Language as Transmission of Information
ComasJ at missouri.edu
Fri Jan 5 12:40:53 EST 2001
On 1/5/01 at 5:45 AM, Dan Smith <dls216 at psu.edu> wrote:
> For the record, I think it's a problematic distinction.
On 1/5/01 at 11:36 AM, Edappel8 at cs.com wrote:
> As for Dan's finding Burke's distinction a "problematic" one, I tend to
> agree. We can make a distinction between the epistemic "function" of
> language and the ontological "nature" of the animal that has the innate
> capacity to learn and use language. I personally am not comfortable, though,
> with anything close to a rigid differentiation between "dramatism" and
> "logology" as approaches to our understanding of use of language and the
> being possessed of that capacity. I've said it before on this list:
> "logology" is dramatism worked out "to the end of the line," to borrow a
> phrase. It is implicit in dramatism. It completes the trajectory of
> implications embodied in Burke's ealier emphasis on a "poetic" (1935) "actor"
> (1945) performing a "self-interfering act" (1950) for an "ethically"
> constrained (1935, 1945) purpose. (See especially 1945, pp. 294-97).
Perhaps it is not the distinction between the two concepts that is problematic
as much as the relationship between the two, specifically the relation of
priority which would ground a philosophy (viz., first philosophy). Do we find
Burke giving priority to logology, which would put him in the
Descartes-Kant-Husserl tradition of grounding philosophy in epistemology; or do
we find Burke giving priority to dramatism, which would align him with the
ontological/metaphysical tenor of twentieth-century Continental philosophy? Or
do we find this relation of priority to be undecided in Burke's thought? And
might such indecision (whether it characterizes Burke's thought or not) be a
quality that could be called "postmodern"?
J. Comas, Assistant Professor
Department of English
University of Missouri-Columbia
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