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The American Journal of Semiotics

Volume 18, Issue 1/4, 2002

Eduardo Neiva
Pages 173-192

Language, Essence, Falsification
Critical Rationalism and the Grounds of Political and Rhetorical Discussion

The paper examines the impact of the idea of falsification in Karl Popper’s philosophy of science to rhetorical and political discussion. The structure of language is considered as revealing an inescapable means of falsification. After criticizing the rhetorical tradition that goes way back to Platonic and Aristotelian essentialism, the paper concludes that critical negativity committed to solving social issues should be at the core of rhetorical interaction in any democracy. Falsification and not social unanimity is what empowers democratic practices.