Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Lyon Rathbun

Second Advisor

Dr. Mark Noe

Third Advisor

Dr. James Frost


In this thesis, I will be examining the arguments Wayne C. Booth put forth for Pluralism in rhetorical studies. I will show how Booth believed that ethical criticism, not only in literary criticism but in all disputation, must take place in order for us to understand each other and objective values. Booth believed that our differing opinions and arguments may not be reconcilable, but by employing “listening rhetoric”, a method of paying close attention to the arguments of those who disagree with us, we can arrive at truths that are shared within a community. I juxtapose Booth with both Positivists (such as Bertrand Russell and others) and Deconstructionists (such as Jacques Derrida) and demonstrate how Booth’s Pluralism was formed over time as a response to these theories.


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