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Copyright (c) 2006 Dickenson Law School. All Rights Reserved.
Penn State Law Review

BOOK REVIEW SYMPOSIUM: On Being Among Friends: A Response to Eugene Garver's For the Sake of Argument

Spring, 2006

110 Penn St. L. Rev. 945


Richard K. Sherwin*


Being among friends, I allow myself to begin with a confession.

I have struggled with my response to Gene's book. I've asked myself: how do I do justice to this gesture of friendship? How can I reciprocate his gift to us, this book, For the Sake of Argument? ow How can I be a good friend?

What is a friend?

Without an answer to this question, how can I know I've done well?

Let me begin with something about which I am more certain.

Eugene Garver has done us all a great service. He has written a lucid book about what needs to be integrated into our current understanding of practical reason. He invites us to set pathos and ethos, affect and character, alongside conventional notions of rationality.

The good person is someone who deliberates and persuades within a broad rhetorical base. Reason does not have to be disinterested to retain its identity as reason. Practical wisdom doesn't have to be anchored in rules, or avoid appealing to emotions, interests, or prejudices, to remain prudent. In short, practical reasoning is rhetorical, as well as ethical.

As a "living faculty," 2 rather than a mechanical calculator of interests, practical reason flourishes in the spirit of friendship.

Friendship, it would seem, is on many people's minds these days. 3 As the nation-state falters, 4 and we search for new models for political community, it is not surprising that we turn to character and ...
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