This article presents the outline of a rhetorical theory that allows us to take Nietzsche's statements that “all language is rhetorical” and that “language is entirely the product of the rhetorical art” literally, not as a hyperbole or metaphor. Nietzsche argues that the normativity of the human world canonized by scientific and philosophical taxonomy and logic is but a makeshift edifice of metaphors—habituated prejudices that humans take to be norms by suppressing the fact that they are but the residue of a primordial rhetorical activity. In this sense, scientists speak metaphorically, overlooking their own axiomatic bias, while poets speak literally, drawing on unbiased and defamiliarized “first impressions.” Human cognition, rigged by the homogenizing abstractions of metaphors, can thus be rebooted by the rhetorical art and thereby reconnected with the shared physiological roots of empathy and language. The newly empowered competence for achieving bias-free, unprejudiced, free thinking is rhetorical heuristics.

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