Thursday, April 2, 2009

The World is a Stage

Kenneth Burke was born on May 5, 1897. He was a major American literary theorist and philosopher
. Burke's primary interests were in rhetoric and aesthetics. He was heavily influenced by the ideas of Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Frederich Nietzsche.

Burke identified a revolutionary study of rhetoric- he believed that interactions in our contemporary world are, in some ways, "more complicated" than can be understood by viewing persuasion solely as the explicit, intentional acts which a rhetor directs to an audience.

The term identification became an important catalyst for Burke's philosophy. Burke explains identification as a process that is fundamental to being human and to communicating. He contends that the need to identify arises out of division; humans are born and exist as biologically separate beings and therefore seek to identify, through communication, in order to overcome separateness.

We are aware of this biological separation, and we recognize additional types of separation based on social class or position. We experience the ambiguity of being separate yet being identified with others at the same time: we are "both joined and separate, at once a distinct substance and consubstantial with another."
(Ambiguity plays a HUGE role in Burke's philosophy.)
Consubstantiality This is a term that Burke used to describe how we, as human beings, share a substance with each other. This substance can never be identical, but it can be share. We can find common ground in any situation bcuse we desire to be consubstantial with each other: Burke found a way to describe that human desire for a relationship, for a common ground, and for similarity.


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