Capstone Project: Progress Report

Date:     November 13, 2012
To:        Betsy
From:    Dominic
Subject: Progress
My analysis of Heidegger’s lectures on Aristotle’s Rhetoric is becoming more refined and more focused as I continue to review it along with other works. Through an analysis of Heidegger’s hermeneutical rhetoric, I believe my project will touch upon a more general assessment of the role of rhetorical theory in philosophy, humanities, and the social sciences. The three main trends I’m going to focus on are Heidegger’s rhetoric, Gadamer’s comments on rhetoric and the social sciences, and Deleuze’s rhizomatic rhetoric. My hope is to see a sort of trajectory within these three thinkers, albeit through different styles and areas of focus.


My methodology is completely qualitative. The research has three areas of concentration. First, I am understanding Heidegger’s philosophy and phenomenology in general by reading primary and secondary texts. Second, I am applying this information to Gadamer’s discussion of the role of rhetorical methodology in the social sciences by reading parts from Gadamer’s main works along with an interview he had in 2001. Last, I am relating the thesis derived from that research to more contemporary rhetorical theories and methods by reading theorists like Victor Vitanza and Joshua Gunn. However, the most fascinating comparison I’ve found in between Heidegger and Deleuze’s views on rhetoric, which are fortunately articulated quite well throughout
rhetorical theory literature.

Work completed
In line with the schedule I’ve made for my proposal, I’ve met weekly with Dr. Sullivan to go over ideas and receive advice about other theorists to consider. The past two weeks I’ve brought 2 page “brainstorming write-ups” and read them to Dr. Sullivan to stimulate our discussions. This talks have been extraordinarily helpful in narrowing my focus and forcing the abstruse ideas into a more palatable and concise form.

The write-ups have been constituted of research derived from Heidegger and other works by theorists like Vitanza, Poulakos, and Deleuze. I passed the 15-source mark right around the 8th of November, in large part due to the feedback I’ve received from these brainstorming sessions. My collection of Gadamer, Heidegger, Deleuze and other theorists—while broad—has helped to narrow down my focus to a discussion of the role of rhetoric in the social sciences.

Also, I met briefly with Dr. Wargo twice in the past month (once while attending his a presentation on phenomenology) and he recommended that I delve into Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics. Having done this, I now have a stronger grasp on Heidegger’s take on doxa and rhetoric’s function of creating beliefs.

Work in Progress
I am finishing up the introduction to my Annotated Bibliography (which will be finished by the time you receive this report).

Working for Completion
Since I am currently on schedule, I plan on continuing to follow my calendar without any modification. I will continue to review the works that I’ve accumulated and create more professional write-ups for Dr. Sullivan, which will serve as drafts for my paper. One addition that I might add is to speak with the graduate student Steven Hammer because he appears to have a similar interest in phenomenology, albeit through OOO, which I’m not familiar with. Hopefully, I will be ready to present earlier rather than sooner—I believe that my paper will benefit greatly by having an audience critique it a week or so before I hand it in.

Adhering to my calendar’s schedule, I should have a strong draft ready to present during the first week after Thanksgiving. Afterword, I will finish revising the draft and review it with Dr. Sullivan until the paper is satisfactory. Perhaps there will be a slight change in focus for the third section of my paper after I learn more about OOO, but I do not plan on having to greatly change my focus because Heidegger’s and Gadamer’s discussions are abstract enough to easily apply to whatever discussion arises.


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