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Rhetoric, Technology, and the Virtues

by Jared S. Colton and Steve Holmes

Paperback Price $24.95
Ebook Price $20.95
30-day ebook rental price $10.00

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 “[A] valuable contribution to the field. . . . [T]he authors’ willingness to update Aristotle’s virtues with various theorists addresses some of the gaps in the Aristotelian framework. This book’s approach to ethics is unique and necessary.”
—James Brown, Rutgers University

“Through a series of finely told case studies, the authors present a fascinating and compelling notion of emergent normative ethics to help navigate our digitally mediated world. Anyone interested in the intersection of digital rhetoric, ethics, and online culture should read this book.”
—John Gallagher, University of Illinois

"Fortunately, Rhetoric,Technology, and the Virtues offers an insightful and practical discussion about ethical frameworks that contribute to our understanding of digital social justice. . . they have established a productive foundation and framework for scholars and educators."
Communication Design Quarterly

"The contributions of Colton and Holmes’s book. . . offer fascinating and exciting angles for retooling virtue ethics for digital media spaces and issues. I appreciate the authors’ careful attention to the complexity of various scholarly efforts to resuscitate ethical theories."


Rhetoric, Technology, and the Virtues offers a framework for theorizing ethics in digital and networked media. While the field of rhetoric and writing studies has traditionally given attention to Plato’s Gorgias and Phaedrus dialogues, this volume updates Aristotle’s basic framework of hexis for the digital age. According to Aristotle, “When men change their hexeis—their dispositions, habits, comportments, and so on, in relation to an activity—they change their thought.”

Rhetoric, Technology, and the Virtues argues that virtue ethics supports postmodern criticisms of rational autonomy and universalism while also enabling a discussion of the actual ethical behaviors that digital users form through their particular communicative ends and various rhetorical purposes. Authors Jared Colton and Steve Holmes extend Aristotle’s hexis framework through contemporary virtue ethicists and political theorists whose writing works from a tacit virtue ethics framework. They examine these key theorists through a range of case studies of digital habits of human users, including closed captioning, trolling, sampling, remixing, gamifying for environmental causes, and using social media, alongside a consideration of the ethical habits of nonhuman actors.

Tackling a needed topic with clarity and defined organization, Rhetoric, Technology, and the Virtues carefully synthesizes various strands of ethical thinking, convincingly argues that virtue ethics is a viable framework for digital rhetoric, and provides a practical way to assess the changing hexeis encountered across the network of ethical situations in the digital world.

Jared S. Colton is an assistant professor at Utah State University, where he teaches courses in rhetoric and technical communication. His research addresses the intersections of rhetorical theory, ethics, and politics, from concerns of pedagogy to social justice. His work has appeared in Computers and Composition, Technical Communication Quarterly, Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, Rhetoric Review, and other academic journals.

Steve Holmes is associate professor in the Technical Communication and Rhetoric Program at Texas Tech University, where he directs the BA in technical communication. He is the author of Procedural Habits: The Rhetoric of Videogames as Embodied Practice and coauthor of Rhetoric, Technology, and the Virtues.

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  • Paperback Price: $24.95
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-60732-805-6
  • Ebook Price: $20.95
  • 30-day ebook rental price: $10.00
  • EISBN: 978-1-60732-806-3
  • Publication Month: October
  • Publication Year: 2018
  • Pages: 184
  • Discount Type: Short
  • Author: by Jared S. Colton and Steve Holmes
  • ECommerce Code: 978-1-60732-805-6
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