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Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue: From the Art of Discourse to the Art of Reason Paperback – January 27, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0226629766 ISBN-10: 0226629767

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 436 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (January 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226629767
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226629766
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #882,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Ong's elucidation of Ramism as a significant segment of the history of logic is by far the most complete, most searching, most convincing that has been written. In particular, his account of the internal history of Ramist dialectic is an amazing and valuable piece of scholarship. . . . So fundamental is Father Ong's achievement, that not only scholars of Ramus and Ramism, but anyone with the lightest interest in the Renaissance as a whole, and especially in the histories of science and logic of this period, should turn, and return, to this work to obtain considerable enlightenment about a segment of intellectual history that has too long remained confused and obscure."

(John E. Murdoch Isis 1961-12-01)

"This careful book succeeds in correcting and expanding our knowledge of the thought and works of Ramus through a patient examination and rigid reconsideration of the source materials, old and new."

(French Review 1960-05-01)

"Indispensable for any scholar interested in Ramus and his influence. But beyond that [it makes] an important contribution to the continuing attempt to find out where the modern mind came from."

(T. K. Scott Jr. Journal of Philosophy)

About the Author

Walter J. Ong, SJ (1912-2003) was professor at St. Louis University and an internationally renowned scholar of rhetorical theory and history. He is the author of numerous books, including In the Human Grain: Further Explorations of Contemporary Culture and Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Fred Cheyunski on June 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The review to the previous edition that appeared in 1999 still holds true about the importance of Ong's effort.

Adrian Johns' forward in this edition, asks "Why study Ramus?" and indicates the cultural phenomenon that occurred when Ramus's charts went viral in the mid to late 16th century. He summarizes Ong's explanation regarding this translation of thought into visually oriented branching diagrams printed on a page. The summary addresses Ramus contribution to "eye" oriented approaches (vs. verbal / auditory or "ear"), attention to steps or methods in arriving at a conclusions or outcomes, and foundation for many succeeding educators and thinkers such as Descartes and Newton.

In addition to Johns' forward, the inclusions of Ong's preface for an earlier paperback edition and his original forward are very helpful. In the former, Ong mentions that had he done this work later he would have included attention to the resemblance of Ramus' binary dichotomized charts with those of digital computer diagrams. For Ong, this subterranean parallel was as if Ramus was writing programs 400 years before computers with similar consequences to what is occurring today in the modern world.

Although quite dense and detailed, reading Ong's Ramus yields many rewards and insights into the transition to the modern mind.
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Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue: From the Art of Discourse to the Art of Reason
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