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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Articulating Sophistic Rhetoric as a Validity Heuristic for Writing Assessment

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This article develops a validity inquiry heuristic from several Elder Sophists' positions on the nomos-physis controversy of the fifth and fourth century B.C.E. in Greece. The nomos-physis debate concerned the nature and existence of knowledge and virtue, and maps well to current discussion of validity inquiry in writing assessment. Beyond rearticulating validity as a reflexive, agency-constructing, rhetorical act, this article attempts to bridge disciplines by articulating validity in terms of rhetorical theory, and understanding ancient sophistic rhetorical positions as validity theory.

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