Re: Structural Determinism

Robert Parks (
Fri, 25 Apr 1997 22:01:31 -0500

Thanks for the comments, John. I don't want to give a representationalist
account of the role of language, however. I'd prefer to strive for a
dialectical account. That is, I agreee that we construct our selves with
and through language, however, we don't construct our selves "out of whole
cloth" (to quote one dialectitian's phrase). Rather, we use words and
expressions whose constraints (syntactic, semantic, pragmatic, etc) are the
medium for recognition of and acknowledment of others. If we construct our
world with language, then we must go back a step and ask also how the words
we use acquired that tool-like character. How is it that "mother" gets a
smile and "please" gets a cookie...? It seems that we are inducted into the
process of acquiring the tools with which our selves will be constructed.

I'll stop before this goes too far off track. I just wanted to say I don't
accept a simple representational view.