Authority Figures: Rhetoric and Experience in John Lockes Political Thought

Paperback | August 15, 2015

byTorrey Shanks

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In Authority Figures, Torrey Shanks uncovers the essential but largely unappreciated place of rhetoric in John Locke’s political and philosophical thought. Locke’s well-known hostility to rhetoric has obscured an important debt to figural and inventive language. Here, Shanks traces the close ties between rhetoric and experience as they form the basis for a theory and practice of judgment at the center of Locke’s work. Rhetoric and experience come together, for Locke, to reorient readers’ relation to the past in order to open up alternative political futures. Recognizing this debt sets the stage for a new understanding of the Two Treatises of Government, in which the material and creative force of language is necessary for political critique.

Authority Figures draws together political theory and philosophy, the history of science and of rhetoric, and philosophy of language and literary theory to offer an interpretation of Locke’s political thought that shows the ongoing importance of rhetoric for new modes of critique in the seventeenth century. Locke’s thought offers up insights for rethinking the relationship of rhetoric and experience to political critique, as well as the intersections of language and materialism.

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In Authority Figures, Torrey Shanks uncovers the essential but largely unappreciated place of rhetoric in John Locke’s political and philosophical thought. Locke’s well-known hostility to rhetoric has obscured an important debt to figural and inventive language. Here, Shanks traces the close ties between rhetoric and experience as they...

Torrey Shanks is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University at Albany, State University of New York.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:168 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.39 inPublished:August 15, 2015Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271065052

ISBN - 13:9780271065052

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Table of Contents

Preface

Acknowledgements

Chapter 1: Rhetoric and Situated Political Critique

Chapter 2: The Claim to Experience

Chapter 3: Sensible Judgment

Chapter 4: Feminine Figures and the Rhetoric of Critique

Chapter 5: The Matter of Consent

Conclusion: Critical Temporalities

Bibliography

Editorial Reviews

“Authority Figures is a real achievement of interdisciplinary scholarship, revealing how rhetoric and early modern Epicurean materialism informed Locke's conceptions of authority, contract, and reason. In Torrey Shanks's elegant and nuanced account, Locke's use of figural and imaginative language becomes exemplary in the most instructive sense of the word, illustrating the inventive dynamics and sensibilities of politics. This genuinely new interpretation of Locke persuasively makes the case for attending to rhetoric, imagination, and affect in his political and philosophical thought.”—Vicki Hsueh, Western Washington University