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Echoes of the Gods: Towards a Jaynesian Understanding of Rhetoric

Ted Remington
In Marcel Kuijsten (ed.), Gods, Voices, and the Bicameral Mind: The Theories of Julian Jaynes (Julian Jaynes Society, 2016).


If Julian Jaynes had done nothing but write Chapter 2 of Book I of The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (OC hereafter), rhetoricians would be in his debt. In this chapter, Jaynes offers a detailed explanation of how metaphor - a preoccupation of rhetoric from its beginnings as a discipline in ancient Athens - works on a tactical, cognitive level. Even without the broader context of his argument in OC regarding metaphor's role in creating consciousness, Jaynes offers rhetoricians a helpful vocabulary with which to talk and think about metaphor, one that builds on work done in the twentieth century by students of rhetoric, particularly I. A. Richards, whose The Philosophy of Rhetoric is one of the most influential works on rhetoric that have appeared in the last 100 years. Like Jaynes, Richards was preoccupied not only with what he saw as an impoverished vocabulary for the working of metaphor, but of the importance of metaphor to thought. ...