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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Dr Ingo Gildenhard: Black Boxes - constructs on the inner self, from Homer's Achilles to Singer's Bush

20th November 2008, 17:15 to 18:15, Seminar Room, Department of Anthropology

This is the fourth lecture in the Rhetoric of Personhood Seminar Series.

This paper looks at the rhetorical equivalent of telepathy, i.e. figures of thought that render the empirically inaccessible Œinner self¹ apparent in language.

Three case studies, chosen from a wide chronological range and different genres of discourse (poetry, political rhetoric, philosophy) will serve to map out some of the problems and possibilities involved in the discursive construction of the self (and the self of others): Homer on Achilles, Cicero on the life of the minds of his political opponents, and, briefly, Peter Singer on G. W. Bush. Among other things, the paper wishes to test whether the anthropological concern with the rhetorical construction of personhood enables a meaningful comparative analysis of such seemingly disparate examples.

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