Looking at Western, Indian, and Chinese classical Rhetorics, we can see similarities and differences.
B1. Is it possible to really understand the rhetorical tradition of another culture? Explain why or why not, based on arguements of Yameng lui, Lu Xing, and using examples from these texts and the Wenxin dialogue, Nyaya Sutra’s and incoherence of the incoherence as needed.
It seems possible to appreciate and study other rhetorical cultures; unfortunately , truly understanding another culture, let alone the rhetoric or tradition of a foreign society is next to impossible to truly become enskonched in. One must learn to never say never, but in this case nobody has ever achieved this feat. The philosophers tried to acquire knowledge about reality through speculation alone, without relying on the words of anyone who should induce them to acquiesce in them without proof; on the contrary, sometimes through speculation they came into contradiction with the facts as shown by the senses. “Chinese rhetoric, for example, implicit rhetorical practices are contained in literary and historical texts” (Xing 2).“There is, in fact, no single unified signifier, equivalent to the term rhetoric, in Chinese texts” (Xing 3).
Lui commented on the work of Matalene’s, “For by her own account, no meaningful patterns had emerged from these data and observations until after she returned to the States and became acquainted with existing scholarship on Chinese culture and communication” (Liu 320). When discussing the problem of Matalene’s interpretation of Chinese vs Western writing based on Pan Kui’s essay. “In the study of Western rhetoric, scholars typically attempt a clear definition of rhetorical terms. Such an approach may not be applicable to the study of Chinese rhetoric, however, since, to my knowledge, no such clearly phrased definitions are present in any of the Chinese texts” (Xing 3).“However, each culture will have a general sense of rhetoric based upon the culture’s experiences with speech and language” (Xing 3).
“The task of a rhetorical scholar, then, is to remain open to the universal sense of rhetoric, as well as to the transformative power of a particular culture on the practice of rhetoric” (Xing 3).“While I do not intend to impose Western notions of rhetoric upon the Chinese experience, I do consider it useful to identify universally shared and yet culturally specific vocabulary and concepts, in the interest of promoting rhetorical studies cross culturally” (Xing 4).“I will argue that the Western study of rhetoric is comparable to the Chinese Ming Bian Xue, literally translated as ‘the Study of Naming (Ming) and Argumentation (Bian)’, while it conceptually encompasses the study of language art, logic, persuasion, and argumentation” (Xing 4).
“The meaning and interpretation of a people’s rhetoric are always derived from and influenced by its social, political, and philosophical contexts” (Xing 5). Incoherence of the Incoherence if they assume that the First Agent is like a simple agent in the empirical world. But this consequence is binding only upon the man who applies this principle universally to everything that exists, then he makes the intelligible substances ascend to a first principle which is a principle to them, in one way analogous to a formal cause, in another analogous to a final cause, and in a third way analogous to an efficient cause.
“I am generally of the opinion that a Western scholar with both linguistic competence in the target culture and training in both Western and Eastern thoughts is better qualified to interpret and translate Eastern texts than an Eastern scholar with little knowledge of the Western thought and language. In other words, a bilingual and bicultural person is better prepared to translate and interpret the nuances of cross-cultural meanings in any given text and, therefore, more able to create a ‘fusion of horizons’ (Gadamer, 1989)” (Xing 11).
Problems of Orientalism and Occidentalism (Xing 14-15)Were that in the western world there was an ere of superiority towards eastern rhetoric. “In his ground-breaking study of Asian rhetorics, Oliver cautions against the danger of distorting non-Western oratories by seeking to depict them in Western terms” (Liu 320).“For him, the correct approach to cross-cultural studies of communication should rather be to describe other rhetorical traditions ‘in their own terms’” (Liu 320) talking about Robert T. Oliver’s study. “The list, which looks more like a description of Asian rhetorics in Western Rhetoric; rather, than in ‘their own’ terms” (Liu 321). First, the conclusions that she seems to have drawn from her independent, first-hand experience of Chinese rhetoric are actually established scholarly opinions on the subject” (Liu 321). Discussing that Matalene’s opinion was formed by Oliver and Kaplan
Matalene, Oliver, and Kaplan are all guilty of branding Chinese rhetoric as something that does not change which causes many inconsistencies in their work and goes against “the professed tenet that a culturally based rhetoric is necessarily multifaceted in its development is correlated with changing social conditions and historical circumstances” (Liu 322).
“For Schlieiermacher, true understanding is contextual, taking place in a circle known as the hermeneutical circle, the area of shared understanding between the speaker and the hearer. In order to complete the hermeneutical circle, the speaker and hearer must share both the language and subject of a discourse” (Xing 19).“When an interpreter explains the texts of other cultures, he or she introduces different cultural norms and ways of doing things to the reader of the target language” (Xing 23).
“Both groups should be aware of the critical and of the problems of Orientalism and Occidentalism in their academic pursuits. Both should engage in multicultural hermeneutics in order to generate multicultural meanings” (Xing 43). “It manifests itself in a preoccupation with getting at what is ‘quintessentially’ Chinese and a lack of interest in local knowledge or less than orderly ethnographical accounts” (Liu 322). S. Robert Ramsey points out that China is a “’multinational’ country consisting of at least ‘fifty-six distinct ethnic, religious, and linguistic groups’” (Liu 322). “Had English translations of these materials been generally available at the time when pioneering Western scholars first took an interest in Chinese rhetorical tradition, their conclusions would have been different; and where misunderstanding or misrepresentation did occur, then their findings would not have been able to go unchallenged. The continued lack of English translations of key Chinese rhetorical texts constitutes a major obstacle to a fuller understanding of rhetoric in the Chinese traditions, lending currency to the myth of a very limited body of source materials relevant to the study of those traditions” (Liu 332).
“Adopting the normative perspectives would enable comparative rhetoricians to draw freely from existing scholarship, derive authority from the received views, and open up discursive space for their own projects, which explains why working within the conceptual framework established by comparative philosophy, literature, and linguistics came to be, and to a considerable extent remains a feature of much of the work done in the name comparative rhetoric” (Liu 333).
“comparative philosophers, linguists, and literary scholars, however, came to Chinese texts much earlier than comparative rhetoricians. By the time scholars in comparative rhetoric started their investigation, the descriptions and interpretations provided by the former had already established themselves solidly as the normative perspectives on Chinese discourse” (Liu 333).
“No one would dispute the importance and usefulness of interdisciplinary parameters for comparative rhetoric. Yet incorporating other disciplines’ views and insights into a distinctly rhetorical perspective is not the same as taking other disciplines’ grounding assumptions for one’s own point of departure. While the latter approach makes it possible for work in comparative studies of Chinese rhetorics to mesh with powerful conceptions of Chinese discourse in general and hence helps entrench the paradigm in question, an uncritical adoption of a philosophical-literary frame of reference is also responsible for many of the intractable problems that keep bedeviling the area of studies. If the institutional balance of power was such in the early 1970s that it was difficult for pioneering comparative rhetoricians to break from the dominant frame of reference in Chinese studies and to assert their disciplinary and conceptual independence, it is time for their contemporary successors to reflect on the adequacy of a model constructed decades ago, within an entirely different intellectual ethos, and to enter a dialogue with comparative scholars in other disciplines as equal partners” (Liu 333-334).
In conclusion, the latter approach makes it possible for work in comparative studies of Chinese rhetorics; unfortunately, based on arguements of Yameng lui, Lu Xing, and the Wenxin dialogue, Nyaya Sutra’s and incoherence of the incoherence, the descriptions and interpretations provided by the comparitive philosophers had already established themselves solidly as the normative perspectives. Furthermore, when discussing the problem of Matalene’s interpretation of Chinese vs Western writing based on Pan Kui’s essay. “In the study of Western rhetoric, scholars typically attempt a clear definition of rhetorical terms. Such an approach may not be applicable to the study of Chinese. Therefore, It seems possible to appreciate and study other rhetorical cultures; unfortunately , truly understanding another culture, let alone the rhetoric or tradition of a foreign society is next to impossible.