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Sci Tech    H4'ed 3/14/10

Who Was Walter Ong, and Why Is His Thought Important Today?

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Appleby, Joyce. Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism. New York and London: W. W. Norton, 2010. What Appleby refers to as relentless revolution involves the agonistic structures of the human psyche, which capitalism takes to a new level as does modern science.

Bakan, David. The Duality of Human Existence: An Essay on Psychology and Religion. Chicago: Rand McNally, 1966. David Bakan defines and explains two central tendencies in human nature, which he refers to as agency and communion. What he means by agency is the psychodynamism of the agonistic spirit discussed by Walter J. Ong. In The Psychology of Gender, 3rd ed. (Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2009), Vicki S. Helgeson works with Bakan's terms of agency and communion. In my article "The Female and Male Modes of Rhetoric" in the professional journal College English (Urbana, Illinois), 40, 8 (April 1979): 909-21, I have defined two modes of rhetoric that decidedly resemble what Bakan means by agency and communion. On page 910, I make the following brief characterizations: "The thinking represented in the female mode [of rhetoric] seems eidetic, methectic, open-ended, and generative, whereas the thinking in the male mode [of rhetoric] appears framed, contained, more pre-selected, and packaged."

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Bloom, Harold. Agon: Towards a Theory of Revisionism. Oxford and New York: OxfordUniversity Press, 1982.

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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