When Alan Gross published The Rhetoric of Science in 1990, he helped initiate a productive controversy concerning the place of rhetoric in science studies while arguing for the continued importance of the classical rhetorical tradition. However, in his 2006 revision, Starring the Text, Gross significantly draws back the classical emphasis while making more central the place of the American analytic philosophical tradition stemming from the foundational logical writings of W.V.O Quine. This essay interrogates this shift in Gross’s writings in order to find the working definition of rhetoric that threads throughout his work. This definition, I argue, turns out to be grounded more in Quine’s holistic theory of epistemology than in any sophistical or even Aristotelian conception of language as a vehicle for advocating judgment in times of deliberation and crisis. I argue that a return to the classical emphasis on situated practice can enrich the study of the rhetoric of science and build on the significant accomplishments of Gross’s work.
scientific controversy, sophist, epistemology, pragmatism, rhetoric of science, logic
Copyright © 2014 Nathan Crick