Mutual Misunderstanding: Scepticism and the Theorizing of Language and Interpretation
Duke University Press, 1992 M07 30 - 279 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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acoustic image actions Alan Gardiner analogy anti-realism anti-realist arbitrary argues argument artificial language assertion assertion-conditions assumption behavior belief characteristics Chomsky claim that communicators code theory commonsense communica communicational acts communicational scepticism communicational understanding occurs communicators ordinarily understand concept Condillac conformity context Derrida determined Dummett empirical justification epistemic ethnomethodologist explain expression fact Frege given grasp guage holism I-language individual agents intellectual discourse intellectual metadiscourse interaction interlocutors internalized interpretation interpretive community intersubjectivity justified language code language theory language-game langue linguistic Locke Locke's Lockean logic means mental metacommunicational discourse Moreover municational mutual understanding natural naturalist normative object particular perspective picture possible practical metadiscourse pragmatic rules pragmatic theory premise problem psychological question realist reasoning relativism relativist rhetorical force rhetorical strategies rule rule-following Saussure Saussure's Saussurean semiotic sense sentence signify social order speaker and hearer stand structuralist structure theorist thought tion treat utterance vehicle of communicational voluntary words