This article examines the role of epideictic rhetoric as a tool for promoting civic virtue in the public realm through the application of Kenneth Burke's theory of identification and John Dewey's explanation of an aesthetic experience. Long the jurisdiction of Aristotle's logical arguments, civic discussion usually works within the realm of forensic or deliberative persuasion. However, scholarship in the last fifty years suggests there is an unexplored dimension of Aristotle's discussion of epideictic and emotion that needs to be examined in an attempt to identify its usefulness as a tool for examining human experience and practical behavior in the political realm. I attempt to add to the discussion by exploring the presidential funerals of Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan as opportunities for a nation to display a hero's virtues as extensions of society's virtues. Virtues often define what a nation considers good which, in turn, influences the nature of the discussion and often determines political action.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Farnworth, Xanthe Kristine Allen, "Burke, Dewey, and the Experience of Aristotle's Epideictic: An Examination of Rhetorical Elements Found in the Funerals of Lincoln, Kennedy, and Reagan" (2010). Theses and Dissertations. 2155.
Aristotle, Kenneth Burke, John Dewey, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, emotion, funerals, epideictic, aesthetics, identification