The rhetorical perspective: Doing, being, shaping, and seeing

J. David Cisneros, Kristen L. McCauliff, Vanessa B. Beasley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In a previous edition of this volume, Walter Fisher and Stephen O'Leary (1996) asked, "How does the rhetorical theorist theorize or philosophize?" If theory "consists of constructs that purport to explain or account for phenomena" (p. 243), it would follow that rhetorical theory is the business of explaining what rhetoric is, as well as accounting for how and why it functions. Indeed, Fisher and O'Leary answered their own question by stating that the rhetorician's goal is to "identify, and occasionally help to reformulate, the rational decision rules that guide communication in the groups, cultures, and societies that we study" (p. 258). In short, studying rhetoric involves studying the rules of decision-making and the ways in which we can see these rules at work within public communication, even at times when it may seem that there are no rules at all.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAn Integrated Approach to Communication Theory and Research, Third Edition
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781351358712
ISBN (Print)9781138561441
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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