Abstract and Keywords
This chapter first details the prevailing hostility toward rhetoric and doxa (appearance/opinion) in the tradition of political theory from Plato to Walter Lippmann before turning to a close examination of Hannah Arendt’s critical response to that tradition. Where Plato attacks rhetoric as a deceptive form of domination, Arendt argues that politics is essentially a matter of doxa and hence of rhetoric. Reality itself is, in the polis, a matter of appearing in speech and deed, with the emphasis upon the former. Political action is first and foremost speech that reveals the speaker as “answering, talking back, and measuring up to whatever happened or was done.” Such revelatory speech is most appropriately judged by the standard of glory. Because such speech must inform as well as reveal, so does glorious speech rise to the level of greatness in part because of what is said, to whom, where, and how.
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