Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 5-7-2021


One-year Embargo

Submission Type


Degree Name



Communication and Rhetorical Studies


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Janie Harden Fritz

Committee Member

Ronald C. Arnett

Committee Member

Erik Garrett


Jorge Luis Borges, Philosophy of Communication, storytelling, media ecology, fiction, language, labyrinths, time, encyclopedias


This project begins with the assumption that through storytelling we humans make sense of the world around us. Language and communication are powerful in defining who we are and allowing individuals to “become a self” (Taylor The Language 318). Drawing from Schrag, I argue that rhetoric is inextricably linked to discourse but is also situated beyond its classical persuasive function. Rhetoric evokes a response from the other, based on reflection and deliberation. Since that other might be a reader of texts of fiction, there is a rhetorical connection to interpretation that situates literature as an exemplar of communicative engagement.

This dissertation contends that Jorge Luis Borges’ work is hermeneutically provocative for philosophy of communication. Borges is able to transform intriguing philosophical enigmas into compelling stories that offer different interpretations, and that amplify the participation of the reader in the experience of storytelling. I also argue that Borges was engaged in fostering a communicative relationship with his readers, offering them alternative understandings to his fictional work, permitting them to become co-authors with the writer, and defying traditional approaches to the text.

This project seeks to understand how Jorge Luis Borges contributes to the conversation on philosophy of communication through some fundamental metaphysical inquiries found both in his fictional world and in his philosophical essays and lectures. I contend that Borges made a significant contribution to rhetorical hermeneutics since his writings promote a non-traditional approach to the relation among the author, the text and the reader. This dissertation examines some of the main topics that form the Borgesian universe: Labyrinths; mirrors; memory; dreams; myths; encyclopedias; and libraries. I argue that Jorge Luis Borges addressed the metaphysical problem of time through the former metaphors. Borges developed his own philosophy of communication rooted in his use of language for the search of meaning, on one hand, and in his drive to reach communicative engagement with his readers.



Available for download on Saturday, May 07, 2022