Chapter 6: Post-truth and pre-truth: how rhetoric shapes reality in Boyles Certain Physiological Essays, Shakespeares Othello, and the language of Donald Trump
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Without evidence, how can one persuade an audience? This was a question Renaissance rhetoricians pondered, as well as being an issue that hits close to home in our supposedly post-truth world. This chapter will compare the rhetorics of Shakespeare’s character Iago, the Renaissance scientist Robert Boyle, and President Donald Trump. I find striking similarities among these three rhetors in the ways they position the world around them as unstable and create vivid imaginative pictures of reality. Ultimately, I argue that these are highly effective rhetorical tactics that can and should be used for positive ends as well as deception.

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