Questions of objectivity are perennial concerns of rhetorical critics—whether it is attainable, what form it takes, and how generally its results may be held. Given the celebrated “particularity” of any given rhetorical act, “objectivity” in rhetorical criticism is generally inadmissible as a standard for evaluation. The most frequent response to such questions is to assume a relativistic critical stance. Another alternative is to take a phenomenological approach—to let “the things” speak for “themselves.” This approach has taken root in communication studies, but less so in rhetorical criticism, given the (false) dilemma that the objectivity-subjectivity dichotomy forces. Edmund Husserl, in his last works, suggests the real decision lies between “ideal” and genuine objectivity. This study, then, offers up this choice, and proposes—by examining Husserl’s later concepts, method, and extensions—that rhetorical critics can, and perhaps should, seek genuine objectivity.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License