What kind of stylistic training might equip students for this
polyglot voyage? Would it not be the same education that might
equip us as we attempt to understand our colleagues in
other fields, at least to "formulate our differences," even if we
cannot agree on a common conceptual universe? For a start, it
should teach the sensitivity and adaptability needed to move from
one discourse-community to another. It will have to be some sort
of rehearsal education, one that imagines particular occasions
and then tries to formulate a discourse appropriate to them.
Whatever the pedagogical techniques -- learning to write essays
or lab reports, practising oral presentations for business or
arguments for a law court, rehearsing a political speech -- the
question would remain the same: Here is a situation; what
discourse is appropriate to it?|
Such a paideia would differ from our current practices in elemental ways. It would not, for example, place so much stress on originality of thought and expression. Rather, it would recommend mastery of a received body of basic argumentation which could then be assembled into a mixture to fit the occasion.
Another variation? on a Post-Theme?