Journal of Applied Communication Research, 28(1):1--23, 2000. Paper doi abstract bibtex
Abstract Emmanuel Levinas writes of how the “call of conscience”; is a “primordial discourse”; that “interrupts”; the routines and language‐games that help organize and give meaning to a person's everyday existence. Levinas thus provides a way of thinking about the relationship between the call of conscience and rhetoric that advances what rhetorical theorists have so far claimed about this relationship. This essay develops the position that the call of conscience is a rhetorical interruption in its purest form. A case study is offered to illustrate how such an interruption manifests itself in the debate over the justifiability and social acceptability of physician‐assisted suicide. The specific rhetorical transaction in question occurred in cyberspace and lasted five months; it began when members of a disability civil rights group known as “Not Dead Yet!”; conducted what their opponents described as an “invasion”; of an electronic mailing list operated by the Euthanasia Research and Guidance Organization.