This content was uploaded by our users and we assume good faith they have the permission to share this book. If you own the copyright to this book and it is wrongfully on our website, we offer a simple DMCA procedure to remove your content from our site. Start by pressing the button below!
* lyne purple stakes painting white grey ives 001 1981 tower 2* a
Mutual information 79 66 51 42 149 28 28 28 276 22 27 26 17 14 13 13 93 15 11 11 11 12 13 14 64 9 9 11 9 10 10 14 122 8 8 8 8 12 8 7 7 7 7 17 218 9
8.851986 8.064827 7.136570 6.358066 5.778779 5.283019 5.193544 5.102982 4.984057 4.661392 4.482823 4.333431 4.120879 3.648895 3.597146 3.595990 3.512002 3.463732 3.305039 3.285298 3.284370 3.282829 3.278711 3.065846 3.027831 2.997651 2.982007 2.973864 2.968457 2.964786 2.913201 2.884250 2.847704 2.825549 2.785454 2.751572 2.728219 2.717118 2.710228 2.638379 2.625273 2.556060 2.552501 2.547713 2.522361 2.517748
cyclerama aorg triandis 6730 allyn merganser 0749 lanyon grebe ronson bishopsgate metronome gil pippa 19990322 cormorant lyne herons rc dipper snipe sisterhood 729 crested osprey kingﬁsher chick ives paragon crowned burghley kempton patrick denton heron nocturnal beak turtles mystique breasted nolan albans liz scott 001 002
6 3 4 4 5 3 4 3 5 17 4 5 51 9 4 4 8 3 28 3 3 3 3 4 3 13 13 7 3 11 3 5 79 3 4 3 3 4 3 3 9 3 22 66 7 3
Raw frequency 15.523910 15.331246 13.576183 13.102205 12.395493 11.938590 11.679830 11.658454 11.497974 10.856020 10.690538 10.567891 10.522654 10.319519 10.094710 9.990863 9.941615 9.302739 9.285664 9.145754 9.026837 8.946905 8.942592 8.808995 8.753161 8.745627 8.559589 8.488213 8.190983 8.161973 7.997359 7.949833 7.940231 7.906339 7.749760 7.692048 7.542567 7.511884 7.497575 7.438675 7.382086 7.356036 7.337060 7.100897 7.014135 6.977266
the and* a of s to in
* was* is patrick for on scott by* at with as gil that his island from it but has one this an blue ﬂight rc he night* or had all great* who said liz be are our which up
373 276 218 171 149 126 125 122 93 81 79 77 76 66 64 60 55 53 51 50 43 42 36 32 32 29 29 28 28 28 28 28 27 27 26 26 26 26 24 23 22 21 21 19 19 18
Meaning, Discourse and Society
Table 1. (cont.) t-score corporation lake baby park
Mutual information 7 7 8 9
2.506733 2.504475 2.498620 2.475114
stevie suzuki headingley cooks
4 3 3 4
Raw frequency 6.951845 6.927396 6.803897 6.751075
when will 2* ronson
17 17 17 17
Once we deselect proper names, such as Patrick, Ronson, Liz, Scott, etc., there are few collocates which make it on all three lists. On the whole, the t-score list has the highest number of relevant collocates, such as night, ﬂight, kingﬁsher, blue, crowned, ﬁsh, grey, and lake. To recognise these as relevant we have to have some knowledge about herons, for instance that they can ﬂy, that there are different varieties (crowned, blue, grey herons), that they like ﬁsh, are found near lakes, and so on. The mutual information list does not have much to offer. It adds cormorant to the kingﬁsher of the ﬁrst list, both being comparable birds. This is how heron is described in the Cobuild English Dictionary (2001, 3rd edition), the ﬁrst dictionary strictly based on corpus evidence: A heron is a large bird which has long legs and a long beak, and which eats ﬁsh.
What is described here is the prototypical discourse object ‘heron’. The deﬁnition shows how much even corpus linguists have to rely on knowledge that is not readily available through the application of computational tools to real language data. Without human interpretation, without extracting paraphrastic content from the discourse, it would be impossible to generate dictionary deﬁnitions. In addition, there are certain conventions for describing birds in dictionaries. That they have a long beak seems to be more important than that they prefer to hunt at night. Collocation proﬁles are hard facts. Every time we apply the same statistical procedure to the same corpus, we will come up with exactly the same proﬁle. In this sense, corpus linguistics can claim scientiﬁc status, more so than the models provided by the various schools of cognitive linguistics. But the task I have set myself in this chapter is different from this traditional remit of (corpus) linguistics. I am not interested in a general dictionary deﬁnition of heron or songbirds that would ﬁt each occurrence of these items throughout the discourse at large (or in a sufﬁciently comprehensive corpus). What I am looking for are instances in the discourse that can help to throw light on the meaning of these two lexical items as unique occurrences in our haiku. That a ‘heron is a large wading bird in the family Ardeidae’ may not be helpful at all for this task. Their ‘digniﬁed strut’ may well be more to the point. Would my partners in the act of interpretation be inclined to consider it as such? It depends
Meaning and the interpretation of a haiku
on the interpretive community, in all its unpredictability. The same community may tomorrow come up with a different interpretation. Different discourse communities will disagree over their interpretations. Nothing symbolic is ever ﬁxed. Meaning and knowledge are always provisional. Interpretation is never science; it belongs to the realm of the Geisteswissenschaften. Understanding, as Wilhelm Dilthey deﬁnes the remit of the humanities, always involves taking decisions. Any interpretation has to be selective. The discourse at large is quite boundless. Even the discourse made accessible to us by Google, a minuscule fraction of the discourse at large, is so big that it cannot be exploited as a whole. There are over 21 million occurrences of heron in it. Taken together, they embody the meaning of heron in the web discourse. Each of them would tell us something about the discourse object ‘heron’ and about the word heron. But while a computer can give us the collocates of heron ranked according to their statistical signiﬁcance, such a proﬁle is not equivalent to an interpretation of the meaning of the word in general, and certainly does not help us to deal with the heron in our haiku. For this, we need the collaborative act of interpretation, involving the collective intentionality of the ‘interpretive community’, as Stanley Fish calls it. What I have selected in the short lists above, guided by my ‘prejudices’ (in the sense that Gadamer uses this word), are the explicit paraphrases and the paraphrastic content from Google and the BNC, and I believe some of them might aid us in the interpretation of the haiku. This is, the supposed interpretive community agrees, what we have learnt so far about the lexical item heron and the discourse object ‘heron’ from these citations: A heron can be found close to the water, by the beach. It displays a tall stooped, statuesque, posture, featuring a long neck and a digniﬁed strut. Its wings are gaunt and perhaps even melancholy. When it ﬂies, it may look like a poker with a crick in its neck. The heron’s cry can be called shrill and stark, a kind of skraiking. It lives by piscicide, and humans may disagree with the baleful intentions ascribed to its mind. Because it presents a huge target, it can easily be shot dead by those who do not like it. Others may ﬁnd it a beautiful creature and a most attractive bird. Whether herons are seen as a good omen, or a bad omen, warning of ﬁre or drought or heralding parsimony and evil, is an open question. In some cultures, a heron is ridiculed as a king among a hundred crows. More context would be needed to understand why it is said that a heron is a lonely and solitary creature often found in ladies’ washrooms lamenting its gothic heritage.
As long as I tell the other members of the discourse community where my evidence comes from, and as long as they can obtain access to the full data from which I gleaned my evidence, my partners can participate competently in the collaborative act of interpretation. They can declare some of my citations irrelevant, adduce other quotes, and they can dispute the sense I make of them. It is not possible to achieve more than this in a hermeneutic enterprise. Any new interpretive act is free to select other citations from the chosen discourse, and might therefore produce different results.
Meaning, Discourse and Society
The heron of the haiku can mean more than just a ‘large wading bird in the family Ardeidae’. The discourse contains citations in which the object ‘heron’ is described as other things, or in which other discourse objects are said to resemble herons. This wider picture is important in the light of what the haiku deﬁnition above calls its ‘symbolic power’. The heron can be seen as a sign pointing to a particular aspect of a discourse object, thus saying something new about it, something that has never been said before about a heron. We have learned to expect poetry to be metaphorical in this way. But do such symbols have to be categorised as metaphors? We have all been brought up in the belief that the meaning of lexical items can be summed up in the kind of brief deﬁnitions we ﬁnd in dictionaries. Whatever does not conform to these deﬁnitions is often called metaphorical usage. I do not want to engage in a discussion of how helpful the concept of metaphor is. Rather I will show how the word heron is used to characterise or symbolise other discourse objects. Again I turn to Google, and search for citations containing the phrase like a heron. This phrase gives similes rather than metaphors, but I have to choose this option as there is no way to automatically detect metaphors in texts. There are 6,720 occurrences, and the citations below, chosen from the ﬁrst two hundred of them, might initially be of interest for the interpretation of our haiku: A man who knows the law should not offer even a little water to … the evil man who acts like a heron Like a heron, I pose above its currents, scratch the Rio de Amapari’s belly with my plate. your soul leapt like a heron sailing from the salt, island grass. into another heaven I loved her like a heron, my cursive neck penning letter s to f to l, looping my head into the water When she was in a high wind her light body was blown against trees and banks like a heron’s. He began pacing the room, waiting, like a heron in a pond, waiting for his ﬁsh. When the Big Boy took wing up-court, he looked like a heron in full ﬂight. My grown heart rose like a heron, cackled like a goose, my aged heart Lay under the back-bent sky, was a dark stone in the sky’s belt. It is perhaps a bit surprising that herons seem to give the discourse objects to which they are conjoined in a paraphrase a touch of attractiveness and sometimes even glamour. It can be male or female. The haiku’s heron, on the other hand, does not seem particularly attractive, but there might well be something imposing about him (or her), or perhaps just some delusions of grandeur. He or she is abrasive, and discourse objects called abrasive do not normally inspire
Meaning and the interpretation of a haiku
sympathy, especially if these objects are called birds. Google lists 77 hits. I have selected a few which could throw some light on their nature: So, it was with some disappointment that I realized the woman living across the street from me is a fanatic for this loud, abrasive bird. Containing the threat posed by this clever yet abrasive bird to our native species and habitat will need more regional cooperation to succeed. ‘Oh,’ replied the bashful fellow, ‘I noticed that my toffees were being carted off by a rather large, abrasive bird, and so I followed him today. This isn’t the rather abrasive bird who gets pissed on lager and tries to pick a ﬁght with the boy she’ll be shagging later, this is the pretty, quiet one in the corner with the unusual scars, who you swear has been stalking you. Again the last citation obviously signiﬁes a female person. There is more to know about abrasive people (and animals including birds). We can tap this knowledge by looking for adjectives conjoined with abrasive by the connector and. Google lists 413,000 hits for abrasive and. Here are some (taken from the ﬁrst one hundred) that seem more to the point: abrasive and unpleasant blunt, abrasive and scrupulously honest abrasive and land-hungry abrasive and aggressive so abrasive and vicious-tongued an abrasive and persistent campaigner abrasive and morose (well, she’s a girl, ain’t she) he is an obnoxious soul, abrasive and paranoid With the exception of the second citation, abrasive seems to denote rather unpleasant people, be they male or female. Strangely, there is not a single citation among the ﬁrst one hundred of and abrasive (altogether 86,500 Google hits) that does not tell us about some aspect of the grinding and abrasive technology, a topic that does not enlighten us concerning the heron haiku. In the BNC we ﬁnd, however, the phrase glib and abrasive. As this might also apply to our heron, I checked this phrase on Google, ﬁnding ten hits, among them: Downey’s Stark is glib and abrasive, and he’s ready with a quip when somebody insults him back. (6 occurrences in slight variations) It is easy enough to dismiss Rushdie’s manifesto as a glib and abrasive put-down of South Asian vernacular literature
Meaning, Discourse and Society
It is not my intention to be rude and I will try to improve my crits in future to be more helpful and less glib and abrasive In text – in game and on the forums – he seemed glib and abrasive (although I dare say I had a little too much rivalry going on he removes all possibility of nuance from the conversation, in much the same way that glib and abrasive conservatives do Obviously, a glib and abrasive person is someone who likes to make a rash pronouncement but will not listen to others. Is our heron like that? The next question I want to consider is how blares resonates with abrasive. Google lists altogether c. 53,000 hits for blare/blares/blaring/blared (in the following: blare*) in connection with abrasive, among them 20,800 for blares + abrasive. (As an aside, it may be noteworthy that Google suggests looking also for Blair + abrasive [107,000 hits], though I am not sure this helps with our interpretation.) Interestingly, Google also lists a quite endless number of occurrences in which abrasive is connected to music (as blare is, too). Here are some citations: Blending electronic synthesisers, guitars and early samplers, these bands created an aggressive and abrasive music fusing elements of rock with experimental electronic music. This is the type of music that parents don’t mind because it’s edited and screened and is not too harsh and abrasive for themselves to listen to also. The most immediate audible characteristic of my music is its noisiness. Abrasive, loud, fast. This music is rarely aggressive or abrasive. While the sheer number of these citations indicates that there must be many who enjoy this kind of music, most of the texts we ﬁnd are rather sceptical. Both abrasive and blare* seem to share an often quite negative connotation. Indeed the connection between the two words is well documented in the web discourse. Among the ﬁrst twenty hits for blares + abrasive we ﬁnd these citations: From the next room, the television blares, as inane and abrasive in German as it is in English. strikes me as the archetypal Off the Beat track, with its blaring intro, abrasive energy and seeming absence of catchy melodies. Surprisingly there’s a ‘brass band’ instrumental section with horns blaring over the abrasive guitars but it’s very short. The deafening, abrasive sound of ambulance sirens blares through California’s San Fernando Valley. Embracing something that is blaring, abrasive, or inaccessible doesn’t necessarily endow it with any outward meaning.
Meaning and the interpretation of a haiku
They are the spokespeople, the loud, abrasive megaphones through which the siren song of this cult blares. According to Google, herons are not said to blare. There is just one citation among the ﬁrst ﬁfty Google occurrences of bird + blared (of altogether 45,700 occurrences) in which a bird is blaring: Relief ﬂooded Riley as the bird blared overhead. When humans are said to blare, blare is normally used as a transitive verb, like in ‘He blared his horn’. Among the ﬁrst ﬁfty Google occurrences (of 5,300 altogether) for he blared, there are only these two citations for the intransitive blared (but quite a lot for blared in connection with direct speech): He intoned, he moaned, he pleaded – he blared, he crashed, he thundered. Though he blared like a trumpet, a note of uncertainty could be detected in his voice. ‘Shake it up, baby,’ he blared. Normally it is things like music, horns, sirens, trumpets, loudspeakers and headlines that we ﬁnd in connection with the intransitive use of blare. The situation for ‘she blared’ is very similar. So far, the discourse according to Google does not contain a single heron that is blaring or abrasive. The ﬁrst part of our haiku thus adds something new to the discourse. What sense we can make of this new unit of meaning, this new discourse object ‘abrasive heron that blares’, has to be based on those contextualised occurrences of these lexical items which have compatible paraphrastic content that is not self-contradictory. The citations given above are of this kind. This is the interpretation of the ﬁrst part of our haiku that I want to offer to the interpretive community for discussion: An abrasive heron blares. Something, someone, a bird or a person with heron-like features, is taking centre-stage. He or she does not endear himself/herself to us. There may be something statuesque and lonely about our heron with a tall, stooped, grey ﬁgure, a long neck and digniﬁed strut and gaunt, melancholy wings, but we must not forget that herons are baleful. A heron in general can be a good or a bad omen, a beautiful creature and a most attractive bird, but also rather ridiculous when he or she glides around like a poker with a crick in its neck. They make shrill unpleasant noises described as scraiking. Our heron is abrasive, a trait associated with loudness, unpleasantness, aggression, moroseness, persistence and perhaps even paranoia. He or she blares, making sounds we would
Meaning, Discourse and Society
normally prefer not to hear. Our heron thus is as off-putting as the music characterised as abrasive (at least for the non-initiated). The sound of our heron, male or female, reminds us of ambulance sirens, and while it is unpleasantly loud it can also be seen as meaningless. This makes it very unlikely that our heron is attractive or beautiful. Perhaps it is a heron that acts like an evil man. An interpretation is a collaborative act. It begins with my reading of a text (segment). But I do not read it for myself. I read it for my audience. I want to see my reading of this haiku discussed by the other members of this interpretive community. I base my reading on the segment of the discourse at large made accessible by Google. The discourse is the only reality that is shareable and directly accessible to us. There I search for citations that enlighten me on the meaning of the words and phrases that make up my text (segment). I present my ﬁndings, the citations that I have selected from the web, citations providing the shared raw material for our interpretation of the text (segment). The result of this collaborative act can be a single reading we all more or less agree on, or a number of different readings that we accept as being compatible with the discourse evidence. This act of interpretation takes place within a discourse of a given interpretive community. Other contributions may select other citations from the web. All citations can be read in different ways. New contributions to this interpretive discourse will take up what has been said before, will accept, modify or reject it. The outcome of it all is unpredictable, though perhaps not entirely arbitrary. Each discourse community has its own conventions. Even if it is always possible to ﬂout one or the other of them, they provide the necessary continuity and are therefore relatively stable. Contributions that violate too many conventions will not be accepted, and therefore not referred to, by subsequent contributions. They will have no impact on the interpretation. I will now proceed in my reading of the heron haiku. This is the second half of it: … blue jittery songbirds stampede bouncily
Again, the standard dictionary deﬁnition of songbird will not do justice to this unique occurrence of the word. The context in which we ﬁnd it embedded distinguishes our songbirds from all other occurrences. This is the Cobuild Dictionary deﬁnition: ‘A songbird is a bird that produces musical sounds which are like singing’. This is very general, and it is unclear if it bears any relevance for our songbirds. So what can we ﬁnd in the discourse that throws some light on them as we encounter them in the discourse? What do we learn from investigating the context words in the discourse at large? Is there anything that might apply to the songbirds in our haiku? The ﬁrst step is always to look for straightforward paraphrases of the type ‘a songbird is …’. Google lists c. 550
Meaning and the interpretation of a haiku
occurrences. Few of them actually paraphrase the discourse object ‘songbird’, and to the extent they do they are overwhelmingly concerned with the prototypical songbird. Here is a selection of paraphrases taken from the ﬁrst ﬁfty hits: A songbird is a bird belonging to the suborder Passeri of Passeriformes. A Songbird is a bird that chirps in soothing tones that sound like musical notes. A songbird is small. A songbird is concerned with food, too, but also with enemies and potential mates. As the songbirds in our haiku occur in the plural, it might be useful to also investigate the phrase ‘songbirds are’. Google lists 49,000 occurrences. This is a selection of paraphrases taken from the ﬁrst one hundred of them. Technically songbirds are members of a particular group, the suborder Oscines Songbirds are small and very adaptable. It is common knowledge now that British songbirds are in trouble Many songbirds are killed by house cats. Tens of thousands of wild British songbirds are being trapped illegally Songbirds are perching birds Songbirds are always farting. In Indonesia, songbirds are prized pets. Songbirds are our national heritage. All our recent Songbirds are invited to perform in what could be a very exciting Showcase. ‘Songbirds are not dumb; They don’t buy a crumb of bread, It’s said.’ ‘Summer’s gone and no songbirds are singing.’ Some of these paraphrases could be relevant for our haiku. We certainly learn that our songbirds are highly appreciated, by cats, as pets, as delicacies perhaps, and as part of our national heritage. Do they stampede because they notice a cat, or because they fear to be trapped, or because the summer is over? I will add three citations with paraphrastic content (shown here in italics) from the 15 occurrences of songbirds in the BNC: Her heart was like a songbird in the morning and she was as lovely as the lilies of the ﬁeld. I stayed at home and listened to the Top Forty top volume while I shouted out Nora’s big speech from The Doll’s House: ‘I was simply your little songbird, your doll.’ We must have words with your songbird.
Meaning, Discourse and Society
This small selection of citations does the full meaning of the lexical item songbird little justice, but it allows us to come up with this new paraphrase: Songbirds are appreciated, but also endangered. They chirp in soothing terms that sound like musical notes. They are small and very adaptable. They are preoccupied with food, enemies and potential mates. British songbirds are a national heritage and they are in trouble. Many are killed by house cats, and many are being trapped illegally. Elsewhere they are kept as pets, put into cages and hung in trees. Some people say that songbirds are also farting. Still, they are everybody’s favourites. Lovely girls’ hearts can be compared to them. Also some women may call themselves their partner’s songbird. Humans called songbirds show up in TV shows, and one can have words with them. They feature occasionally in lyrics.
Of course, much more has been said about songbirds. The web offers only a minute fraction of the post-World-War-II English language discourse at large. My selection of citations is supposed to help with the interpretation of our haiku, and was not intended as a ‘representative’ sample of the web discourse. But I did not make them up. I did not use my introspection. My paraphrase only contains things that have been said in the discourse. It certainly constitutes evidence, perhaps not to the liking of everyone in the discourse community to which I present my interpretation. Other members are welcome to present additional evidence. The next item I will consider is jittery. As a ﬁrst approach, I will present jittery in connection with other adjectives as found by Google (jittery and, and jittery). We can assume that these adjectives will be partly synonymous with jittery, as is often the case with binomials. There are 142,000 occurrences of jittery and, and 87,000 occurrences of and jittery. My citations are taken from the ﬁrst ﬁfty listings of each: many importers are still jittery and unsure of what to expect I took 50 mg of diet ephedra i feel jittery and not good. i am SO jittery and hyper and in a good mood I get very jittery and shaky Six months ago, I was feeling jittery and unable to get any sleep. Can decongestants make you feel irritable and jittery Are you nervous and Jittery? well, i’m antsy and jittery–just thought you should know. I’m jumpy and jittery all of a sudden. I’m so jumpy and jittery and can’t sit still for a minute Someone who is jittery is often also jumpy, shaky, antsy and irritable. If one feels jittery, one can be in a good, even exhilarated mood, but it can also indicate that one isn’t feeling well or that one is unsure. While Google does not feature jittery songbirds, it lists seventy-ﬁve jittery birds. Here are a few citations that might help to make sense of the haiku:
Meaning and the interpretation of a haiku
The wheat-green sea of the Hebrides smashes in a grey cave among dewed, jittery birds. They are very quirky, jittery birds. They skittered and jerked around like two jittery birds. Like a pair of some kind of weird, jittery birds, Moody thought. I can imagine that having a resident hawk could result in a lot of jittery birds! She exclaims again and again how amazing are two rambunctious squirrels chasing jittery birds across high branches Jittery birds can be quirky, we learn; they skitter and jerk around. People are said to behave like jittery birds. And we learn that birds feeling threatened become jittery. Indeed, jittery behaviour, whether of people of birds, is often linked to intentional content. If people are confronted with a situation that forces them to take action, they become jittery. Google lists 52,000 occurrences of jittery about. Here are some of them, taken from the ﬁrst ﬁfty items: Air Carriers Jittery About Fuel Prices. Green activists jittery about Dubai’s man-made isles. Strike talk leaves customers jittery about United’s future Danish consumers jittery about the future Why Economists Are Jittery about the Stock Market. When people (or birds) collectively become jittery about something, this may be an indication that they are in a negotiation about a course of action. This could be relevant for our haiku. Can songbirds be described as bouncy? After all, birds, songbirds at least, can ﬂy. It would be our expectation that birds, when threatened, would ﬂy off, rather than bounce. But Google lists quite a number of cases (2,010) of bouncy birds. There even seems to be a pop band by the name of Bouncy Birds. For the haiku, these citations could be telling: Bouncy Birds. Rockhopper penguins do just what their name says. House sparrows are little, bouncy birds that hop around on the ground in small ﬂocks while foraging As these little bouncy birds ﬂock through our locale, many frequent backyard feeders, enriching our day with their energetic antics. When your bright, glowing days offer a welcome to the most colorful and beautiful ﬂowers naturally grown to offer a habitat for bouncy birds Penguins cannot ﬂy. They bounce, though, we are told. But there also seem to be bouncy sparrows, and birds that frequent bird feeders (like songbirds), and birds
Meaning, Discourse and Society
who tend to nest among beautiful ﬂowers. Among the ﬁrst ﬁfty citations for bouncing birds, I have selected these: I named ’em bouncing birds for the way they play the air currents. Although I guess it was worth it to see that one pic above, not to mention the bouncing birds actually made me laugh. A noisy ﬂock of goldﬁnches arrived in Gomps by mid-April; the song of these bright yellow bouncing birds is a sign that spring is on the way. He set up one of those bouncing birds to click on a button but later the bird ending up hitting a wrong button and setting off the nuclear plant. Bouncing birds, including goldﬁnches (which are a kind of songbird) really do occur in the discourse, and even can be seen on pictures. Even in the act of ﬂying they can be said to be bouncing. There are, unexpectedly, also two citations for bouncy songbird(s): This song showcases what a bouncy songbird Miss Bush truly is and in no uncertain terms, and any person with the gift of hearing is not safe from her Ha Ha! I hear you bouncy songbirds! In both cases, the songbirds are obviously human (and probably in the music business). We cannot be quite sure how much fun it is to encounter them. While jittery often seems to indicate a feeling of nervousness and excitability, the citations above make bouncing birds appear as being very much in their element. So do jittery + bouncy/bouncing go together? Quite well, it seems, as these citations, selected from the ﬁrst ﬁfty of 24,000 listed by Google, show: The road feel was solid but not jittery or bouncy. Overall, the ride is smooth but is jittery and bouncy when taking on rough surfaces The jittery, bouncy drums and chopped keys on ‘The Bones Of My Pets’ show that even when not rocking with the band A bouncy, jittery arrangement provides the contradiction in a track peppered with random sonic tidbits His whole jittery Miyavi bouncy persona was gone. He was calm, and kinda serious and polite. She was all bouncy and jittery like a little kid who has been too long in a car ride and needs to use the restroom Also, I feel very jittery and bouncy. This feeling typically subsides within a short period of time, but it is not a pleasant feeling.
Meaning and the interpretation of a haiku
There are three context types in which jittery and bouncy seem to co-occur. One has to do with transport. Rides or ﬂights or roads can be jittery and bouncy, and it is not something that is appreciated. In music, there seems to be a certain ambivalence. When the adjectives are applied to people, they indicate a state of behaviour that is felt as unpleasant by those who exhibit it, and by those who are confronted with it. Songbirds who are jittery and bouncy are not calm; they are excited and on the brink of doing something. So far, stampeding songbirds have not been part of the discourse to which Google gives us access. If birds are said to stampede at all, then the talk is frequently about birds which cannot or do not normally ﬂy, as in these two citations (out of six): and sets ﬁre to the warbird stables, creating a considerable diversion, and is almost run over by the stampeding birds. birds can leave their nest exposed to predators and heat, and ‘stampeding’ birds can crush eggs. However, there is textual evidence of birds stampeding before or while they begin to ﬂy: They swung open the pen doors and the birds stampeded out onto the runway looking very excited to get underway … I poured on the coals to begin my takeoff – desperately trying to stay ahead of the birds who were airborne and ﬂying right beside me. Not far from his goal he came to a steep precipice and the birds stampeded, not down the cliff but into the air. Suddenly, the birds stampeded. They spread their wings, ﬂew over the precipice and raced away. Why do birds, other animals or people stampede? Here are a few citations taken from the BNC, which lists ﬁfteen occurrences of stampeded: He’d used an Armalite semi-auto on the creatures as they stampeded from crag to crag. Nobody was hurt, but the congregation panicked and stampeded for the exit. Then, as if to break the spell, the sheep dogs began to bark frenziedly and the nearby sheep stampeded as if they sensed impending danger. The Government are being stampeded by a bunch of loony, rabid, right-wing fanatics But if Gloucester chose to act against Hastings, rather than being stampeded into it by his discovery of a conspiracy, why did he
Meaning, Discourse and Society
choose to show his hand before his troops reached London and before he had control of the other possible claimants to the throne? But while England and, for that matter, Scotland, are being stampeded into adopting them before the ink on the bill is even dry, there is a deﬁnite lack of urgency west of Offa’s Dyke. Animals and people stampede when they act instinctively, when they forsake reason. According to the discourse, this happens normally when they feel threatened, when they panic, when they sense danger. Something must have happened that stampeded our songbirds into spreading their wings and racing away. As to the second part of our haiku, there is still one question unanswered. What does the discourse have to say about blue songbirds? Google lists 277 occurrences of blue songbirds. In an astonishingly high number, they are equipped with highly desirable attributes. Here are seven citations, taken from the ﬁrst forty occurrences: Keep building those nesting boxes so we can continue to increase the population of these beautifully colored blue songbirds in our state. Barn swallows are pretty blue songbirds with forked tails. Oil Painting on Canvas depicting the small blue songbirds perched among the lilac ﬂowers. mountains unfolding layer after layer on the horizon, a pasture full of bright blue songbirds. Sure the fairy princesses and blue songbirds are kind of cute, but let’s face it, they’re getting overplayed. I had a bunch of guinea-corn to cook, but this week two pairs of indigo buntings (brilliantly beautiful azure-blue songbirds) ate ALL of it Overhead a cluster of tiny blue songbirds twittered to each other in the boughs of the Rynacca trees. Their cheerful calls brought a smile to Leia’s face. Blue songbirds are pretty, bright, brilliantly beautiful, beautifully coloured, have cheerful calls, come with fairy princesses and are the subjects of paintings. There can be little doubt: while the discourse object of an abrasive heron hardly evokes any feelings of sympathy, it is part of the meaning of blue songbirds that people tend to ﬁnd them attractive. Google lists an astonishing number of 600,000 occurrences for heron + songbirds. A look at the ﬁrst ﬁfty occurrences gives us a clue as to how they are seen to be connected: Endangered there are all diving birds, herons, songbirds, and terns, as well as most ducks, geese, falcons, rails, and wading birds.
Meaning and the interpretation of a haiku
The refuge is also used by peregrine falcon, bald eagle, northern harrier, Caspian tern, great blue heron, songbirds, and a variety of waterfowl. The riparian trees provide nesting habitat for a variety of raptors, herons, and songbirds. We’ll search for wildlife visiting the lake at twilight such as osprey, herons, beavers, and songbirds. A whippoorwill joined the chorus of croaking and barking herons and chirping frogs, with songbirds tittering and tweeting occasionally. Herons and songbirds share the same type of habitat. Other birds and other animals are to be found in these places, as well. There is, however, no symbiotic relationship between them. Do they get into each other’s way? Is that why the heron is blaring? Is he or she frightening our blue songbirds? We are told that herons are likely to commit the crime of piscicide, and thus we would probably be told if they also murdered songbirds. The silence of the discourse thus indicates that they are safe from herons. As we have learned above, a ‘haiku is the smallest language construct that can generate enough complexity to create tension and resonance between its parts’. Part of our interpretive task is to ﬁnd out what kind of tension exists between the two parts of this haiku. The key question is how the two verbs, blare and stampede, are connected. Above we have seen that a perceived danger, or the ensuing panic and fright cause animals and people to stampede. The Google discourse tells us that blaring can indeed be interconnected with panic and fright. There are 66,000 occurrences for panic + blare, and 44,000 occurrences for fright + blare. Here are some relevant citations, taken from the ﬁrst few occurrences: Wash’s panicked voice blared over their coms. ‘Simon, you need to get back here. Something’s wrong with Zoe.’ That afternoon, our family was riding in the car when a siren blared. I panicked and asked, ‘What’s that?’ Welcome to the latest health scare on the Internet, where e-mail or ‘consumer alerts’ can suddenly spark panic by blaring about ‘DEADLY POISONS.’ As I hear the Sirens Blaring I sit frightened by the feeling growing within me Frightened by the sirens blaring outside my window And on Halloween night, a steady stream of frightened and tormented wailing blared from a set of speakers on the front porch. But the way I frightened the folks and the way they ran and hollowed and blared the tin trumpet … made about as sweet a row as you can imagine.
Meaning, Discourse and Society
It seems that in a large number of citations the blaring causes panicky behaviour. But the ﬁrst, ﬁfth and sixth example the fright or panic happens ﬁrst, and causes voices to blare. As I see it, our haiku does not provide an easy answer to the question of whether the songbirds stampeded because they were frightened by the heron’s blaring, croaking voice, or whether there was an incident causing panic and fright to the heron and to our songbirds alike. Several readings are possible. The heron, in his (or her) statuesque grandeur, admirable but also repulsive, produced an abrasive, ‘skraiking’ sound that frightened the songbirds and made them stampede into ﬂight. This would be unreasonable behaviour, as the reality constructed in the discourse does not show that herons pose a threat to songbirds. Sharing the same habitat, songbirds, we might assume, are genetically adapted to pay no undue attention to herons. But another reading is equally possible. The heron’s blaring can be processed by the songbirds as an indication of an imminent danger. For them, it may have the function a klaxon has for us. Not knowing what troubles the heron, making a quick escape may well be the best choice of action. For me, the preferred reading is that the haiku shows us two different ways of reacting to a peril. What the peril is need not be speciﬁed. It is sufﬁciently indicated by the heron’s blaring and by the songbirds’ stampeding. What is contrasted are two modes of behaviour. The heron’s bearing is deﬁned by a pretence of grandeur, majesty and posturing, by strutting along in a presumption of dignity, and by a belief in one’s invincibility. Our heron has an abrasive temperament, and this quality is often linked to negative qualities such as being aggressive, morose, and obnoxious. The heron, it seems, is the bad guy in this haiku, clearly in stark contrast with our blue songbirds. Solitary, and equipped with a reptilian brain, it is complacent and self-righteous in its pursuit of shameless piscicide. It does not interact with its environment. It feels invincible. Thus, perhaps unsurprisingly, the heron only pays lip service to the peril by blaring out indignantly without really feeling threatened. The songbirds, on the other hand, do not pretend to know better in the face of danger. They ﬁnd little value in the ramblings of solitary minds. They conduct themselves as an egalitarian community. What we call jittery may be their way of interacting, of dealing collectively with their perceptions, and of negotiating what to do next. What looks like a mindless stampede to our Western minds, ﬁxated as they are on hierarchical societies with strong leaders, can also be seen as a collaborative act of escape from a more or less clearly perceived danger. So while the songbirds are up and away, our heron presents herself or himself unwittingly as ‘a huge target, hard to miss’, as we have read above. This haiku can be seen to convey a moral message. Herons and songbirds have been likened time and again to people, and people to all kinds of birds. What we make of it is, however, hardly an act of interpretation, because it is not
Meaning and the interpretation of a haiku
based on concrete discourse evidence. Interpretation, however, cannot be strictly separated from the construction of new realities, discourse realities waiting to be interpreted in their turn. The whole discourse can be seen in its diachronic dimension as unceasingly adding layers of interpretation upon existing layers of interpretation. The haiku has added some new touches to the reality as it had been constructed by the discourse. For apparently the ﬁrst time, there is now discourse evidence that herons can be abrasive, that there is a discourse object ‘jittery songbirds’ and that songbirds can be said to be stampeding. This is new potential knowledge, and for social constructionists it does not matter whether realists of various denominations would call it true or false. What matters is whether subsequent contributions to the discourse will refer to it. Only then will it have made an impact on the discourse, be it the discourse at large, the discourse as it is represented by Google, or the discourse of the small community that aims to collaboratively interpret this haiku. My reading of our haiku will be initially determined by my prejudices, and so would everyone else’s. I was bound to select corpus citations as I saw ﬁt. But the reality of the citations led me in ways I did not foresee. Gadamer would call it a dialogue between the interpreter and their evidence. So far, the interpretive community is only imaginary. But I have selected and presented my case in such a way that I hope to ﬁnd some readers to agree with my reading. This interpretation can only be provisional. Readers will want to pursue different alleys, select different citations from the discourse and rephrase them as they see ﬁt. Any new contribution, like my interpretation, will only have made an impact on the discourse if subsequent contributions refer to it. Otherwise it will have been a useless, solitary exercise. The discourse is, of necessity, the result of collaboration. There will never be a ﬁnal interpretation. There is an unlimited terrain for making sense of a text. As long as readings of it can be justiﬁed by discourse evidence, by the reality of citations taken from the discourse, which is the only reality available to us all, they count. As I see it, it is not necessary that the ‘interpretive community’ evoked by Stanley Fish agrees on just one reading. Several readings may be endorsed, and together they make up the interpretation as it has been negotiated by this community. Other readings may be rejected, based on a lack of support from discourse evidence. This may lead to their dismissal and a subsequent lack of references to them, but it could also result in a split of the community. In this chapter, I wanted to show that it is never possible to grasp fully the meaning of a word, a phrase, a text segment of a full text. The meaning of any unique discourse occurrence results from its intertextual links with all other discourse occurrences. But it is we, the members of the interpretive community, who have to decide what constitutes such a link. And it is we who have to select
Meaning, Discourse and Society
the links to follow up. While our starting point is the prejudices, the foreknowledge and the fore-judgements we have learned from authority, our dialogue with the evidence of the discourse will liberate us from these preconceived ideas and take us to new shores. So will the interaction between the members of the interpretive community. The ensuing collective intentionality will be more than the agglomeration of the individual intentionalities. All discourse is self-referential. Whenever we say something, we do no more or less than interpret what has been said before. New interpretations recombine, permute and rephrase what has been there all along. But this is how innovation comes about. Only by interpreting the world created by the discourse can we change this world. We will never know at the beginning where this collaborative act will take us. I readily admit that I could have presented my reading of this haiku without wasting ten thousand words on a tedious, unexciting and wearisome process of explication. But this exercise was less about making sense of it than an illustration of the hermeneutic act itself, as I see it. I wanted to show how unnecessary it really is for our sense-making efforts to seek the answer in our individual minds. My point is that we have little to gain from undertaking the vain endeavour of accessing them. Indeed, cognitive linguists have never been able to demonstrate the existence of any mental concept, any cognitive representation, that could not also be extracted from the discourse. We do not need to look into our heads to interpret texts. We also do not need to look into the head of the author. In this whole chapter I have never referred to him or her. What she may have thought, which intentions she may have made, is entirely irrelevant. Most readers will have guessed this by now anyway. Our haiku does not have an author. It is the random output of a computer program generating haikus, namely ‘the Genuine Haiku Generator’ (www.everypoet.com/haiku/default.htm).
Authorship, intentionality and mental states: can the quest for meaning dispense with the investigation of the solitary mind? In this book, I have presented my ideas on meaning, discourse and society. Meaning, I have said, is to be found only in the discourse. If it is also in people’s heads, we would not have access to it there. Our quest for meaning would not be helped by an attempt to construe a monadic mind endowed with a mechanism for processing mental states. My contention is two-fold: ﬁrst, there is no such object as the ‘mind’ whose workings we might observe directly. If there are mental representations of what is said, we do not have direct access to them. We have to rely on what people tell us about them. What we then get, are people’s contributions to a discourse, thus part of the discourse, and not the mental representations themselves. Second, as long as mental representations are conﬁned to the mind and not expressed in any kind of behaviour, including symbolic behaviour, they are meaningless. What someone feels inside but studiously refrains from expressing in any form cannot have an effect on society. It is irrelevant. This leads us, I believe, to the unavoidable conclusion that whatever is said about a person’s intentions cannot be based on knowledge of that person’s mental states. We have no way of knowing what it is that made a person express herself in a certain way. We cannot know if her behaviour was caused by physiological processes, by carrying out a conscious intention or by sheer randomness. It is her behaviour that matters, not her mental state. If we want to make sense of a contribution to a discourse, or to the discourse at large, we have to abstract from the intentionality of its author and her intentions. We need to ﬁnd out what the contribution means. Whether it was said by someone in full control of their mind, or whether it is but the output of a computer program is not for us to know. We investigate the meaning of any contribution under the assumption that it has a meaning. This meaning is not just another word for the intentions of the speaker. Meaning, I have argued throughout this book, is not a mental representation of what is said; meaning is everything said in the discourse that impacts on a text or a text segment and helps to interpret it. As I have shown in the preceding chapter, it is even possible to make sense of a haiku not conceived by a conscious mind but generated by a computer program. Whether the poem has an author or not is quite irrelevant. It has no effect on its meaning. 241
Meaning, Discourse and Society
Making sense of what is said, interpreting contributions to the discourse, however, is an act. There is a long-standing discourse on the nature or essence of what it takes to look at something happening as an act. An act, we have learnt, presupposes agency, and someone who exercises it. An act involves making decisions. Computers, or brains, do not make decisions. They process input by following rules or instructions. The results they come up with are predictable. Acts, on the other hand, are, from the outside, indistinguishable from random events. We cannot tell in advance whether the ﬂapping of a butterﬂy’s wings will cause a hurricane. From the point of view of intentionality, decisions are of a different essence. When I make a decision, I have viewed the pertinent evidence, reﬂected on what I want to see as the outcome and considered my options before I resolve the issue. I could have decided differently. I am aware of what I am doing. I exercise agency. But just as we cannot foretell whether there will be, in a given situation, a hurricane, or a tsunami, we cannot predict how a person will decide confronted with a situation. Event and act are both contingent. If we only look at what has been said, at the contributions to the discourse, there is not much to be gained by attributing it to the intentionality of the speaker. A decision that can go either way deﬁes causal explanation. When I claim that texts mean regardless of what their speakers think, I am contributing to a discourse that sees discourse as an autopoietic, self-referential system. When I claim that interpreting a text is an activity, I seem to be participating in a different discourse, a discourse in which concepts such as consciousness and intentionality are taken for granted, in which acting means carrying out a preconceived plan. Hermeneutics, the art, or the craft, of interpretation, has always presupposed intentionality on the part of those who carry out the interpretation. This is why computers may be able to summarise texts, but cannot interpret them. But now I say the texts that are interpreted (which are interpretations in their own right) do not presuppose intentional authors. What happens to the intentionality of those who offered these interpretations? For if we accept that the discourse is selfreferential, that it does not refer to a discourse-external reality, then everything said is a comment on what has been said before. Thus there seems to be a contradiction that invalidates my whole argument. If for the interpretation of an interpretation its author’s intentions are irrelevant, then why should we assume that the new interpretation must be understood not as a process but as an act involving intentionality? Would it not be better to redeﬁne interpretation as a process? In the philosophy of mind, a mental state is viewed as the correlation between a physiological state, for instance the ‘ﬁring’ of a cluster of neurons or the activation of synaptic connections, and the behaviour a person exhibits, including her symbolic behaviour, i.e. her participation in a discourse. Frequently mentioned as mental states we ﬁnd things such as beliefs and desires, emotions, memory, recognition and intention. What I am interested in here are intentions. Are we
in charge of them or do they come about by neural processes over which we have no control? As I have argued in the ﬁrst part of this book, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. There are only different ways of talking about these issues. If someone is convicted of a criminal act, that person is seen as capable of making a decision about whether or not to carry out the crime. But the perpetrator could also be acquitted on the grounds of diminished responsibility, implying that she or he was not in a position to make a conscious decision. While the standard assumption is that adult people, or, in the case of Scotland, even children at the age of eight, are equipped with a sense of right and wrong and are to be held responsible for their acts, explicit arguments are needed to exempt someone from the default assumption that they are responsible. There are two major discourses concerning the workings of the mind, and they take opposite stances. On the one hand we ﬁnd the mainstream discourse of the cognitive sciences. For them the mind is a computational engine, embedded in the hardware of the brain. It is driven by its routines, whether hard-wired or acquired, and even if their outcome is (still) unpredictable, it is not controlled by intentionality, by our conscious planning or by the decisions a person takes. The mind carries out processes, but it is neither a conscious agent, nor is there a conscious agent, a homunculus, in charge of it. Successive theories and models of the mind have been developed, and while there are (still) some unresolved issues, it is claimed that every new model emulates the mind better than the previous one. This proves, we are told, that the cognitive sciences are on the right track. This discourse has been exceedingly successful. It pledges that it is within our power to understand the mind, and that we can use this knowledge for unparalleled technological advancement. Intentionality can be disregarded, as a supervenient phenomenon, or as an illusion. As I have already pointed out in Chapter 7, for Daniel Dennett, the mind is a complex system giving us the impression that that there is a ‘whole wonderful person’. But in reality, he says, there is no such thing. The whole wonderful person is an illusion. What we ﬁnd instead in our investigation is something else. There are ‘brains – more particularly parts of our brains – [that] engage in processes that are strikingly like guessing, deciding, believing, jumping to conclusions, etc.’. Once we decompose this holistic view into its elements, it is bound to disappear like a mirage at close sight. ‘[W]e can make progress by breaking down the whole wonderful person into subpersons of sorts, agentlike systems that have part of the prowess of a person, and then these homunculi can be broken down further into still simpler, less personlike agents, and so forth – a ﬁnite, not inﬁnite regress that bottoms out when we reach agents so stupid that they can be replaced by a machine’ (Dennett 2007: 86ff., emphasis in original). It is this approach that has laid the foundation of artiﬁcial intelligence. Expert systems, surpassing the hormonal limitations of reason to which we humans are subject, will show the way towards a world in which unbiased
Meaning, Discourse and Society
rationality obliterates the need for human decision making. This agenda, a programme that deﬁnes intelligence as reducible to the processing of data on the basis of rules and probabilities, has been endorsed by legions of expert scientists. It is, we are told, strictly based on proven facts. If doubts were possible, it would not have attracted billions of dollars. In this view, interpretation is what we get once our tools for text summarisation are so reﬁned that they match the intelligence of a ‘whole wonderful person’. This discourse, the discourse of the cognitive sciences, of the philosophy of mind, and increasingly also of the neural sciences, is in opposition to a counterdiscourse, to what is commonly called by these experts the discourse of ‘folk psychology’. In his revised entry to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Ian Ravenscroft deﬁnes the ‘external’ concept ﬁrst of all as: a theory of mind implicit in our everyday talk about mental states. In the everyday trafﬁc of our lives we make remarks linking sensory experiences to mental states; mental states to other mental states; and mental states to behavior. Thus we remark that the smell of freshly baked bread made Sally feel hungry; that Sally wanted to go on a diet because she thought that she was overweight; and that Sally went to the fridge because she desired a piece of chocolate cake. (Ravenscroft 2004)
It is unclear to what extent our ways of making sense of other people’s behaviour are learnt or innate. Ravenscroft complements this view with an ‘internal’ concept of folk psychology, a kind of mechanism that directs our everyday ways of talking about mental states but is largely ‘inaccessible to consciousness’, while the ‘external’ folk psychology is ‘available to conscious reﬂection’ (Ravenscroft 2004). Within the discourse of folk psychology, we are in the habit of making assumptions about the mental states underlying our own behaviour and that of others. We believe that people often, but not always, know what they are doing and that they have reasons. People can, for instance, be mistaken about their feelings. They can mistake envy for love. But they can become aware of such mistakes. They can reﬂect on their behaviour. They can be expected to behave responsibly. When they make a contribution to the discourse, they will be in control of what they say. An author of a text cannot disclaim responsibility for it. They must know what they mean. But there may be more to the meaning of a text than its author is aware of. As already said in Chapter 15, the task of the interpreter is, in Friedrich Schleiermacher’s words, to understand the text at ﬁrst as well and then even better than its author. Since we have no direct knowledge of what was in the author’s mind, we must try to become aware of many things of which he himself may have been unconscious, except insofar as he reﬂects his own work and becomes his own reader. (Schleiermacher 1986: 83)
The important part of this citation is the demand to understand a text as well as its author. This was assumed in hermeneutic philosophy during the age of Romanticism. Even today, it is not uncommon to claim a knowledge of an author’s intentions, just as we tend to believe we can know why people behave
the way they do. We easily talk about their feelings, their desires, their beliefs and attitudes. Google lists 3,320 hits for ‘the author wanted to say’ and another 1,450 for the same sentence in the present tense. We are even admonished to distinguish between our and the author’s understanding of their text: ‘Ensure that you have understood what the author wants to say, and not what you think the author wants to say’, we read on the web page of the National University of Singapore under the heading Reading Journal Articles (www.cdtl.nus.edu.sg/success/sl12.htm). In a book review, David Wootton tells us, ‘Shakespeare’s intention was to engage with the views of his audience, rather than to pioneer new ways of thinking’ (Wootton 2004), one of 301 occurrences for the phrase ‘shakespeares intention was to’. Are we really innately primed to talk about ourselves and about others as if we had knowledge about their mental states? Is there some kind of genetically inherited mechanism that drives us to explain behaviour, whether our own or that of other people, in terms of their thoughts, feelings or intentions? Or is this way of talking speciﬁc to certain discourse communities, for instance to the educated upper middle class society we ﬁnd in the Western world from about the middle of the eighteenth century? It is interesting to see that our modern concept of empathy seems to have arisen with the Romantic movement. The word empathy is the English rendition of German Einfühlung, which was only coined in the second half of the nineteenth century, either in 1858 by the philosopher Rudolf Lotze, or, as some claim, in 1873 by Robert Vischer in his theory of aesthetic sensibility. But the verb einfühlen (‘empathise’) and other expressions largely synonymous with it seem to have been around much longer. It was only when people began to deﬁne themselves by their internal, mental states and not by their social relationships, that a need for empathy came about. Then it was no longer possible to explain people’s behaviour by the norms applying to a speciﬁc situation and to people of a speciﬁc social status. In Defoe’s Moll Flanders, none of the characters ever feels an urge to empathise. The feelings people expressed in these pre-Romantic times were determined by the rules governing social life. If someone violated the conventions, it was perhaps seen as an act of rebellion. But it was not discussed whether such behaviour was the expression of a character’s ‘true’ feelings. It was only the doctrine of the autonomous person, of the uniqueness of people’s interior life, that engendered the ubiquitous discourse on mental states we ﬁnd today in the Western world. In his paper ‘Why folk psychology is not universal’, David Ohreen presents the case of Samoan culture which ‘doesn’t seem to take much interest in the mind the way we do … According to Samoan epistemology, people are not supposed to guess what another person could be thinking because there is a strong sentiment that they cannot know what others are thinking’ (Ohreen 2007). Alessandro Duranti also doubts whether the Samoans would, on their own and without missionary intervention, talk about intentions. According to him, they do not even have a word for this concept (Duranti 2006).
Meaning, Discourse and Society
Thus a third discourse seems to be possible. We can deal with texts and their meanings not as psychological but as social phenomena. From this perspective, they would neither be brought about by mental processes, by the interactions of a multitude of stupid mechanisms, nor would they be the outcome of a person’s intentionality, planned and executed by a conscious mind. Rather texts would be embedded in discourses, and their meanings could be inferred by their adherence to and deviation from the conventions underlying the discourse to which they belong. All we are concerned with are the texts once they are entered into the discourse. In such a discourse the question of whether a text is the result of mental processes or the enactment of a deliberate stratagem would be outside our remit. But what about interpretation? As I have said above, interpreting contributions to the discourse is an activity. As such, it presupposes agency and intentionality. But what appears to be a contradiction is easily resolved once we accept that agency and intentionality do not have to be conﬁned to individual minds, to autonomous persons. We can talk about interpretation as a collaborative activity, as an act unfolding in a virtual or a real interpretive community. Once the relevant textual and intertextual evidence is presented (as I have shown in the preceding chapter) and shared, each member is called upon to react to it. What any contributor will come up with is rarely something new. Over time, interpretive communities have given rise to a discourse of interpretation, a vast repertoire containing almost everything that could be said when one is asked to comment on a text. In each interpretive situation, a participant will pick one of the options offered by this long-standing discourse of interpretation. The other members of the interpretive community may take for granted that this input will reﬂect the intentionality of the speaker and the conscious decisions she has made. But what matters is that they accept her contribution as meaningful and as being in order, in conformance with the conventions of what can be said in interpretive communities. What makes an utterance acceptable does not depend on the intentionality of a solitary speaker, on having made the right decisions, but on social norms, the rules governing the language game of interpretation. The next speaker will choose another option, as a reaction to the evidence and to the preceding contribution(s), and so on. Most of what will be said in this situation will thus have been rubber-stamped by repeated successful use in previous comparable situations. What engenders the novelty of each new interpretation is the recombination, the permutation and reformulation of what has been said before. Whether a contribution is based on conscious decisions or the result of a mental (or a real) computer is not for the participants to know, and it does not matter. They react to an utterance as meaningful if it ﬁts their bill of expectations. What is important in such an interpretive discourse is the argumentation that links a new contribution to preceding ones, is what is happening in the open,
between the members of the interpretive community. Interpretation is not a solitary act. What a member of the interpretive community thinks about the text is irrelevant. Only what she says counts. The intentionalities of the contributors, the decisions they have made, the intentions they may have had, will not visibly affect the success of their utterances. Success, measured by the number and weight of traces a contribution leaves in subsequent texts, can only be measured ex post, after the contribution has been made. What I call here an interpretation is the collaborative act of an interpretive community in dealing with a text or a set of texts. While unfortunately there are many interpretive situations in which the teacher gives her reading of a text, usually of a poem, which is then customarily accepted by the pupils without further ado, this is not what should happen in a democratically organised community where each member is accorded the same rights. There, at the end of an interpretive act carried out in collaboration, there is a set of contributions, each reacting to the text and to whatever has been said before, which in their diversity, in their plurality, make up the interpretation. What I am trying to say is that what appears to be a contradiction may be resolved on a higher level. Texts can be viewed as contributions to the discourse. What they mean is not how they are represented in the mind of a given reader. What they mean is what they refer to in the discourse and how they are referred to in the discourse. It is the discourse that creates society, by constructing personhood, by turning objects of the environment into people, and by negotiating the meaning conventionally assigned to people’s interactions, whether verbal or otherwise. As Niklas Luhmann has shown (see Chapter 9), it is possible and may be useful to keep the people themselves, their intentionalities and their mental states, outside of such a concept of society, with their symbolic behaviour being the only link between them and society. This concept of discourse does not preclude texts from talking about intentionality, about mental states, about people making decisions and carrying out acts. The discourse is self-referential; texts do not talk about ‘real’ mental states but only recombine, permute and reformulate what has been previously said about these discourse objects. When we are participating in an interpretive situation, as members of an interpretive community, we assign to each of us discursively, whether in an explicit or an implicit way, the status of agents, of ‘whole wonderful persons’, equipped with mental states and intentionality. Thus we can look at an interpretive situation as we can look at a play, an opera, a ﬁlm or a TV drama. What makes it more interesting to watch such interactions of people than, for instance, the growth of grass, is that we can recognise and understand the situations enacted, and that they show human behaviour in the way it has been presented and explained to us before, that we experience it as relevant for us, and that it engages us as quasi-participants in the unfolding drama. We do not watch it as experts in the communication of ant colonies would watch their ants, for whom the ants are just props. In the
Meaning, Discourse and Society
performance of a drama, we see behaviour of the kind we constantly encounter in our own lives, behaviour that determines what is going to happen with ourselves and the people around us. In order to cope, we can never desist from interpreting behaviour (including our own), and from making sense of it. From morning to evening we never cease to contemplate the meaning of behaviour we encounter, of facial expressions, of what people say. We categorise it by using the pigeonholes supplied to us by the discourse. What a gesture, a smile, a tear in the eye, blushing cheeks, and a phrase like ‘I love you’ mean is what has been decreed about them in the discourse. But the discourse is plurivocal and the conventions it exacts are always negotiable; we can choose between the many options offered. It is this personal involvement, this necessity of making choices, that keeps us engaged. This is what made Aeschylus’s plays catch the attention of Athenian audiences, people who had never considered the existence of mental states, the authenticity of feelings, or the idea that people are the makers of their destinies. What I suggest is that we widen our concept of intentionality. It often makes sense to view intentionality as involving a person’s consciousness of herself, an awareness of what someone’s behaviour, a situation she encounters or a text she reads, is about, of her capability of making a plan and carrying it out. It is this perspective that made the Enlightenment so uniquely successful, that has laid the foundation of our modern world. This is what we could call embodied intentionality. But this understanding of individual intentionality has almost erased another intentionality, an intentionality that emerges in situations of social interaction. Intentionality thus becomes the deﬁning force of a community; it is a community’s constant interpretation of the situation in which it ﬁnds itself, an intentionality which gives up a crude cause–effect perspective in favour of a Darwinian vision of evolution and adaptation. Any contribution to its discourse, unpredictable as it is in the way it reacts to previous contributions, takes the awareness of the group members a step further, to ever new frontiers. This intentionality is the result of collaboration. We could call it collective or symbolic intentionality. It is the essence of each play, each ﬁlm and each TV drama. What catches our interest there is the meaning which the characters assign to each other’s behaviour and which we may endorse or reject. What makes us call the happenings of a play actions, and not processes, is that the characters themselves take a vital part in the assignment of meaning. This is what makes a play different from what is happening in an ant colony. What makes an act an act is the self-referentiality of the situation. In this sense, we can talk about acts without invoking the intentionality of a solitary mind. Plays do not offer us any insight into the inner lives of their characters, in the way stories or novels sometimes do. All we can ever see are incomplete holograms of the kind of personhood as it is deﬁned by our modern Western discourse. But this absence of inner lives does not diminish the agency of its characters.
An interpretative situation is like a play, with the members of an interpretive community as its characters. It is a play without a script. The participants have to improvise. What turns this situation into an act is not the assumed personhood of the players. It is their symbolic, their verbal behaviour, a behaviour to which meaning has been assigned in the past, which has been interpreted in various ways. We have all been pupils once. Time and again a teacher has tried to discuss the meaning of a poem with us. We have learned the conventions of interpretive situations. We know what we are expected to say and what not. But unless we have a dominant teacher the outcome of the situation is open. Jointly we develop our interpretation, each new contribution being understood as a reaction to previous ones. This is how the participants experience themselves as being involved in a collaborative act. They do not need access to the other participants’ inner lives to make sense of their contributions. The emerging collective intentionality of the interpretive situation is the result of the selfreferentiality of its discourse. The Athenian audiences perceived Aeschylus’s tragedies as action, not as process. They did not waste empathy on the characters. They were not interested in Orestes’ inner life. What they experienced as tragic were not his guilty feelings about the murders he had committed, but the apparent inevitability with which the whole chain of events emerged, each symbolic act provoking the reaction required by the conventions. It is not Orestes’ intentionality they are concerned about; it is the intentionality of the collective mind of all those involved in the play. It is not the intentionality of the one who happens to say something but the interaction of all the members of an interpretive community that determines the result of an interpretive situation. How real are the realities we experience? At the beginning of this book, I introduced the idea that it is the discourse that constructs the reality in which we experience ourselves. Without a discourse, I claimed, our reality is nothing but stuff. This way of looking at things informed the second part of my book. It is no doubt a clear contradiction of our intuitions. It seems to be natural to us to take the reality in which we ﬁnd ourselves, the reality constructed through unceasing negotiations within the discourse, as undistorted data of our perceptory apparatus. Such an intuition seems to be appropriate for a period of human development that preceded linguistic communication. In those times people could not ask others for advice. Each person had to act on their own intuitions and drives, without collective attempts to make sense of the sensory input. With the advent of the discourse, of the ability to share and exchange symbolic content and to negotiate the meaning of the reality out there, things changed. Surreptitiously, our interpretations began to control and structure what we perceived, while we still believe that we see the world as it ‘really’ is. We seem unable to distinguish between sensory input via
Meaning, Discourse and Society
our perceptory apparatus and the input we obtain from participating in the discourse. Sceptical as many philosophers may have been about the link between our ideas and the world out there, few went as far as Bishop Berkeley who conceived his solipsistic version of idealism some three hundred years ago. For Berkeley, there was no reality out there; there were only our perceptions, our ideas. My stance, the stance that the reality which we are able to communicate is a reality constructed by the discourse, does not deny the existence of a world outside of discourses. It only claims that once we accept discourse input on a par with other sensory input, the discursive categorisations we are exposed to tend to take precedence over our intuitions and drives. This is how the stuff out there becomes sorted through the mediation of the discourse. Both positions, though, mine and that of Bishop Berkeley, are relativist. Samuel Johnson would ﬁnd as much fault with my version of social constructionism as he does with Bishop Berkeley: After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley’s ingenious sophistry to prove the nonexistence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisﬁed his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it – ‘I refute it thus.’ (James Boswell: Life of Samuel Johnson book 3)
Aren’t the stones we kick at real? Would kicking a stone hurt otherwise? Would anyone in their sound mind declare that the stone we just kicked at is a construct of the discourse? It is not surprising that the authors of the famous or infamous article ‘Death and furniture’ found themselves at the centre of this never-dying controversy between relativists and realists (Edwards, Ashmore and Potter 1995). Common sense, it seems, has no patience with relativist views. Kicking a large stone hurts. This shows unequivocally not only that stones actually exist, but also that we are able to experience the world out there directly. Or does it? Mountain climbing involves, as far as I can see, a lot of stone kicking. But no one ever mentions that it hurts. It seems that for mountain climbers the reality of rocks and stones is quite different from that of the great lexicographer. When, in the Sunday Times of 27 August 2006, Sir Ranulph Fiennes calls the Eiger ‘his kind of therapy’, the author of the article in question, Stephen Venables, extols the sublime pleasure of climbing the Eiger north wall: ‘a fantastically varied journey through a stupendous vertical landscape’, in which one could ‘be ﬁghting for your life … pounded by a barrage of falling water and rocks’. But apparently those rocks do not hurt. Mountain climbers obviously do not feel pain when they hit or are hit by rocks. It is other things that can agonise: ‘[B]oots hurt that old skin graft on my right foot’. As we can learn from David Morris, it is to a large extent determined by the culture in which we live whether or not a pertinent physiological state is experienced as pain (Morris 1993). Such a view is still more acceptable than to deny the ontological reality of rocks. Not even an exceptionally well-presented
version of relativism such as we ﬁnd in ‘Death and furniture’ could persuade the majority of my students to doubt their manifest existence. Perhaps it might help to engage in a thought experiment. Let us assume, for the moment, that we ﬁnd ourselves miraculously transported to a planet in some far-away galaxy, perhaps even outside of our own universe. Happily we experience ourselves having no problem breathing. Of course, we do not know how similar the air is to the air we have on Earth, and we cannot even be sure if it is ‘really’ air, or perhaps some kind of thin, dispersed liquid, a kind of vapour. Unlike the air we are familiar with it seems neither humid nor dry. Also what looks like water does not give us the sensation of wetness. Will it harm us if we drink it? When we look up, is it the sky we see? It does not look like the sky we know. Is it something else? Can we be sure that we are ‘really’ looking upwards? Does gravity as we know it apply to this world? We are, it seems, treading on something, but on what? Apparently it is not metal, not soil, not stone and not asphalt. What would we ﬁnd underneath? It does not seem to be uniformly hard, or soft, or elastic. Is it resonating with our steps? Can we be sure we are not sinking in? Around us are all kinds of shapes, not reminiscent of anything we know from Earth. Are some of them alive, whatever life means here? Are they similar to trees, or to polyps, or to mammoths? Are they close or far away? How solid are they? Are some of them perhaps permeable, or just holograms without any corporeal existence? Are all these shapes, including the ground on which we walk, of the same substance, intrinsically connected and inseparable, or can we distinguish spatially separated objects of different natures? How rigid and durable is their shape? It seems as if some of these objects ‘really’ move around; but perhaps it would be better to compare the movement we discern to water waves. At times the ‘air’ seems to become concrete and impenetrable like glass, and sometimes what looks like a rock offers no resistance. Hungry as we are, what should we bite into? If something feeds us today, how sure can we be that it will feed us also tomorrow? But there is no today or tomorrow. How cyclic are the changing states we observe? We have no way of ﬁnding out if such cycles are of equal length. None of our colour adjectives have any use for us; and neither can we decide how bright it is. We cannot say if it is light or dark, and there is nothing that looks red or green or blue. If there are odours, they do not smell like anything we know. We ﬁnd ourselves surrounded by stuff of which we can make no sense. There is a reality, but it has no meaning. For chimpanzees or feral children it would not matter so much whether they are here in our world or there in this other reality. In both places they would try to follow their instincts and drives and satisfy their needs. They would look for something to eat, for companions with whom to associate, for a place where they could feel safe and so on. Of course, life for them would be easier on Earth than on this far-away planet, at least initially. On Earth they could follow their intuitions which might guide them as to what looks and smells edible. They
Meaning, Discourse and Society
would try to stay away from boggy ground, and they could rely on an innate or at least internalised clock. In that other world, they would have to learn everything from scratch by trial and error. Of course, they would not undertake a conscious effort to learn. They do not know what learning is. Yet just as they do not pause to reﬂect on their instinctive or acquired knowledge in their accustomed environment, they would not be proud to succeed in surviving in their new world. They survive by repeating routines that have been effective. They do not worry about realities. Humans, as long as they are members of discourse communities, are different. On that far-away planet, they would feel as if they were half-awake in a dream that did not make sense. They would desperately try to apply the categorisations they have learned from participating in the discourse. They have learnt to distinguish gases from liquids and solid stuff. They can tell up from down. They know what is called hard and soft. They have negotiated what can be called an object in its own right and what is just part of something else. They have also learnt to accept that there is a never-ending succession of days and nights of equal length. They think it is only logical that visible objects can be sorted according to colour and smelly objects according to their odour. Making sense of one’s reality means putting things into pigeonholes. For humans, these categories have become part of their reality. Even if they are acquired, they seem inescapable. But they are contingent. We could envisage discourse communities that have constructed their realities by adhering to rather different categorisations. It is possible to imagine a society in which people do not pay attention to colour, and in which they only accept things as existing which they ﬁnd in their immediate presence. When something disappears in the jungle or behind the next bending of the river, it ceases to exist. It is imaginable that in their discourse quantity is negotiated without any recourse to numbers. What I have sketched here are, it is argued, vital characteristics of a small tribe, the Pirahãs, who have recently become the object of a heated discussion, not only among linguists and anthropologists, but also among a wider public, by virtue of an article by John Colapinto: ‘The interpreter: Has an Amazonian tribe upended our understanding of language?’ (Colapinto 2007). Over the last ﬁve years, there has been a major controversy over the issue of whether the language of the Pirahãs has to be seen as unique among human languages, or whether it is just one of many ways of talking about things like colour and quantiﬁcation and what is in their immediate presence (the ‘immediacy of experience’ principle, as Dan Everett, the key linguistic expert on the Pirahã language, calls it). The issue of colour has always separated realists from relativists. There is a strong tradition in nativist language theories in the line of Noam Chomsky to assume that we are innately endowed with the faculty to classify colour, even though the particular language in which we grow up may not provide the full realisation of this potential. The foundational text is Brent Berlin’s and Paul
Kay’s book, ﬁrst published in 1969, Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution (Berlin and Kay 1969). They assume that our faculty to perceive colours and to label them is innate, that it is deﬁned by biological, not cultural, parameters and that it operates largely in a mechanical way. This doctrine appeared to be proven to many mainstream colour experts, in experiments which are seen as ﬂawed by others. It is perhaps conspicuous that the eleven supposedly ‘basic colour terms’ proposed by Berlin and Kay happen to correspond to the eleven colour words listed in Edward Thorndike’s The Teacher’s Wordbook, ﬁrst published in 1921. This is the contention of B. A. C. Saunders and J. van Brakel in their discussion of the vast amount of literature on colour perception and colour discourse. Adopting a more relativist stance that favours nurture over nature, they throw doubt on much of the allegedly empirical research in this area (Saunders and van Brakel 1997). A key problem in the experiments carried out by researchers adhering to the paradigm of realism, such as those of Berlin and Kay, is, as Saunders and van Brakel see it, an ambiguity about the object of study. ‘The referent could be a set of colour chips (colour in the world), a set of neurons in the brain or a functionally deﬁned term in a language-of-thought (colour in the head), words in different languages labelling basic colours (colour semantics), or the experience or sensation associated with basic colour categories (phenomenal colour)’ (p. 169). Are the colours in the world out there also the colours we perceive, and are the colours we perceive also the colours that we talk about in our discourse? Opinions are predictably divided on how successful Saunders and van Brakel were in their endeavour to refute the kind of realism which takes the categorisations we ﬁnd in our Western languages for real. Saunders and van Brakel insist that the evidence concerning colour perception and the way it is neurophysiologically processed is far from clear. Colour is a fuzzy concept, they claim, and they suggest that hue, brightness and saturation are intrinsically and intricately linked. The Western conceptualisation of colour is only one of many possibilities and far from universal. How the perceived data are interpreted depends on the discourse in which one grows up: ‘People in the Euro-American world are trained to distinguish hue. Cross-cultural research reveals the distinction to be contingent – hue, we must conclude, not being naturally salient’ (p. 196). Even in ancient Europe hues were not as much talked about as today. Homeric Greek seems to be widely unconcerned with colour and more focused on the texture of a surface and the kind of lustre reﬂected by it. Without being embedded in a discourse that constructs colours in relationship to objects of a shared reality, people seem to be at a loss to put into a pigeonhole what they see. This is why it would be so hard for us on that hypothetical planet in a far-away universe to assign colours to what we see. This is also why people who have never discussed the colour of things in their environment cannot provide the answers for which their interrogators are looking. Scientiﬁc research
Meaning, Discourse and Society
used to be a Western domain; it is not surprising that it is based on the Western discourse. We often take it for granted that our way of analysing things is the only scientiﬁc approach there is and is therefore more advanced than what we ﬁnd in other societies. Paul Kay, for instance, believes that languages move from backwardness ‘toward the precise and explicit speech of the analytic philosopher, the scientist and the bureaucrat’ (Kay 1977: 30). The problem with the realist position is that it tends to assume that our reality is the only one there is. The reality of colour perception is called into question whenever the uniqueness of the Pirahã language is discussed. According to Dan Everett, who lived among the Pirahãs for many years, ‘[t]here are no color terms in Pirahã’ (Everett 2005: 14). Instead when pressed they come up not with terms, but apparently rather with phrases coined on the spot such as bii’-sai (‘blood’ for ‘red’) or xahoasai (‘immature’ for ‘green/blue’) or kobiai (‘see though it’ for ‘white/ clean’). Different speakers will offer different such phrases in different situations. Paul Kay, in his peer comment attached to Everett’s article, admits ﬂaws in the experiments that Steve Sheldon, a colour perception expert in line with Berlin’s and Kay’s theory, carried out with some twenty-ﬁve Pirahãs, aimed at eliciting their colour judgements from a palette of colours. But Kay does not accept that the inability to extract a set of recurrent expressions referring to colours could be due to the Pirahã discourse; he would expect to ﬁnd the existence of ‘true color terms’, once these experiments are conducted without ﬂaws. Sheldon himself, who so far has left the existence of Pirahã colour terms in doubt, is a key researcher in the ongoing project World Color Survey, closely based on Berlin’s and Kay’s Basic Color Terms. I have no doubt that Pirahãs can if necessary distinguish a green snake from a brown one, saying perhaps that the one looks immature and the other one rotten. But this does not mean that talking about colours is part of their habitual discourse. As I see it, colours are not part of their shared reality, in spite of their being neurophysiologically equipped to perceive them as well as we can. Where I disagree with Kay is when he makes the connection that ‘color terms … are directly traceable to complex peripheral neural structures – in the retina’ (p. 53). How can we be sure if there are languages without colour terms as we know them? In much of the scientiﬁc approach to the categorisation of colour in the anthropological literature we still ﬁnd a bias assuming that our categories are universal. But if they are symbolic, if they are the contingent results of negotiations between people, they cannot be innate. No doubt the Pirahãs are as good as we are at distinguishing in their discourse the objects of their environment according to their needs, and apparently they can do that in most cases without reference to colour. In Western culture, at least in modern times, colour has become a dominant discourse topic. It does not have to be so. Fifty years of black-and-white ﬁlms tell us that even we can make sense of our environment, whether ‘real’ or ﬁctitious, without reference to colour. Perhaps we could learn
from the Pirahãs which other ways, ways of which we are not aware, are available to collectively cope with one’s environment. To talk about colours is only one option out of many. Even when we in the West have to distinguish between ﬁner shades of colours, colour terms are not necessarily helpful. Hardly anyone can remember the exact shade of the colour of an object. If my wife wants to ﬁnd a lipstick matching her new red dress, she will take the dress along to the store. Yet even then it might not be easy to decide on the closest match, as different surface textures make such a comparison very difﬁcult. What looks like a perfect match in the artiﬁcial light inside the store may well appear incongruous in bright sunshine. Our colour terms are conspicuously vague. My Roget’s Thesaurus lists for the entry red these adjectives: blood-coloured; maroon, wine, ruby, vermillion, crimson, cardinal, scarlet, cherry, rosy, rose; auburn, pink, coral, ﬂame. I have seen cherries of all hues, and I wonder if anyone can distinguish burgundy from bordeaux (two hues of red not mentioned by my thesaurus) as two different colours, considering that trends in wine-making change rather often. There may be colours outside of the discourse; but our colour words do not so much refer to a discourse-external reality as to the reality constructed in our discourse. Crimson occurs in the 100-million-word BNC 377 times, and these are the more frequent nouns it precedes: ball (3), blooms/blossoms (4), carpet (3), ﬂower (11), lips (3), mask (3), rope-light (6), silk (5), skirts (3), velvet (8), wings (3). On the other hand, dresses tend to be maroon (6 out of 136) but are, at least in the BNC, never called crimson. However, there are no maroon skirts, and there is only one maroon ﬂower. We know which colour attributes go with which discourse object. It is much more difﬁcult to assign a colour word to a thing not talked about. How little colour words have to do with the reality out there is quite obvious when we look at western children’s limited creativity with colouring books. The sky and water are always painted blue, lips and apples are always red, chocolate is brown and grass is green. We have all been trained to memorise the prototypical colours of the kind of objects of which we are given visual images. However, colour training was not always and is not everywhere such a central part of growing up. The role it plays for us today may well have been initiated by the fact that painting epitomised Renaissance arts and that ever since it has played a prominent part in the liberal arts education of the elite. The obsession with coloured images has put its stamp on the Baroque churches, advertising the superiority of Catholicism in the age of the counter-reformation, thus informing also the minds of the less privileged classes. Over the centuries, colours have played an ever-growing part in the design of our human-made environment. Dyes in clothing have distinguished people’s origins, professions and status. They have told the side to which a soldier belonged. Colour is an important aspect in discriminating last year’s fashion from this year’s. In designing the outsides and
Meaning, Discourse and Society
insides of buildings, colours have been replacing or been added on to ornamental relief. The aristocracy had to paint the walls of their mansions’ state rooms in glaring colours. Gradually more and more people began to take account of colour. Up to the middle of the last century, advertisements were still mostly black and white. Today we ﬁnd colour everywhere. It is not the reality out there, it is the discourse that focuses our attention. It would be worth analysing the kind of stories that have been told young children. Two hundred years ago, Grimm’s fairly tales hardly mentioned colours. Today, I would assume, colours play a more dominant role. The colours we see on objects are the colours given to these objects in the discourse, not necessarily the ‘real’ colours, if there were such a thing. As the impressionists knew, our colour assignments are less based on unbiased observation than on our expectations informed by the discourse. Hardly anyone remembers in which colours Edouard Manet painted the sky in his Monet painting in his ﬂoating studio. Unless we have been told that it is remarkable because it is not blue, we would not notice that this sky is all but blue. Our basic colour words, red, brown, blue, green and yellow have become so pervasive in our discourse not due to the reality out there, but due to the role they play in our discourse. There is no basic blue for Italians; they have to tell azurro from blu. Did the astronauts on the moon ever use colour terms for the objects they saw in their lunar environment? Can we be sure of the colours of objects we ﬁnd at the bottom of the oceans? It is the absence of an established discourse dealing with the world we ﬁnd on the hypothetical planet of a far-away galaxy that would make it so hard for us to assign colours to the objects we ﬁnd there, or indeed to assure ourselves of the existence of these objects themselves. Before we have turned the stuff surrounding us there into a reality we share, discuss and negotiate, it remains without meaning for us. In the shared realities of our Western societies, colours as objects of the discourse are ever present. We ﬁnd it hard to imagine that children growing up in a culture without colour pencils, without colouring books, without illustrated children’s books, without glossy magazines full of colour pictures, children growing up in a world in which everything appears more or less grey, might not be very interested in discerning different colours. We should not ﬁnd it so hard to believe that the Pirahãs can so easily live their lives without talking about colours. Just as we are neurophysiologically equipped to see what we can interpret as colours, we can also discern odours. Interestingly, in our Western world we normally do not ﬁnd a discourse on odours that can match the one on colours. There are no lexical items that could be compared to the three, or six, or nine basic colour terms we have designated as such in our Western languages. We use only very few of the adjectives preceding odour or smell just for talking about smell, among them acrid (also used for ﬂavour), musty (though derived from must – ‘fermented juice’), pungent, rank and perhaps stale. But these words are not as basic as adjectives like red or green, which we believe to be fairly uniform as categories. There is something like a prototypical red or green.
But is there also a prototypical smell we would call pungent? Among the things called pungent we ﬁnd, according to the BNC, the smell of love, Muscat, sundried tomatoes, badger aroma, aroma of apples, sesame oil, cod’s roe, female odour, garlic, cigarettes, cloves, urine and much else. It would be hard to come up with a common denominator for these sensations. Many of the adjectives we ﬁnd with smell or odour indicate objects which are the source of the scent or can be associated with a smelly thing: ﬁshy, foul, fresh, herbal, milky, putrid, fetid, rotting, or smoky. This is not so dissimilar from the ways the Pirahã talk about colours. It might be worthwhile to ponder the possibility that there are ethnicities that have a way of talking about odours as we are talking about colours. In our Western societies we tend to classify odours normally as pleasant (pleasing, nice, comforting) or as objectionable (horrible, bad, awful, unpleasant). These are more intuitive or even instinctive categories than those we have for colours. Even though culture can play a major role in determining whether something smells good (the Swedes are said to love the smell of rotten herring), the way we experience odours is perhaps less mediated by language than is the case for colours. Chimpanzees or feral children can distinguish between pleasant and unpleasant smells, but they may not have abstract concepts of a small set of basic colours. Their reality is not a reality constructed in a discourse. It consists of spurious memories of fuzzy glimpses of unmediated experiences, prompted by chance encounters with memory-causing prompts in their environment. It is, I believe, as unstructured as our encounter with the world on a planet in a far-away universe. It is a world in which instincts and drives help us to survive, but a world without meaning. Unlike them, we may be conscious that our categories do not ﬁt with what we ﬁnd there. But when it comes to odours, we are not much better off than them. We cannot explain which scent we like and which not. Finding one perfume nicer than another one is overwhelmingly a matter of immediate experience, not something that lends itself to discussion. Sometimes, however, we ﬁnd it necessary to classify odours in a systematic way. Then efforts will have to be made to develop an expert discourse, for instance for experts talking about perfumes or wine or tobacco or coffee. Much has been said about the adjectives that are supposed to describe the taste and aroma of wine. For me, such tasting notes have not been too helpful. There are also many specialised vocabularies for other objects which appeal to consumers though their ﬂavour/odour proﬁles. A Google search for odour vocabulary coffee delivers impressive 73,000 hits, the ﬁrst being the web page of the International Coffee Organization. These are the adjectives proposed there to describe the aroma, not the taste, of this drink: animal-like, ashy, burnt/smoky, chemical/ medicinal, chocolate-like, caramel, cereal/malty/toast-like, earthy, ﬂoral, fruity/ citrus, grassy/green/herbal, nutty, rancid/rotten, rubber-like, spicy, tobacco, winey, woody. The adjectives come with their deﬁnitions. Earthy is deﬁned as ‘[t]he characteristic odour of fresh earth, wet soil or humus. Sometimes associated
Meaning, Discourse and Society
with moulds and reminiscent of raw potato ﬂavour, considered as an undesirable ﬂavour when perceived in coffee’. Such a vocabulary will make sense for a discourse community of coffee aroma experts. They will construct their reality through primordial speech situations, as I have discussed them in Chapter 10. Sitting around a table and comparing their impressions of sample after sample, trying to use the prescribed vocabulary in the prescribed way, they will create for themselves a world of coffee aromas which they can communicate among themselves. It is a collaborative act, in which the deﬁnitions are interpreted and applied to the samples they share, with the aim of creating some kind of consensus. Yet their reality will not be my reality. Like other normal people, I call the coffee I drink pleasant or unpleasant, aromatic or stale. Odours, but not colours, are full of associative potential. We can easily recall long-forgotten memories. They invoke vague and fuzzy images of experiences that we have not made, via interpretation and reﬂection, part of our conscious history. Often we cannot place these memories into a strict lattice of place and time. The more we try to make sense of them the more elusive they become. Perhaps odours are as close as we can hope to approximate the immediacy of an experience that is not distorted by the categorisations we ﬁnd in the discourse. Because the classiﬁcation of odours is rarely part of the discourse, we experience them to a large extent in isolation, as solitary minds. In this sense, they are unlike most of our other experiences, which, even when they seem to be authentic, owe more to discursive preﬁgurations than to the immediacy of our apperceptions. The social dimension of experience and intentionality How important is it really for us to know that our experiences are authentic? One of the goals of this book has been to show that there is an alternative to our trust in the individual, solitary mind that has dominated Western society since the advent of modern times. Not for a second would I doubt that this venerable tradition, the essence of our modernity, has given rise to fantastic developments. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the celebration of genius has set free a creativity that has no equal in other parts of the world. More than other societies, Western society has extolled the notion that each person is unique; it has promoted the concept of intentionality, has put a premium on individual responsibility, and has encouraged the individuality, difference and autonomy of each person. This would not have been possible without the reiﬁcation of the human mind and the credo that each of us is unmistakable, and that all we are and all we do has to be original and authentic. But there is also the perspective that alone we are nothing. Growing up without human carers who talk with us, we remain speechless feral children. In solitary conﬁnement, deprived of the discourse, we tend to go mad. Robinson Crusoe needed his Friday to pull him out of his depression. Our instincts and our
drives may be strong enough to ensure survival. But no one would build a cathedral, write a book or spend an evening in a pub if there were not the expectation of some sort of interaction. After all, some things, like clapping, require more than one hand. Individuality, originality and autonomy are only thinkable if there are others with whom we can engage and who we expect to take notice and to let us know. We may not be born as a blank slate, as Steven Pinker has reminded us (Pinker 2002), but there is no assignment of meaning that comes in the form of genes. Content is symbolic; it can only emerge in a discourse. Genes can only have had an impact on non-symbolic phenotypes, observable properties that can be detected, counted, and measured by approved devices. Everything that counts as symbolic content cannot be part of our genetic equipment; it is but the result of joint negotiation. All our ideas about herons, about minds, about intentionality or about the pleasures of a pub visit are ideas we have picked up in our verbal interactions with other people. We do not know what is inside people’s minds. Minds, intentions and even what counts as pleasure (for instance the smell of rotten herring which the Swedes ﬁnd so attractive) are objects that we have jointly constructed in our discourse. They are not objects of a discourse-external world. As we grow up, we become immersed in the discourses of our carers and our peers. Through interacting with them, we gradually internalise the reality as it is presented to us. To a large extent we accept it unquestioningly. This is how symbolic representations are transformed into ﬁrst-person experience that is felt to be ‘embodied’ and ‘authentic’. Some ﬁrst-person experiences may indeed be ineffable. For the Pirahãs, colours may well be such a phenomenon. For people in Western societies, this is often the case where the quality of an odour is concerned. But much of what we believe to be a unique experience is a modulated repeat of experiences that we were told about. What we register as the true and authentic feeling we wake up with on a given morning is a reﬂection of and a reaction to what we have learnt about other people’s feelings when they get up in the morning. They tell us what they feel, and this is what we will feel as soon as a comparable situation arrives. What we call feeling includes giving what we feel a name. The name must have been made available to us, and applying it to a feeling involved reﬂection and thus consciousness. Giving feeling a name, interpreting what we feel, is stepping outside the authenticity of what we feel. Babies have authentic feelings, because they cannot contemplate what they feel. Naming a feeling is applying a category that is not embodied but discursively constructed. As soon as one is aware of one’s feeling, this experience is no longer true or authentic. It is mediated. Giving an experience a name is a conscious act. As an act, it involves intentionality. Intentionality, though, is a very tricky discourse object. As I have argued above, embodied intentionality, the intentionality of having an authentic
Meaning, Discourse and Society
feeling, excludes consciousness and reﬂection. It cannot be observed. This, however, is so counterintuitive that we must probe deeper. Firstly, there is raw experience, a kind of ‘feel’ I have, perhaps a familiar smell that puts me into a certain mood. No conscious reﬂection is needed. Another example would be my early-morning routine. Many years ago there was probably a time when I had to remind myself what to do next once I had got up. But over the years getting up has become a quite automatic kind of procedure that no longer involves any conscious planning. This procedure would be felt as raw experience. It would not make me switch on my reﬂections. But if I ask myself or someone asks me how I feel, I would have to ﬁnd words for the quality of an experience that was, as ‘raw’ experience, ineffable. Suddenly I have to reﬂect on what I am feeling while I am getting up. In this situation, I will ﬁnd a label for my feeling, and I will intuitively take it for an authentic expression of what I feel. But I will have fooled myself. Looking at it from an outside perspective, what I do is scan the applicable content memorised from the discourse in which I have participated. There I can ﬁnd a number of options for how I could label my ‘raw’ feeling. The discourse (Google lists 1,270 citations for ‘in the morning i always feel’) offers us a wide choice: in the morning, I always feel sleepy and have no strength to eat. in the morning i always feel the most anxiety I’m not hungry in the morning, I always feel like I’m force feeding myself. in the morning i always feel hungry in the morning, I always feel groggy and unproductive. in the morning, I always feel terrible In the morning I always feel like I’m walking on broken glass. in the morning I always feel OK. In the morning I always feel better. in the morning, I always feel like I can conquer the day! This is a long, but by no means inﬁnite list. In Google, there is not a single hit for ‘in the morning i always feel guilty’ and there is probably no one who has ever described their early morning feeling in these words. Yet if there had been a bestselling novel Feeling Guilty in the Morning, things might be different. Because this book still remains to be written, we are not induced to use this label for our feeling in the early hours. The idea that our experiences are, as soon as they are labelled, no longer ‘authentic’ is not at all new; it is very much how George Herbert Mead saw it: The individual experiences himself as such, not directly, but only indirectly, from the particular standpoints of other individual members of the same social group, or from the generalized standpoint of the social group as a whole to which he belongs. For he enters
his own experience as self or as individual, not directly or immediately, not by becoming a subject to himself, but only in so far as he ﬁrst becomes an object to himself just as other individuals are objects to him or in his experience; and he becomes an object to himself only by taking the attitudes of other individuals toward himself within a social environment or context of experience and behaviour in which both he and they are involved. (Mead 1934: 138)
As soon as this communal experience becomes appropriated and begins to deﬁne one’s identity, it begins to feel ‘authentic’. It feels ‘natural’, ‘embodied’, as George Lakoff would call it, but it is no longer a ‘raw’ feeling of which we are unconscious (Lakoff and Johnson 1999). Yet it seems nearly impossible to draw a line between ‘raw’ feeling and a feeling we have labelled. Awareness is a matter of degree. Our intuition tells us that our feeling, even if labelled, can still be authentic. This is why it feels direct and authentic, and not a symbolic representation. Such an appropriated feeling is neither a mere automatic process nor a fully ﬂedged conscious act. Thus the feeling I have when I get up is for my intuition, but not for those who have asked me, an ‘embodied’, not a symbolic intentionality. My intuition, however, is unreliable. What really happens is this: waking up feeling rotten, I will look for ways to label this experience. I may come to identify my feeling as cheerless or dispirited. In my memory, I will seek for possible causes I have learnt about for harbouring such a feeling. Am I perhaps clinically depressed? Did I lose a close family member? Is it grief that I feel? Or did I perhaps have a drink too many last night? If I opt for this last explanation for my state of feeling rotten in the morning, I may decide to take an AlkaSeltzer. This means taking a decision, making a choice, planning a course of action and carrying it out. But all this may not involve ‘real’ consciousness. I will have enacted my intentions without formulating them for myself or others. This sort of reﬂective intentionality, somewhere between embodied and symbolic intentionality, too, cannot be accessed from the outside. Yet when my wife happens to ask me how I feel before I have hastened to take my Alka-Seltzer, things will be different. Now there is symbolic content, content that is articulated. This changes things. The reﬂective intentionality is turned into a symbolic intentionality, an intentionality no longer conﬁned to inaccessible reﬂections, but realised within a discourse, as something that can be observed and analysed. As long as all my symbolic behaviour indicated that I was taking an Alka-Seltzer to offset my hangover, perhaps day after day, it would not matter if I thought I was clinically depressed. Only if I stopped drinking alcohol and still claimed hangovers, would there be observable discrepancies in my behaviour. As long as I behave consistently as if I were not clinically depressed, my belief to the contrary would not matter a bit. I call this kind of intentionality exhibited by symbolic behaviour, symbolic intentionality. It is an intentionality that is accessible, that can be interpreted by other people, and therefore the only one that matters.
Meaning, Discourse and Society
As I see it, there is no obvious way to distinguish between experiential and reﬂective intentionality; they are difﬁcult to tell apart, because they are internal to the individual mind and because neither of them can be examined. We also cannot observe how exactly they feed into the symbolic variant of intentionality. But our symbolic intentionality is open to inspection by the discourse community, as it takes the form of contributions to the discourse. In this book I have claimed that we are not in a position to observe how an individual, solitary mind memorises and processes symbolic content. We can only study a person’s non-symbolic properties, their phenotypes (for instance the colour of their eyes) and now also their brain scans, for what they are worth. But neither a person’s observable properties nor whatever their brain scan shows has any meaning. As attractive as it would be to make the symbolic content of a person’s mind visible, we must accept that meaning does not exist unless it is put into language and communicated. For cognition to be meaningful it has to be expressed in language. Therefore I have suggested in this book an alternative perspective on cognition. The cognitive sciences can become empirical as soon as they give up on individual minds and start dealing with the collective mind. Making sense, assigning meaning to what has been said, interpreting the reality of the discourse in which we ﬁnd ourselves, is a collaborative undertaking. Of course, I do not deny that I am an individual person, endowed with raw experience and reﬂected intentionality. I experience myself in my environment, I have dispositions, desires, fears, I want to do things and have expectations, I can decide to have a glass of wine, I make myself work on my laptop. To myself, it does not matter how much of this is driven by the discourse. But if I were, like Robinson Crusoe, on an island, and if neither a Friday nor a boat ever came to bring me into contact with society, all these things would remain entirely inconsequential. What matters more than our hidden experiential and reﬂective intentionalities is the symbolic, the collective intentionality expressed in the discourse. Only when we begin to see ourselves as the distributed elements of a collective mind, do we become aware of our full potential. Only in symbolic interaction can we make sense of ourselves. Why the media discourse advertises individual agency In this book, I have argued for a perspective that leaves out the people who contribute to the discourse. Instead I have suggested that we should focus only on texts and their links with other texts. This is against our intuitions. Since we invented ourselves as autonomous individuals, we have learned to empathise with other people. Because I tend to see myself as being fully in charge of myself, I also see other people as autonomous agents. Just as we cannot forego the illusion that we are dealing with the ‘real’ world outside and not with a
vicarious reality that is but a discourse construct, our relatives, friends and neighbours appear to us as real as we appear to ourselves. But can we really trust our intuitions? All we know about other people, close as they may be to us, is our perception of them. We interpret their looks, their eye colour, hair colour, height, ﬁgure, ‘natural’ (involuntary) body movements, agility, etc. against the background of generalisations we have derived from the discourse. But even more important than their looks is their interpersonal behaviour, for instance their facial expressions, particularly inasmuch as they express symbolic content. Taking looks and behaviour together, we can indeed know a lot about a person. But their experiential and also their reﬂective intentionality remains hidden from us. All the evidence about a person (apart from their looks) that observers can access and share is their symbolic behaviour, is what they choose to tell us. The discourse is the only reality we can be sure of. I matter to other people not for my ﬁrst-person experiences or my private thoughts, but for my (symbolic) behaviour, for what I contribute to causes common to the group of which I am part. What I know of the other people are not their experiences or thoughts, but the way they interact with me. Yet our trust in the power of empathy is strong enough to make us believe we can actually read their thoughts and know what they feel. This is not how most nonWesterners tend to see it. As I have shown above, we are told that it is taboo for Samoans to make assumptions about the mental states of other people. Thoughts are private. Apparently in Islam thoughts, however they may violate the spirit of the religion, will have no effect on a person’s eternal fate. It is only one’s acts, one’s behaviour that counts. This was also true of Christianity before the invention of the modern human as an autonomous person with an internalised conscience. These are good reasons to disregard the monadic mind and to focus instead on someone’s contributions to the discourse. Only by collaborating with others in the interpretation of what has been said can the members of a discourse community make sense of themselves and bring about change if their world constructed by the discourse has lost its appeal. Acting together, the people can reinterpret their reality and thus make a change. But they can only make a change if they raise their voices. Alone, a person has no chance of reconstructing the discursive reality. Only if we collaborate can we put ourselves in charge of our reality. The public discourse to which we are exposed, the newspapers, magazines, radio and television all want to make us believe that what they tell us is an accurate mirror image of the reality out there. There is a reason for this. Once we are made to believe that there is a ‘real’ world out there, we have foregone any leverage. Google lists 22 million occurrences for ‘have to accept the facts’. This is what we are constantly told, and if our politicians fear we do not trust their selﬂess motives, they bring in the experts who claim to have proven their
Meaning, Discourse and Society
factuality. These are the data, this is the evidence; you have to go along with it, is their mantra. Here are our unquestionably scientiﬁc methods to identify, count and measure what the case is. These are the results. You can talk about them as much as you like. But you cannot change reality. Once we accept the facts, we have rendered ourselves powerless. We have put ourselves in the charge of specialists and experts. Take the economy. What we call the economy has been constructed as a discourse object that is as elusive as the concept of language as a system. It is presented to us as a highly complex mechanism that only experts can understand, and fooling around with it will be the ruin of us all. Asking the big corporations to pay their fair share of taxes, introducing measures to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor, having air passengers pay VAT on their tickets as we do on our local buses spells disaster, we are told. But what do our experts know about this alleged system? So far, economists have not come up with a single undisputed regularity, and the success rate of their predictions correlates nicely with randomness. We can also never be sure how much of the growth they attribute to the economy is really due to an increase in the number of refrigerators produced rather than to the creativity of the auditing business. The unpredictability of the credit crunch is an obvious example. We are told that specialists are there to know and tell us the truth. But in reality their main job is to keep us from asking nasty questions. The reality they present to us is not the reality out there; it is a reality that suits those who sit in the boardrooms of the big corporations. There is no necessity to accept the ‘facts’ that have been constructed for our obliging consumption. Unless we renounce media consumption altogether, we will be affected by the public discourse, however much we try to exercise our critical minds. What makes it even more persuasive is that, unlike the media in the former socialist countries, it is not strictly monovocal. Many of my students are convinced that our national British newspapers cover the whole range of the political spectrum from left to right. Indeed it is true that those who have the time to scan through half a dozen papers on a pretty regular basis will ﬁnd dissenting opinions. The system is just about multi-faceted enough to make the illusion of factual information appear real. Yes, it was reported some years ago that the Taliban had eradicated practically all opium production in Afghanistan. Today more opium is produced than ever before. But many British discourse consumers believe what they are told, namely that ﬁghting the Taliban’s opium production is one of the British army’s main targets in that country. Those of us who want to compare the different realities have to invest more time than most of us can afford. The easiest way to disempower people in a democratic society is to persuade them to accept a reality constructed for them as the only reality. To make them believe that what they are told are incontrovertible facts, scientiﬁcally established by the best experts in the ﬁeld, is the best way to disenfranchise them. If a whole
nation lets itself be persuaded that there is such a scientiﬁc fact as race and that some races are poison for other races, then apartheid and the holocaust will be the consequence. A large majority of Germans obediently accepted a reality that had been constructed by racist ideologies as scientiﬁc and factual. They did not insist on having their own say. In Nazi Germany, the public discourse was controlled by the close collaboration between media tycoons and an undemocratic totalitarian regime. It was not impossible, though, to take part in alternative discourses. There were a few Germans who chose exile over silence. In the Western world today, there is hardly more than a handful of corporate discourse merchants, joined all too often by common interests. They exercise control over all symbolic content, whether in the media, in the book market, in the market of academic journals and wherever the construction of reality takes place. Ever tighter capillaries control the negotiation and dissemination of new ideas. Alternative ways of looking at things have to pass through ﬁlter after ﬁlter before they are accepted. Our Western public discourse is on the brink of becoming as petriﬁed as that of the Socialist Bloc of Eastern Europe many years ago. The central theme of this Western public discourse is the elevation and gloriﬁcation of individual agency. Our economic leaders deserve their bonuses and our gratitude because it is to their genius that we owe our prosperity. If we, the normal people, do not do as well as we would like it must be our own fault. TV series offer millionaires as role models, and we are invited to observe how their proﬁt-oriented policies of hiring and ﬁring keep the British economy growing. If we were to practise our agency as determinedly as they do, we are told, we would become like them. Failure is a sign that we are not up to it. Only when things do not go as planned does this adoration of personal agency become brieﬂy dented. Thus we are told that the global meltdown of our ﬁnancial institutions cannot be blamed on our economic leaders. It was a natural catastrophe, a tsunami, for which no one bears responsibility. The capitalist economy is a system based on its inherent laws and regularities. It is executed by ‘rational actors in the marketplace’. It has its ups and downs, its winners and its losers. There is no reason to blame our system managers. The docile consumers of the public discourse won’t mind accepting this new reality. This is what we read about the collapse of the Lehman Brothers in a comment in the London Times of 17 September 2008, titled ‘Crisis and capitalism’: The world is in the grip of a banking crisis. It would be easy to blame it all on the bankers, to watch their gloomy desk-clearing with barely concealed Schadenfreude and to look to government and regulators to rebuild a wrecked ﬁnancial system. But it would be wrong. It may seem an inopportune moment to say that bankers might be the solution, rather than the cause, of the current turbulence. Yet it needs to be said … There is no shortage of gravediggers happy to declare the market has failed us. In fact, the opposite is true: it is working … Rumours of Lehman’s impending downfall allowed traders to move money into safer havens. Predators will happily take over any assets with residual value. Proﬁtable parts of
Meaning, Discourse and Society
the business will ﬁnd a new home and the weaker parts closed down. This is painful and worrying but the opposite of a disaster. It might be brutal and unforgiving but this is how capitalism works. The market ensures that those who make mistakes are accountable for them. What critics are too hasty to see as capitalism in crisis is, in fact, capitalism in action … To do nothing is often more difﬁcult than it sounds. But in this case it would be wise. ‘Capital is money, capital is commodities’ said Marx. ‘By virtue of it being value, it has acquired the occult ability to add value to itself. It brings forth living offspring, or, at the least, lays golden eggs.’ The source of the solution will be the same as the problem – rational actors in the marketplace.
According to the media, our economic leaders are not to blame for the economic crisis. Instead it is the people’s fault if they ﬁnd themselves in hardship. On the other hand, we ﬁnd that over the last twenty years, in much of the public discourse, it is the small people who are increasingly constructed and presented as individual agents of their economic fortunes. The keyword is personal responsibility. Here are a few citations (out of 2,305), representing the global Anglophone newspaper discourse of one month, taken from Google News on 7 October 2008: But Maryland’s success in welfare reform should provide a model for Annapolis in dealing with other policy areas. As the results of the study show, policies that encourage individual choice and personal responsibility empower citizens and strengthen the economy. (Baltimore Sun, United States, 8 Sep 2008: ‘The welfare reform model’) So on the one hand, folks like this always tell others – especially the poor and people of color – to take ‘personal responsibility’ for their lives, and not to blame outside factors (like racism, or the economic system) for their problems. But on the other hand, these same persons then demonstrate that their own ability to blame others for their personal setbacks, or the nation’s problems, knows no rival. (Trinicenter.com, Trinidad and Tobago, 30 September 2008: ‘Racism as reﬂex’) At this point I should say that I have never had a problem with the moral justiﬁcation of the market. In the ﬁrst place, genuinely free and open markets enable individuals to promote their own, self-chosen goals (which do not have to be selﬁsh) as opposed to being exploited in order to promote other people’s goals. So markets promote liberty, autonomy, personal responsibility and self-determination. They have been central to the emancipation of humanity from oppression, both in its old forms (like feudalism) and in its modern forms (like totalitarianism) (Scoop.co.nz, New Zealand, 1 October 2008: ‘Moral markets’) For me, the most important word is responsibility. Personal responsibility. Professional responsibility. Civic responsibility. Corporate responsibility. Our responsibility to our family, to our neighbourhood, our country. Our responsibility to behave in a decent and civilised way. To help others. That is what this Party is all about. Every big decision; every big judgment I make: I ask myself some simple questions. Does this encourage responsibility and discourage irresponsibility? Does this make us a more or less responsible society? Social responsibility, not state control. Because we know that we will only be a strong society if we are a responsible society. (Guardian, UK, 1 October 2008: ‘David Cameron’s speech in full’)
[Our task] begins with personal responsibility, something in short supply these days … Taking responsibility for one’s actions is, arguably, the single best character trait to have. Taking responsibility means we don’t drive after drinking alcohol, we don’t buy things we can’t afford, and we pay our bills … Personal responsibility does not allow for laziness or procrastination in this or any issue. It makes some pretty big demands on us, with the best of intentions. Taking responsibility for our actions means we don’t blame our problems and hang ups on a lack of money or time, stress, our boss, our kids, our parents, our job, or a hundred other factors … But it doesn’t end there. Just when we reach that point in life where we have it all together, we’re in the best situation to then offer to take some responsibility for something that needs our help – a person, a cause, a charity, or an event that could use a helping hand. (Daily Gleaner, Canada, 6 October 2008: ‘The challenge of living responsibly’)
The death knell to the welfare state sounds sweeter if it gloriﬁes our individual agency. We should not ask for solidarity or act in solidarity with others. The call for personal responsibility discourages all forms of collective action. We should learn from successful entrepreneurs, these mavericks who take things into their own hands. They should be our role models. They are the ones who turned Britain into the global nation we ﬁnd her to be today. Meanwhile, other societies with different conceptualisations of agency are advancing rapidly. Neither Japan nor China nor India were ever as enthusiastic as the west about a world-view that elevated the individual monadic mind and the spirit of competition at the expense of collaboration. These societies have looked with disdain upon the western concept of individual autonomy. Their philosophy is that things should be done jointly. They cherish reliability more than asocial idiosyncratic behaviour. Innovation in these societies is the result of patient negotiation in never-ending discussions. In the reality that they have constructed for themselves, they prefer an engagement with arguments proffered by other participants to a competition between different voices. It is true that this collaborative approach has in the past been curtailed in its efﬁciency by delegating individual responsibility to an unchallenged hierarchy. Confucian disciples had to take care not to contradict the voice of their teachers. Successful civil servants practised obsequiousness. It is an approach that did not stand a chance when it was confronted with the western lust for conquest in the nineteenth century. Today, however, top hierarchies in the western world fashion themselves increasingly on the eastern model of collaborative problem solution. The sinologist and philosopher François Jullien has produced a host of publications in which he extols the superiority of the Chinese approach to problem resolution and has given innumerable key addresses at management seminars. It does not matter so much that much of what he says has been common knowledge among sinologists all along, and that his interpretations of the philosophical texts he quotes leave much to be desired, at least according to his main critic, Jean François Billeter of the University of Geneva (Billeter 2006). What matters more is the
Meaning, Discourse and Society
fact, as François Cooren (see above, Chapter 13) has shown, that this classical Chinese approach is rapidly becoming the style of western boardroom meetings. The higher up in the corporate hierarchy, the more important becomes collaboration. The reality that we are presented with in our media, however, is different. Our celebrity culture broadcasts individuality. Success, we are told, is a matter of individual agency. At closer sight, though, our celebrities are little more than puppets on the strings controlled by our content merchants. The reality they design for our consumption is the opposite of the reality they exercise among themselves. We normal people are not part of these discourses and the realities they construct. We have no good way of knowing how collaborative they are. It could well be that important decisions are not made by lonely Rockefellers or Vanderbilts, but collectively in boardrooms and even more in backrooms, or in exclusive holiday resorts, or on shiny yachts, involving powerful people about whom we normally do not hear much. Far away from media limelight they negotiate a reality which often affects us all, but it is one we hear little about. Only rarely, and often more by accident, are we permitted a glance into this hidden world, for instance when Peter Mandelson, David Osborne, Nathaniel Rothschild, Elisabeth Murdoch and the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska met on the beautiful island of Corfu in October 2008. What was planned there we were not told, and we would not have learned about this meeting had not David Osborne divulged it because he was unhappy about how he was treated. We can look at such negotiations as evidence for successful problem management. We can also see them as conﬁrmation of a pervasive cronyism and sleaziness of our elites that is normally carefully concealed from us. What is carefully obscured is that it is the collectivity of people we ﬁnd in boardrooms, not the individual entrepreneurship in a free market, that determines our reality. There is no corporate CEO taking lonely decisions. The boardroom acquires and exercises an agency of its own. Personal responsibility apparently does not rank prominently in this discourse. For all we know, personal responsibility does not rank very highly. Collective agency seems to overrule the agency of its individual members. In the public discourse, however, we are told a different story. Teachers, politicians, managers and the content merchants keep impelling us to believe in ourselves and go it alone. No one encourages young working-class kids to collaborate for their own interests and to place their trust in their own collectivity. The only kind of teamwork we are persuaded to engage in is less in our own interest than it is a way of increasing the overall productivity of our work unit. Neither the schools we have attended nor the mainstream media or our moral authorities invite us to work and ﬁght jointly for our interests, for instance to exercise solidarity in associations like the trade
unions. They know that as long as we compete for our interests individually, we will remain solitary voiceless consumers of a monopolised discourse. However, it seems worth taking a moment to ponder why the public discourse in our streamlined, highly controlled and carefully calibrated post-free-market society is so much more successful than the socialist system in Eastern Europe. The standard answer we are given is that our society, unlike socialism, offers choice. Indeed in Britain we have the choice between four or ﬁve national ‘quality’ newspapers, three nation-wide parliamentary parties, four supermarket chains, four or ﬁve TV suppliers, etc. As Naomi Klein has shown in great detail (Klein 2001), the content merchants themselves offer us respite from the kind of sameness proverbial in socialist countries by letting us choose between different brands. It does not matter if Pepsi and Coke taste the same and may well be owned by the same hedge fund, if there are people who exercise their individuality by refusing to take a sip from the other brand. Branding allows us to deﬁne ourselves as unique persons. Choosing between brands gives us the feeling of personal agency. We can collaborate to change our reality We are all consumers of a public national discourse, the discourse of newspapers, magazines, radio and television, in which we have no voice. Apart from letters to the editors or to our members of parliament, it is practically impossible for us to contribute to this discourse. What we, the text consumers, negotiate among ourselves has less and less relevance. We behave as docile sheep which are happily eating the grass they are fed. We have more conﬁdence in this public discourse than in what our family members, colleagues and friends tell us. When we have taken part in an anti-nuclear demonstration we do not trust our own senses as much as its presentation we ﬁnd in the evening news. Proud as we are to live in a democracy, we have no say in shaping the reality in which we ﬁnd ourselves. There is no counter-discourse that could stand up to the media discourse. As consumers, we can, at most, boycott what is there. Our participation in public affairs is largely limited to casting a vote. The members of parliament who are there to represent us are not much better off. What they are allowed to say and what not is subject to impenetrable and often unfathomable rules and customs. It is also constrained by the interests of those who control the public discourse. Speaking one’s mind may have unwelcome consequences. In the end, it is again up to the content merchants to decide whether what an MP says will ﬁnd its way into the media. A healthy discourse is plurivocal, and it minimises the distinction between text producers and text consumers. It is also a discourse that is less competitive and more collaborative. It is a discourse of partners who have equal rights as members of this discourse community. A healthy discourse is anarchic. Everything can be
Meaning, Discourse and Society
said. Not everything said will be successful, will survive. It is because we want our contributions to be successful that we mostly say things we hope other people will ﬁnd telling enough to refer to them. A healthy discourse is a discourse in which participants listen to each other, placing less value on their individual agency than on the collective agency of the group. All contribute to the design of a novel reality by testing out various recombinations, permutations and reformulations of what others have said before. Some new ideas will be picked up by other contributors, while others are never referred to. Those surviving to the end of a boardroom meeting are the successful ones. The less we insist on our individual agency, the more we engage with what has been said, the more chance we have of contributing to the eventual outcome. In an ideal discourse, it should not matter who comes up with the winning phrase. I offer my interpretation of the haiku (see the previous chapter) because I hope others will refer to it. Nothing is to be gained from an interpretive community divided into text producers and text consumers. As consumers of the media discourse we exercise neither an individual nor a collective agency. What would turn us into agents, individually or collectively, would be our power to talk back. A public discourse that we can accept as our discourse has to have us as its partners, and not only as consumers. It is our participation in the discourse that turns our reﬂective intentionality and our personal agency into a symbolic intentionality, an intentionality that comes out of interaction with others, that puts ourselves collectively in charge of the discourse and the reality it constructs. Such a discourse enables us to give our shared reality the interpretation we see ﬁt. If we are unhappy with an interpretation offered to us, we can replace it with a new one. On 2 October 1989, people in Leipzig, East Germany, took to the streets. They had grown tired of the discourse to which they were exposed, an exceedingly dull, monovocal discourse that never had anything new to say, a discourse whose reality was far removed from the reality that mattered to the people, that they constructed for themselves when they thought themselves free from surveillance. Discontent had grown over many years, fanned also by the media discourse that slopped over from the West. Mikhail Gorbachev’s slogans of ‘perestroika’ and ‘glasnost’ gave them the necessary conﬁdence. Having ﬁnally found their collective voice, they started shouting their battle cry ‘Wir sind das Volk’ (‘We are the people’). By hijacking the public discourse, they rejected the reality that their authorities had tried to force on them. They refused to be reduced to mere consumers of the ofﬁcial version. It was, after all, their state. It had to be their discourse. So they sent their old government into retirement, and they forced their rejuvenated one to open the border. On 9 November the Berlin Wall fell. Together, the people of Leipzig, and of other towns in East Germany, had learnt to talk back and were beginning to take control. They created a new discourse and a new reality. They assumed the power of deﬁnition. Or so it would seem. In the second half of October, just a fortnight after the ﬁrst demonstrations, a new, just
slightly different version of their battle cry began to appear on the placards: ‘Wir sind ein Volk’ (‘We are one nation’). The people who had come together in solidarity against their leaders, the people who were exercising their collective intentionality in ever more powerful rallies, who had put themselves in charge of the public discourse, were all of a sudden outwitted by a subversive inﬁltration of their discourse. By stealth and almost overnight the discourse took a new direction. This reformulation of their slogan did not emanate from the protesters or from the East German authorities. It came from West Germany. For the collective actions in the East had already given rise to a few, still rather isolated, initiatives of people living in the West. They too began to call for a new discourse and a new reality, provoked by the news about the peaceful protests in the East. This danger needed to be contained. The tiny variation, the replacement of the deﬁnite article by the number one, was enough to turn a call for self-determination of the people into a call for a friendly takeover of the East German state and its assets. It helped to contain the expression of East German discontent and to channel it in a more desirable direction. Was it the boardrooms who decided that something needed to be done? The one-nation discourse has always been a convenient instrument to sweep the divisions between content merchants and discourse consumers under the carpet. Everyone understands that national unity requires both leadership and the acceptance of leadership. By changing the slogan, order was quickly re-established. No one ever found out where these new placards came from. They were the beginning of the end of this revolution from below. The people who had taken to the streets in East German towns, and those who now saw their chance to publish their ideas in the suddenly censure-free media, had all begun to collaborate in constructing a future for themselves, in a collaborative act that looked impressively successful. Their new public discourse made it clear that their rejection of the socialist reality should not be seen as an endorsement of the Western capitalist system (called a ‘free-market economy’ in West German media). For a few months, in between the collapse of the old system and the West German takeover, they tried to develop a joint vision of a Third Way between both systems. Everyone was asked to contribute their ideas. The ofﬁcial newspaper of the reformed but still ruling communist party, the Neues Deutschland, described the situation just one month after the fall of the Berlin Wall, on 11 December 1989, in these words: ‘This third way beyond bureaucratic-centralistic socialism and beyond the tyranny of transnational monopoles, to which our party commits itself, has to be deﬁned more clearly – but in joint, combative discussions of all comrades.’ When this vision began to enchant equally dissatisﬁed people on the other side of the border, the Western media were quick to steer against it. In a special issue of the liberal taz newspaper, produced on 23 February 1990 for East German consumption, readers were told: ‘All deliberations concerning autonomy [of the East] and a “third way” have vanished as if they had never existed … People are
Meaning, Discourse and Society
fed up, also with the third way.’ Only a week later, on 3 March, the West German Rheinischer Merkur formulated the new credo for consumption in the West: ‘Whoever isn’t blind to the real world has become aware that [our] socially regulated market economy already is the often sought ‘third way’, between inhuman capitalism and ineffective (and thus not less inhuman) socialism.’ By the end of the month, the third way was forgotten in East and West. Rather than collaborate in the construction of a societal design to their own advantage, the people in the East proceeded avidly to consume Western-owned media and engaged themselves in political parties funded by Western money. The boardrooms had succeeded in averting the dangerous spectre of people exercising collective agency and a joint intentionality (Teubert 1996). The East German people’s revolution had failed. Perhaps one of the reasons is that once the eastern media had been taken over by West German consortia, there was no space in which a counter-discourse could have established itself. Twenty years later, it looks as if things could be beginning to change. As long as the internet retains its anarchic structure, it offers itself as a forum for disenfranchised people. The web discourse is as plurivocal as one can imagine. It is already leaving traces in the ofﬁcial public discourse. The media can no longer easily ignore popular alternative realities. It is still too early to see if blogging and related web activities will bring an end to the long-standing division between text producers and text consumers. Our authorities are already designing steps to control and censure the web. But it is never too late. By making sense of the realities we ﬁnd in the discourses to which we are exposed, it is up to us to make new realities happen.
Agnesund, M. (1997) Representing culture-speciﬁc knowledge in a multilingual ontology’, Proceedings of the IJCAI-97 Workshop on Ontologies and Multilingual NLP, Nagoya, Japan. Al-Khalili, J. (2007) ‘In a parallel universe, this theory would make sense’, The Guardian (1 December). Allen, G. (2000) Intertextuality, Routledge, London. Ammonius (1998) On Aristotle’s On Interpretation 9, with Boethius, On Aristotle’s On Interpretation 9, transl. D. Blank and N. Kretzmann, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, N.Y. Anon. (2006) ‘The word: common sense’, New Scientist, 15 April. Available: www.newscientist.com/channel/opinion/mg19025471.700-the-word-commonsense.html. Anselm of Canterbury (1980) Complete Philosophical and Theological Treatises, transl. J. Hopkins and H. Richardson, The Arthur J. Banning Press, Minneapolis. Aristotle Peri Hermeneias (‘On Interpretation’). Available: www.greektexts.com/library/Aristotle/On_Interpratation/eng/752.html Armstrong, D. F., W. C. Stokoe and S. E. Wilcox (1994) ‘Signs of the origin of syntax’, Current Anthropology, 35/4: 349–68. Averroes (1998) Averroes’ Middle Commentaries on Aristotle’s Categories and De Interpretatione, transl. C. E. Butterworth, St. Augustine’s Press, South Bend, Indiana. Ayer, A. J. (1956) The Problem of Knowledge, Penguin, Harmondsworth. Bach, K. (2005) ‘The top 10 misconceptions about implicature’ in B. Birner and G. Ward (eds.), Festschrift for Larry Horn, John Benjamins, Amsterdam. Available: http://userwww.sfsu.edu/~kbach/TopTen.pdf. Baddeley, A. D. (1999) Essentials of Human Memory, Psychology Press, Hove. Basford, L. and O. Slevin (2003) Theory and Practice of Nursing: An Integrated Approach to Caring Practice, 2nd revised edition, Nelson Thornes Ltd. Bazerman, C. (1981) ‘What written knowledge does: three examples of academic discourse’, Phil. Soc. Sci. 11: 361–87. Bearison, D. and B. Dorval (2002) Collaborative Cognition, Ablex Publishing, London. Bennett, M. and P. Hacker (2003) Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience, Blackwell, Oxford. Bennett, M., D. Dennett, P. Hacker and J. Searle (2007) Neuroscience and Philosophy: Brain, Mind and Language, Columbia University Press, New York. Berger, P. and T. Luckmann (1966) The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge, Allan Lane, New York. 273
Berlin, B. and P. Kay (1969) Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution, University of California Press, Berkeley. Bierwisch, M. (1967) ‘Some semantic universals of German adjectivals’, Foundations of Language 3: 1–36. (1970) ‘Einige semantische Universalien in deutschen Adjektiven’ in Hugo Steger (ed.) Vorschläge für eine strukturale Grammatik des Deutschen, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt. Billeter, J.-F. (2006) Contre François Jullien. Editions Allia. Paris. Blumer, H. (1969) Symbolic Interaction: Perspective and Method, University of California Press, Berkeley. Brigham, N. (2000) ‘Machine Translation: Its Past, the Potential and the Problem’. Available: www.nbrigham.org/Brigham_machinetranslation.html. Brookﬁeld, F. M. (1989) ‘The New Zealand Constitution: the search for legitimacy’ in H. Kawharu (ed.) Waitangi: Maori and Pakeha Perspectives of the Treaty of Waitangi, Oxford University Press, Auckland, pp. 1–25. Bruner, J. (1990) Acts of Meaning, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass. Burr, V (1995) An Introduction to Social Constructionism, 1st edition, Routledge, London. Burroughs, J. (1915) The Breath of Life Available: www.infomotions.com/etexts/ Gutenberg). Busse, D. and W. Teubert, (1994) ‘Ist Diskursgeschichte ein sprachwissenschaftliches Objekt? Zur Methodenfrage der historischen Semantik’ in W. Teubert, F. Hermanns and D. Busse (eds.) Begriffsgeschichte und Diskursgeschichte. Methoden und Forschungsergebnisse der historischen Semantik, Westdeutuscher Verlag, Opladen, 10–28. Carter, R. M. (2007a) ‘The myth of dangerous human-caused climate change’, Australasian Institute of Mining & Metallurgy, New Leaders Conference, Brisbane, May 2–3 2007, Conference Proceedings, pp. 61–74. (2007b) ‘Stratigraphy into the 21st Century’, Stratigraphy 4: 187–93. Chalmers, D. (1999) ‘Is there synonymy in Ockham’s mental language?’ in P. V. Spade (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Ockham, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 76–99. Chomsky, N. (1959) ‘A review of B. F. Skinner’s Verbal Behavior’, Language 35: 26–58. (1965) Aspects of a Theory of Syntax, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. (1966) Cartesian Linguistics, Harper and Row, New York. (1972) Language and Mind, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York. (1990) ‘On formalisation and formal linguistics’, Natural Language and Linguistics 8: 143–7. (2000a) New Horizons in the Study of Language and the Mind, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. (2000b) ‘Language and Interpretation’ in N. Chomsky (2000) New Horizons in the Study of Language and the Mind, Cambridge University Press, 46–74. (First published in 1992.) Chomsky, N., M. D. Hauser and W. T. Fitch (2002) ‘The faculty of language: what is it, who has it, and how did it evolve?’, Science 298: 1569–79. Chossudovsky, M. (1997). Exporting Apartheid to Sub-Saharan Africa. Available: www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/37/076.html.
Christensen, S. M. and D. R. Turner (eds.) (1993) Folk Psychology and the Philosophy of Mind, Hilldale, Lawrence Erlbaum, New Jersey. Clanchy, M. (1979) From Memory to Written Record: England 1066–1307, Arnold, London. Clapham, J. H. (1926) An Economic History of Modern Britain: The Early Railway Age 1820–1850, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Cobuild English Dictionary for Advanced Learners (2001) 3rd edition, Harper Collins Publishers, Glasgow. Colapinto, J. (2007) ‘The interpreter: has an Amazonian tribe upended our understanding of language?’, The New Yorker, 16 April. Available: www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/04/16/070416fa_fact_colapinto). Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia (2000) 6th edition. Cooren, F. (2004). ‘The communicative achievement of collective minding: analysis of board meeting excerpts’, Management Communication Quarterly 17/4: 517–51. Crichton, M. (2003) ‘Aliens cause global warming’. Speech given at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, 17 January. Cronk, G. (2003) Dictionary of Literary Biography [Vol. 270: American Philosophers before 1950], Thomson Gale, Farming Hills, Michigan. Dennett, D. (1969) Content and Consciousness, Humanities Press, New York. (1993) Consciousness Explained, Penguin, Harmondsworth. (1998) ‘Reﬂections on language and mind’ in P. Carruthers and J. Boucher (eds.), Language and Thought, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 284–94. (2007) ‘Philosophy as naive anthropology’ in M. Bennett, M. and P. Hacker, Neuroscience and Philosophy, p. 86ff. Derrida, J. (1974) Of Grammatology, The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. (1988) Limited Inc., Northwestern University Press, Chicago. Descartes, R. (1968) Discourse on Method and the Meditations, Penguin, Harmondsworth. Dilthey, W. (1989) Introduction to the Human Sciences, edited by R. Makkreel and F. Rodi, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. (2002) Selected Works, Volume 3: The Foundation of the Historical World in the Human Sciences, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. Dudai, Y. (1989) Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, Oxford University Press, Oxford. Dunbar, R. (2004) Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language, Faber and Faber, London. Duranti, A. (2006) ‘The social ontology of intentions’, Discourse Studies 8/1: 31–40. Durkheim, E. ( 1982) ‘The materialist conception of history’ in S. Lukes (ed.) The Rules of Sociological Method, Free Press, New York, pp. 167–74. Eco, U. (1995) The Search for the Perfect Language, Blackwell, Oxford. (1999) Kant and the Platypus, Secker and Warburg, London. Edwards, D., M. Ashmore and J. Potter (1995) ‘Death and furniture: the rhetoric, politics and theology of bottom line arguments against relativism’, History of Human Sciences 8: 25–49. Edwards, R. D. (1973) An Atlas of Irish History, Methuen, London. Elwert, G. (2001) ‘Societal literacy: writing culture and development’ in D. R. Olson and N. Torrance (eds.), The Making of Literate Societies, Blackwell, Oxford, pp. 54–67. Engel, U. (1994) Syntax der deutschen Gegenwartssprache, Erich Schmidt, Berlin.
Evans, V., B. Bergen, and J. Zinken (eds.) (2006) The Cognitive Linguistics Reader, Equinox Press, London. Everett, D. (2005) ‘Cultural constraints on grammar and cognition in Pirahã: another look at the design features of human language’, Current Anthropology 46(4): 1–69. (2008) Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazon Jungle, Proﬁle Books, London. Fairclough, N. (1989) Language and Power, Longman, London. Feng, Z. (1994) Die chinesischen Schriftzeichen in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart, WVT Wissenschaftlicher Verlag, Trier. Fish, Stanley (1980) Is there a Text in This Class? The Authority of Interpretive Communities. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass. Fitch, W. T., M. D. Hauser and N. Chomsky (2005) ‘The evolution of the language faculty: Clariﬁcations and implications’, Cognition 97: 179–210. Fodor, J. A. (1975) The Language of Thought, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass. (1990) A Theory of Content and Other Essays, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. (1998) Concepts: Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong, Clarendon Press, Oxford. (2005) ‘Give me that juicy bit over there’, London Review of Books, 6 October. (2007) ‘Why pigs don’t have wings’, London Review of Books, 18 October. Fogassi, L. and P. F. Ferrari (2007) ‘Mirror neurons and the evolution of embodied language’, Current Directions in Psychological Science 16/3: 136–41. Foucault, M. (1972) The Archaeology of Knowledge, Tavistock, London. Frank, M. (1977) Das individuelle Allgemeine: Textstrukturierung und interpretation nach Schleiermacher, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main. Frisby, J. P. (1980) Seeing: Illusion, Brain and Mind, Oxford University Press, Oxford. Gadamer, H.-G. (1989) Truth and Method, 2nd edition, transl. J. Weinsheimer and D. G. Marshall, Continuum, New York. Gallese, V. and G. Lakoff (2005) ‘The brain’s concepts: the role of the sensory-motor system in conceptual knowledge’, Cognitive Neuropsychology 22: 455–79. Gergen, K. J. (1994) Realities and Relationships, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass. (2001) ‘The construction in contention’, Theory and Psychology 11: 419–32. Giridharadas, A. (2008) ‘India’s novel use of brain scans in courts is debated’, New York Times, 14 September. Goldman, A. I. (1981) ‘Review of Richard Rorty: Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature’, The Philosophical Review 90/3: 424–9. (2006) ‘Social epistemology’ in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Available: www.plato.stanford.edu; revised version of 18 August. Goody, J. (1977) The Domestication of the Savage Mind, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. (1986) The Logic of Writing and the Organization of Society, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. (1987) The Interface Between the Written and the Oral, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Greimas (1983 ) Structural Semantics: an Attempt at a Method, transl. D. McDowell, R. Schleider and A. Velie, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, Nebr. Grice, H. P. (1989) Studies in the Way of Words, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.
Haarmann, H. (1990) Universalgeschichte der Schrift, Campus Verlag, Frankfurt am Main. Habermas, J. (1971) ‘Zu Gadamers “Wahrheit und Methode” in Theorie-Diskussion Hermeneutik und Ideologiekritik. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt a. M. (1981) Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main (Theory of Communicative Action, Polity, Cambridge, 1884–1887). Hacking, I. (1992) ‘Statistical language, statistical truth and statistical reason: the selfauthentication of a style of scientiﬁc reasoning’ in E. McMullin (ed.) Social Dimensions of Science, Notre Dame University Press, Notre Dame, pp. 130–57. Halliday, M. A. K. and M. I. M. Matthiessen (1999) Construing Experience through Meaning, Continuum, London. Harras, G. (2000) ‘Concepts in linguistics – concepts in natural language’ in B. Ganter and G. M. Mineau, (eds.), Conceptual Structures: Logical, Linguistic and Computational Issues, Springer, Heidelberg, pp. 13–26. Harris, R. (1981) The Language Myth, Duckworth, London. (1987) The Language Machine, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York. (1990) ‘On redeﬁning Linguistics’ in H. G. Davis and T. J. Taylor (eds.), Redeﬁning Linguistics, Routledge, London, pp. 18–53. Hermanns, F. (1994) Schlüssel-, Schlag- und Fahnenwörter. Zu Begrifﬂichkeit und Theorie der lexikalischen «politischen Semantik», Univ., Heidelberg (Arbeiten aus dem Sonderforschungs-bereich 245, «Sprache und Situation»), Heidelberg, Mannheim. (2003) ‘Linguistische Hermeneutik’ in A. Linke, H. Ortner, and P. R. PortmannTselikas (eds.), Sprache und mehr: Ansichten einer Linguistik der sprachlichen Praxis, Niemeyer, Tübingen. Hitzler, R., J. Reichertz and N. Schröer (eds.) (1999) Hermeneutische Wissenssoziologie, UVK Verlagsgesellschaft, Konstanz. Hjelmslev, L. (1963 ) Prolegomena to a Theory of Language, The University of Wisconsin Press, Menasha, Wisconsin. Hochschild, A. (1998) King Leopold’s Ghost, Houghton Mifﬂin, New York. Holquist, M. (2002) Dialogism, 2nd edition, Routledge, London. Hughes, J. A., P. J. Martin and W. W. Sharrow (1995) Understanding Classical Sociology, Sage, London. Hume, D. (1927) Selections, edited by Hendel, Ch. W., Charles Scribners, London. Hutchins, E. (1995) Cognition in the Wild, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. Jackendoff, R. S. (1987) Consciousness and the Computational Mind, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. (1997) The Architecture of the Language Faculty. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. Jackendoff, R. S. and S. Pinker (2005) ‘The nature of the language faculty and its implications for evolution of language (reply to Fitch, Hauser, & Chomsky)’, Cognition 19/2: 211–25. Jerne, N. K. (1985) ‘The Generative Grammar of the Immune System’ Nobel Lecture, 8 December 1984, Basel Institute for Immunology, Basel. Katz, J. J. and J. A. Fodor (1963) ‘The structure of a semantic theory’, Language 39/2: 170–210. Kay, P. (1977) ‘Language evolution and speech style’ in B. G. Blount and M. Sanches (eds.), Variability and Change: Sociocultural Dimensions of Language Change, Academic Press, New York.
Keele, R. (2007) ‘Review of Claude Panaccio (2004) Ockham on Concepts, Ashgate, Aldershot’, Journal of the History of Philosophy 45/4: 659. Kenyon, F. (1941) The Myth of the Mind, Thinker’s Library, Watts & Co., London. King, P. (2005) ‘Ockram on the role of concepts’. Available: http://individual.utoronto.ca/pking/presentations/Ockham_on_Concepts.pdf. Kitcher, P. (1994) ‘Contrasting conceptions of social epistemology’ in F. F. Schmitt (ed.) Socializing Epistemology: The Social Dimensions of Knowledge, Rowman and Littleﬁeld, Lanham (Maryland), pp. 111–34. (2001) Science, Truth and Democracy, Oxford University Press, Oxford. Klein, N. (2001) No Logo, Flamingo, London. Kristeva, J. (1986) The Kristeva Reader, T. Moi (ed.), Blackwell, Oxford. Lakoff, G. and M. Johnson (1999) Philosophy in the Flesh, Basic Books, New York. Langacker, R. W. (1997) ‘The contextual basis of cognitive semantics’ in J. Nuyts and E. Pedersen (eds.), Language and Conceptualization, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 229–52. (2002) The Cognitive Basis of Grammar, Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin. Laslett, P. (1950) The Physical Basis of Mind, Blackwell, Oxford. Leibniz (1666) ‘Ars Combinatoria’, Doctoral Thesis. Levinson, S. C. (1997) ‘From outer to inner space: linguistic categories and nonlinguistic thinking’ in E. Pederson and J. Nuyts (eds.), With Language in Mind: the Relationship Between Linguistic and Conceptual Representation, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 13–45. Lévi-Strauss, C. (1966) The Savage Mind, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago. Lewandowski, T. (1976) Linguistisches Wörterbuch, 2nd edition, Quelle und Meyer, Heidelberg. Lieberman, P. (2007) ‘Review: The Stuff of Thought by Steven Pinker’, New Scientist, 3 October 2007. Locke, J. (1764) Second Treatise of Government. Available: http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl302/texts/locke/locke2/locke2nd-a.html. Longino, H. E. (2002) The Fate of Knowledge, Princeton University Press, Princeton. Lotman, Y. M. (2001) Universe of the Mind, I. B. Tauris, London. Luhmann, N. (1998) Die Gesellschaft der Gesellschaft, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main. Mannheim, K. (1936) Ideology and Utopia, Routledge, London. Marx, K. and F. Engels (1888) ‘Theses on Feuerbach’, transl. A. Wood, Marx Engels Werke, 3: 7. McGinn, C. (1991) The Problem of Consciousness, Blackwell, Oxford. (2007) ‘How you think’, New York Review of Books, 27 September. Mead, G. H. (1934) Mind, Self and Society, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago. Melby, A. K and C. T. Warner (1995) The Possibility of Language. A Discussion of the Nature of Language, with Implications for Human and Machine Translation, Benjamins, Amsterdam. Meyer-Oeser, S. (2006) ‘Medieval Semiotics’ in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Available: http://plato.stanford.edu; revised version of August 18. Millikan, R. G. (2004) Language, Thought and Other Biological Categories, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. (2005) ‘The language–thought partnership: a bird’s eye view’, Language and Communication 21/2: 157–66.
Morris, D. B. (1993) The Culture of Pain. 2nd edition, University of California Press. Berkeley. Mueller-Vollmer, K. (1986) The Hermeneutics Reader, Blackwell, Oxford. Mullins, J. (2005) ‘Whatever happened to machines that think?’, New Scientist, 23 April: 32–7. Nagel, T. (1997) The Last Word, Oxford University Press, Oxford. Neeson, J. M. (1993) Commoners: Common Right, Enclosure and Social Change in England, 1700–1820, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Newell, A. and H. A. Simon (1963) ‘GPS: a program that stimulates human thought’ in E. Feigenbaum and J. Feldman (eds.), Computers and Thought, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., pp. 279–93. Ohreen, David (2007) ‘Why folk psychology is not universal’. Available: http://facweb.bcc.ctc.edu/wpayne/why_folk_psychology_is_not_unive.htm). Ong, W. (1982) Orality and Literacy, Routledge, London. Onians, J. (2005) Neuroarthistory: from Aristotle and Pliny to Baxandall and Zeki, Yale University Press, London. Origgi, G. and D. Sperber (2000) ‘Evolution, communication and the proper function of language’ in P. Carruthers and A. Chamberlain (eds.), Evolution and the Human Mind: Modularity, Language and Meta-cognition, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 140–69. Ormiston, G. L. and A. D. Schrift (eds.) (1990) Transforming the Hermeneutic Context, State University of New York Press, Albany, N.Y. Oxford English Dictionary (2007) Online edition, June. Panaccio, C. (1999) ‘Semantics and mental language’ in P. V. Spade, (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Ockham, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 53–75. Peacock, T. L (1816) Headlong Hall, J. M. Dent & Co, London. Pederson, E. and J. Nuyts (1997) Language and Conceptualization, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Peirce, C. (1878) ‘How to make our ideas clear’, Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce 5: 406–7. Pinker, S. (1994) The Language Instinct, Harper Collins, New York. (2002) The Blank Slate, Viking Adult, New York. (2007) The Stuff of Thought, Viking, New York. Plato Cratylus, transl. B. Jowett, Project Gutenberg online version: http://bang.pmc.purdue.edu/victorian/uploads/R00010/Cratylus.pdf. Potter, J. (1996) Representing Reality: Discourse, Rhetoric and Social Construction, Sage, London. Pottier, B. (1978) ‘Entwurf einer modernen Semantik’ in Horst Geckeler (ed.) Strukturelle Bedeutungslehre. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt, pp. 68ff. Proudhon, P.-J. (1840) ‘La propriété, c’est le vol!’ (What is property? or, an inquiry into the principle of right and of government). Available: www.Indypublish.com (2002). Putnam, H. (1981) Reason, Truth, and History, Cambridge University Press. (1998) Representation and Reality, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. Random House Dictionary of the English Language (1975). Ravenscroft, I. (2004) ‘Folk psychology as a theory’ in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/folkpsych-theory/).
Ricoeur, P. (1976) Interpretation Theory: Discourse and the Surplus of Meaning, The Texas Christian University Press, Fort Worth, Texas. Roehm, D. (2004) ‘Waves and Words: Oscillatory Activity and Language Processing’, PhD Thesis, Marburg. Rorty, R. (1979) Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. (1982) ‘Contemporary philosophy of mind’, Synthese 53: 323–48 Rose, S. (2005) The 21st Century Brain: Explaining, Mending and Manipulating the Mind, Jonathan Cape, London. Rousseau, J.-J. (1754) Discourse on the Origin of Inequality. (1909–14) ‘Profession of Faith of a Savoyard Vicar’, P. F. Collier & Son, New York. Ryle, G. (1973) The Concept of Mind, Penguin, Harmondsworth. Salomon, G. (1993) Distributed Cognitions: Psychological and Educational Consideration, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Samson, A. (2002) ‘Rhodes 1930’, University of Otago Magazine, 3: 15. Available: www.otago.ac.nz/news/otagomagazine/otagomagazineissue3. Sampson, G. (2005) The ‘Language Instinct’ Debate, Continuum, London. Saunders, B. A. C. and J. van Brakel (1997) ‘Are there non-trivial constraints on colour categorization?’, Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (2): 167–228. Saussure, F. de (1983) Course in General Linguistics, Duckworth, London. Scarufﬁ, P. (2003) Thinking about Thought: a Primer on the New Science of Mind, Writers Club Press, Lincoln. Scharfe, H. (2002) Education in Ancient India, Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden. Schleiermacher, F. D. E. (1986) ‘General theory and art of interpretation’ in K. MuellerVollmer (ed.) The Hermeneutics Reader, Blackwell, Oxford, pp. 72–97. Schmidt, L. K. (2006) Understanding Hermeneutics, Acumen, Stocksﬁeld. Searle, J. R. (1980) Mind, Brains and Programs, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. (1990) ‘Is the brain a digital computer?’, Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 64/3: 21–37. Available: http://users.ecs.soton.ac.uk/harnad/Papers/Py104/searle.comp.html. (1992) The Rediscovery of the Mind, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. (1995) The Construction of Social Reality, The Free Press, New York. (1998) Mind, Language and Society, Basic Books, New York. (2005) ‘The quest for consciousness: review of Kristof Koch The Quest for Consciousness’, The New York Review of Books, 13 January. Sinclair, J. (1996) ‘The empty lexicon’, International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 1: 99–109. Skinner, B. F. (1957) Verbal Behavior, Appleton-Century-Crofts, New York. (1992) Verbal Behaviour, Copley Publishing Group, Acton, Mass. Smart, J. S. (2006) ‘CLAW 2006 5th International Workshop on Controlled Language Applications’, AMTA 2006, Boston Marriott, Cambridge, Mass. Available: www.geocities.com/controlledlanguage/SMARTCLAW06. Smolensky, P. (1994) ‘Computational models of the mind’ in S. Guttenplan (ed.) A Companion to the Philosophy of Mind, Blackwell, Oxford. Solomon, M. (1994) ‘Social empiricism’, Nous 28/3: 327–43.
Solomon, R. (1988) Continental Philosophy Since 1770. Oxford University Press, Oxford. Spade, P. V. (2006) ‘William of Ockham’ in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Available: http://plato.stanford.edu; revised version of August 18. Sperber, D. and D. Wilson (1998) ‘The mapping between the mental and the public lexicon’ in P. Carruthers and J. Boucher (eds.), Language and Thought, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 184–200. Stehr, N. and V. Meja (2005) Society and Knowledge: Contemporary Perspectives in the Sociology of Knowledge and Science, 2nd edition, Transaction Publishers, London. Stich, S. (1983) From Folk Psychology to Cognitive Science: the Case Against Belief, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. Available: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/mentalrepresentation/. Tamimi, A. (2001) ‘American’s crusade’, The Jakarta Post, 25 September. Teubert, W. (1996) ‘Zum politisch-gesellschaftlichen Diskurs im Postsozialismus’ in R. Reiher et al. (eds.), Von Buschzulage und Ossinachweis, Aufbau Verlag, Berlin, pp. 286–318. (1999) ‘Starting with Trauer: Approaches to multilingual lexical semantics’ in F. Kiefer, F. Kiss and J. Pajzs (eds.), Complex 99 (Proceedings), HAS, Budapest, pp. 153–70. (2007) Corpus Linguistics, Continuum, London. Thatcher, M. (1993) The Downing Street Years, Harper Collins, London. Thomas, J. B. (1995) Meaning and Interaction, Longman, London. Thompson, J. B. (1981) ‘Editor’s introduction’ in Paul Ricoeur, Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences (edited and translated by John B. Thompson), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Thorndike, E. (1921) The Teacher’s Wordbook, Columbia University, New York. Toolan, M. (1996) Total Speech: Integrational Linguistic Approach to Languages, Duke University Press, Durham (North Carolina). (1997) ‘What is Critical Discourse Analysis and why are people saying such terrible things about it?’, Language and Literature 6/2: 101. Tsung-i, J. (1991) ‘Questions on the origins of writing raised by the Silk Road’, SinoPlatonic Papers 26: 3. Tsygankov, P. A. and A. P. Tsygankov (2004) ‘Dilemmas and promises of Russian liberalism’, Communist and Post-Communist Studies 37: 53–70. Volosinov, V. (1986) Marxism and the Philosophy of Language, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass. Von Foerster, H. (1993) ‘Für Niklas Luhmann: wie rekursiv ist Kommunikation?’, Teoria Sociologica 2: 61–88. Waldmann, P. (2007) ‘Is there a culture of violence in Colombia?’ International Journal of Conﬂict and Violence 1: 61–75. Weber, M. (1968) Economy and Society, Bedminster Press, New York. Weigand, H. (1997) ‘A Multilingual Ontology-based Lexicon for News Filtering’. Available: www.uvt.nl/infolab/prj/trevi/trevi.ps. Widdowson, H. G. (1995) ‘Discourse analysis: a critical view’, Language and Literature 4/3: 159.
Wootton, D. (2004) ‘Review of Hugh Grady (2002) Shakespeare, Machiavelli and Montaigne: Power and Subjectivity from Richard II to Hamlet’, The Review of English Studies 55/220: 455–7. Wierzbicka, A. (1996) Semantics: Primes and Universals, Oxford University Press, Oxford. Young, J. Z. (1978) Programs for the Brain, Oxford University Press, Oxford. Zeki, S. (2000) ‘Abstraction and idealism’, Nature, 404: 547.
a priori category, 55, see also Kant, Immanuel Aeschylus, 248–249 agent, 88, 100–101, 103, 105, 131, 138, 162, 198, 243, 247, 262, 266, 270 Agnesund, Mattias, 69, 71 Al-Khalili, Jim, 173 Allen, Graham, 211 ambiguity, 16, 67–69, 73, 80–82, 253 ambivalence, 198, 210, 235 American Philosophical Association, 103 Ammonius, 47 analytic philosophy, 11, 24, 26, 51, 89, 141, 175, 200–201 Anglo-American philosophy, 196 anthropology, 33 antirealism, 11, 196 antonym(s), 73 arbitrariness, 39, 126 arbitrary, 14, 17, 35, 118, 126, 144, 152, 179, 216, 218, 221, 230 construct, 83, 107, 128 setting, 77 sign, 4 Aristotle, 14, 46–48, 50 Armstrong, David, 145 artefact, 118, 124, 141, 153, 190, 194 artefactual, 142 artes liberales, 8 artiﬁcial intelligence, 13, 39, 41, 67, 95, 243 community, 40–41, 69, 177 project, 71 authority, 5, 121, 156, 169, 179, 212, 214, 240 autonomy, 24, 38, 200–201, 214, 258–259, 266–267, 271 semantic, 214 autopoietic machine, 20 autopoietic process, 138 autopoietic system, 208 Ayer, Alfred J., 38 Bach, Kent, 80 Baddeley, Alan, 98
Bakhtin, Mihail, 134, 138, 144, 165, 210–211 Bank of English, 222 Baroque, 212 Baroque churches, 255 Basford, Lynn, 191 Bazerman, Charles, 192–195 Bearison, David, 25, 181 behaviour verbal behaviour, 33 behaviourism, 13, 33–34, 38–39, 75, 133 antisocial behaviour, 157 asocial idiosyncratic behaviour, 267 automated behaviour, 126 behaviour, 7, 19, 33–34, 42, 85, 90, 118, 122, 124, 127, 129, 132, 134, 140, 151, 166, 184, 196–197, 233, 235, 238, 241–242, 244–245, 248–249, 261, 263 behavioural feature, 133 behavioural output, 42 behaviourist model, 51 human behaviour, 41, 247 interactional behaviour, 113 interpersonal behaviour, 263 linguistic behaviour, 33, 113 meaning of behaviour, 248 modes of behaviour, 238 non-linguistic behaviour, 167 non-symbolic behaviour, 21, 124–125, 144 non-vocal behaviour, 146 object-oriented behaviour, 140 person’s behaviour, 107 rational behaviour, 170 symbolic behaviour, 43, 129, 167, 184, 241–242, 247, 261, 263 verbal behaviour, 33–34 verbal behaviourism, 37 Bennett, Maxwell, 17, 102–106 Berger, Peter, 25–26, 182–183 Berkeley, George, 21, 98, 250 Berlin, Brent, 252–254 Bierwisch, Manfred, 15, 64–65 Billeter, Jean François, 267
Bloomﬁeld, Leonard, 23 Blumer, Herbert, 33, 133–134, 165 body, 7, 26, 38–39, 42, 68, 82, 95, 98–99, 107, 119, 161, 178, 183, 226, 263 body language, 146 body–mind dualism, 37, see also Descartes, René Boeckh, August, 200, 212 Borges, Jorge Luis, 116, 218 bottom-up system, 222 brain, 17, 40–42, 44, 51–52, 74–77, 85, 87, 88–92, 94–100, 102–108, 242–243, 253 activity, 97–98, 100 artiﬁcial, 71 Brain Electrical Oscillations Signature test (BEOS), 97 brain-external stuff, 17, 107 brain scan, 96–97, 100, 102, 262 as digital computer, see artiﬁcial intelligence electronic brain, 13, see also artiﬁcial intelligence experts, 97 forebrain, 95, 98 human, 40, 125 individual, 25 memory, 98 mind-brain, 58 new brain sciences, 102 person’s brain, 105–107 potential, 98 reptilian, 238 sciences, 98, 107 structure, 101 Brakel, Jaap van, 253 Brecht, Bertolt, 23 brick, 40, 60 basic conceptual, 60 basic semantic, 84 shared reality of, 159 British National Corpus (BNC), 220, 227, 255 Burr, Vivien, 130 Burroughs, John, 168 Busse, Dietrich, 120 Canterbury, Anselm of, 14, 48 Carter, Robert, 191–192 Cartesian agenda, 197 concept, 197 concept of knowledge, 176 epistemology, 26, 183 mind, 176 souls, 41 understanding, 196
cause, 38, 69, 165, 194, 206, 261, 265, 267 cause and effect, 85, 242, 248 mental cause, 38 central phase, 101 century eighteenth, 8, 23, 37, 212, 245, 258 eighth, 156 fourteenth, 49 nineteenth, 5, 8, 9, 162, 212, 245, 258, 267 seventeenth, 37, 58 third, 47 twentieth, 6–7, 9, 11, 24, 33, 44, 51, 68, 73, 125, 139, 163, 200–201, 214 twenty-ﬁrst, 192 Chalmers, David J., 49–50 chat, 1, 154 pub, 166 China, 163, 267 choice, 6, 171, 207, 238, 248, 260–261, 269 individual, 266 lexical and grammatical, 128 Chomsky, Noam, 4, 13–14, 33–37, 46–47, 53–54, 56–60, 65–66, 93–94, 113, 125, 128, 139, 144, 181, 252 Chomskyan language universals, 36 Chomskyan linguistics, 4, 9, 13 Chomskyan theory of the semantic level, 58 Chomsky’s generative transformational grammar, 42 language faculty, 52 universal grammar, 17, 128, 139 universalist theory of language, 118 Chomsky-sentences, 57 Clapham, Sir John, 161 Cobuild English Dictionary, 4, 190, 224, 230 cognition, 25, 39, 91–92, 95–97, 182–183, 185, 254, 262 animal, 94 collaborative, 138, 181 concept of, 181 human, 65, 82 Cognition in the Wild, 182 Cognitive Linguistics Reader, 42 cognitivism, 33, 99 accounts, 76 acts, 65 agenda, 12, 183 approach, 13 commitment, 42 conception, 88 concepts, 7, 74, 78, 101, 220 development, 181 ethologists, 105 events, 86 intelligence, 41
Index landscape, 76 language, 45 linguistic research, 46 linguistics, 4, 7, 9, 15–17, 38, 42, 44–46, 48, 52, 54, 62, 64, 74–75, 80, 83, 88, 95, 98–99, 101–102, 107, 222, 224 linguistics community, 107 linguists, 127 mechanisms, 41, 78–80, 94 modelling, 40 models, 7, 13 paradigm, 13, 14 perspective, 129 phenomena, 25 process, 92, 181 processing, 86, 87 programme, 97 psychology, 92 representation, 25, 54, 62, 66, 74, 76–78, 86–87, 240 schools, 7 sciences, 13, 17, 33, 38–39, 41–42, 44–45, 51–52, 75, 91, 98, 107, 136, 243–244, 262 semantics, 65, 86 states, 91 theories, 40 turn, 13, 14, 33 Collaborative Cognition, 181 collocate, 56, 222, 224–225 Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 178 communication pseudo-communication, 122 communication system, 9, 34, 139 communicative system, 34 communicative situations, 120 community interpretive, 4, 29, 225, 229–230, 239, 240, 246–247, 249, 270 oral, 130, 151, 155, 158 comprehensive grammar, 57 Comte, Auguste, 51 concept, 7, 14–18, 22, 25, 27, 35–36, 38, 40, 45, 47–50, 53–64, 66–74, 76, 78–79, 84, 86, 89–91, 93–95, 98–102, 105–106, 115, 120, 125, 130, 136, 143–144, 147, 150, 152, 160, 162–164, 171–172, 176, 178–182, 184, 186, 192, 194, 197–200, 208–209, 211, 213, 226, 240, 242, 244–245, 247–248, 253, 257–258, 264, 267, 278 basic, 55, 62 conceptual knowledge, 13 conceptual ontology, 15, 68, 71
285 conceptual representation, 15, 48, 69–70, 82–85, 93 conceptual system, 41 mental, 7, 13–16, 25, 37, 47, 50, 53–56, 58–61, 65–67, 73–78, 83–84, 86, 89, 95, 99, 103, 107, 113, 172, 180, 220 synonymic, 50 Concepts Where Cognitive Science Went Wrong, 53, 59 conceptualisation, 14, 16, 25, 86–87, 107, 170–171, 253, 267 Condillac, Etienne Bonnet de, 145 consciousness, 25, 39, 44–45, 50, 52, 76, 86, 90–92, 94–96, 106–108, 119, 127, 129, 136, 148, 165, 201, 242, 244, 248, 259–261 constituents, 35 construct, 7, 11–12, 15, 27, 36, 38, 42, 52, 60, 63–65, 75, 80, 83, 85, 90, 95, 107, 118, 120–121, 128, 132–134, 140, 150, 172, 184–186, 194, 214, 218, 250, 263 language, 217, 237 linguistic, 80 constructivism, 25 Continental, 65 radical, 209 social, 12, 24–26, 85, 182, 184–185, 250 context, 6, 9, 15, 26, 56, 62, 67–68, 73–74, 77–78, 80, 82, 92, 95, 136, 156, 164, 168, 179–180, 188, 191, 197, 200, 205–207, 218–222, 225, 230, 235, 261 context-dependency, 69 context-free, 67 co-occurrence, 222 Cooren, François, 138, 181, 268 corpus linguistics, 73, 211, 219, 222, 224 corpus, corpora, 18, 73, 117, 212, 219–220, 222, 224, 227, 239 Cratylus, 67, 199 critical discourse analysis (CDA), 18, 120–122 Darwin, Charles, 60, 94 Darwinist, 60, see also anti-Darwinist Dennett, Daniel, 17, 40, 91–92, 102–106, 243 dependency grammar, 36 Derrida, Jacques, 28, 48, 131, 199, 210 Descartes, René, 14, 23–26, 37, 39, 96, 175–176, 181–182, 198 Dewey, John, 26, 33, 133 diachronic dimension, 8, 45, 128, 141, 210, 216, 239 Dictionary of Literary Biography, 133 Dilthey, Wilhelm, 160, 200–201, 225
discourse, 1–4, 6–12, 14, 18–29, 38, 42–44, 50–51, 72–74, 77, 79–80, 83, 85, 88–90, 95, 99, 103, 107–109, 114–123, 125–126, 128–143, 147–150, 155–156, 163–172, 177–192, 194–202, 204–205, 207–221, 224–226, 228–230, 232, 234–250, 252–266, 269–272 academic, 103 analysis, 120–121 anarchic, 12 autopoietic, 209 boardroom, 138 chair-discourse, 141 community, 1 construct, 27, 121, 172, 214 discourse-external ‘real world’, 85 discourse-external givens, 119 discourse-external laws, 115 discourse-external reality, 11, 18, 20–21, 26, 28, 136, 141–144, 154–156, 159, 162, 164, 171–172, 177–178, 192, 194–195, 197, 207, 214, 220, 242, 255 discourse-external signiﬁée, 131, 135, 210 discourse-independent, 10 discourse-internal arrangements, 143 discourse-internal content, 148 discourse-internal interpretation, 132 discourse-internal knowledge, 149, 195 discourse-internal reality, 142 factual, 183 Google, 237 healthy, 12, 147, 269–270 history, 97 intellectual, 18 language, 211, 232 mechanism, 137 oral, 23 orders of, 121 plurivocal, 185 post-September 11, 211, 213 public, 263, 265, 269–272 reality, 239 scientiﬁc, 9, 26 special, 18–19, 116–119, 207, 216–217, 221 speciﬁc discourse community, 52 studies, 76 written, 170, 213, 219 discourse act, 21 discourse community, 1, 7–8, 10, 14, 20, 24–25, 27–28, 43–44, 50–51, 72, 77, 88, 90, 108, 115, 120, 128–132, 134–136, 143, 150, 155, 156, 169–170, 174–177, 180–181, 183, 185, 189, 192, 199, 208, 209, 213, 215–218, 221, 225, 230, 232, 245, 252, 258, 262–263, 269
discourse element, 192, 209 discourse hermeneutics, 213 discourse object, 8, 11, 12, 21, 26, 59, 86, 141–144, 147, 149, 151, 155, 164–165, 177–178, 180–181, 186–191, 194, 204–205, 208, 212–213, 216, 219–221, 224–226, 229, 231, 236, 239, 247, 255, 259, 264 discourse observer, 120, 132 discourse partner, 103 discourse rupture, 119 discourse society, 119 discourse system, 12 discourse topic, 254 Dix, Alan, 172 Dorval, Brice, 25, 181 Dudai, Yadin, 98 Dunbar, Robin, 146 Duranti, Alessandro, 90, 245 Durkheim, Emile, 51, 127, 165 Eco, Umberto, 61, 178 Elwert, Georg, 157 Engel, Ulrich, 36 Enlightenment, 16, 24–25, 27, 37, 51, 248 entity monadic entity, 95, 103, 108 epistemic complex, 120 European romanticism, 24 EUROTRA – European project for automatic translation, 41, 70 Everett, Daniel, 36, 252, 254 evidence, 17, 22, 24, 36, 44, 50, 53–55, 57, 66, 75–76, 80, 82, 84, 86, 97–98, 104, 121, 150–153, 156, 167, 172, 187, 191, 207, 216, 218, 221–222, 224–225, 230, 232, 235, 239, 240, 242, 246, 253, 263, 264, 268 experience ﬁrst-person, 43, 89, 105, 135–136, 147, 152, 167, 169, 172, 177, 207, 217, 259, 263 expression(s), 16, 21, 25, 36, 44, 54, 60, 67–68, 72, 76–78, 80–81, 83, 87, 90, 99, 101–105, 115, 125, 130, 132, 142–143, 146, 149–151, 155, 166, 177, 179, 185, 204–206, 208, 212–213, 221, 245, 248, 254, 260, 263, 271 Fairclough, Norman, 120, 121 ﬁnal state, 40, 101 ﬁnite regress, 105, see also inﬁnite regress ﬁrst-order observation, 209 Fitch, Tecumseh, 34, 37, 93–94 FLB, 93–94
Index FLN, 93–94 Fodor, Jerry, 14, 48, 50–51, 53–55, 57–60, 64, 68, 75–76, 84, 91, 93–94, 99, 113 Foerster, Heinz von, 209 formal universals, 34 Foucault, Michel, 18, 118–121, 195, 210, 218 Francesca, Piero della, 9 Frege, Gottlob, 141 French Revolution, 158 Freud, Sigmund, 51, 210 Gadamer, Hans-Georg, 28, 138, 183–184, 199, 201, 209, 212–213, 221, 225, 239 Gallese, Vittorio, 17, 98–103 Geisteswissenschaften, 8, 51, 65, 225 generative semantics, 100 generative transformational grammar, 4, 128 Gergen, Kenneth, 26, 184–185 German idealism, 24–25 Goldman, Alvin, 176, 197–198 Goody, Jack, 150, 155–156, 158–160 Google, 2, 8, 24, 52, 86, 132, 154, 169–170, 191, 205–206, 219, 225–237, 239, 245, 260, 266 Google search, 257 Greimas, Algirdas J., 15, 63, 65 Grice, Herbert Paul, 80–82 Gricean maxims, 81, 168 Haarmann, Harald, 153 Habermas, Jürgen, 27, 122 Hacker, Peter, 17, 102–106 Hacking, Ian, 151 haiku, 29, 215–219, 221, 224–227, 229, 230–233, 236–241, 270 Halliday, Michael, 120 Hallowes, Harry, 157 Harras, Gisela, 78, 81 Harris, Roy, 9, 125, 144, 150, 167–168, 170 Harris, Zelig, 23 Hauser, Marc D., 34, 37, 93–94, 144 Hegel, Georg F. W., 25, 86, 158 Heidegger, Martin, 28 Herder, Johann G., 145 Hermanns, Fritz, 200 hermeneutics, 27, 28, 65, 119, 138, 168, 183, 199–201, 207–211, 213–214, 242 history of effect (“Wirkungsgeschichte”), 212 Hitzler, Ronald, 183 Hjelmslev, Louis, 63 Hochschild, Adam, 162 Holquist, Michael, 165, 210 Humboldt, Wilhelm von, 36, 212 Hume, David, 8, 25, 181 Husserl, Edmund, 183
287 Hutchins, Edwin, 182 hypernym, 68, 73, 178 hyponym, 73 idea, 1, 3–4, 7, 13–15, 20–25, 27–28, 36–38, 40–41, 46–49, 51–55, 58–61, 69, 74–76, 82, 94, 101, 105, 108, 118, 126, 133, 135–136, 145, 150–151, 160, 162, 172, 174–175, 183, 185–186, 190, 194, 196, 199, 217–218, 240–241, 248–250, 259–260, 265, 270–271 Platonic idea, 39 ideal speech situation, 27 idealism, 250 identity, 108, 115, 119–120, 142, 147, 156, 158–159, 179, 211, 261 idiom, 6, 211 image, 20–22, 48–49, 68, 83, 91, 93, 143, 172, 184, 219–221, 255, 258, 263 imagination, 12, 48, 96, 100, 102–103 inﬁnite regress, 50, 54, 167, 243, see also ﬁnite regress initial condition, 101 integrationalist linguistics, 124–125, 127, 167 intentionality, 10–12, 17, 20, 23, 42, 44–45, 49, 60, 76, 86–94, 96, 99, 101, 103, 106–109, 114, 122, 129, 130, 132, 135–136, 138, 179, 181, 183–184, 195, 201, 208–209, 221, 225, 240–243, 246–249, 258–259, 261–263, 270–272 individual intentionality, 20, 108, 209, 248 interaction, 1, 13, 19–21, 25, 33, 37, 54, 77, 86–87, 99, 108, 113, 121–122, 126–127, 129, 132–133, 140, 151, 167, 183–184, 197, 240, 246–247, 249, 259, 270 social, 77–78, 125, 133, 248 symbolic, 4, 17, 33, 95, 122, 124–127, 133–134, 136, 139, 144, 150, 166, 168, 183, 208–209, 221, 259, 262 interpretation, 1–4, 8–9, 27–29, 33, 39, 47, 49, 64, 69, 77, 92–93, 97, 114, 117–118, 120, 126, 129, 132–135, 138, 141, 148, 151, 153, 155–156, 165, 167–168, 173, 175, 183, 192–193, 195, 199–201, 207–219, 221, 224–226, 228–230, 232, 238–240, 242, 244, 246–249, 258, 263, 267, 270 reinterpretation, 29, 103 intertextuality, 201, 210–212 Jackendoff, Ray, 39, 41, 62, 75–77, 93 James, William, 26, 33, 133 Johnson, Mark, 98, 261 Johnson, Samuel, 250 Jullien, François, 267
Kant, Immanuel, 25, 55, 179, 200 Katz, Jerold, 64 Kay, Paul, 252–254 Keele, Rondo, 50 Kenyon, Frank, 38 King, Peter, 50–51 Kitcher, Philip, 176, 196 Klein, Naomi, 269 knowledge, 4, 7–9, 13–14, 20, 23–27, 40–41, 60, 62, 67–69, 75, 77, 97–99, 104, 106, 108, 116–119, 127, 139, 148–149, 152, 155, 156–160, 163, 167–169, 175–184, 189–190, 192–193, 195–197, 208, 212, 216, 219, 221, 224–225, 227, 231, 239–241, 243–245, 252, 267 Kristeva, Julia, 210–211 Lakoff, George, 17, 98–103, 115, 261 Langacker, Ronald, 16, 84, 86–87 language, 2, 4–19, 23–26, 33–37, 39–78, 80–95, 98, 101–103, 106–107, 113–118, 120–121, 124–132, 134–137, 139–142, 144–146, 150–151, 154–155, 162–163, 165–170, 172–175, 177, 179, 189, 192–193, 199–200, 203–204, 208, 210–211, 213–214, 217, 219, 221–222, 224, 232, 237, 246, 252–254, 256–257, 262, 264 E-languages, 34–35 I-languages, 34–35, 37 Language and Conceptualization, 40 language community, 25, 84 language data, 18, 24, 66, 73, 121, 128, 211, 222 language user, 6, 10, 125 langue, 52, 95, 128, 139 Laslett, Peter, 38 Leibniz, Gotthold W., 61 Levinson, Stephen, 16, 75–76, 82–85 Lévi-Strauss, Claude, 118, 143, 152 Lewandowski, Theodor, 63–65 lexical item, 8, 42, 56–57, 63, 72–73, 76, 78–80, 83, 99, 107–108, 115, 117, 126, 131, 138, 140–144, 151, 155, 164–165, 177–178, 180–181, 186–189, 199, 201, 205, 207–209, 211, 215, 219–222, 224–226, 229, 232, 256 lexical material, 218 lexis, 211 Lieberman, Philip, 55 linguistic(s), 4, 6, 8–9, 22, 25, 33, 51, 63, 72, 78, 95, 107, 115, 118, 120–121, 125, 127–129, 167, 169, 211, 221–222, 224 computational, 209 data, 121 meaning, 82, 99 patterns, 9
theories, 36, 222 theoretical, 4, 6 literacy, 22, 126, 130–131, 144, 147–149, 151–152, 155–159, 163–164 Locke, John, 161, 181 Lodge, David, 137 Longino, Helen, 197 Lotman, Yuri M., 164 Luckmann, Thomas, 25–26, 182–183 Luhmann, Niklas, 20, 129–132, 135, 138–139, 208–209, 247 Lurija, Aleksandr, 163 machine ghost in the, 38 main clause, 35–36 Mann, Thomas, 56 Mannheim, Karl, 26, 182–183, 204 Marceau, Marcel, 125 Marx, Karl, 3, 158, 210, 266 Maturana, Humberto, 129, 131 McGinn, Colin, 45, 55, 136 Mead, George Herbert, 33, 133, 145, 260 meaning, 1–12, 14–17, 19–21, 23–29, 33, 43–51, 53–56, 58, 61, 63–69, 71–82, 86–88, 90–93, 98–100, 102–107, 109, 114, 116, 118, 121, 124–127, 129, 131–135, 138, 140–144, 146, 148–149, 151–152, 155–156, 158, 163–165, 167–171, 174, 177–181, 183–184, 186, 188–189, 192–193, 196–200, 203–204, 207–208, 211–212, 214–222, 224–226, 228, 230, 232, 236, 239, 241, 244, 246–249, 251, 256–257, 259, 262, 274, 280 linguistic meaning, 82, 99 of words, 5, 6, 87 units of, 3, 6, 23, 80, 211, 229 Meja, Volker, 196 Melby, Alan, 15, 70–71 mentalese, 14, 48, 50, 53–55, 60–62, 68, 71, 82, 84, 92, 107 message, 153, 208, 238 Meyer-Oeser, Stephen, 49 Millikan, Ruth, 81–82, 89, 93 mind, 4, 7, 12–17, 19, 22–26, 28, 31, 33–34, 36–44, 46–52, 57–61, 66, 72, 74–75, 77, 82, 84–92, 94–100, 102–105, 107–109, 114–115, 119, 125, 127–131, 133, 135–138, 143, 155, 164, 166, 168, 173–174, 176, 179, 181–185, 196, 201, 208, 217, 221, 225, 228, 238, 241, 243–246, 248, 250, 255, 258–262, 264–265, 269, 273, 280 collective, 8, 11, 20–21, 23, 25–26, 28, 88, 107–109, 133, 135–136, 138, 156, 169, 180, 183–184, 195, 208–209, 249, 262
Index individual, 11, 20, 23–24, 33, 38, 45, 51, 86, 126–127, 130–131, 133, 135–138, 176, 179–180, 182–184, 208, 240, 262–263 monadic, 7, 8, 19, 29, 37, 135, 143, 176, 181, 184, 241, 267 solitary, 238, 258, 262 mind–body dualism, 96, see also Descartes, René moral sense philosophy, 37 morpheme, 101, 222 Mueller-Vollmer, Kurt, 200–201, 244 Muller, Justin, 71 Nagel, Thomas, 175 network of texts, 162 Neues Deutschland, 271 Neumann, John von, 41 Newell, Allen, 91 nominalism, 65 Nuyts, Jan, 40–41, 86 object(s), 3, 4, 7–9, 12, 17–18, 21, 23–24, 27–28, 37, 40, 43–44, 48–49, 51, 57, 59, 65, 72, 85–86, 88, 91, 100–101, 103–104, 108, 115–121, 122, 125, 128, 133–136, 140–144, 147–153, 155, 160, 164–165, 171–175, 177–180, 185–187, 190–191, 193–194, 196, 209–210, 213, 216, 226–227, 241, 247, 251–257, 259, 261 occurrence(s), 2, 19, 28, 43, 52, 68, 74, 86–87, 117, 131–132, 136, 169–170, 180, 186–188, 205–206, 211, 219, 224–233, 235–237, 239, 245 Ockham on Concepts, 50 Ockham, William of, 14, 49–52, 54, 83, 179 Ockham’s razor, 54, 83 Ohreen, David, 245 Ong, Walter, 155–156 Onians, John, 96–97, 99 ontology, 15, 41, 68–69, 71, 90, 245 Orestes, 249 Origgi, Gloria, 81–82 Oxford English Dictionary (OED), 24, 178 Panaccio, Claude, 50 paradigm, 4, 13, 26–27, 33, 36–37, 39, 73, 95, 97, 109, 118, 120, 125, 139, 151, 174, 185, 196, 253 paraphrase, 6, 47, 74, 80, 102–103, 107, 114, 140–141, 147, 164, 181, 199, 201, 204–205, 207, 212, 219–220, 222, 225–226, 230–232
289 parole, 120, 125, 128–129, 134, 139, 150, 169–170, 213 part-whole, 73 Pederson, Eric, 40–41 Peirce, Charles, 26, 33, 133, 143, 175–176 Petit Robert, 86 phenotypes non-symbolic, 259, 262 philosophy of mind, 11, 14, 16, 38–40, 42, 45, 50, 52, 75, 88–89, 96, 136, 242, 244 phoneme, 63, 102, 222 phonological analysis, 63 Piaget, Jean, 25, 139, 181, 183 piece of speech, 166 Pinker, Steven, 14, 48, 54–55, 62, 68, 76, 84, 93, 259 Plato, 22, 24, 67, 74, 212–213, 279 plurivocality, 120, 192, 207 polysemy, 80 postmodernism, 12, 85 post-structuralism, 28, 119, 200, see also Prague school; structuralism Potter, Jonathan, 179, 183, 250 Pottier, Bernard, 15, 63 pragmatism, 26–27, 33, 85, 133, 175 Prague school 63, see also structuralism primordial speech situation, 20–21, 26, 28, 131, 134, 136, 140–152, 156–157, 164–173, 175, 179–180, 185, 193, 195, 197, 210, 258 Proudhon, Pierre-Joseph, 162 purpose condition, 101 Putnam, Hilary, 14, 24, 28, 51, 58, 141, 174–177 quality, 19, 23, 45, 74, 145, 148, 168, 190, 193, 205, 238, 259–260, 269 quantity, 168, 252 Random House Dictionary, 190 Ravenscroft, Ian, 244 realism, 11, 24, 27, 51, 65, 96, 174–177, 185, 196, 253 reality, 1–3, 5, 7–9, 11–12, 18, 20–22, 24, 26–29, 35, 38, 42, 47, 50–51, 57, 64–66, 71–72, 77, 83, 85, 88, 95, 97, 107–109, 114–117, 120–123, 131, 134, 136, 138–200, 207–208, 214–216, 219–220, 230, 238–239, 242–243, 249–260, 262–265, 267–272, 280 recognition, 9, 44, 81, 242 recontextualisation, 132
reference, 29, 53, 98, 121, 129, 131, 140–141, 155, 158, 163, 177–178, 182, 185, 191–193, 203, 208, 214, 239, 254 Reichertz, Jo, 183 relativism, 26–27, 65, 85, 96, 179, 250 relevance theory, 16, 76, 81, 167 representation(s), 7, 15–16, 36, 40–42, 48–50, 54, 60, 62, 66, 69–72, 74, 76–78, 82–87, 93, 95, 98–99, 102–104, 106, 145–146, 170, 173, 176, 190, 207, 209, 219, 240 mental, 16, 43–44, 46–47, 61, 72, 74–75, 78, 80, 82, 87, 91, 93, 95, 102, 104, 107, 128, 184, 189, 209, 241, 247 semantic, 15, 58, 84–85 symbolic, 104, 124, 155, 159, 167, 184, 259, 261 re-representation, 106 Ricoeur, Paul, 138, 144, 199–200, 208, 214 Robinson, Daniel, 103 Roehm, Dietmar, 98 Rorty, Richard, 75, 176 Rose, Steven, 98 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 145, 155, 160 Russell, Bertrand, 51 Rutherford, Ernest, 173 Ryle, Gilbert, 38 Salomon, Gavriel, 181 Sampson, Geoffrey, 35 Samson, Alan, 162 Saunders, Barbara, 253 Saussure, Ferdinand de, 6, 9, 23, 45–46, 51–52, 63, 95, 118, 128, 139, 150, 154, 167, 199 Scarufﬁ, Pierro, 40 Scheler, Max, 182 Schleiermacher, Friedrich, 138, 200, 212, 244 Schmidt, Lawrence, 212 Schröer, Norbert, 183 Searle, John, 11–12, 17, 26, 41, 85, 90–92, 95–96, 102–103, 105–106, 173–174, 209 second-order observation, 209 self-consciousness, 133 semantic markers, 64–65 semantic primes, 15, 60–64 séme(s), 15, 63–65 sémeme(s), 15 Shakespeare, William, 9, 16, 23, 68, 114, 117, 245, 282 Simon, Herbert, 91 Slevin, Oliver, 191 Smart, John, 70 Smolensky, Paul, 39 socialism, 269, 271–272
society, 1, 2, 9, 12, 18–22, 27, 40, 43, 51–52, 77, 90–91, 95, 103, 106, 108–109, 113, 115, 119–122, 124, 127–130, 132–136, 138, 150, 152, 156, 158, 160–161, 163, 165–166, 173, 176, 183, 186, 196, 208–209, 238, 241, 245, 247, 252, 254, 256–259, 262, 264, 266–267, 269 literate societies, 22, 134, 144, 147–149, 155–157, 159–160, 164–165, 213 oral societies, 23, 126, 143–144, 147, 149–151, 154–158, 160, 164 Socrates, 67, 199 Solomon, Miriam, 196 Solomon, Robert, 25 Spade, Paul Vincent, 49–50 Sperber, Dan, 16, 53, 76, 78, 81–82, 167, 170 Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 49, 197–198, 244 starting phase, 101 Stehr, Nico, 196 Stich, Steven, 92 stimuli, 34, 37, 82, 95, 126, 134, 184 Stokoe, William C., 145, 273 structuralism, 63, 65, 118–119, see also poststructuralism; Prague school subject noun phrase, 35–36 symbol, 43, 47–48, 54, 69, 93, 99, 101–104, 143–144, 152, 164–165, 226 symbolism, 217 synonym(s), 14, 50, 61, 73, 86, 187 Systemic Functional Linguistics, 120 Tamimi, Azzam, 205 Tel Quel grouping, 119 Teubert, Wolfgang, 56, 120, 133, 272 The Quest for Consciousness, 95 thesaurus, 9, 255 Thomas, Jenny, 169 Thompson, John B., 214 Toolan, Michael, 121, 126 trait distinctif, 63 transcripts of spoken language, 166 truth, 8, 11, 17, 24–28, 37, 51, 74, 97, 102, 129, 145, 147–148, 151, 154, 156, 158, 160, 171, 174–177, 184–185, 190–191, 196–198, 201, 207, 212, 264 Turing machine, 39 Turing, Alan, 39 Turner, Dale R., 42 universal grammar, 17, 113, 222 Varela, Francisco, 129 verb phrase, 35–36