Re: "Reality"

Sun, 15 Dec 1996 12:31:02 -0500 (EST)

Bob Parks Wrote"
If this provides some direction for response, then my question is: could we
consider "language" as an hypothesis about those aspects of meaningful
social life that are to be taken as beyond control of the current social
processes? In other words, could we take "language" to be an hypothesis
about those aspects of interaction that must be stable and unmanipulable in
order to communicate?
Doesn't this rather reify language? Certainly someone like
Shotter would not see actual language interactions (conversations, joint
actions) in this way at all. Nor, I think, would someone like Maturana.
I wonder whether the concept of "communication" here isn't a
bit suspect, at least from a putatively non-foundationalist point of
view. I agree that this is a difficult and uncomfortable area, and one
in which it is easy to be merely fashionable, but the idea of
communicating information, or meaning, is beginning to strike my ear
as not quite right.
In terms of the uncomfortable aspect of talking about such
things, I almost always feel I'm involved in seeming performative
contradictions. At some point and in ways, my sense is, one stops
worrying about this.
But talking about communication, Jim Mancuso has frequently
insisted in his recent posts on the idea of negotiating understandings
or the elements of conversation. In a sense, this certainly sounds
right or reasonable, and yet I am suspicious about any assumption that
this means that the two parties end up with the same "understanding," as
opposed, perhaps, to some Manturana-like ability to coordinate their

I suppose I usually end up feeling their is a point in paying
attention to both the "folk" assumptions and ways of talking and the
postmodern attempts to find another way.

Best wishes,
Rick Clewett
Eastern Kentucky University