[KB] Editing Redux

Stan Lindsay slindsa at yahoo.com
Thu Jan 26 15:00:31 EST 2017


I agree with James.  My earlier brief post was intended only as a codicil.  I think that the interesting discussion of "Trouble" in the KBJ illustrates the difficulty of pinning down even the meaning of the word "Trouble."  If, as Bruner seems to suggest, Burke used the term as a synonym for his more commonly used term "incongruity," or as a warning that all ratios inherently struggle with the problem of "inconsistencies," then I agree that "Trouble" is ever present in Pentadic analyses, even though it is not a sixth term.  Althouse & Anderson  write "that Burke propounds a "principle of consistency" between pentadic terms (Grammar 9)."  Very true!  
The expanded applications of various concepts of "Trouble," however, suggest that a single pentadic set is capable of engendering a zillion other pentadic sets (give or take two or three trillion), as each person considers that his/her own meaning of any given term (such as even the word "Trouble") or any given assessment of the Scene does not find congruity with the meaning held by the originator of the pentadic set.  A "Scene," for example, can be minute or expansive (by widening or narrowing the circumference), as the originator of the pentadic set wishes.  It can include everything from physical setting to philosophical worldviews.  Subsequent creators of pentadic sets dealing with the same issue/s will choose to expand or truncate the Scene, as they wish.  Burke's Pentad is not concerned with "listing" or "categorizing"  every possibility (which is itself impossible) that could fit into a particular bin.  Therefore, it is not a taxonomy.  It is heuristic, since it allows any given individual to attempt to assess the "Motives" operative in a given pentadic set.  In order to have an Act, there must be an Agent who has a Purpose.  So, if my neighbor (Agent) mows his lawn (Act) with a loud gas-powered mower (Agency) at 3 a.m. (Scene), I can speculate concerning his Purpose--that he is trying to annoy me, or that he is showing his property for sale early tomorrow, etc.  The Pentad, itself is NOT social commentary, but it supplies a heuristic tool for anyone who would care to engage in social commentary, as I illustrate in my pentadic discussion of the abortion debate in Chapter 5 (how appropriate!) of my book Implicit Rhetoric:  Kenneth Burke's Extension of Aristotle's Concept of Entelechy.
The Pentad is a simple heuristic tool.  It depends on ratios and consistency, and yet there is even room for a Perspective by Incongruity, which one might call "Trouble," but it is actually "Trouble" with a designed Purpose (therefore, I prefer the term "Incongruity"), as when passing motorists see Cows painting "Eat Mor Chikin" on a billboard on the side of the road.  The Incongruity of Cows advocating the consumption of Chicken in misspelled English offers the passing motorists a new Perspective.
Since I mention Aristotle and Entelechy, I could add another "Grammar" to the two I mentioned in my earlier post.  Aristotle's "Grammar of Entelechy," from which I believe Burke developed his Pentad.  For Aristotle, every entelechy--whether physical, astrological, biological, artistic, or other human action--includes four causes of the motion or action:  The efficient cause/arche, the material cause/hule, the formal cause/eidos, and the final cause/telos.  Burke associates his Scene with the Material Cause.  He associates his Purpose with the Final Cause.  He associates his Agent with the Efficient Cause.  He struggles with the Formal Cause, and gets it wrong, I think.  But, once again, these 4 causes are quite similar to Burke's 5 motives.  The reason, I think, Burke changes "causes" to "motives" is that human action (Burke's focus) involves free will; whereas, biological motion (Aristotle's primary focus?) often involves only causes.
Any of the three "grammars" could accommodate a Cultural Criticism or Social Commentary, but as pure grammars, they are "stripped of specifics." Dr. Stan A. Lindsay, Ph.D.  Teaching Professor  Professional Communication College of Applied Studies  Florida State University  slindsay at pc.fsu.eduhttp://www.stanlindsay.comhttp://www.lindsayDIS.COM

      From: James Klumpp <jklumpp at umd.edu>
 To: Stan Lindsay <slindsa at yahoo.com>; Jim Moore <jimmijcat at hotmail.com>; "kb at kbjournal.org" <kb at kbjournal.org> 
 Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2017 7:49 AM
 Subject: Re: [KB] Editing Redux
   
 Just to focus on two words that I try to suspend when working with the pentad: taxonomy and categories.  Of course the pentadic terms as they function in the grammar are "stripped of . . . specifics" as Stan emphasizes.  What I would emphasize is that Stan's sentences are intended (I believe) to make the point that the game is in the relationships among the terms -- the ratios --  that are created in the well-formed sentence.  Symbolic assertion shapes those ratios.  So, I shy away from "taxonomy" because it has the implication of "binning" or sorting either terms or their referents into bins.  That would be a sort of mechanical process wrapped in referential meaning.  Burke argues elsewhere against this mechanical "name the address" thinking about how symbols work.  "Naming the categories" has the same mechanical ring to it for me.  When the pentad meets the specifics of symbolic action, the key is not what "belongs" to each pentadic term, but how the symbolic action arrays experience into a particular account.  In that linguistic act, hierarchy is performed (not imposed) as the ratios emerge to give meaning.  Thus do sentences (and other modes of symbolic array) do their work: shaping the shared understanding of the world by cajoling and negotiating.  My caution is to avoid the binning of mechanical understanding: autopsy, if you would.  Remember that at a well-performed autopsy, the object of study is dead.  Symbolic action isn't. I believe that some of the abuses we have perpetuated on the pentad as critics of discourse is because we have binned with the pentadic terms: sorting stuff into pentadic bins -- What is the agent? What is the act? etc. -- and then trying to put it into motion (sic); rather than seeing the pentad as a vocabulary to capture the differing ratios that construct meaning in symbolic action.  That is my plea: avoid the binning and emphasize the relationships that construct accounts.
  My two cents worth. Jim K
  
 On 1/23/2017 11:49 PM, Stan Lindsay wrote:
  
  Burkeans, 
  I appreciate the efforts to simplify (or humble) the Pentad.  After all, the book in which it is featured is called A "Grammar" of Motives.  Stripped of all its specifics, the Pentad functions something like the following (grammatical) sentence:  "The nominative noun (modified by adjective/s) verbed (modified by adverb/s) the accusative noun in the locative dative noun (modified by adjective/s) with the instrumental dative noun (modified by adjective/s) in order to infinitive."  It is void of specifics.  In the "grammar" of the Pentad, the previous sentence would read, "The Agent Acted in the Scene by using the Agency in order to accomplish the Purpose."  Once again, void of specifics.  The grammar by itself is neither positive nor negative--those positive or negative elements are introduced by specifying what belongs with each Pentadic term.  It is not a taxonomy in any hierarchal sense, but in the sense that the terms of the Pentad (like Noun, Verb, Adjective, Preposition, etc. of linguistic grammar) name the categories under which other specific words may be classified. 
  Stan    Dr. Stan A. Lindsay, Ph.D.  Teaching Professor   Professional Communication  College of Applied Studies   Florida State University   slindsay at pc.fsu.edu http://www.stanlindsay.com http://www.lindsayDIS.COM   
 
        From: Jim Moore <jimmijcat at hotmail.com>
 To: "kb at kbjournal.org" <kb at kbjournal.org> 
 Sent: Monday, January 23, 2017 6:43 PM
 Subject: Re: [KB] Editing Redux
  
  #yiv7206764076 -- .yiv7206764076EmailQuote {margin-left:1pt;padding-left:4pt;border-left:#800000 2px solid;}#yiv7206764076    #yiv7206764076 --p {margin-top:0;margin-bottom:0;}#yiv7206764076     Jim Klumpp wrote: 
  "Let the humble pentad do its work well.  If 
 we do, I think that we will have less chance of losing the point that 
 the pentad was posited for in the first place: to capture ways that 
 symbolic accounts carve up the world differently."
  
  Jim Moore responds: 
  Back in the day, my Burkean prof put it this way:  the pentad is not a taxonomy.  Rather, it is a heuristic designed to function as Prof. Klumpp has adumbrated.  I agree with Jim K. that incorporating the term Trouble into pentadic analysis will add little, if  anything, to the pentad's power as a heuristic.  The idea that "Trouble" is somehow "missing" from the pentad seems tacitly to attempt to give the pentad  purely objective descriptive accuracy that Burke did not claim for it. 
  Burke's eventual division of Agency into Means/Attitude served a different purpose:  to emphasize the coexistence of instrumental and postural Agencies, which sometimes may be useful to construe  as discrete.  "Trouble" seems to be an attempt put another scoop on the ice cream cone, a scoop that is already implied by  the presence of the Agent (an actor, not just a mover) amid the other four or five scoops.  That needless scoop leaves the ice cream in danger of tumbling with only questionable benefit to be derived from the new scoop. 
  I love rocky road, 
  Jim    From: KB <kb-bounces at kbjournal.org> on behalf of James Klumpp <jklumpp at umd.edu>
 Sent: January 23, 2017 1:57:41 PM
 To: kb at kbjournal.org; edwardcappel at frontier.com
 Subject: [KB] Editing Redux         I am not certain that I disagree at all with Ed Appel.  But I do think 
 that we err when we try to overburden the pentad by loading all Burkean 
 insights on it.  Trouble is one of those.  We need to remember that the 
 pentad was a vocabulary designed to work with variety of accounts.  
 "This book is concerned with the basic forms of thought which, in 
 accordance with the nature of the world as all men experience it, are 
 exemplified in the attributing of motives. . . We shall use five terms 
 as generating principle for our investigation.  In a rounded statement 
 about motives . . ."  Now when we accomplish this task of understanding 
 the ways in which the symbol using animal attributes motives, provides 
 symbolic accounts of situations, we have not said all that is to be 
 said.  Very well. Why does the pentad need to capture all of the world's 
 insight?  Let Ed say that the dramatistic process is necessary to a 
 fuller statement about diachronic narrative (and to human conflict).  I 
 am fine with that.  I agree.  And, drama is a natural metaphor because, 
 Burke argues elsewhere, the state of Babel creates disorder and 
 conflict, as Jim Moore adds.  But let us not lose sight of the necessary 
 work that the pentad does so well -- illuminating the variety of motives 
 that mark the Babel of human speech.  Let it do that work well and let 
 other insights take that necessary work and proceed further in the human 
 drama.
 
 In short, the addition of Trouble into the pentad does not enhance its 
 ability to clarify accounts, in my judgment.  Save the insights that 
 flow from Trouble and the many other terms of disorder that Ed has 
 cataloged for a fuller discussion of the rich complex of terminologies 
 of which the pentad is one.  Let the humble pentad do its work well.  If 
 we do, I think that we will have less chance of losing the point that 
 the pentad was posited for in the first place: to capture ways that 
 symbolic accounts carve up the world differently.
 
 Jim Klumpp
 
 -- 
 -------------
 James F. Klumpp, Professor Emeritus
 Department of Communication, University of Maryland
 409 Upper Haw Dr., Mars Hill, NC 28754
 Email: jklumpp at umd.edu
 Voice: 828.689.4456
 Website: http://terpconnect.umd.edu/~jklumpp/home.htm
 
 
 _______________________________________________
 KB mailing list
 KB at kbjournal.org
 http://kbjournal.org/mailman/listinfo/kb_kbjournal.org
     
 _______________________________________________
 KB mailing list
 KB at kbjournal.org
 http://kbjournal.org/mailman/listinfo/kb_kbjournal.org
  
 
      
  
 _______________________________________________
KB mailing list
KB at kbjournal.org
http://kbjournal.org/mailman/listinfo/kb_kbjournal.org
 
 
 -- 
-------------
James F. Klumpp, Professor Emeritus
Department of Communication, University of Maryland
409 Upper Haw Dr., Mars Hill, NC 28754
Email: jklumpp at umd.edu
Voice: 828-689-4456
Website: http://terpconnect.umd.edu/~jklumpp/home.htm 

   
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://kbjournal.org/pipermail/kb_kbjournal.org/attachments/20170126/41de53f4/attachment.html>


More information about the KB mailing list