Beyond the Symbol Model

Reflections on the Representational Nature of Language

Edited by John Stewart

Subjects: Philosophy Of Language
Series: SUNY series in Communication Studies
Paperback : 9780791430842, 343 pages, October 1996
Hardcover : 9780791430835, 343 pages, October 1996

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Table of contents

Editor's Introduction

Part I. Alternatives to Representational Accounts of Language and Meaning

1. The Symbol Model vs. Language as Constitutive Articulate Contact
John Stewart

2. Being and Speaking
Gary Madison

3. Before Theory and After Representationalism: Understanding Meaning 'from Within' a Dialogical Practice
John Shotter

4. The Communicative Dictionary: A Collaborative Theory of Meaning
Gillian L. Roberts and Janet Beavin Bavelas

Part II. Postmodern Rediscoveries

5. Friedrich Nietzsche's Theory of Language and Its Reception in Contemporary Thought
Ernst Behler

6. Simple Signs, Indeterminate Events: Lyotard on Sophists and Semiotics
Andrew R. Smith

Part III. Resuscitations of Semiotic Dimensions

7. Semiotic and Transactional Aspects of Language
D. S. Clarke

8. A Social Account of Symbols
Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz

9. Discourse Worlds and Representation
John Wilson

Part IV. Continuing the Conversation

10. The Beyond Enterprise
Marcelo Dascal



This interdisciplinary conversation discusses the nature of language.


Beyond the Symbol Model: Reflections on the Representational Nature of Language presents arguments on several sides of the contemporary debate over the representational nature of language. Contributors include philosophers, linguists, psychologists, semioticians, and communication theorists from the U. S. , Canada, Britain, Northern Ireland, and Israel. The chapters respond to the argument that language can no longer be viewed as a system of signs or symbols, and that a post-semiotic account can be developed from the recognition that language is first and foremost constitutive articulate contact. Three chapters extend this argument, two frame it historically, three disagree, and one contextualizes the "beyond enterprise" itself.

The book is a companion volume to Language as Articulate Contact: Toward a Post-Semiotic Philosophy of Communication. These two books contribute to the ongoing conversation about the nature of language that is strongly influencing theory and research in virtually all the human studies.

John R. Stewart is Professor in the Department of Speech Communication at the University of Washington. His previous books include Language as Articulate Contact: Toward a Post-Semiotic Philosophy of Communication, also published by SUNY Press, as well as Bridges Not Walls: A Book About Interpersonal Communication and (with Carole Logan) Together: Communicating Interpersonally, 4th Edition.


"It is exciting that Stewart is questioning assumptions that can be traced back as far as the fifth century B. C. The grouping of essays is very well done and a logical progression is established and maintained by Stewart's editorial commentaries. The references to Heidegger and Gadamer are on the money and the insights are some of the best I've seen. " — Craig R. Smith, California State University—Long Beach

"This book demonstrates a diversity of perspectives under one epistemological theme. The theme, or should I say shift in perspective, of this collection of essays is probably one of the most important issues in the current debate on communication, philosophy, and scientific practice. These essays reflect this debate well. It is to the editor's credit that he allows dissenting voices to be heard in this volume so that readers see the robustness of his argument and the possibility of contributing to the far-from-finished exchanges. " — Klaus Krippendorff, University of Pennsylvania—Philadelphia