The Gorgias Society Constitution,
1983 to the Present:

The purpose of the GORGIAS SOCIETY is to provide a forum for and lend support to students and faculty members whose interests conincide with or extend the purview of the Undergraduate and Graduate Rhetoric Program (Ph.D. English, Rhetoric Track, UTA). This will be accomplished by:

    providing occasions for conversation and a discussion of indiviudal members' work,
    providing reading lists of relevant materials,
    and sponsoring guest lectures by scholars in the humanities.

More specifically, the purpose of the GORGIAS SOCIETY is to provide a forum for what Richard Rorty calls "normal" and "revolutionary" discourse. Normal discouse, as Rorty defines it, is that discourse which takes place within "an agreed upon set of conventions about what counts as a relevant contribution, what counts as answering a question, what counts as having a good argument for that answer or a good criticism of it." Revolutionay discourse may occur when someone joins in the discourse who is ignorant of these conventions or has set them aside. Normal discourse takes place within the boundaries of the familiar and seeks to contribute to systematic inquiry. Revolutionary discourse is of the unfamiliar and, as Dewey says, breaks the crust of convention. Accordingly, revolutionay discourse takes us beyond our old selves and helps us to become new beings. Its goal is to contirbute to the conversation rather than to systematic inquiry that leads to the discovery of objective truth. But normal and revolutionay discourse do not compete; rather, they make each other possible and consequently help each other out.

In providing a forum for both normal and revolutionary discourse, the GORGIAS SOCIETY seeks to promote new and more provocative ways of expressing ourselves, and thus of understanding that wisdom consists in, not the discovery of things as they are, but the ability to sustain the conversation.

In this spirit, the group holds forth on the First Friday evening of each month.


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