Writing and Rhetoric
Every time we write—whether in a personal, academic, or civic setting—we have a responsibility to do so in ways that are intellectually honest, responsive to our readers, and considerate of other views.
And what is my sort? you will ask. I am one of those who are very willing to be refuted if I say anything which is not true, and very willing to refute any one who says what is not true, and quite as ready to be refuted as to refute.”
—from Plato's Gorgias
Writing and Rhetoric courses introduce students to principles of academic discourse and ethical argumentation. Students are taught how to frame a claim, conduct research, provide evidence, consider alternative views, and write in language appropriate to the intended audience. We teach these as necessary constituents of academic writing and as ethical practices—the foundations of responsible public discourse.
Consistent with the mission of Notre Dame, we propose that these skills be taught within the context of Catholic social teaching, meaning that students in our classes may study the rhetorics of issues such as the dignity of the human person, the option of the poor and vulnerable, and the rights of workers.
Writing and Rhetoric in this way offers Notre Dame students a rich conversation, one with its own vocabulary of terms and concepts, that prepares them for academic life and raises questions about what it means to be a moral citizen.