Rhetoric and ethic of dialog: Can conditions of performance serve as excluding criteria?

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First, we should recall that a rhetorical dimension is forcibly present in the performance of dialog, if we understand dialog both as an invitation and as a reciprocal openness for a constructive process; it can be demonstrated if we look at some proposals of dialog (Buber 1922, and more recently Isaacs 1999). Usually the refusal to consider that there is a rhetorical aspect aims to keep a specific communication process protected against undue manipulation or abuse; but a false assumption is then made. To guard us against such a slope, many authors have pleaded for a rhetorical ethic or an ethic of the rhetoric (Johannesen 19964). We should discuss whether some distinction should be made between valid and non valid forms of rhetoric, review the conditions of an ethical rhetoric, ask how and if they could be meaningfully used as criteria of exclusion (of the nonrhetorical as non-ethical and vice-versa).


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