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Conference Information

Full Title: Ethos/Pathos/Logos

Short Title: EPL 2012
Location: Ploiesti, Romania
Start Date: 15-Oct-2012 - 21-Oct-2012
Contact: Conference UPG
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL:
Meeting Description: The Department of Philology, University of Ploieşti
in collaboration with
School of English Communication and Philosophy - Centre for Critical and Cultural Theory, Cardiff University, United Kingdom
Institute of Advanced Study in the Humanities and the Social Sciences, Bern University, Switzerland

invite you to the international conference

Ethos/Pathos/Logos: The Sense and Place of Persuasiveness in Linguistic, Literary and Philosophical Discourse
15-20 October 2012
Ploieşti, Romania

In Rhetoric, Aristotle defined the act of persuasion as the interaction between three elements: ethos (the image of the self built by the orator to inspire trustworthiness and credibility), pathos (the arousing of emotions in one’s audience), and logos (referring both to discourse and reason). While these notions have remained conceptual cornerstones in major intellectual endeavours of western thought, ethos in particular developed in a distinctly different direction (from the individual to the collective or national) in the nineteenth century, from Hegel’s understanding of the German word for ‘ethics’, Sittlichkeit, as what binds the members of a community to a place. Similarly, with the advent of Heideggerian ontology and its rediscovery of pre-Socratic heritage, logos, hitherto restricted to ‘logic’ and reason, and classically opposed to muthos (fable, fiction, therefore untruth) by philosophy against poetry, was given a more existential dimension as what the Being-in-the-world inhabits (‘Language is the house of Being’ in Heidegger’s ‘Letter on Humanism’) by the German philosopher, for whom ‘Poetically Man Dwells’. While linguists (Austin and, later, various pragmatist schools), sociologists (Bourdieu: his notion of ‘habitus’ and his critique of a purely linguistic performative in Austinian theories) and rhetoric- or discourse-focused critics (Amossy) mediating between them, have endeavoured to analyze discursive exchanges in oral as well as written situations within this broadly post-Aristotelian framework, no conference has yet explicitly tried to re-address this conceptual triad in the light of more ‘modern’ philosophical re-orientations.

The aim of this symposium is to investigate how a post-Hegelian (as well as Derridean) construction of ethos as indissociable from a sense of place, coupled with a more extended and generous notion of logos no longer opposed to ‘fiction’ or synonymous with persuasive truth, can be brought to bear on how both rational ideas and emotions (pathoi) are expressed, both in public forms of address (e.g. political discourses) and literary texts pertaining to different generic conventions. If, as Derrida famously claims in ‘This Strange Institution called Literature’ - including in defense of persecuted writers - ‘literature is the right to say everything/anything’ (‘le droit de tout dire’), how can this right be exercised with an ‘ethical’ sense of place and with an awareness of the ‘cultural pathologies’ of a given audience? More generally, how can one construct a different concept (and pragmatic operation) of ‘persuasion’ across linguistic and literary genres?
Linguistic Subfield: Discourse Analysis; Ling & Literature; Philosophy of Language; Pragmatics; Sociolinguistics
LL Issue: 22.4668

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