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DEEPEN YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE THEORIES IN THE 10TH EDITION

 

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New to Theory Resources?
Find out more in this
short video overview (3:01).

Chapter Outlines
10th Edition

From the Instructors Manual


List mode: Normal (click on theory name to show detail) | Show All details | Clear details

Chapter 24—Narrative Paradigm

  1. Introduction.
    1. For Walter Fisher, storytelling epitomizes human nature.
    2. All forms of human communication that seek to affect belief, attitude or action need to be seen fundamentally as stories.
    3. Offering good reasons has more to do with telling a compelling story than it does with piling up evidence or constructing a tight argument.
    4. Fisher’s narrative paradigm emphasizes that no communication is purely descriptive or didactic.
  2. Telling a compelling story
    1. Most religious traditions are passed on from generation to generation through the retelling of stories.
    2. American writer Frederick Buechner takes a fresh approach to passing on religious story.
    3. Buechner’s account of love, unfaithfulness, and forgiveness in the eighth-century BC biblical story of Hosea and Gomer provides a vehicle for examining Fisher’s narrative paradigm in the rest of the chapter.
  3. Narration and paradigm: Defining the terms.
    1. Fisher defines narration as symbolic actions—words and/or deeds—that have sequence and meaning for those who live, create, and interpret them.
    2. Fisher’s definition of narration is broad.
      1. Narration is rooted in time and space.
      2. It covers every aspect of life with regard to character, motive, and action.
      3. It refers to verbal and nonverbal messages.
      4. Even abstract communication is included.
    3. A paradigm is a conceptual framework —a widely shared perceptual filter.
    4. Fisher’s narrative paradigm is offered as “the foundation on which a complete rhetoric needs to be built.”
  4. Paradigm shift: From a rational-world paradigm to a narrative one.
    1. According to Fisher, the writings of Plato and Aristotle reflect the early evolution from a generic to a specific use of logos—from story to statement.
    2. As opposed to the abstract discourse of philosophy, rhetoric is practical speech—the secular combination of pure logic on the one hand and emotional stories that stir up passions on the other.
    3. Fisher sees philosophical and technical discussion as scholars’ standard approach to knowledge.
    4. The rational-world paradigm is the mind-set of the reigning technical experts.
      1. People are essentially rational.
      2. We make decisions on the basis of arguments.
      3. The type of speaking situation (legal, scientific, legislative) determines the course of our argument.
      4. Rationality is determined by how much we know and how well we argue.
      5. The world is a set of logical puzzles that we can solve through rational analysis.
    5. The narrative paradigm is built on parallel, yet contrasting, premises.
      1. People are essentially storytellers.
      2. We make decisions on the basis of good reasons, which vary depending on the communication situation, media, and genre (philosophical, technical, rhetorical, or artistic).
      3. History, biography, culture, and character determine what we consider good reasons.
      4. Narrative rationality is determined by the coherence and fidelity of our stories.
      5. The world is a set of stories from which we choose, and thus constantly re-create, our lives.
    6. Unlike the rational-world paradigm, the narrative paradigm privileges values, aesthetic criteria, and commonsense interpretation.
    7. We judge stories based on narrative rationality.
  5. Narrative rationality: Coherence and fidelity.
    1. Fisher believes that everyone applies the same standards of narrative rationality to stories.
    2. The operative principle of narrative rationality is identification rather than deliberation.
    3. The twin tests of a story are narrative coherence and narrative fidelity.
    4. Narrative coherence: Does the story hang together?
      1. How probable is the story to the hearer?
      2. Fisher suggests a number of ways we judge whether a story hangs together.
      3. Narrative consistency parallels lines of argument in the rational-world paradigm.
      4. The test of reason, however, is only one factor affecting narrative coherence.
      5. Stories hang together when we’re convinced that the narrator hasn’t left out important details, fudged the facts, or ignored other plausible interpretations.
      6. The ultimate test of narrative coherence is whether or not we can count on the characters to act in a reliable manner.
    5. Narrative fidelity: Does the story ring true and humane?
      1. Does the story square with the hearer’s experiences?
      2. A story has fidelity when it provides good reasons to guide our future actions.
      3. Values set the narrative paradigm’s logic of good reasons apart from the rational-world paradigm’s logic of reasons.
      4. The logic of good reasons centers on five value-related issues.
        1. The values embedded in the message.
        2. The relevance of those values to decisions made.
        3. The consequence of adhering to those values.
        4. The overlap with the worldview of the audience.
        5. Conformity with what audience members believe is an ideal basis of conduct.
      5. People tend to prefer accounts that fit with what they view as truthful and humane.
      6. There is an ideal audience that identifies the humane values that a good story embodies.
      7. These stories include the timeless “values of truth, the good, beauty, health, wisdom, courage, temperance, justice, harmony, order, communion, friendship, and oneness with the Cosmos.”
      8. Communities not based on humane virtues are possible, but Fisher believes these less idealistic value systems lack true coherence.
      9. Fisher believes the humane virtues of the ideal audience shape our logic of good reasons.
      10. Almost all communication is narrative, and we evaluate it on that basis.
  6. Critique: Does Fisher’s story have coherence and fidelity?
    1. Fisher’s theory excels in fulfilling most of the requirements of a good interpretive theory.
    2. He expands our understanding of human nature, is specific about the values we prefer, and supports his new paradigm with intriguing rhetorical criticism of significant texts—a classic method of qualitative research.
    3. If Fisher is right, when it comes to evaluating coherence and fidelity, people with ordinary common sense are competent rhetorical critics.
    4. Fisher’s narrative paradigm offers a fresh reworking to Aristotelian analysis.
    5. Critics charge that Fisher is overly optimistic when, like Aristotle, he argues that people have a natural tendency to prefer the true and the just.
      1. Fisher grants that evil can overwhelm our tendency to adopt good stories, but argues that’s all the more reason to identify and promote the humane values described by the narrative paradigm.
      2. Others suggest that narrative rationality implies that good stories cannot go beyond what people already believe and value, thus denying the rhetoric of possibility.

You can access the Outline for a particular chapter in several ways:

  • Switch to View by Theory, then select the desired theory/chapter from the drop-down list at the top of the page. Look in the list of available resources.
  • To quickly find a theory by chapter number, use the Table of Contents and link from there. It will take you directly to the theory with available options highlighted.
  • You can also use the Theory List, which will take you directly to the theory with available options highlighted.

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Resources
by Type




 OUTLINES


 VIDEOS


 ESSAY


 LINKS





Instructors can get
additional resources.
Read more

New to Theory
Resources?

Find out more
in this short
video overview
(3:01).

Chapter Outlines
10th Edition

From the Instructors Manual


List mode: Normal (click on theory name to show detail) | Show All details | Clear details

Chapter 24—Narrative Paradigm

  1. Introduction.
    1. For Walter Fisher, storytelling epitomizes human nature.
    2. All forms of human communication that seek to affect belief, attitude or action need to be seen fundamentally as stories.
    3. Offering good reasons has more to do with telling a compelling story than it does with piling up evidence or constructing a tight argument.
    4. Fisher’s narrative paradigm emphasizes that no communication is purely descriptive or didactic.
  2. Telling a compelling story
    1. Most religious traditions are passed on from generation to generation through the retelling of stories.
    2. American writer Frederick Buechner takes a fresh approach to passing on religious story.
    3. Buechner’s account of love, unfaithfulness, and forgiveness in the eighth-century BC biblical story of Hosea and Gomer provides a vehicle for examining Fisher’s narrative paradigm in the rest of the chapter.
  3. Narration and paradigm: Defining the terms.
    1. Fisher defines narration as symbolic actions—words and/or deeds—that have sequence and meaning for those who live, create, and interpret them.
    2. Fisher’s definition of narration is broad.
      1. Narration is rooted in time and space.
      2. It covers every aspect of life with regard to character, motive, and action.
      3. It refers to verbal and nonverbal messages.
      4. Even abstract communication is included.
    3. A paradigm is a conceptual framework —a widely shared perceptual filter.
    4. Fisher’s narrative paradigm is offered as “the foundation on which a complete rhetoric needs to be built.”
  4. Paradigm shift: From a rational-world paradigm to a narrative one.
    1. According to Fisher, the writings of Plato and Aristotle reflect the early evolution from a generic to a specific use of logos—from story to statement.
    2. As opposed to the abstract discourse of philosophy, rhetoric is practical speech—the secular combination of pure logic on the one hand and emotional stories that stir up passions on the other.
    3. Fisher sees philosophical and technical discussion as scholars’ standard approach to knowledge.
    4. The rational-world paradigm is the mind-set of the reigning technical experts.
      1. People are essentially rational.
      2. We make decisions on the basis of arguments.
      3. The type of speaking situation (legal, scientific, legislative) determines the course of our argument.
      4. Rationality is determined by how much we know and how well we argue.
      5. The world is a set of logical puzzles that we can solve through rational analysis.
    5. The narrative paradigm is built on parallel, yet contrasting, premises.
      1. People are essentially storytellers.
      2. We make decisions on the basis of good reasons, which vary depending on the communication situation, media, and genre (philosophical, technical, rhetorical, or artistic).
      3. History, biography, culture, and character determine what we consider good reasons.
      4. Narrative rationality is determined by the coherence and fidelity of our stories.
      5. The world is a set of stories from which we choose, and thus constantly re-create, our lives.
    6. Unlike the rational-world paradigm, the narrative paradigm privileges values, aesthetic criteria, and commonsense interpretation.
    7. We judge stories based on narrative rationality.
  5. Narrative rationality: Coherence and fidelity.
    1. Fisher believes that everyone applies the same standards of narrative rationality to stories.
    2. The operative principle of narrative rationality is identification rather than deliberation.
    3. The twin tests of a story are narrative coherence and narrative fidelity.
    4. Narrative coherence: Does the story hang together?
      1. How probable is the story to the hearer?
      2. Fisher suggests a number of ways we judge whether a story hangs together.
      3. Narrative consistency parallels lines of argument in the rational-world paradigm.
      4. The test of reason, however, is only one factor affecting narrative coherence.
      5. Stories hang together when we’re convinced that the narrator hasn’t left out important details, fudged the facts, or ignored other plausible interpretations.
      6. The ultimate test of narrative coherence is whether or not we can count on the characters to act in a reliable manner.
    5. Narrative fidelity: Does the story ring true and humane?
      1. Does the story square with the hearer’s experiences?
      2. A story has fidelity when it provides good reasons to guide our future actions.
      3. Values set the narrative paradigm’s logic of good reasons apart from the rational-world paradigm’s logic of reasons.
      4. The logic of good reasons centers on five value-related issues.
        1. The values embedded in the message.
        2. The relevance of those values to decisions made.
        3. The consequence of adhering to those values.
        4. The overlap with the worldview of the audience.
        5. Conformity with what audience members believe is an ideal basis of conduct.
      5. People tend to prefer accounts that fit with what they view as truthful and humane.
      6. There is an ideal audience that identifies the humane values that a good story embodies.
      7. These stories include the timeless “values of truth, the good, beauty, health, wisdom, courage, temperance, justice, harmony, order, communion, friendship, and oneness with the Cosmos.”
      8. Communities not based on humane virtues are possible, but Fisher believes these less idealistic value systems lack true coherence.
      9. Fisher believes the humane virtues of the ideal audience shape our logic of good reasons.
      10. Almost all communication is narrative, and we evaluate it on that basis.
  6. Critique: Does Fisher’s story have coherence and fidelity?
    1. Fisher’s theory excels in fulfilling most of the requirements of a good interpretive theory.
    2. He expands our understanding of human nature, is specific about the values we prefer, and supports his new paradigm with intriguing rhetorical criticism of significant texts—a classic method of qualitative research.
    3. If Fisher is right, when it comes to evaluating coherence and fidelity, people with ordinary common sense are competent rhetorical critics.
    4. Fisher’s narrative paradigm offers a fresh reworking to Aristotelian analysis.
    5. Critics charge that Fisher is overly optimistic when, like Aristotle, he argues that people have a natural tendency to prefer the true and the just.
      1. Fisher grants that evil can overwhelm our tendency to adopt good stories, but argues that’s all the more reason to identify and promote the humane values described by the narrative paradigm.
      2. Others suggest that narrative rationality implies that good stories cannot go beyond what people already believe and value, thus denying the rhetoric of possibility.

You can access the Outline for a particular chapter in several ways:

  • Switch to View by Theory, then select the desired theory/chapter from the drop-down list at the top of the page. Look in the list of available resources.
  • To quickly find a theory by chapter number, use the Table of Contents and link from there. It will take you directly to the theory with available options highlighted.
  • You can also use the Theory List, which will take you directly to the theory with available options highlighted.

Back to top



The screen on this device is not wide enough to display Theory Resources. Try rotating the device to landscape orientation to see if more options become available.
Resources available to all users:

  • Theory Overview—abstract of each chapter
  • Self-Help Quizzes—for student preparation
  • Chapter Outlines
  • Key Names—important names and terms in each chapter
  • Conversation Videos—interviews with theorists
  • Application Logs—student application of theories
  • Essay Questions—for student prepatation
  • Suggested Movie Clips—tie-in movie scenese to theories
  • Links—web resources related to each chapter
  • Primary Sources—for each theory with full chapter coverage
  • Further Resources—bibliographic and other suggestions
  • Changes—for each theory, since the previous edition
  • Theory Archive—PDF copies from the last edition in which a theory appeared

Resources available only to registered instructors who are logged in:

  • Discussion Suggestions
  • Exercises & Activities
  • PowerPoint® presentations you can use
  • Short Answer Quizzes—suggested questions and answers
  • Compare Texts—comparison of theories covered in A First Look and ten other textbooks

Information for Instructors. Read more


 

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