Whereas the new rhetoric project associates the rational with the certainty of abstract objectivism, normative philosophy associates the rational with the ethical (the good), that is, the individual's pursuit of a life well lived. Normative philosophy distinguishes the ethical, then, not from the rational but from the moral (the reasonable), which represents the obligations we have toward others to ensure just relations among people. In philosophy, the rational and reasonable function as loci for arguments about values, but their rhetorical resourcefulness is dismissed rather than elaborated by the philosophy reviewed here, which gives the reasonable's abstract objectivity priority over the concrete preferences embodied by the rational. The concrete objectivism so important to the new rhetoric project could be more fully redeemed, I suggest, were the new rhetoric project to transform philosophy's rational-reasonable distinction into two uneasily coexisting, mutually reinforcing loci.

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