Complete Story

STROUD, Scott R.

Fall 2011, 41:5, pages 416 - 438

Kant on Education and the Rhetorical Force of the Example

Many continue to note Kant’s hostility to rhetoric. This view is far from unfounded, as Kant had a particularly limited and negative view of the arts of rhetoric. Yet it seems to limit explorations into any sort of Kantian form of rhetoric. If one approaches the connection of Kant’s thought and rhetoric from the perspective provided by his under-studied work on education, one can extract a defendable notion of educative rhetoric in Kant. This present study will attempt to do just this, as well as show how such a use of communicative means plays a vital role in Kant’s scheme of moral cultivation. The connecting point between education, practical reasoning, and moral cultivation is shown to be the important communicative device of example. An analysis of Kant’s educative rhetoric can provide a useful extension of the rhetoric of example.