Papers & Workshops



The Self and Communicative Theory


Assoc. Prof. Gregory Heath

Faculty of Education, Language and Community Services, RMIT University

This paper focuses on the issues raised by my recent book, The Self and Communicative Theory. The book provides a philosophical discussion to ground traditional philosophical concepts in communication. It argues that the self and subjectivity should properly be grounded in interpersonal communication and that intersubjectivity is the basis of individual subjectivity. It provides an extensive discussion of the place of language in the grounding of conceptual thought and the relationship between linguistic theory and communicative theory. The main theses are advanced on the basis of a discussion of the works of Kant, Wittgenstein and recent communicative theory. The conference presentation will focus on the relationship between language and intersubjectivity. It will show that notion of a self-identity as the originator of communicative transactions always presupposes the existence of other selves also as the originators of communication. By the use of a "transcendental" form of reasoning it will then be shown that the very conception of the "subject" as the originator of communicative transactions presupposes the public use of language as being prior to the formation of private meaning. The discussion will centre on Wittgenstein's view that the a private language would fail the test of what constitutes a language suitable for meaningful interactions.
  Presentation Format: 45 min. paper

RMIT, Melbourne, Australia

5-9 July 2000

Equipment: Overhead Projector