Cognitive rhetoric

Cognitive Rhetoric

Cognitive rhetoric

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Cognitive Rhetoric refers to an approach to rhetoric, composition and pedagogy as well as a method for language and literary studies drawing from, or contributing to, cognitive science.


Following the cognitive revolution, cognitive linguists, computer scientists, and cognitive psychologists have borrowed terms from rhetorical and literary criticism. Specifically, metaphor is a fundamental concept throughout cognitive science, particularly for cognitive linguistic models in which meaning-making is dependent on metaphor production and comprehension.

Computer scientists and philosophers of mind draw on literary studies for terms like “scripts”, “stories”, “stream of consciousness”, “multiple drafts”, and “Joycean machine”. Cognitive psychologists have researched literary and rhetorical topics such as “reader response” and “deixis” in narrative fiction, and transmission of poetry in oral traditions.


Rhetoric is a term often used in reference to composition studies and pedagogy, a tradition that dates back to Ancient Greece. The emergence of Rhetoric as a teachable craft (techne) links rhetoric and composition pedagogy, notably in the tradition of Sophism. Aristotle collected Sophist handbooks on rhetoric and critiqued them in Synagoge Techne (fourth century BCE).

In Ancient Rome, the Greek Rhetorical tradition was absorbed and became vital to education, as rhetoric was valued in a highly political society with an advanced system...
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