A Matter of Voice and Plot: Belief and Suspicion in Legal Storytelling

In Part I of this article, I describe in greater detail the tensions touched upon above that divide the current legal culture between rhetorical affirmers on the one side and critical deconners on the other. In Part II, I examine more closely the persuasive discourse that White calls “constitutive rhetoric.” White’s understanding of rhetoric offers a paradigm for the rhetorical affirmer’s viewpoint. In Part III, I begin to explore the limitations and dangers inherent in White’s and, by extension, in the rhetorical affirmer’s approach. In Part IV, I attempt to provide a way of bringing together important critical and rhetorical insights. My goal here is to strengthen White’s rhetorical perspective by directly confronting the dangers to which the critical deconners seek to alert us.