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The Rhetoric of Error from Locke to Kleist$
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Zachary Sng

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780804770170

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804770170.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
The Rhetoric of Error from Locke to Kleist
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804770170.003.0001

This book investigates the rhetoric of error by focusing on canonical texts drawn primarily from the literary, philosophical, and aesthetic writings of Britain and Germany in the eighteenth century, including those by Immanuel Kant, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, and John Locke. It examines the irresolvable tensions emanating from these texts: on the one hand, they argue about a reliable production and distribution of knowledge about language, cognition, subjectivity, and value; and on the other, they put forward an alternative theory that not only refutes the first but also raises the possibility of incoherence, corruption, contingency, and randomness. The focus is on the non-systematic movement of error known as errance, which includes contaminating reflux, treasonous desertion, unpredictable circulation, violent irruption, and other movements that place simple oppositions and coherent itineraries under erasure or suspension. The book also takes up Étienne Bonnot de Condillac's claim that the danger of language is related to its metaphoricity.

Keywords:   error, rhetoric, errance, knowledge, language, Bonnot de Condillac, randomness, subjectivity, cognition, John Locke

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