Historical Rhetorics/Sophists Old and New/Scott, Robert L. "Non-Discipline as a Remedy for Rhetoric? A Reply to Victor Vitanza."

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Scott, Robert L. "Non-Discipline as a Remedy for Rhetoric? A Reply to Victor Vitanza." Rhetoric Review 6.1 (Spring 1988): 233-237.[edit]

Scott’s reply to Vitanza is a very well-written and subtle form of praise, criticism, and slight deprecation, much in the flavor of how Socrates “praises” Isocrates in the Pheadrus; which is to say the reader is left wondering exactly what the relationship really is. Scott opens quickly by calling Vitanza a “post-modern, rhetorical provocateur” (234) which is not unlike saying he is young, “but nature…has placed the love of wisdom in his mind” (Plato 555). He appreciates (?) the jovial nature with which Vitanza writes and which prevents the critic from pinning him down, and remarks “He’s right even when he’s wrong. That is the beauty and benefit of being provocative” (Scott 234). Scott offers explicit warnings of Vitanza's micro- and metalinguistic focus (while deftly bring in a medical metaphor) by noting “a good deal of unease if not disease in the intellectualizing we undertake in the name of all sorts of disciplines and desires” (235), even while appreciating that there is value in questioning the role of Plato et al. in how we define rhetoric. Scott seems to mostly question what is better for the future of rhetoric, word-play and an attack on philosophy or taking a more practical and easier-to-follow intersubjective approach to the question.