Mutual Misunderstanding: Scepticism and the Theorizing of Language and Interpretation
Duke University Press, 1992 M07 30 - 266 pages
Do others understand what we say or write? Do we understand them? Theorists of language and interpretation claim to be more concerned with questions about "what" we understand and "how" we understand, rather than with the logically prior question "whether" we understand each other. An affirmative answer to the latter question is apparently taken for granted. However, in Mutual Misunderstanding, Talbot J. Taylor shows that the sceptical doubts about communicational understanding do in fact have a profoundly important, if as yet unacknowledged, function in the construction of theories of language and interpretation.
Mutual Misundertanding thus presents a strikingly original analysis of the rhetorical patterns underlying Western linguistic thought, as exemplified in the works of John Locke, Jacques Derrida, Gottlob Frege, Jonathan Culler, Noam Chomsky, Ferdinand de Saussure, H. Paul Grice, Michael Dummet, Stanley Fish, Alfred Schutz, Barbara Herrnstein Smith, Harold Garfinkel, and others.
This analysis reveals how, by the combined effect of appeals to "commonsense" and anxieties about implications of relativism, scepticism has a determining role in the discursive development of a number of the intellectual disciplines making up the "human sciences" today, including critical theory, literary hermeneutics, philosophy of language and logic, communication theory, discourse and conversation analysis, pragmatics, stylistics, and linguistics. Consequently, this provocative study will be of value to readers from a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds.
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Two On How We Ought to Understand
Three On How We Naturally Understand
Four On What Understanding Must Be
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accord actions agents agree analysis anti-realist apply arbitrary argues argument assertion assumption behavior belief calls chapter characteristics circumstances claim code theory commonplaces commonsense communicational scepticism communicational understanding conceived concept conclusion Condillac conformity consequences consist construction course derived determined discourse discussion distinction empirical example explain expression fact give given grasp hearer human ideas important individual instance intellectual intention interaction internalized interpretation intersubjectivity issue justified knowledge language language theory langue linguistic Locke Locke's logic means mental metadiscourse mind Moreover motivated mutual understanding natural normative object occurs ordinarily original particular perspective picture possible practical pragmatic premise present principle problem produce properties question realist reasoning reference relation remarks result rhetorical rule Saussure scepticism seen sense sentence shared signify similar social speak speaker stand strategy structure theorist things thought tion treat true truth utterance vehicle voluntary