Advertisement

Richard McKeon in the Pragmatist Tradition

  • Peter SimonsonEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

Richard McKeon (1900–1985) was a towering intellectual figure whose vast corpus of work is, outside a handful of essays, little read today. In the context of this volume, McKeon is noteworthy as someone who developed theories of both rhetoric and communication—explicitly so named—within a framework that his student Douglas Mitchell describes as “Pragmatism in a new key.” My overall aim in the essay is to draw together and extend the small but important body of commentary on McKeon’s “new key” of pragmatism and his theories of both rhetoric and communication. I will show how they constitute a problem-oriented, pragmatist rhetorical philosophy for a historically evolving, pluralistic world marked by traditional and emergent communication practices and media technologies. In so doing, I intend to draw readers’ attention to the fuller range of McKeon’s writings on rhetoric and communication and offer overarching characterizations that make them more available than they have been to this point.

References

  1. Aiken, Scott F., and Robert B. Talisse. 2017. Pragmatism, Pluralism, and the Nature of Philosophy. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baranowski, Brad. 2016. “The Unending Conversation: Kenneth Burke and Richard McKeon’s Aesthetic Pragmatism, 1920–1960.” Modern Intellectual History 1 (1): 1–32. Google Scholar
  3. Bergman, Mats. 2016. “Melioristic Inquiry and Critical Habits: Pragmatism and the Ends of Communication Research.” Empedocles: European Journal for the Philosophy of Communication 7 (2): 173–188.Google Scholar
  4. Bryson, Lyman. 1948. The Communication of Ideas. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  5. Buchanan, Richard. 2000. “The Ecology of Culture: Pluralism and Circumstantial Metaphysics.” In Pluralism in Theory and Practice, edited by R. Buchanan and E. Garver, 135–162. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press. Google Scholar
  6. Buchanan, Richard, and Eugene Garver, eds. 2000. Pluralism in Theory and Practice: Richard McKeon and American Philosophy. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Craig, Robert T. 2016. “Pragmatist Realism in Communication Theory.” Empedocles: European Journal for the Philosophy of Communication 7 (2): 115–128.Google Scholar
  8. Danisch, Robert. 2008. Pragmatism, Democracy, and the Necessity of Rhetoric. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  9. ———. 2015. “Richard McKeon’s Philosophy of Rhetoric.” In Building a Social Democracy: The Promise of Rhetorical Pragmatism, 119–151. Lanham, MD: Lexington Press.Google Scholar
  10. Depew, David J. 2000. “Between Pragmatism and Realism: Richard McKeon’s Philosophical Semantics.” In Pluralism in Theory and Practice, edited by R. Buchanan and E. Garver, 29–53. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press. Google Scholar
  11. ———. 2010. “Revisiting McKeon’s Architectonic Rhetoric.” In Reengaging the Prospects of Rhetoric, edited by Mark Porrovecchio, 37–56. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Dewey, John. 1920 [1957]. Reconstruction in Philosophy. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  13. ———. 1925 [1958]. Experience and Nature. New York: Dover.Google Scholar
  14. ———. 1929 [1980]. The Quest for Certainty: A Study of the Relation of Knowledge and Action. New York: Perigree Books.Google Scholar
  15. Doxtader, Eric. 2010. “The Rhetorical Question of Human Rights—A Preface.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 96 (4): 353–379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Garver, Eugene. 1984. “Richard McKeon’s Chapter in the History of Rhetoric: Or, Why Does McKeon Write So Funny?” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 14 (1/2): 3–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. ———. 2000. “Pluralism and the Virtues of Philosophy.” In Pluralism in Theory and Practice, edited by R. Buchanan and E. Garver, 110–134. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press. Google Scholar
  18. Goodnight, G. Thomas. 2014. “From Architectonics to Polytechtonics: Rhetoric, Communication, and Information.” POROI: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Rhetorical Analysis and Invention 10 (1): 1–21.Google Scholar
  19. Gross, Neil. 2008. Richard Rorty: The Making of an American Philosopher. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hauser, Gerard, and Donald Cushman. 1973. “McKeon’s Philosophy of Communication: The Architectonic and Interdisciplinary Arts.” Philosophy and Rhetoric 6: 211–234.Google Scholar
  21. Harvanek, Robert. 1956. “Historical Semantics: A Discussion of the Recent Work of Richard McKeon.” New Scholasticism 30: 257–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Koopman, Colin. 2013. “Review of Michael Bacon, Pragmatism: An Introduction.” Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 04 (31). http://ndpr.nd.edu/news/pragmatis-an-introduction/. Accessed 27 June 2017.
  23. Levine, Donald. 2006. “Richard McKeon: Architecton of the Human Mind.” In Powers of the Mind: The Reinvention of Liberal Learning in America, 91–113. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  24. Mitchell, Douglas. (2016). “Creating Community Through Communication: Richard McKeon’s Philosophical Pluralism.” In Schools: Studies in Education, vol. 13, no. 2, 243–248.Google Scholar
  25. McKeon, Richard. 1929. “The Empiricist and Experimentalist Temper in the Middle Ages: A Prolegomenon to the Study of Mediaeval Science.” In Essays in Honor of John Dewey, 216–234. New York: Henry Holt.Google Scholar
  26. ———. 1933. “Utility and Philosophy in the Middle Ages.” Speculum: A Journal of Mediaeval Studies 8: 431–436.Google Scholar
  27. ———. 1935. “Renaissance and Method in Philosophy.” In Studies in the History of Ideas, edited by Columbia University Department of Philosophy, vol. 3, 37–114. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  28. ———. 1941. “Introduction: The Philosophy of Aristotle.” In The Basic Works of Aristotle, xi–xxxiv. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  29. ———. 1947. “Economic, Political, and Moral Communities in the World Society.” Ethics 57: 79–91.Google Scholar
  30. ———. 1949 [2005]. “The Nature and Teaching of the Humanities.” Rpt. In Selected Writings of Richard McKeon, Vol. 2: Culture, Education, and the Arts, vol. 2, 235–254. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  31. ———. 1950a. “An American Reaction to the Present Situation in French Philosophy.” In Philosophic Thought in France and the United States, 337–362. Buffalo: University of Buffalo Publications in Philosophy.Google Scholar
  32. ———. 1950b. “Introduction to the Philosophy of Cicero.” In Brutus: On the Nature of the Gods; On Divination; On Duties, edited by Marcus Tullius Cicero, 1–65. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  33. ———. 1950c. “Philosophy and the Diversity of Cultures.” Ethics 60: 233–260.Google Scholar
  34. ———. 1952 [1987]. “A Philosopher Meditates on Discovery.” Rpt. In Rhetoric: Essays in Invention and Discovery, edited and with an introduction by Mark Backman, 194–220. Woodbridge, CT: Ox Bow Press.Google Scholar
  35. ———. 1952 [1990]. “Freedom and History.” Rpt. In Freedom and History and Other Essays.Google Scholar
  36. ———. 1952. “Philosophy and Action.” Ethics 62: 79–100.Google Scholar
  37. ———. 1953 [1990]. “Spiritual Autobiography.” Rpt. In Freedom and History and Other Essays, 3–36. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  38. ———. 1953. “Communication and Community as Philosophy.” Ethics 63 (3), Part 1: 190–206.Google Scholar
  39. ———. 1956 [1990]. “Dialogue and Controversy in Philosophy.” Rpt. In Freedom and History and Other Essays, 103–125. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  40. ———. 1957 [1990]. “Communication, Truth, and Society.” Rpt. In Freedom and History and Other Essays, 88–102.Google Scholar
  41. ———. 1965. “Philosophy as a Humanism.” Philosophy Today 9: 151–167.Google Scholar
  42. ———. 1966 [1987]. “The Methods of Rhetoric and Philosophy: Invention and Judgment.” Rpt. In Rhetoric: Essays in Invention and Discovery, edited and with an introduction by Mark Backman, 56–65. Woodbridge, CT: Ox Bow Press.Google Scholar
  43. ———. 1966 [1990]. “Philosophical Semantics and Philosophical Inquiry. Published for the First Time.” In Freedom and History and Other Essays, 242–256. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  44. ———. 1970 [1987]. “Philosophy of Communications and the Arts.” Rpt. In Rhetoric: Essays in Invention and Discovery, edited and with an introduction by Mark Backman, 95–120. Woodbridge, CT: Ox Bow Press.Google Scholar
  45. ———. 1970 [1990]. “Philosophy and History in the Development of Human Rights.” In Freedom and History and Other Essays, 37–61. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  46. ———. 1971 [1987]. “The Uses of Rhetoric in a Technological Age: Architectonic Productive Arts.” Rpt. In Rhetoric: Essays in Invention and Discovery, edited and with an introduction by Mark Backman, 1–24. Woodbridge, CT: Ox Bow Press.Google Scholar
  47. ———. 1975. “The Circumstances and Functions of Philosophy.” In Philosophers on Their Own Work, edited by André Mercier and Maja Svilar, 95–142. Bern: Verlag Herbert Lang.Google Scholar
  48. ———. 1982. “Criticism and the Liberal Arts: The Chicago School of Criticism.” Profession 82: 1–26.Google Scholar
  49. ———. 1986. “Pluralism of Interpretation and Pluralism of Objects, Actions, and Statements Interpreted.” Critical Inquiry 12: 576–596.Google Scholar
  50. ———. 1987. Rhetoric: Essays in Invention and Discovery, edited and with an introduction by Mark Backman. Woodbridge, CT: Ox Bow Press.Google Scholar
  51. ———. 1990. Freedom and History and Other Essays. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  52. ———. 2005. Selected Writings of Richard McKeon, Vol. 2: Culture, Education, and the Arts. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  53. McKeon, Richard, and Kenneth Burke. 1970. Rhetoric and Poetic. Transcript of Public Discussion, 13 November. Richard McKeon Papers, Special Collections, University of Chicago Libraries, Box 123, Folder 5.Google Scholar
  54. McKeon, Zahava. 1998. “Introduction to McKeon.” In Selected Writings, vol. 1, edited by Zahava K. McKeon and G. William, 1–21. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Google Scholar
  55. Plochmann, George. 1990. Richard McKeon: A Study. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  56. Robinson, James Harvey. 1912. The New History: Essays Illustrating the Modern Historical Outlook. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  57. Ryan, Alan. 1995. John Dewey and the High Tide of American Liberalism. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  58. Selzer, Jack. 1996. Kenneth Burke in Greenwich Village. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  59. Simonson, Peter. 2001. “The Varieties of Pragmatism and Communication: Visions and Revisions from Peirce to Peters.” In Pragmatism and Communication Research, edited by David K. Perry, 1–26. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  60. Talisse, Robert B. 2013. “Recovering American Philosophy.” Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 49 (3): 424–433.Google Scholar
  61. UNESCO. 1947. The Grounds of an International Declaration of Human Rights. Paris, 31 July. http://unesdoc.UNESCO.org/images/0012/001243/124350eb.pdf. Accessed 20 June 2017.
  62. UNESCO. 1948. Human Rights: Comments and Interpretations. Symposium with an Introduction by Jacques Maritain. Paris, 25 July. http://unesdoc.UNESCO.org/images/0015/001550/155042eb.pdf. Accessed 20 June 2017.
  63. University of Chicago. 1942. Study in Communications and Public Opinion. Brochure for the Academic Year 1942–1943. Richard P. McKeon Papers, Special Collections, University of Chicago Library. Box 87, Folder 11.Google Scholar
  64. Watson, Walter. 1994. “McKeon’s Semantic Schema.” Philosophy and Rhetoric 27 (2): 85–103.Google Scholar
  65. Wess, Robert. 2008. “Burke’s McKeon Side: Burke’s Pentad and McKeon’s Quartet.” In Kenneth Burke and His Circles, edited by Jack Selzer and R. Wess. West Lafayette, IN: Parlor Press.Google Scholar
  66. ———. 2015. “A McKeonist Understanding of Kenneth Burke’s Rhetorical Realism in Particular and Constructivism in General.” KB Journal 11 (1): np. http://www.kbjournal.org/wess_mckeon.
  67. Woodbridge, Frederick J. E. 1912. The Purpose of History. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Colorado BoulderBoulderUSA

Personalised recommendations