In the West’s Will to Know and its attendant rhetorical forms, speech has been related to silence in primarily three ways. In rhetoric and dialectic, speech pursues speech; in rhetorical education, silence pursues speech; and in sacred, ascetic rhetoric, silence pursues silence. These three relations of speech to silence as a form of knowledge in the Western rhetorical tradition leave a fourth untraversed. Yet to be explored is speech in pursuit of silence. This essay turns to the Buddhist tradition of rhetoric and dialectic to identify a form of knowledge where speech—negation—pursues silence. I then trace the same model of negatory speech in pursuit of silence in the long-repressed practice of sophistic antilogos.

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