Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 18 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The once standard account of rhetoric’s relation to philosophy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was that philosophy rejected eloquence as an instrument of deceit and a source of error, and rhetoric accepted the standards of the new philosophy, placing a premium on perspicuity and probable arguments. This account has been complicated, in recent scholarship, by three counter-claims. First, empiricist philosophers like David Hume and John Locke, far from precluding eloquence, employ the tropes of rhetoric not only in their style but, more fundamentally, in their very science of mind, depicting perception and belief as processes involving transference and persuasion. Second, philosophers sometimes admired the figurative eloquence of earlier eras. Third, philosophers and rhetoricians sought to account for the origins of tropes in their speculative histories of primitive culture, with an understanding that the underlying passions that motivate primitive and irrational beliefs are ineradicable elements of human nature.

Keywords: rhetoric, philosophy, Enlightenment, eloquence, passions, tropes, probable arguments, David Hume, John Locke, New Rhetoric

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.