI, Mihaela. (2014), «Theorizing Agonistic Emotions», in Parallax, 20, 2, pp. 21-48

MOUFFE, Chantal (2000), The Democratic Paradox, Verso, London

MOSS, Jessica (2012), Aristotle on the Apparent Good, Oxford University Press, Oxford

NUSSBAUM, Martha C. (1994), The Therapy of Desire, Princeton University Press, Princeton (NJ)

ZANGONI, Lara (2015), La dialettica dimenticata. La topica aristotelica nel dibattito contemporaneo, PhD Thesis, University of Palermo

How to Cite
Serra, M. (1) “Cultivating emotions: a rhetorical and agonistic framework for political passion.”, Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio, 00. Available at: http://rifl.unical.it/index.php/rifl/article/view/391 (Accessed: 26September2020).
Section
Articoli

Most read articles by the same author(s)