This article argues that Kant's attack on the ars oratoria in §53 of the Critique of the Power of Judgment is directed against eighteenth-century school rhetoric, in particular against the “art of speech” (Redekunst) of Johann Christoph Gottsched. It is pointed out that Kant suggests a revision of Gottsched's conception of “true eloquence,” which was the predominant rhetorical ideal at the time. On this basis, and in response to recent discussions on “Kantian rhetoric,” Kant's own ideal of speech is addressed. It emerges that he favors a culture of speech embedded in moral cultivation, which excludes any disciplinary form of rhetoric.

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