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Rhetoric makes Philosophers Worried about Truth

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The recent European referendum and the upcoming elections in the United States have drawn attention to the ancient art of rhetoric.

Personality, imagery and emotions have proven to be forceful tools of persuasion, often more forceful than argument and fact. It is for this reason that the Philosophy Department at St Mary’s University, Twickenham has taken ‘Philosophy and Rhetoric’ as the theme for this year’s series of Royal Institute of Philosophy lectures.

The lecture series is in its sixth year and enjoys growing popularity with students, staff as well as the general public. This year’s opening lecture, Philosophy and Rhetoric: Retelling the Old Story, will be given by Dr Hannah Marije Altorf, a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at St Mary’s.

As the first speaker, Dr Altorf will introduce this year’s theme and reflect on some of the ways in which philosophy and rhetoric can interact. The lecture will focus in particular on the notion of truth.

Dr Altorf commented, “I am pleased to see the series enters in its sixth year. We have had some very good speakers in the past and we have invited again some thought provoking thinkers for this year. The topic of rhetoric is important in the current political climate and it is high time philosophers consider what they can contribute to this issue. My lecture will offer initial questions and challenges, some of which I hope will be taken up by the other speakers.”

The lecture is on 29 September at 5.15pm in the Senior Common Room and will be followed by a drinks reception. For more information, please contact Dr Yasemin J. Erden at

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