Complex Community: Towards a Phenomenology of Language Sharing

In Chad Engelland (ed.), Language and Phenomenology. New York: Routledge. pp. 177-193 (2020)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Language is indisputably in some sense a social phenomenon. But in which sense? Philosophical conceptions of language often assume a simple relationship between individual speakers and a language community, one of which is attributed primacy and used to understand the other. Having identified some problems faced by two such conceptions—social holism and individualism—this article outlines an alternative phenomenological view of shared language by focusing on two principal ways that language is shared. First, it draws on the late Wittgenstein to characterize how shared practices ground linguistic communities. Based on the link between language-games and corresponding subcommunities of language users, I argue that pragmatic language sharing is more fragmented than social holism suggests but more cohesive than individualism intimates. Second, it considers how linguistic community is grounded in shared sign systems. Merleau-Ponty’s appropriation of Husserl’s notion of institution is used to highlight that existing linguistic structures are adopted in an open process that allows varying degrees of differentiation. Combining these two perspectives, I conclude that who we are in linguistic community with and how closely we converge varies over different parts of language. Our linguistic communities are thus complex in the sense of being fragmented, differentiated and nonuniform.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,219

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Language.Dimitris Apostolopoulos - 2019 - London, UK: Rowman & Littlefield International.
Disclosing the World: On the Phenomenology of Language.Andrew Inkpin - 2016 - Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.
Social Constructivism of Language and Meaning.Chen Bo - 2015 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 15 (1):87-113.
Wittgenstein and Merleau-Ponty.Komarine Romdenh-Romluc (ed.) - 2016 - New York, NY: Routledge.
Merleau-Ponty on Language.Margaret Urban Coyne - 1980 - International Philosophical Quarterly 20 (3):307-326.
Malcolm on language and rules.Gordon P. Baker & P. M. S. Hacker - 1990 - Philosophy 65 (252):167-179.

Analytics

Added to PP
2020-12-26

Downloads
29 (#524,468)

6 months
8 (#303,628)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Andrew Inkpin
University of Melbourne

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references