Towards ‘Weight’ as a Rhetorical Concept

  • Curtis K.J. Hyra
Keywords: argument, argumentation, cognitive environment, metaphor, rhetoric, rhetorical citizen, weight


Recent work in rhetorical citizenship by Christian Kock and Lisa Villadsen combines the theories of political argumentation and deliberation with rhetorical agency. A theory of rhetorical citizenship where deliberation in the context of political argumentation plays a crucial role makes use of rhetorical theory in both an epistemic and evaluative capacity. However, as much as deliberation is about weighing two sides of an issue, or two issues side by side, the metaphor of weight is not listed as a rhetorical concept in rhetorical canon. This essay explores a common sense scientific understanding of weight to explicate the senses in which we use the term “weight” metaphorically.


FAHNESTOCK, Jeanne (2011), [1st], Rhetorical Style: The Uses of Language in Persuasion, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

FARRELL, Thomas B. (1998), «Sizing Things Up: Colloquial Reflection as Practical Wisdom», in Argumentation, vol. 12, n. 1, pp. 1-14.

FARRELL, Thomas B. (2008), «The weight of rhetoric: Studies in cultural delirium», in Philosophy and Rhetoric, vol. 41, n. 4, pp. 467-487.

GODDU, Geoff (2011), «Is “Argument” subject to the product/process ambiguity?», in Informal Logic, vol. 31, n. 2, pp. 75-88.

GOODIN, Robert E. (2000), «Democratic deliberation within», in Philosophy & Public Affairs, vol. 29, n. 1, pp. 81-109.

KOCK, Christian (2007), «Norms of legitimate dissensus», in Informal Logic, vol. 27, n. 2, pp. 179-196.

KOCK, Christian, VILLADSEN, Lisa (2012), [1st], Rhetorical citizenship and public deliberation, Penn State Press, Pennsylvania.

O’KEEFE, Daniel J. (1977), «Two Concepts of Argument», in Journal of the American Forensic Association, n. 3, pp. 121-128.

PERELMAN, Chaim, OLBRECHTS-TYTECA, Lucie (1971), The New Rhetoric, University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame.

REKALITIS, Victor (2016), «5 Arguments in Favor of a U.K. ‘Brexit’ from the EU - and 5 against», in MarketWatch, (accessed June 29, 2016), available on

STEEN, Gerard (2008), «The Paradox of Metaphor: Why We Need a Three-Dimensional Model of Metaphor», in Metaphor and Symbol, vol. 23, n. 4, pp. 213-241.

TINDALE, Christopher W (2015), [1st,] The philosophy of argument and audience reception, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.


How to Cite
Hyra, C. K. (1) “Towards ‘Weight’ as a Rhetorical Concept”, Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio, 10(2). Available at: (Accessed: 27May2024).