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Call for Papers - Rhetoric of Evidence. Epistemic Models und Rhetorical Practice in Science, Education, and Culture

Rhetoric of Evidence - March 12-15, 2014

Eberhard-Karls-University Tübingen
Seminar für Allgemeine Rhetorik
Research Center Jugend präsentiert

Call for Papers


Rhetoric of Evidence.

Epistemic Models und Rhetorical Practice in Science, Education, and Culture

March 12-15, 2014

Conference held at:

Curt und Heidemarie Engelhorn Palais
Hauptstraße 120, D-69117 Heidelberg, Germany

How can we convey knowledge in an evident way? Which verbal and visual methods can be used for evident presentation of knowledge? How do modern communication media, such as Powerpoint, influence opportunities to create evidence? Within which tradition does the struggle for evident presentations stand? What significance does evidence have in modern natural sciences, in the arts, and in everyday culture? Not only is evidence of rhetorical interest, it is also an important topic for other disciplines. The scope ranges from the ancient demand to use vivid language by Aristotle, via the empiricism of Locke and Hume, to the current scientific models and simulations. The striving for clarity and logical evidence shapes the current approach to presentation in the natural sciences and influences business presentations as well as presentations in schools or the humanities. Furthemore, evidence serves as a method of communicating information and emotion in mass media. Arts and literature can be understood as a struggle for evidence as well: these disciplines developed new strategies to achieve evidence. Thus, evidence can be seen as a culturally established presentation technique, which proves to be very effective.

Due to continuous changes within media technology, the way in which an evident presentation and a high level of clarity can be achieved has to be continually questioned. The rules for clarity and acceptability changed constantly in the course of the history of science –the same way aesthetic principles in art and literature were subjected to change. It is true that diverse methods of visualizing knowledge, linguistic features, and even performance optimize the process of conveying knowledge through clarity. This puts rhetoric on the map, as it asks with which kind of instruments clarity and information transfer can be achieved, and how the persuasion of the addressee works.

This conference looks at the concepts of clarity and evidence from different perspectives. First, there is the rhetorical debate over evidence, that is over its history and theory, which includes deliberations in epistemology and sociology of knowledge. A special focus is placed on the role of evident presentation in modern sciences and in the school science classes. Then, by adressing the current debate on cognitive science, the cognitive processes that are activated by evident presentation should be theorized more thoroughly than they currently are. Deliberations on the phenomenon of “evidence” within media sciences as well as current research in the field of linguistics, and insights into how evidence is used within arts and literary studies will provide a thorough picture of the field. Additional perspectives of the phenomenon of evidence will arise from the turn to visual culture, arts and literature.

Planned Sections

  • Rhetoric (history of rhetoric, figures of rhetoric, rhetoric of science, applied rhetoric)
  • Linguistics (pragmatics, accessibility, figures of speech, Textlinguistik)
  • Philosophy (theory of cognition, epistemology)
  • Psychology, pedagogy, didactic methods, esp. of natural science
  • Liberal Arts, Literary Studies, Cultural Studies
  • Science, Technology, Mathematics
  • Media Sciences (theory of media, design, PowerPoint research etc.)

Conference languages: English and German. The proceedings will be published.

The application including a short abstract in English or German (max. 880 words) can be submitted until July, 15th, 2013. Please send your abstract to:

This conference is organized by the Tübingen Eberhard-Karls-University Jugend präsentiert research center and the Rhetoric Department (Seminar für Allgemeine Rhetorik) in cooperation with the Klaus Tschira Foundation, Heidelberg, and Wissenschaft im Dialog, Berlin.


Seminar für Allgemeine Rhetorik
Dr. Olaf Kramer
Wilhelmstraße 50
72074 Tübingen

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