John Lyne, PhD

1425 Cathedral of Learning
Office hours: By APT

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PhD, University of Wisconsin, Madison


Professor of Communication, Faculty of Bioethics, Resident Fellow, Center for the Philosophy of Science

John Lyne studies philosophical and theoretical issues in rhetoric and communication, rhetoric of science, and argumentation. He has published work on evolutionary biology and “gene talk,” the intersections of science and common sense, and philosophically oriented work influenced by C.S. Peirce, Kenneth Burke, and Wittgenstein. He also teaches a graduate seminar on the rhetoric and philosophy of medicine in the M.A. program in Bioethics. He has team taught seminars with faculty from History and Philosophy of Science, Biology, Economics, and Political Science. His work appears in journals and edited volumes both inside and outside the field of communication, and he has been editor-in-chief of a book series on the rhetoric of inquiry with the University of Wisconsin Press. He has directed several national award-winning dissertations. Doctoral advisees have taken faculty positions at the University of Colorado, Marquette University, University of Alabama at Huntsville, Temple University, Tulane University, the Claremont Graduate University, and other universities. Professor Lyne is the recipient of the 2010 Provost's Award for Excellence in Mentoring, for his success at mentoring doctoral students, and the 2014 Donald Ecroyd Research and Scholarship Award of the Pennsylvania Communication Association. He is a past president of the Association for the Rhetoric of Science and Technology and a past chair of Communication departments at the University of Iowa and the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. John Lyne discusses a Communication Major

ARST Oral History Project--An Interview with Dr. John Lyne

(With David J. Depew) "The Productivity of Scientific Rhetoric," Poroi (online journal), Volume 9, Issue 1, 2013

"'Having A Whole Battery of Concepts': Thinking Rhetorically About the Norms of Reason," Social Epistemology (online special issue on "Normative Functionalism and the Pittsburgh School"), January 2013

"A Dialogue on Market Innovation and Laissez Faire, by Deirdre McCloskey and John Lyne, Poroi: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Rhetorical Analysis and Invention, Volume 7, Issue 1, 2011

“Rhetoric and the Third Culture: Scientists and Arguers and Critics,” in Mark Porrovecchio, ed., Reengaging the Prospect of Rhetoric (Routledge: 2010), 132-152.)

"Rhetoric Across the Disciplines," Section co-edited w/ Introduction with Carolyn Miller,  _The SAGE Handbook of Rhetorical Studies_, Edited by Andrea. A. Lunsford (SAGE Publications, 2009), pp 167-284.

"Science, Common Sense, and the Third Culture,” Argumentation and Advocacy, 42 (Summer, 2005), 38-42.

"Not Every Two-Sidedness is a Dualism: A Response to Lessl,” Rhetoric and Public Affairs, 5(4), 737-741. 2003.

"Contours of Intervention: How Rhetoric Matters to Biomedicine," Journal of Medical Humanities, 22. Spring 2001.

"Knowledge and Performance in Argument: Disciplinarity and Proto-Theory,"Argumentation and Advocacy, 35, 1-7. Summer 1998.

"Intelligent Dasein," Rhetoric and Public Affairs, 1. December 1998.

"Gene Talk in Sociobiology," (with Henry Howe, first author), Social Epistemology, 6(2), 1-54. 1992. (Entire issue devoted to monograph by Howe and Lyne and critical responses from various  disciplines)

"The Culture of Inquiry," Quarterly Journal of Speech, 76, 192-208. May 1990.

Courses Taught


  • Rhetorical Process (COMMRC 0310)
  • Argument (COMMRC 0500)
  • Discussion (COMMRC 0540)
  • 20th-Century Public Argument (COMMRC 1117)
  • Media Criticism (COMMRC 1122)
  • Rhetoric of Science (COMMRC 1147)


  • Modern Theories of Rhetoric (COMMRC 2217)
  • Science and Its Rhetorics (COMMRC 2285)
  • Rhetoric and Common Sense
  • Kenneth Burke (COMMRC 2218)
  • The Rhetoric of Pain
  • The Philosophy of Medicine (BIOETH 2658)