ESSENTIALS OF DIALOGISM Aspects and elements of a dialogical approach to language, communication and cognition

Abstract

concrete mental work – manual work micro macro stability – change potentiality actuality34 etc. Making distinctions (classificatory definitions such as those mentioned here) is of course necessary for the purpose of keeping phenomena analytically apart. This is something which one does for methodological or analytic purposes. But methodology is easily transformed into ontology, and the different categories become erroneously interpreted as independent (autonomous) objects; X and Y are seen as (ontologically different) entities (X is logically and physically (locationally) distinct from Y). Moreover, in most Western mainstream disciplines, from Aristotle onwards, many dichotomies (X vs. Y) become Cartesian in an even more pregnant sense: not only is X seen as privileged with respect to Y (the subordinate term, Y, is just a supplement to X), X is even causally prior to Y. This applies, for example, to X-es like cognition and the individual (self) with respect to Y-s like communication and society (and others). This monological perspective looks upon the world as based on autonomous and basic units (even if these units are sometimes assumed to enter into secondary interdependencies). Monological models are often couched in terms of unilateral causality and independent vs. dependent variables (determinism). According to dialogism, we have dualities instead of distinctions between entities; in the spirit of Wittgenstein, we would talk about more about aspects, less of entities. X and Y are aspects of partly the same phenomena, and they are mutually coconstituted and logically interdependent. The interdependencies or interpenetrations are essential, not secondary or accidental. One cannot talk about one of the terms of a dichotomy (opposition) without presupposing, thereby implicitly talking about, the other. The one is the ”counter-point” of the other, to use an analogy from musical theory (Salazar Orvig, 1999: 10)35. 34 This particular, somewhat more scholarly, dichotomy is due to Aristotle. It corresponds to a rather basic notion in dialogistic thinking. However, the Aristotelian tradition has interpreted it in rather Cartesian terms. See Marková (2003a) for extensive discussion. 35 On monological vs. dialogical understanding of ”antinomies”, see Marková (2003a).

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Linell2004ESSENTIALSOD, title={ESSENTIALS OF DIALOGISM Aspects and elements of a dialogical approach to language, communication and cognition}, author={Per Linell}, year={2004} }