Ancient Art of Thinking for Yourself: The Power of Rhetoric in Polarized Times

The Ancient Art of Thinking for Yourself: The Power of Rhetoric in Polarized Times

By Robin Reames

How rhetoric--the art of persuasion--can help us navigate an age of misinformation, conspiracy theories, and political acrimony The discipline of rhetoric was the keystone of Western education for over two thousand years. Only recently has its perceived importance faded. In this book, renowned rhetorical scholar Robin Reames argues that, in today's polarized political climate, we should all care deeply about learning rhetoric.

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Book Information

Publisher: Basic Books
Publish Date: 03/19/2024
Pages: 304
ISBN-13: 9781541603974
ISBN-10: 1541603974
Language: English

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March 19, 2024

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How rhetoric--the art of persuasion--can help us navigate an age of misinformation, conspiracy theories, and political acrimony The discipline of rhetoric was the keystone of Western education for over two thousand years. Only recently has its perceived importance faded. In this book, renowned rhetorical scholar Robin Reames argues that, in today's polarized political climate, we should all care deeply about learning rhetoric. Drawing on examples ranging from the destructive ancient Greek demagogue Alcibiades to modern-day conspiracists like Alex Jones, Reames breaks down the major techniques of rhetoric, pulling back the curtain on how politicians, journalists, and "journalists" convince us to believe what we believe--and to talk, vote, and act accordingly. Understanding these techniques helps us avoid being manipulated by authority figures who don't have our best interests at heart. It also grants us rare insight into the values that shape our own beliefs. Learning rhetoric, Reames argues, doesn't teach us what to think but how to think--allowing us to understand our own and others' ideological commitments in a completely new way.  

Thoughtful, nuanced, and leavened with dry humor, The Ancient Art of Thinking for Yourself offers an antidote to our polarized, post-truth world. 

About the Author

Robin Reames is associate professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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