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he and I began a dialogue through email and phone that culminatedin the interview printed here for the first time. he argued.72. When Professor Kinneavy left TCU. Nonetheless. As a graduate student working on a dissertation involving kairos and American literature. I felt. I was. Fall 2000 This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. and at that moment I realized that his argumentmoved significantly beyond the claims of his articles. tell me whereit's not important. Professor Kinneavy and I began a conversation on the complexities of kairos.actuallyexplained how rhetoric was born. The interviewwas conductedat his home in Austin. tell me where kairos is important. In particular. Vol. Indeed. 19.ROGER THOMPSON Virginia Military Institute Kairos Revisited: An Interview with James Kinneavy "So you say. Most importantlyKinneavy asserted that kairos was transcendent in that it worked across culture lines and that it offered a subtle way of addressing the situationsin which rhetoricis born. I felt Professor Kinneavy had failed to address fully the transcendentalaspect of kairos (best articulated Paul Tillich) that. 13 Nov 2012 08:33:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . In this way kairos was a cornerstonefor rhetoric. He felt the term expressed how certain cultural movementsand conditions united with special moments to create ripe times for the rhetoricalact.When I approachedKinneavyat TCU. Kinneavy stated that he did not think rhetoricwas possible withouta concept of kairos. on a naive mission to right a wrong I felt he had committed. invited James Kinneavy and Linda Ferreira-Buckleyto speak to the faculty and students at Texas ChristianUniversity. No's.233 on Tue. was centralto the type of interdisciplinary by work I was interestedin pursuing. My hope for the interview was that Professor Kinneavy would expand upon his idea of kairos and that he would clarify his position in relationto those of othertheorists." In the spring of 1998. truthbe told. In his 73 RhetoricReview. kairos. Needless to say. then. During one of our interchanges. RichardLeo Enos. in August 1998 and was initially meant simply as backgroundresearch for my dissertation and an article I was writing. and he carefully illustratedthe significance of the term to both rhetoric and literature.168. 1/2.I saw in Professor Kinneavy's arrival a significant opportunity to clarify some of the ideas I had been considering. as chair of the LorraineSherley lecture series.I had read Kinneavy's article on kairos as a "Neglected Concept"and saw in his ideas a great potential for the integration of literary and rhetorical studies.and I say to you. I was quickly disabused of my perception. Texas.
With his passing. he was willing to grantTillich's position as a possible interpretation. 13 Nov 2012 08:33:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . the discipline has lost one of its giants.74 Rhetoric Review article on "Kairos in Aristotle's Rhetoric. as he had before. however. Professor Kinneavy and I agreed to resume correspondenceupon my return. is that kairos offers a way for students to examine their cultural situations and understandhow their times might affect other times. leaving in many of his asides and embolalia in an attemptto replicate the way This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. "distinguishthe general rules of the art of rhetoric from their situational application" (134). He did. studentsmight begin to see how they could create change througha rhetoricalact. such as Aristotle and Plato.the unification." he states that early rhetorical theorists. Kinneavy believed that by unifying their times with their situations. when he attended my dissertation defense. After he departed. and the interdependenceof the distinct aspects of timing and propriety. but also the intermingling. 1999.but in late August. the personificationof Kairos as a god. during the ride between the airport and TCU. in the interview. Ultimately. I think. Kinneavy makes it clear thatkairos is central to understandinglanguage's persuasive force because it accounts for certain elements of the rhetoricalact that are ultimatelybeyond the rhetor'scontrol.233 on Tue. it would take place in the composition classroom. Indeed. Often in our discussions (and presentin the interview). we discussed once again his position in relation to Tillich's transcendental position. Part of what makes language persuasive at a particulartime is not only the timing of the event. The reason. Professor Kinneavy and I continued our discussions through e-mail throughoutthe fall of 1998 and into the spring of 1999. We discussed seeking publication for the interview and coauthoringan introduction.168. and not only the situationalcontext of the rhetoricalact. and in his "Neglected Concept" article he argues for the broad applicability of kairos through a but composition curriculum. This interdependenceultimately leads Kinneavy to returnfrequentlyto the topic of ethics.Professor Kinneavy expressed the opinion that if an ethical education could be made to work in the universitytoday. Rich Enos contacted me to tell me of ProfessorKinneavy's death on August 10. I have tried to capture his voice throughout.hoping to seek a venue in the fall 1999. Our last discussion about the work was in May 1999. and it would have at its center a concept of kairos.72.we had two more e-mail exchanges before I left for an extended trip over the summer. nowhere had he so definitively set out the profound of significance that a concept of kairos brings to our understanding the power of language. he remainedunwilling to assign to kairos a divine but dimension. There. find the interpretationof kairos as a divine moment interestingand noted. and what I hope this interview offers is a continuation of the many significant contributions Kinneavy made to the discipline.
. I know it was a worthwhileessay. I'm a little surprisedby that to tell you the truth.. The importance of situational context. yes. So I think that's one reason for it. and especially in postmodernism the importanceof situationalcontext. now some 17 years old (he first delivered a lecture on the topic at the Conference on Classical Rhetoric and the Teaching of FreshmanComposition on October7. The Interview Thompson: When you wrote your article. there are some reasons for that.and his resurrectionof kairos in the field of rhetoric. So I would say that kairos has a dimension of time to it. 13 Nov 2012 08:33:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and of the change which can take place in ideas applied to a particularsituation.72. but it also has a dimension This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192.168. Thompson: So you thinkpostmoderism's appeal to the situationalcontext. I think. Kinneavy: Has made kairos an appealing concept in the postmoder situation. Thompson: How do you define kairos? Kinneavy: I've given about a twenty-pagedefinition in the article. but I didn't realize the impact it had and continues to have. Well.as I hope is made apparent.233 on Tue. "Kairos: a Neglected Concept in Classical Rhetoric. He was a profoundthinkerand a refined arguer. kairos is an aspect of that. Thompson: -of the situationalcontext? Kinneavy: Yes.KairosRevisited:An Interviewwith James Kinneavy 75 that he argued and explained his points. 1983) remainsone of his most lasting contributions."did you foresee it having such a tremendousimpact on the field of rhetoric? Kinneavy: No. Then there are intangiblesthat I can't put my finger on. but I would define it briefly as "theright time and due measure." Thompson: Exactly as you outlined in the article? Kinneavy: There's a double dimensionthat runs all throughhistoryI think. I think anthropologists like Malinowski and their emphasis on situationalcontext that I adopted from them long before postmodernism is another reason for it. as a matterof fact I didn't.
It's rathercomplicated. it was a combinationof his whole theology. which is ethical and aesthetic and has different situations. Thompson: Very layered. Gelegenheit.233 on Tue.76 Rhetoric Review of measure. German: Zeitpunkt.168. at least two or three of which have not yet been translated. in fact. English: right measure and time. and even the Hebrew. I have an article in that is going to appearin a historicaldictionaryof classical rhetoric. Thompson: Where did you rediscover this term-how did you come across it and decide thatit needed attentionand discussion? Kinneavy: I ran across it in [Paul] Tillich. So I would emphasize both dimensions. he has four or five major statementson it in differentbooks. which only has one word. "that's impressive. Thompson: Such a rich term. and as I indicatedin my article. occasion. and I don't think we can just take the right time as being the definition.72. Kinneavy: It's a term that has no single translation in any major modem language. maybe I should look into it. giusta misura. so I was impressed by that and I said. and he points out how importantit was in the New Testament. thatone word doesn't accountfor the two dimensionsof kairos. Italian: momento opportuno. the theologian. It's a matter of timing at the right time in the right measure. For that reason there is no adequatetranslation any modem language. Thompson: So you want a historicaldefinitionin some sense? Kinneavy: Yes.That's how I would define it. occasio." Then I read Levi and others who had historicalarticleson it and going back to the pre-Aristotelian pre-Platonicphilosophies in Greece.I've done some work on biblical scholarship.And he said it was very important-well. Kinneavy: That's why I wouldn't say you could translate it with any single word. I don't think you can't. 13 Nov 2012 08:33:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . French:juste mesure. Thompson: Sophist philosophies? This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192.and I give translations: Kairos: Latin: tempus speciale.
and in that sense he can create it. and I was just amazed how important this word was. Sometimes a situationjust arises.233 on Tue. I thinkthat there can be rhetoricaltheory. they had a god they called Occasio. he has to use the This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. yes. So I don't thinkthat either in theory.and then what I have done is transferhis concept of its importanceto theology to rhetoricand to otherthings too for that matter. 13 Nov 2012 08:33:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . it's importantin Cicero. or the right time. basically.can there be rhetoricwithoutkairos? Kinneavy: I don't really think so. or can the rhetormanufacture create kairos? or Kinneavy: Well. and I'm an Aristotelianmore or less. and occasio is not exactly the same thing as right timing. but also even especially Plato. Thompson: Ralph Waldo Emersonbelieved that a ripe moment was needed for "true" rhetoricto occurKinneavy: That's interesting.that's very good. But. the time or situationwhere you can be led into sin. but especially in practice can there be a rhetoricwithout a concept of timing. and that has been neglected. is sometimes in the hands of the rhetorician. So timing. like the Greeks. Thompson: Do you believe kairos is beyond the rhetor's control. I got it from Tillich originally. He may realize this is not the right time to bring this up yet. but if he waits too long it's going to be too late. It comes to English in that way. I rereadthe Phaedrus. but even rhetoricaltheory has to take into account something like a concept of right timing and due measuretoo. I can see that a rhetor can choose the right time. which is kind of a backwardway at that. right.72. He didn't use the word because the word didn't go into Latin completely.168. Thompson: So for you the foundationof it has been kind of interdisciplinaryyou found it in a theological field? Kinneavy: Right. and I said "how could I overlook that?"So. but not always. I had been teaching the Phaedrus for years. Thompson: Do you feel kairos is a necessary component of rhetoric.Kairos Revisited: Interview JamesKinneavy An with 77 Kinneavy: Yes. I've tried to show that it is very importantto Aristotle. Also. as I have attemptedto show. I didn't know. I neglected that initially. and if a rhetoricianwants to persuade. And as a matter of fact. Occasio is a theological term as well: the occasion of sin.
a picture as Tillich would. or maybe time in general.78 Rhetoric Review time. But you can take an idea that transcendsthis particulartime. Thompson: So you create the feeling thatthere needs to be looking back? Kinneavy: That somethingneeds to be done. and we should not forget that. Or. yes. But. I don't think it needs the concept of an eternal. It is not totally in his control. as grand.I don't thinkthat any of these others. there are different things a rhetorician can do with regardto time.Yes. sometimes. you can apply it to a particular Thompson: So it could be a situationaltruth? Kinneavy: Right. but it is important"-you can create thatkind of a timing. then you can tell people. I'm not really of the same theological persuasionas he is. and situation. 13 Nov 2012 08:33:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . So I'm not drawing as large. It's still importantthat it is a truth. thatyou're tryingto apply. but also if the diem is not right. Or even looking forwardtoo. say these times are not very good or not very favorable to this idea.whetherit's eternalor not. especially Bitzer's. Thompson: What is the difference. given that concept. especially an eternal truth or something like that. has the richness of the concept of kairos. I do say that I don't agree with Paul Tillich. I agree with that.233 on Tue. and so in that case what he can do is simply to adapthimself to that time. then he may show you back historicallyhow this has been a very important idea. This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. Thompson: You've mentioned today and you mention in your article Paul Tillich-does his notion of kairos as "the eternal breakinginto the temporal"fit within your understanding kairos? of Kinneavy: Let's say we can interpretit that way. if any. between kairos and Lloyd Bitzer's "rhetorical situation?" Kinneavy: Yes.168.72. "you people nowadays don't think very much of the importanceof this particular concept. I don't think that Bitzer included it in his conception of the rhetorical situation. yes. and I'll expand this to include Malinowski's concept of situationalcontext also. Thompson: Would it be along the lines of carpe diem? Kinneavy: That's a part of it. or even Burke's concept of the Pentad. So. but I can see his position.
Do you see kairos as a universalor transcendental principlein any way? Kinneavy: As far as I can judge. when the idea transferredinto Latin. which indicates that it's a complex idea. So. of This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192.233 on Tue. they have to have several words. in that sense. yes. But the major emphasis of the effete. or in Malinowski. and he was representedas a young man.or in Burke. or Thompson: Discussions of transcendental universal principles are absent in your article. It's disconcerting also. even though you discuss Plato. by Thompson: So it's universalas far as rangingacross . As a matterof fact. Kinneavy: Every civilization. no.168. and a biblical tradition of kairos. or an aesthetic dimension.. she also became a Goddess. and in all these there's a concept of time. But I don't know any civilization or culture which I have looked at. it transcendsan individual civilization as far as I can see. So. Thompson: So the difference is largely in richnessof the term? Kinneavy: Somethinglike that. yes. He was a God in Greece. and she had a political connection too. you may rememberthat the symbolic referencewas to kairos as a God. the answer is yes. and I've looked at them especially in the currentbook I'm working on and have read a two-volumework on the developmentof the concept of moralityin civilizations.. Thompson: Is it a political principle?Is it inherentlypoliticized? Kinneavy: In its origins it was. I don't see that that's quite the same thing at all. But not an explicit articulationof this particular principleas it has been so carefullyarticulated the Greeks. kind of junior-college preparationthey had for policing and for war. the effedia. 13 Nov 2012 08:33:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .or a political or ethical dimension. Occasio.KairosRevisited:An InterviewwithJames Kinneavy 79 especially the concept of due measure. in Thompson: Would you call it transcendent any way? Kinneavy: Well. I think the concept of timing is present in any civilization that I have examined. a student at the two-year. but I don't see these other dimensions in Bitzer. however. that all these different languages that I gave to you don't have a word for it. Tillich. And then. I think there are elements that are similar.72.
but at the moment I don't see that. Maybe I will disagree with what I'm saying. Kinneavy:. sure. I think it will too. and so I don't see any major distortionsthere.. there have been several philosophy articles. All the dimensions. articles in the there either.. Thompson: I thinkit will continueto expand.168. I have not thought about that. They put it into a particular religious framework. Obviously. I wish it were. Philosophical Review and so on.233 on Tue.currentrhetoricright now. So it had a political dimension. So. And the only other field that has adopted it ever so slightly is philosophy. maybe three.but it had basically a large political dimensionto it. and I don't see any major misinterpretationof kairos so far. I don't think it does now-that's the problem. I can obviously see how you could use kairos without. its political dimensions.72.80 Rhetoric Review Greece was to prepare for political life by rhetoric. and I don't see a misinterpretation Some of these philosophy people have acknowledged my influence too. This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. The people that write about it are American rhetoricianssuch as myself and others. But it has not been thatuniversallyadopted. Thompson: Do you feel it does now? Kinneavy: Well.. I'm sure aboutthat. at a particulartime. and I think that by and large Tillich's interpretationsof kairos have not done a whole lot of violence to the Greek concept. 13 Nov 2012 08:33:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . yes.I see many people will adopt the word kairos and won't drag along a lot of the aestheticand political and ethical implications which it has. I'd have to say that. Yes. but I don't think that they have distortedthe idea in any way that I can think of right now.. Thompson: And it would be difficult in many discussions to carryalong all. I'd have to say to that I don't see any major misinterpretations. Kinneavy: Well. and it's kind of hard to read what I have to say and violently disagree with these same concepts. theology has adopted it. of Thompson: Do you feel there have been any misunderstandings kairos-has the field adoptedand utilized it in a way that is valid and productive? Kinneavy: I actually think there have only been two fields that have adoptedit right now. Even with the emphasis I have given to that concept in the articles I have written. The other two fields that have somewhat adopted it are rhetoric.
I think it's very importantin ethics. as long as the fundamental epistemological ethical and aesthetic and political dimensions remain. I think the concept of kairos is much larger than just composition. So I think that ethics is a field in which a concept such as kairos could apply. but I think it applies more generallyto educationthanjust to composition. and I thinkthat that's almost how the concept began with Protagorasand people like that. or would you prefer that the term retain a specific. I think historically you could examine how a particularcultureor period felt such and such a way in termsof a concept of kairos. I think the idea has to be adopted. So I think it can be applied to many other fields to which it has not yet been applied. the just thing is that you work for five hours and I only work for two. and situationalethics would be very close to a concept of kairic ethics.And. adaptedto our civilization. thereforeyou should get more money than I do and so on. I frankly think that you could probably take a concept of kairos and apply it to practically almost anything. I don't know-there is currently.nowadays. at least in some respects. in relationto technology? Kinneavy: Right. a thing called situationalethics. That's an ethical application.KairosRevisited:An Interview with James Kinneavy 81 or of Thompson: Would you like to see any new interpretations understandings kairos. certainly. historically based meaningand application? Kinneavy: Well. Thompson: So more broadly? Kinneavy: Oh yes.233 on Tue. 13 Nov 2012 08:33:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . our media. Thompson: So you can especially see it changing. Thompson: Do you see any applicability of a theory of kairos to fields other thanrhetoricand composition? Kinneavy: Oh. Kairos has to adapt to that. and speaking to a people at a distance and all that. In other words. and in that sense there are going to be dimensionsto kairos that may be new. you've probablyheard of it. This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192.168. radio and television.72. and that doesn't botherme. Composition is a part of education.
72. a discussion of a particular literary work? How would you use kairos as a heuristic to understanding literature? Kinneavy: I would say. thinkthatthere are many things such as why such and such an authorwas popularin this period. what were the current ethical situations. and she wrote a very interestingarticle on the early Yeats. yes. a few articles have attemptedto introduce kairos into literary analysis-how would you integrate kairos into. and so on. you could take a piece-a curious thing that you for ask this just now. what were the currentvalues.And Yeats does that in one of his early poems.233 on Tue.at the end of differentstanzas. a field thatwould be especially helped by such a discussion.you know. But Yeats used it in a much more sophisticated way. Kinneavy: Ethics would be a field like that. At the time. has attemptedto apply I kairos to literature. it was not. at the end of the first stanza"Fal de ral fal de ral"at the end of the second stanza"Fal de ral fal de ral. and so on values of the time. though. Thompson: And how aboutliteraryanalysis and literature? Kinneavy: There is a fellow by the name of George Mason-I don't know if I have a copy of his article here or not. and why Spencer is not as populartoday as he was thought to be a hundred years ago. What was the current situation. critical perspectives on the refrainwere that this type of device was too simplistic and it shouldn't be used.168. Thompson: As you've mentioned. three different types of philosophical statements. yes. and then there was a thirdperiod which he used it in a much more sophisticatedway to make a philosophical statement. and I thinkhistoryalso. the mid-periodYeats.but it meant something different in each case. Her concern was that the early Yeats had an attitudetoward the refrain.whatwere the current political. Thompson: Whatwould require. He has applied.82 Rhetoric Review Thompson: Is there any field that you feel in particularneeds an understanding of kairos. This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. or rather. the different stanza at the end of which you always repeatedthe same refrain.I would imagine. 13 Nov 2012 08:33:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . say. I think conceptsjudgments like that-can be helped by a concept like kairos. a lot of historicalresearch? Kinneavy: They would need to. and the late Yeats."and the same thing in the thirdstanza. I was just finishing a letter of recommendation somebody from Queens College. Then there was a period during which he didn't use it.
I would say that's a kind of use of kairos.That's it. a half-second later. My daughteris in a relationshipwith someone right now. to another concept which he wants to which I think is push. Baseball's very importantright now.and I say to you. the poet and the critic too.72. it's very true in many ways. It is not as stronga meaning as the right time. uh-I don't see any area of life it doesn't apply. or the wrong place. So. very interesting. the guy's gone for a touchdown.but it's not. Thompson: And you can see propermeasureKinneavy: And propermeasureoperatingin there too. Daddy. That's right. how he composed it? Kinneavy: Oh yes. and pitching is disturbingtiming. right. And so. I think it was Bob Lanier." That sounds reductionistic. and one time I heard a pitcher. and the pitcher is trying to disruptthat timing. so that you can't hit it.233 on Tue." She talks about that all the time without realizing it. yes.168. In batting you have to time the bat and the ball. Timing is very importantto all sports. You approachthis girl and ask her to marryyou at the right time. and she says "I don't know if it's the right time. very Thompson: Very interesting. useful. say "battingis timing.So there seems to be also a kairos for the critic when he's looking at it. It applies to. Thompson: Whichpitch and that sort of thing? This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192.I've it's always liked thatbaseballstatement. 13 Nov 2012 08:33:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .you know. it applies to all sports. I don't really know if-it is difficult to find an area in which timing is not important. tell me where kairos is important. It applies to football. I'm not sure. By the way. Thompson: Do you see kairos as importantto or working in everyday life? How does it play into our daily lives? Kinneavy: Let me tell you a situation to which it applies. That's a kind of a use of kairos in literaryinterpretation. but it was a second meaning. a second meaning of kairos was "theright place" in additionto the right time. tell me where it's not important.and it's very true.KairosRevisited:An InterviewwithJames Kinneavy 83 Thompson: All in one poem? Kinneavy: All in one poem. you know. and he's changing it. he's viewing it in a perspective of the early concept of the time. It applies to love. adapting it.So you say. In our professionyou can send the book away to be published at the wrong time.
I'd choose to make a decision that their lives are more important than his life. So I don't know any area in which it doesn't apply. I think kairos has an importantplace in that code. these five basic principles and their applications to 30 of the Universal Declarationof HumanRights are all subject to the situation.respect for truth. Those five.And. Usually some rights are going to be subordinateto other rights. And so. and many people say that's dignified and worthyand so on. those can be enlarged. and it's going to be death one way or the other. somebody's right to life is going to disappear. each of those rights-take the right to life-that's not absolute-none of these rights is absolute. There may be occasions where I might not. I may sacrifice my life for my family. the situationis very important. A situation in which someone would be attacking my children. it's not a totally absolute-it's not absolutes. or you can swing too far and that's too much measure or the timing isn't right-There it goes. certainrights take priorityover other rights. I'll give you an example. and I'll make up my mind in terms of the situation.72. the timing is important. respect for family. Thompson: I know that one of your currentprojects is work on a neutralmoral code. if somebody's attackingmy children. The same thing happenswith regardto truth. Thompson: So your judgment in relation to these codes is dependent on the situation. It can always alter. but not always. So.and that's how you see kairos? This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192.168. Then. or something like that. I'll sacrifice my propertyto save my life. you see.and respect for liberty. So I have to choose my right to life versus his right to life. perhapsmore importantly. Now. or myself. but I can't thinkof any right now. 13 Nov 2012 08:33:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Generally speaking.84 RhetoricReview Kinneavy: Right. And so. It has to be judged by the situation. if a person attacks me. of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN. So this applies very much to this neutralmoralcode. in the stands. over there.233 on Tue.is today the kairos for the code you are suggesting? Kinneavy: Yes.but is not totally divorced from all rights. I'm going to normally choose life over nearly all the rest of them. and I enlarge them to thirty principles of rights. Yes.How many times may I have to tell a lie to protect my family.my family or something. respect for property. Or. and.but also the measure. I normally will sacrifice truth to save my life. For instance. Does kairos have a place in that code. My code is based upon five principles: respect for life.there it's maybe his life versus their life. humanrights.
or actually half the marriagesof this countryend up in divorce. so if you don't go to church. Our educational system in this country. 13 Nov 2012 08:33:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . I thinkthat this is a good time to try somethinglike that.and only about 30 percent of the people go to churchregularlymore or less. Consequently. yes. yes. So there's a dual aspect to ethics: There's an aspect of This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. we could use these to forge out a neutralmoral code that we can talk on and agree with at the very least. Thompson: So is today the kairos for the code? Kinneavy: In a certain sense. but in my respectingthose rights for you and everybody else. So the time is now.They don't have any way to write one because they've not been taught ethics.233 on Tue. for instance. which nearly all peoples have agreed to. Yes. and even talk to one anotherbecause their religious affiliations are different.72. I ask them to write an ethical paper. we need it more now than in the last hundredyears. very much so. we have certain moral problems which we didn't have.Ethics consists in I myself having those rights for myself. And so these five rights are necessary to the survival and the development of the individual. the time is right for something like a neutralmoral code with which we can talk to people who have religion or not. Or a political paper. has broken up half the families of this country.and many others too. many children are living without a parent. then religious people can add others to it. sometimes without either parent. maybe much more than that.Given the concept of the United Nations and of thirty basic rights. As a result of that. you don't get training.I ask them to write a historical paper and they make a lot of sense. we need some kind of moral trainingbecause it's clear we're having problems. well. about 80 percent of the people in the world do have some religious affiliation.168. I cannot develop. but it remainscompatiblewith the basic principles. if I can't have a family. Thompson: So you're seeing the ethical as kind of a social responsibilitythat society at large instills in individuals? Kinneavy: These five rights are basic-if I can't have life or if I can't have propertyin some sense. if I can't have some basic liberties. there has to be a way in which people of those different persuasions can talk to the other 20 percent. I ask my students to write an ethical paper and they [shrug].KairosRevisited:An Interviewwith James Kinneavy 85 Kinneavy: Yes. In any case. And I always say since. As a matterof fact. has not included enough ethics. and they sound like they're thirdgraders. if I can't have truth. Divorce. right. I'm curious that you put the question that way because the way that I'm presentingthe code is that there is a lot of evidence that morality is-well.
Traditionally." computers are just writing all the time. A concept of kairos asks us to respect each new time that arrives. And so I am asserting very stronglyboth the rights and the duties. So I have greathope. any hope for it? And do you have any advice for new scholarswho want to make a differencein the field? Kinneavy: Oh.Now many more say they go to church than that. One but thing you might say. It's a different medium in which the writing is occurring. The revival of classical rhetoric. Seventy percent of the populace does not get anything like a systematic or intelligent training in ethics. Thompson: And so the reason you see the kairos for it now is because somehow those kinds of ethical codes aren'tbeing absorbedby the populace? Kinneavy: Yes. thou shall presented in terms of. thou shall not. and one of them is the concept of kairos. That's a duty. or yesterday. actually.ethics has always been thou shall not. I have hope for the discipline. "is it all going to be replacedby computers. And so I'm not terribly worried about that. This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. Whatevershape that's going to take. 13 Nov 2012 08:33:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . yes. you know. your impact on the discipline has been tremendous. I think writing and reading and things that they imply are going to be with us-I don't know-I hope thousands and thousands of years. and your work has provided fuel for many new scholarly fires-do you have any advice for the discipline. and that's what makes up an ethical code to me. the Ten Commandments: not.72. to change our concepts. That's about30 percentof the population.233 on Tue.for rhetoricas a discipline. I think that one interestingthing about this is that rhetoric is more importantin this country than almost in any other country. but actually go to churchregularly. Those that go to churchoften do. Kinneavy: Oh.168. You mean the discipline of rhetoricand composition? Thompson: Yes. Why shouldn't you kill somebody else? Because he has a right to life. And so I have hope for it. Thompson: Lastly. say. but I think that there is considerable hope for the discipline. but it assumes a right.I mean not somethinglike once a year or so.86 RhetoricReview rights and there's an aspect of duties. Seventy percentof the populace is not getting an educationin thatrespect. basically. because the kairos may be different from thirty years ago.and so on. and I'm happy to see certain aspects of classical rhetoric being revived too.
our ages. they have for a long time held to the importance of composition at the elementary school or the high school or whatevercorrespondsto that too. I don't think that-some of our rhetoricians.for instance. And let me put anotherthing too-this is true of American scholarshipespecially: Have not only respect for history. Consequently. sometimes we haven't learned enough from history. Take a little time to review-even if you have an answer. that would be anotherthing that I would say. by the way.Italy-I gave a talk at Italy about three years ago-and Spain. Thompson: Which in some ways are only now beginning to filter in [to our scholarship]. especially in our moder time when we want instant something (instant replays and so forth).Yes. Thompson: And your advice? Kinneavy: I would say have a respect for history. This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. you may change your mind. which I would certainlymake to people.and I think that they're beginning to see that now. Thompson: So you're seeing the revival? Kinneavy: No. now beginning to be taken up again. That is true of rhetoric. France.233 on Tue. look at it carefullybefore you publish it. but there not as strongly. and Canada. 13 Nov 2012 08:33:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . And that includes even Easternlanguages. on the other hand.it is true of other fields too.Kairos Revisited:An InterviewwithJames Kinneavy 87 especially to teach people every day in classes in high schools and all is important.168. That. because the times. And I think sometimes true of ethics.and not just a revival of classical rhetoric but movements of new rhetorics is. but respect for other cultures too. respect for other languages. I think that we have a lot to learn from other languages. and in Germanytoo. but a concern aboutnew rhetoric.but don't be boundby it. But I think we can learn from history. are different. I belong to the InternationalSociety for the History of Rhetoric.don't necessarily be satisfied with the first quick answer that might come up. not just the revival. in France it is beginningto some extent. Now. even after you have published it. and so on.72. I would also say that hard work is important:The inches sometimes don't come easily. practicallyspeak only English-I don't think that that's good. I think. we have to work at them. and so on. is perfectly consistent with a concept of kairos. Or. But not so much at the university. and I see this in the different countries where these meetings are held. So. So that would be one of my pieces of advice. In the US it already has. right. Germany.
Jean Dietz Moss. Mahwah. 4: Hu-K. InternationalSociety for the History of Rhetoric. (with CatherineR. We need that kind of respect.DC: The Catholic U of America P. and he has an article on Ralph Waldo Emerson and kairos forthcoming in a collection of essays edited by Philip Sipiora and James Baumlin.88 Rhetoric Review Kinneavy: Yes right. Unpublished. Rich Enos. Germany:Max Niemeyer Verlag."Historisches Worterbuchder Rhetorik. NJ: Erlbaum. October7. Roger Thompsonteaches at Virginia MilitaryInstitute. Bibliography Kinneavy's work on kairos: "Kairos: A Neglected Concept in Classical Rhetoric. as well as Fred Erisman. Eskin). Gert Ueding." Delivered at the Conference of Classical Rhetoricand the Teachingof English. RR peer reviewers. in LandmarkEssays on Rhetorical Invention in Writing. 8. "Kairos: A Neglected Concept in Classical Rhetoric.72. for their thoughtful and careful reading of the interview. Vol. 1994): 131-42. 73. Eskin). 1993.TurinItaly:Casa di Risparmiodi Torino. That's it.233 on Tue. 1994. as well as the assembling of a collection of essays on the rhetoricof St. Notes I would like to thank both Janice Lauer and Winifred Homer. RichardYoung and Yameng Liu.168. Vol." WrittenCommunication11 (Jan. 221-39. 1998. 79-105. Washington.His researchis primarilyin nineteenthcentury American literatureand rhetoricaltheory. 1983. Ed. an analysis of the conflation of rhetoric and poetics in eco-poetry. "Kairos in Aristotle's Rhetoric. 836-43. Ninth Biennial Conference. His current work includes an investigation of nineteenth-centuryAmerican literacy reform and its intersectionwith gender roles. "Kairos. 2 Philip Sipiora and James Baumlin have edited a forthcoming book on Kairos. 13 Nov 2012 08:33:27 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Ed. "KairosIn Aristotle'sRhetoric. 1986."Abstracts. Tubingen. and Rob McDonald for their suggestions at various stages of my work. The book will contain new articles on the concept of kairos as well as an extensive bibliography. Ed. (with CatherineR."Rhetoric and Praxis: The Contribution of Classical Rhetoric to Practical Reasoning. Augustine. Rpt. This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192.
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