On reading George Campbell: "resemblance" and "vivacity" in the Philosophy of Rhetoric

Arthur E. Walzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Written over a twenty-five year period and presented as a "series of Essays" rather than a single sustained argument, the Philosophy of Rhetoric is characterized by a technical vocabulary that shifts in meaning as the work progresses. This essay focuses on the instability of "resemblance", which has four distinct meanings in the Philosophy of Rhetoric, some deriving from the long tradition of ut pictura poesis and others from Hume's epistemology. The analysis of "resemblance" has implications for our understanding of rhetorical vivacity and for the meaning of Book III. Attention to this key term enriches our appreciation for Campbell's text as an attempt to weave into a single theory the varied threads of the eighteenth-century's analysis of response to language.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-342
Number of pages22
JournalRhetorica - Journal of the History of Rhetoric
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2000

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