Post-truth, understood as a turn from collective sense and judgment to nonpublic forms of epistemic justification, is a distinctly rhetorical problem. This article offers, in response, a theorization of knowledge making as the means by which affective and material impingements upon bodies become publicly legible and rhetorically available. For this, the author turns, perhaps unexpectedly, to John Locke. Locke’s works offer the foundations of an empirical theory of rhetoric that embraces the sensible realm not as a conduit to reality but as a space where social connection becomes possible. Locke engages this realm through natural historical inquiry. Tracing this inquiry to his commonplacing practices, the author presents the rhetorical-dialectical topics as a basis for the shared sense and judgment that he pursued and that post-truth demands. The topics, this article argues, guide and enlarge the senses, forming objects of knowledge with which to sustain public life—objects about which plural truths are possible.

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