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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 23, Issue 1, 2013
Culture, Communication and Cognition

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Displaying: 1-15 of 15 documents


1. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Marek Hetmański, Marcin Trybulec Philosophy at the Crossroads: Building Bridges Between Media, Communication and Cognition
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between philosophy, literacy theory and media studies
2. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
David R. Olson Writing, the Discovery of Language, and the Discovery of Mind
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In the 1960s claims were made about the role of literacy in restructuring the mind. While those claims were frequently criticized, this paper revives the claim by showing that reading and writing require a new consciousness of properties of language, properties relevant to a distinctive modes of literate thought.
3. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Manuela Ungureanu Experiences of Word Meaning
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I focus on Barry C. Smith’s investigations in the phenomenology of speech, and on his ambitious, unified theory of both sub-personal and first-personal linguistic knowledge (2008, 2009). I argue that empirical hypotheses about our awareness of word meaning challenge the starting points of his phenomenology of speech, as they require both (1) modifications of his proposed theory of speakers experiences of word meaning, and (2) clarifications of what the phenomenology of speech teaches us and why.
4. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Marta Rakoczy Literacy, Power, Body—Towards Alternative Phenomenology of Writing
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The classical phenomenology of writing, postulated by such literacy theoreticians as Walter J. Ong, and Marshall McLuhan, focuses on writing as an instrument of intellectual emancipation, as a technology of intellect. In this article I claim that their view is too narrow. Firstly, as David R. Olson, Harvey Graff and Michel de Certeau point, writing may be an instrument of power and discipline. Secondly, reading and writing are not only the mental practices of scripts organization and interpretation. They are strictly related to specific bodily practices which have important implications for the cultural functioning of literacy.
5. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Marcin Trybulec Between Media and Cultural Practices: Searching for Identity of the Toronto School
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The problem of the Toronto School’s theoretical identity emerges from the recognition that the most influential figures of this orientation do not agree regarding the general idea of the School as a coherent theoretical trend. Moreover, the idea of “medium” central to this orientation is fundamentally ambiguous. Therefore the aim of the paper is to consider the identity of the Toronto School by referring to the so called materialistic interpretation of the media. The paper supports the thesis that the minimal definition of communication technologies in terms of physical artifacts comprises the conceptual core of the Toronto School’s identity. The failure to consider the minimalistic definition of media results in the general blurring of the Toronto School’s theoretical identity.
6. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Michał Wendland Controversy over the Status of the Communication Transmission Models
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The article focuses on the status of the transmission approach to communication. The approach is derived from Claude Shannon’s and Warren Weaver’s mathematical theory of communication, and is primarily used for the analysis of telecommunications processes. Within the model a metaphorical conceptualisation of communication is adopted, as conveying (transmission) of information (thoughts, emotions) from the mind of a subject A to the mind of a subject B. Despite the great popularity of the transmission approach, it is subjected to multilateral criticism. Alternative approaches were formulated in which the transmission metaphor is exceeded, extended or even overcome (e.g., the constitutive, transactional, or the ritual approaches). This paper discusses such criticism. The doubts are raised primarily by the characteristic reductionism and the postulated exclusivity of the transmission approach. A question ariseswhether all the possible types of communication activities can be represented within the transmission approach as a transfer of information. In this context, the dispute between the supporters of the universalistic and the relativistic attitudes to the transmission metaphor is discussed. The polemic also concerns the psychologism elements which are present in the transmission models. Wittgenstein's criticism of psychologism conducted within the framework of his everyday language philosophy is of particular importance. The philosophy may applied to the problem of interpersonal communication. In conclusion it is assumed that the transmission metaphor is important as a tool for the study of many, but not all the aspects of communication. Its importance also lies in the fact that it is the first scientific approach to communication. The exclusivity claims of the transmission model, however, have several limitations, inter alia, it hinders research on the history of communication practices, although the model itself is embedded in a specific historical context.
communication and culture
7. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Jan Sleutels The Flinstones Fallacy
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A leading idea in evolutionary psychology and philosophy of mind is that the basic architecture and dynamics of the mind are very old, presumably dating back to the Stone Age. Theories based on this idea are liable to paint a caricature of our ancestors by projecting our modern self-conception onto earlier minds. I argue that this ‘Flintstones Fallacy’ is an underrated risk, relieved neither by standard biological arguments nor by arguments from psychology and philosophy. Indeed, each of these fields has better arguments for the contrary view that the mind as we know it from present-day experience is not ancient at all.
8. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Rui Silva Intercultural Communication and the Challenge of Linguistic and Cultural Relativism
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The paper analyses the conditions and limits of intercultural communication in the light of a critical assessment of linguistic and cultural relativism. The analysis of linguistic relativism departs from Humboldt’s claim that every language contains a specific world-view and from the famous Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, according to which our thought and perception of reality is influenced or even, in a stronger version, determined by language. Many cognitive scientists consider that the cognitive influence of language on thought is negligible; however, several studies show that language can enhance (or obstruct) some cognitive functions. At any rate, it is at the cultural level that the challenge of linguistic relativism is more relevant, because different cultures generate different webs of concepts. Davidson’s critique of the idea of conceptual schemes fails precisely because he privileges the cognitive dimension of language (as representation of an empirical reality), neglecting its role in the constitution of a cultural space.Linguistic relativism can be easily articulated with cultural relativism, the view that it is not possible for outsiders to evaluate and criticize values, practices and basic beliefs of substantially different cultures. Against relativism, ethnocentrism and a naive universalismthat presupposes the existence of universally valid standards that make intercultural communication always possible, the paper proposes a contextualist account of human communication (inspired by Wittgenstein and Gadamer) that is sensitive to linguistic and conceptual differences and recognizes the existence of limits to intercultural communication. However, from a contextualist standpoint, these limits are not rigid and they can be overcome, at least partly and gradually, in the course of a cross-cultural dialogue in which the participants engage in a critical reflection aimed at correcting initial assumptions and divergent standards.
9. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Renata Jasnos The Consequences of Early Literacy for the Discursive Transmission in the Old Testament
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The books of the Old Testament contain elements of oral communication as well as the characteristic features of written elaboration. S. Niditch attempts to determine the probable oral-literate processes leading to the formation of the biblical message but does not answer the question concerning the history of the creation of any of the books. Biblical scholars examine the process of the shaping of the books as redaction criticism. This shaping, however, progressed according to different standards as evidenced by the literary characteristics of the text and literary “deficiencies” as well explicit elements of oral communication. The use of the term “editing” in relation to the process evokes inadequate ideas drawn from contemporary literary culture.Attempts to discover the essential elements of the processes shaping the biblical books, based on the, to some extent, recreated history of The Gilgamesh Epic, leads us to a new concept of what such a book is. The discovered specificity of the biblical books can consequently propose a new, more adequate perspective of interpretation—the interpretation which has the characteristics of a discourse.
10. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Olga Kaczmarek The Category of Countertextuality as Means of Researching Cognitive Implications of Text
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The paper presents a mode of researching epistemological and conceptual implications of text focused on the category of countertextuality. Parallel to the development of the orality / literacy theory within different areas of humanities and social sciences there runs a thread of various reconceptualization of text and textuality. It implies an increasing awareness of the non-neutral character of text (as a means of communicating knowledge within the academia) for the research results, which appears on both methodological and ethical grounds.In the paper the example of the project of postmodern anthropology is invoked to show how the constraints of the norms of writing texts specific of anthropology in mid-1980’s are articulated and what the proposed ways of writing are that would overcome the perceived flaws of text. The article focuses on the major manifesto of the postmodern turn in anthropology (Writng Culture), some other methodological articles of its authors, as well as some of the actual ethnographic researches. I highlight some of the major charges laid against text in these works and some of the major countertextual writing strategies.
language in action: thinking philosophically
11. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Zbysław Muszyński Three Message Dimensions. A Naturalistic Approach
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Communication is perceived as a means of obtaining knowledge possessed by others and transmitting this knowledge from subject to subject. This process takes place in a communication area defined by a variety of parameters. The communication content (message) transmitted in the course of communication requires consideration of many aspects, therefore its description must take place in many aspects of the communication area.Messages can be distinguished in three dimensions of the communication area: (1) semantic (referential, informative); (2) subjective (individual) and (3) cultural (social). Communication theory based on the multi-dimensional character of the communication area should enable the resolution of important problems. For instance in the first dimension it should be able to solve issues relating to the transmission of the semantic properties of a message and the connected problem of the constancy of the subjective reference in successive acts of the communication process; in the second, the problem of the variability of subjective content resulting from the diversity of experience and linguistic competence; in the third, the problem concerning the existence of a community of cultural meanings and the problem concerning the mechanisms of building common representations of the world.The essay also seeks to specify theories enabling cohesive descriptions of the discussed message dimensions in keeping with the adopted naturalistic methodological and ontological assumptions.
communication and culture
12. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Maciej Witek Three Approaches to the Study of Speech Acts
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The paper reconstructs and discusses three different approaches to the study of speech acts: (i) the intentionalist approach, according to which most illocutionary acts are to be analysed as utterances made with the Gricean communicative intentions, (ii) the institutionalist approach, which is based on the idea of illocutions as institutional acts constituted by systems of collectively accepted rules, and (iii) the interactionalist approach the main tenet of which is to perform illocutionary acts by making conventional moves in accordance with patterns of social interaction. It is claimed that, first, each of the discussed approaches presupposes a different account of the nature and structure of illocutionary acts, and, second, all those approaches result from one-sided interpretations of Austin’s conception of verbal action. The first part of the paper reconstructs Austin's views on the functions and effects of felicitous illocutionary acts. Thesecond part reconstructs and considers three different research developments in the post-Austinian speech act theory—the intentionalist approach, the institutionalist approach, and the interactionalist approach.
language in action: thinking philosophically
13. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Jari Palomäki The Word “Word” and the Concept “Word.” Three Solutions to Grelling’s Paradox
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In this paper three different solutions to Grelling’s paradox, also called the heterological paradox, are given. Firstly, after given the original formulation of the paradox by Grelling and Nelson in 1908, a solution to this paradox offered by Frank Plumpton Ramsey in 1925 is presented. His solution is based on the different meanings of the word “meaning.” Secondly, Grelling himself advocated the solution proposed by Uuno Saarnio in 1937. Saarnio’s solution is based on the exact definitions of the concept of word, and the concept of denoting. Thirdly, a solution to this paradox was proposed also by Georg Henrik von Wright in 1960, but his solution consists of saying that the word “heterological” does not name a concept—or it names a concept only up to a singular point.
14. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Marcin Rządeczka Evolutionary Biology and Some Contemporary Debates on the Question about the Origin of Language
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Natural language is one of the most enigmatic and sophisticated human capabilities with regard to both its evolutionary history and the level of complexity. The diversity of positions and debates on this subject clearly demonstrates that it is not yet a part of a science but rather an amalgam of different issues capable of being analyzed philosophically. The scarcity of evidence, restrictions of the comparative method and continuous discussions on the adaptive status of language are only a handful of current issues. The main aim of this paper is to provide a critical analysis of crucial current approaches to the problem of the reconstruction of language evolution and pinpoint the most important methodological and philosophical arguments in the discussion. The paper also supports the view that only the multi-level approach to the problem, which encompasses both the genetic and cladistic levels, can offer a satisfactory explanation.
15. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Eulalia Smuga-Fries The Potential Relevance of the Test of the News by Lippmann and Merz for Critical Discourse Analysis
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This paper attempts to signal the potential relevance of A Test of the News, written by Lippmann and Merz, for Critical Discourse Analysis. It seems that the study is overlooked by CDA’s experts as a pioneering work in press analysis. In order to demonstrate links between CDA and the research, in the first part, the work of Lippmann and Merz is situated within a wider picture of the theoretical and historical background as well as common views on politics and the role of the press. Then, the reasons for the choice of the Times as a medium of research and the Russian Revolution as a topic are stated. The authors’ methodological assumptions are discussed in brief. The second part begins with an attempt to define the concept of CDA. The next section presents a theoretical framework of CDA in order to indicate that Lippmann’s and Merz’s analysis demonstrates a similar theoretical approach. Additionally, the tools used by authors are compared with those used in CDA. The parallel between the central role of the media discourse in CDA and the concern of the authors of the role of the press is also discussed. Since the active role of the reader and the hearer in constructing the meaning of the text corresponds with the views of the authors on the discrepancy between the real world and its representation, the next section is devoted to this issue. Finally, readers’ abilities, discussed by Lippmann and Merz, are viewed in relation to the significance of reader’s experiences in constructing the meaning of a text.