A Grammar of Motives by Kenneth Burke

By Kenneth Burke

Approximately this ebook Mr. Burke contributes an introductory and summarizing comment, "What is concerned, once we say what individuals are doing and why they're doing it? a solution to that question is the topic of this e-book. The ebook is anxious with the fundamental varieties of wherein, in keeping with the character of the realm as all males inevitably adventure it, are exemplified within the attributing of explanations. those sorts of although will be embodied profoundly or trivially, honestly or falsely. they're both found in systematically elaborated or metaphysical buildings, in criminal judgments, in poetry and fiction, in political and clinical works, in information and in bits of gossip provided at random."

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A naturalistic grounding of humanism, on the other hand, is "compensatory," in that personal agents are placed in a non-personal scene. " T h e Centrality of Substance Contemporary scientific theory, in proposing to abandon the categories of substance and causality, has done speculation a good turn. For it has made clear wherein the difference between philosophic and scientific terminologies o£ motivation resides. Philosophy, like com- 56 WAYS OF PLACEMENT mon sense, must think of human motivation dramatistically, in terma of action and its ends.

Erice upon them would be a dependence upon purely externa1 agencies. And fa from "stimulating" intrinsic resistance, the chemicals should be expected to cause a weakening of it, to the extent that the economy of the body grew to require these chemicals. The only place where intrinsic motive, as a genuinely interna1 activation, could be said to figure in materialistic medicology is on the occasions when physicians come upon illnesses in which the chances of recovery are felt to depend upon the menlal dtitude of the patient (whether he "wants" to recover).

What handier linguistic resource could a rhetorician want than an ambiguity whereby he can say "The state of affairs is substantially such-and-such," instead of having to say "The state of affairs is and/or is not such-and-such"? There is a similar usage in the expression, "in principle'' (a word furthermore that is literally a "first," as we realize when we recall its etymological descent from a word meaning: beginning, commencement, origin). So diplomats can skirt some commendable but embarrassing proposal by accepting it "in principle," a stylistic nicety that was once very popular with the League of Nations.

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