Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Freud the Rhetorician

Upgraded from the Moot:
What writing this post allowed me to clarify for myself were the ways these denials enabled one another -- the projection into the future enables the anti-politics which in turn encourages both the techno-fixation and the transformation from outcomes-politics into identity-politics. As a rhetorician I teach students about the ways parts of arguments relate to one another -- how logical entailments yield conclusions from premises, how working hypotheses are adduced from instances, how frames circumscribe attention, how linked figures and tropes paint pictures of abstract concepts with something like evidenciary force, how citations of topical or figural conceits mobilize familiarity, and so on. But there are also definitely discursive mechanisms that function as projections, displacements, compensations, supplements in ways that recall Freud's unconscious mechanisms -- I never bought Freud's own characterization of his work as scientific, Reiff's proposal that Freud was a moralist always made better sense to me, but possibly the best way to understand him is as a rhetorician.
I'm not claiming this is some stunning insight or anything, I'm just trying to weave it into my thinking more tightly, I think Hayden White may have elaborated the idea better than anybody. Something to spend the holidays puzzling over.

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