Ambiguous Weighting and Nonsensical Sense: The Problems of “Balance” and “Common Sense” as Commonplace Concepts and Decision-making Heuristics in Environmental Rhetoric
Abstract:Balance and common sense are commonplace concepts used to bring an audience to a place of shared understanding. These commonplaces also function as decision-making heuristics. I argue in this paper that the commonplaces “balance” and “common sense” are problematic because they suggest decision-making strategies that strip associated information of complexity and value. Through an examination of theory and responses to interviews conducted in relation to an ongoing project on environmental rhetoric, I problematize these concepts and consider how awareness of the interaction of these commonplaces and heuristics can benefit rhetors and agencies seeking environmental change.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 2012