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Royal Institute of Philosophy Lecture: The Zen of Rhetoric

Thursday 20th October 2016



St Mary’s University, Philosophy Programme Royal Institute of Philosophy Public Lecture, featuring Dr Johan Siebers, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Middlesex University London.

Western thought is characterised by a split between philosophy and rhetoric. Such a separation did not occur in Eastern thought. Yet, both philosophical traditions have articulated, in many different ways, a deep suspicion of language as a vehicle for reaching or expressing the nature of reality.

The German philosopher Theodor Adorno spoke of philosophy’s hatred of the “sinful body of language” and he saw a link between the culture of domination and control that characterises our societies and anti-rhetorical attitudes. For it is only in the always uncontrollable, playful nature of living speech that alternatives to how things are can be imagined, expressed and made real enough for us to evaluate them.

What can rhetoric – and philosophy – learn from the ways in which Eastern thought has explored the relation between language and the ineffable as one of mutual arising?

About the Speaker Johan Siebers is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Middlesex University, London and Director of the Ernst Bloch Centre for German Thought at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. He founded the first MA program in rhetoric in the UK in 2008, at the University of Central Lancashire.


All lectures are free and open to the public without registration. Lectures start at 5.15pm and last for 50 minutes, with 40 minutes for questions, followed by a wine reception.


K217, St Mary’s University, Waldegrave Road, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, TW1 4SX

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Thursday 20th October 2016

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For more information about this event please email or call 020 8240 8219.

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