Professor considers ethics of rhetoric

first_imgAssociate professor of English John Duffy examined the quality of American public discourse and its social impact Saturday in his lecture “Beyond Civility: The crisis in American public discourse.”The lecture, the final installment of the Snite Museum’s Saturday Scholars series, examined both the current trends in American civil discourse and the measures needed to address the problem effectively. According to Duffy, the problem with contemporary public discourse lies in its polarizing and factually questionable nature.“We seem to have reached the point in our public deliberation in which there is no widely shared agreement as to the nature of a fact,” Duffy said. “There is little place in our public arguments for deliberative language that might express doubt, explore ambiguities, admit errors or acknowledge positions that might depart from orthodoxy.”Duffy said some of the main factors behind the nature of contemporary civil discourse lay in economics and technology. He said sensationalized, polarizing rhetoric has become more marketable for lucrative corporations and media, while the accessibility modern technology has given to news channels and public radio has created a media climate saturated with misleading and combative discourse from both politicians and media pundits.“There is nothing new about vilification, but what makes our moment extraordinary is not the fact of our corrosive discourse, rather it’s the technologies that allow us to disseminate the discourse so effectively,” he said. “We’re unique not because of the toxic nature of our rhetoric, but because of the methods we have to liberate the toxins.”According to Duffy, in order to create a more fruitful rhetoric, we must begin to understand the purpose of argument not merely as a tool of persuasion, but also as a way to engage in a relationship with another human being where opinion is well articulated and respectful of the other’s intelligence. Duffy said this requires a knowledge of “rhetorical virtues.”“To understand rhetorical virtue is to understand that speaking and writing are not merely instrumental but are fundamentally ethical activities,” he said. “That means we are obliged to answer certain questions of ourselves before we speak or write. How does our speech or writing reflect, say, the virtues of respectfulness, generosity? How does our writing respect the practices of tolerance?”While many believe the solution to polarizing, ineffective discourse is to encourage greater civility, Duffy said civility is often a “misleading metric.” Since civility is both too vague to define and too limited in its approach to rhetoric, Duffy said what is needed in civil discourse is a better recognition of rhetorical virtue and purpose.“What the rhetorical virtues offer is something different. They offer a language of assessment and practice of public discourse,” he said. “They call upon us to speak and write, not as Republicans or liberals, Libertarians or Democrats, but as a people committed to an ethical discourse and a common good.”Tags: Beyond Civility, John Duffy, Saturday Scholarslast_img read more

Pardew at Newcastle for the long haul

first_imgAlan Pardew has insisted he never considered walking away from his job as Newcastle manager amid the furore over Joe Kinnear’s return to the club. “A lot of adulation came our way and we had some fantastic performances, and the momentum was with us. “Last year, I couldn’t have had any more turmoil put in front of me with injuries and the Europa League, but I think I showed the fans that I am resilient.” The Magpies eventually limped over the finish line in 16th place, a far cry from the situation 12 months earlier when they were in the race for Champions League qualification until the final few weeks of the campaign. But Pardew toughed it out and despite having Kinnear parachuted in above him, he is confident things will be better this time around. He said: “I’d like to think through all of the adversity last year, I tried to carry the club with a bit of respect. I didn’t lose my control or lose my temper with the players – or the press. “Those qualities will serve me better this year. Hopefully we will have a more successful season.” Press Associationcenter_img The 51-year-old found himself under pressure as last season drew to a close with his side having managed to drag themselves out of relegation trouble. However, while Kinnear’s installation as director of football undermined him in the eyes of many, Pardew remains unbowed in his determination to turn things around. He told the Chronicle: “I won’t run away. I won’t hide. When we finished fifth, I didn’t have to show too many sides of my character because the team was doing well. last_img read more

Pellegrini optimistic over Silva

first_imgManchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is hopeful playmaker David Silva will be fit for Sunday’s derby against Manchester United. City began the season as joint favourites for the Premier League crown but have not impressed on the domestic front since the 4-0 thrashing of Newcastle. They laboured in a goalless draw at Stoke last week but, buoyed by an impressive display against Czech champions Plzen, Pellegrini is targeting victory against United. He said: “I don’t need to be here to know how important the derby is, but working here and living here I know it is a special game. “It is a match of six points. It is very important to win, (against) one of the most important teams. “Manchester United will always be one of the teams trying to win the Champions League, so playing at home against Manchester United is very important. “It is more important to win than not to lose. Of course if you cannot win it is better not to lose, but we will try to win from the beginning.” City put aside their recent lethargy to win 3-0 in Plzen with goals from Edin Dzeko, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero. After failures in Europe in the past two seasons, it was a performance that lifted the club at a timely moment in a critical week. Pellegrini said: “For us it was very important to start the Champions League winning and to have three points playing away. “Of course that gives confidence to the players.” Pellegrini believes his side will now continue to improve as the players grow used to his style. He said: “It was a good start, not as good as we wanted, but normally it is very difficult to start in a better way. “We know we must improve every game. It is very difficult to change styles to have new ideas. “Until December it is very important to win and with winning it is easier to improve. But we have to improve a lot of things.” United are also finding their feet under a new manager after David Moyes took over from Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer. Sunday’s clash will be the first Manchester derby since 1986 not to feature Ferguson in the United dugout. Pellegrini said: “It is impossible not to be under a lot of pressure – not in replacing Alex Ferguson but managing Manchester United, or big teams. “You are always under big pressure but that is a good way to work because you know what you have to do.” Moyes boasts a good record against City with his old Everton side having beaten them in 12 out of 22 meetings during his 11-year tenure at Goodison Park, including six of the last eight. Yet Pellegrini has overcome Moyes before, beating the Toffees with Villarreal in a Champions League qualifier in 2005. The Chilean said: “I know he had good results against Manchester City when he managed Everton. “I had also had a good record against Everton when he was their manager.” United are yet to hit their stride this season but Pellegrini is not reading much into their form. He said: “It’s not my duty to analyse how they start. It is a very good team and David Moyes is a very good manager. “I think they have a lot of great players, (Wayne) Rooney of course is one of them. “But we must be not only attend to Rooney but all the big players they have.” The Spain midfielder has missed City’s last two games after suffering a thigh injury while on international duty. Defender Micah Richards could also come back into contention after missing the start of the season with hamstring trouble but the Etihad Stadium clash is likely to be too soon for left-back Gael Clichy. Pellegrini said: “Richards is working normally with the whole squad, same thing for David Silva and Clichy starts now. “Maybe he will not be ready for next Sunday but all the other players, except (Martin) Demichelis, are fit, no problems.” City will be led by Vincent Kompany after their inspirational captain made a successful return from injury in the midweek Champions League win at Viktoria Plzen. Kompany had missed the previous three Barclays Premier League games after suffering a groin injury in the season-opening win over Newcastle. The Belgian brought strength and shape back to the defence after unconvincing displays in his absence. Pellegrini said: “I think Vincent is a very important player for us. “We worked well without Kompany. If you see our numbers in games he didn’t play, we had three clean sheets, but he is always important. He gives confidence to the whole team.” Pellegrini knows facing the champions is a crucial early test for his side. Press Associationlast_img read more

2020 Fantasy Football Rankings: Defense

first_imgThe free agency period has affected our 2020 fantasy defense rankings, but unlike the offensive positions, it’s more difficult to quantify the overall impact around the league. There might be a big name who changes teams, like DeForest Buckner going from San Francisco to Indianapolis, but the totality of a team’s moves is what really matters. Moreover, a run-stuffer might greatly improve a defense in real life, but the fantasy impact could be minimal compared to a big-play defensive back or a pass-rusher. It isn’t until after the draft — and after some veterans get signed later in the offseason (something that doesn’t happen as often with relevant skill players) — that we really know which D/STs should move up a tier and now qualify as sleepers heading into fantasy football draft season. Obviously, the upper tier of our 2020 rankings closely mirrors what happened last season. That’s rarely how it works in the fantasy world, though it’s tough to predict a big upswing in takeaways (especially with fumble recoveries) and it’s impossible to predict a significant change in D/ST touchdowns. That said, we can give the benefit of the doubt to talented defenses with with proven pass-rushers and playmakers.  It’s clear some teams are making big pushes to add talent on the defensive side of the ball this offseason, with the Chargers (Linval Joseph, Chris Harris, and, ostensibly, Derwin James) making some notable moves that vaulted them into the top 10. Teams like the Raiders (Maliek Collins, Eli Apple, Carl Nassib, Corey Littleton, Nick Kwiatkoski) and Bengals (DJ Reader, Trae Waynes, Vonn Bell, Mackensie Alexander) are suddenly on the radar as sleepers after a flurry of offseason acquisitions.Again, it’s tough to say just how much of an impact all these moves will make, but few saw the 49ers going from bottom-feeder to elite D/ST in the span of one season last year, so it’s important to pay attention to every move. For now, this is how we see D/STs stacking up, but there’s still a lot of offseason to go, so check back for updates!2020 Fantasy Football Defense RankingsRankTeam1New England Patriots2San Francisco 49ers3Pittsburgh Steelers4Chicago Bears5Baltimore Ravens6Buffalo Bills7Minnesota Vikings8Kansas City Chiefs9Los Angeles Chargers10New Orleans Saints11Denver Broncos12Los Angeles Rams13Philadelphia Eagles14Tennessee Titans15Indianapolis Colts16Houston Texans17Seattle Seahawks18Green Bay Packers19Jacksonville Jaguars20Oakland Raiders21New York Jets22Dallas Cowboys23Tampa Bay Buccaneers24Cincinnati Bengals25Cleveland Browns26Carolina Panthers27Washington Redskins28Atlanta Falcons29Detroit Lions30Miami Dolphins31New York Giants32Arizona Cardinals 2020 FANTASY RANKINGS:Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | Kickerlast_img read more