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International Relations as Rhetorical Discipline: Toward (Re-)Newing Horizons

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Abstract

International Relations takes it all too often for granted that different scholarly sub-communities in the field are incommensurable and, therefore, that the erosion of the community of International Relations scholars is inevitable. I present a three-fold argument against this inevitability: First, International Relations is much better understood as a field of overlapping horizons than a discipline of incommensurable paradigms. Second, the most consequential overlap is epistemological. This overlap is constituted by very specific rhetorical understandings of epistemology that come remarkably close to the Aristotelian Rhetoric and Philosophical Sophistic. International Relations is a rhetorical discipline. Third, dialogue is able to seize the opportunities for communication across different horizons within and beyond International Relations—making it a lively and open discipline instead of a constellation of hermetically sealed and self-referential sub-communities.

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