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Epistemology & Philosophy of Science

Volume 47, Issue 1, 2016

Alexander Antonovski
Pages 5-24

Communication as an Epistemic Problem

The author analyses the problem of the communication from the epistemological point of view, noting that the interest to the theme is obviously determined by the enormous ambiguity and by the disciplinary vagueness of the communication's notion itself. It is argued that it is the philosophical conceptualization of the communication that allows in a certain sense to «save» philosophy itself. The author notes that the philosophical studies of communication as if return the relevance to the classical philosophical problems: to the (communicative) sphere, (communicative) time, (social) causality, (collective) subject and object, filling them with the meaningful characteristics and testing their concepts by the experience of the functioning of real society and communication. He concludes that the epistemological content of the concept of communication is comes together with several aspects of human cognition. The first aspect has to do with the dimensions for defining the adequacy for determination of the statement made by the Other (i.e. the other participant), given that the content of the Other's consciousness is unavailable. The second aspect is related to the principle of a double purpose of any communication: on the one hand, integration and mutual understanding and, on the other, informational description of the subject of the message. The third aspect is that communication is based on the most important epistemological distinction between knowledge and ignorance, i.e. on the predominance of any information to one participant of the communication and of its uncertainty to the other participant, and that such a situation actually conditions the formation of communication systems, as well as of a wide variety of forms of sociality. The author also addresses the problem of whether contemporary media make communication at all possible since they decrease the impact that the secrecy of the Other's consciousness has on communication by triggering a communicative act.

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