There have always been rogues who dared to go against the traditional "intellectual" writing style of science and academia, a style that seems bent on transcending the "merely personal." Those who take this risk are embracing the rhetorical tradition of pathos, one that goes as far back as Aristotle. Current academic trends support a genre devoid of pathos and lacking true ethos—a deviation from classic rhetoric, and one that supports the Cartesian split of mind-body dualism. Neurological studies done by Antonio Damasio and others suggest that a holistic view is a more accurate picture of how a human soul functions. Philosophy and psychology support this same perspective, proving that the opposite of logic is not emotion: the opposite of logic is illogic. By the same token, there are two types of emotion: reasonable emotion and unreasonable emotion, one good, the other bad. There are dangers when emotion is left on its own, but there are equal dangers when logic is left on its own; so it is crucial that the two be united. Changing the academic super-genre and inviting pathos back will require writers to pursue, to an extent, divergent thinking.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Washburn, Travis, "Healing the Cartesian Split: Understanding and Renewing Pathos in Academic Writing" (2012). Theses and Dissertations. 3671.
emotion, pathos, reason, logic, academic writing, Cartesian split, Phaedrus, genre, Antonio Damasio, Daniel Kahneman, Robert Solomon, Amy Devitt