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PERSUASIVE REASONING AND DEFECTIVE ACTION

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Abstract

The idea that the operations of the mind are carried out discursively, even linguistically, has won wide acceptance among contemporary Thomists. What has not been explored, however, is the role of persuasion in motivating the actions of the intellect and will. This paper explores the possibility that some form of persuasive discourse is employed by the mind to move the intellect and will to precipitate action. Drawing on essentialism as a foundational ontology, I offer a prefatory theory of persuasive reasoning –‘natural rhetoric’– to explain how it is that we persuade ourselves (and others) to do things, including things that are defective.

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