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Meaning, Language, And Time: Toward a Consequentialist Philosophy of Discourse [Paperback]

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Item description for Meaning, Language, And Time: Toward a Consequentialist Philosophy of Discourse by Kevin J. Porter...

MEANING, LANGUAGE, AND TIME: TOWARD A CONSEQUENTIALIST PHILOSOPHY OF DISCOURSE is concerned with the interanimations of meaning, time, language, and discourse. The chief target of critique is meaning apriorism, the notion that the meaning of an utterance (or sign) is always found in or traceable to something temporally and logically prior, such as intention. In opposition, Porter proposes meaning consequentialism, a theory that integrates meaning and time in terms of its consequences. Given the history of concepts like meaning, time, language, and discourse, any serious attempt to understand them must be interdisciplinary; so MEANING, LANGUAGE, AND TIME draws on a wide range of important work in the history of philosophy, rhetoric, and composition. In this groundbreaking work, Porter joins these conversations with the aim of breaching the traditional disciplinary walls and opening new areas of inquiry.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   424
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.98" Width: 5.98" Height: 1.18"
Weight:   1.46 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 30, 2006
Publisher   Parlor Press
ISBN  1932559787  
ISBN13  9781932559781  

Availability  103 units.
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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Epistemology
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > General
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Movements > Existentialism
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Movements > Phenomenology
5Books > Subjects > Reference > Words & Language > Rhetoric

Reviews - What do customers think about Meaning, Language, And Time: Toward a Consequentialist Philosophy of Discourse?

Think new possibilities without the pretense that new possibilities are already there, waiting.  Jul 20, 2006
MLT is a poetically written philosophical argument which extends well beyond Porter's ultimate discussion of/prescription for a consequentialist pedagogy. As the title indicates, the scope is grand. Impressively, Porter's tight and generously documented work (I would like to know his process for tracking research!) does indeed address (in an impossible nutshell) *meaning [meaning resists placement: "to try to freeze meaning [. . .] is to do violence to its temporality" (40); the meaning of an utterance is the total set of all of its consequences, yet the very act of discerning the set is an additional consequence . . . : "meaning is ineffable, not because it is transcendent, but because its ceaseless propagation into a manifold of concrete consequences necessarily outpaces any attempt to contain or quantify it" (54).]; *language [especially the temporality of it, and how discourse communities have constructed theoretical models that treat it as it relates to meaning and time "a prioristically"]; and *time [by supporting his assertion that "we cannot be clear about meaning if its relation to time is already opaque in our thinking" (17)].

Consequences for me right now (I am generating): I will be rethinking time as it relates to literature and to my students' writing: what happens if I interrogate the premise that meaning is static? At very least, I will find that I must adopt within my arguments the concession that meaning "apriorism" in terms of time is, as Porter finds, "an analytical construct" (49) which, while it may help me along, represents an aspect of my arguments that must be accounted for rather than built upon (which, as Porter documents, has been the case more often than not).

I will also be trying to discern just why Porter includes intention in his system of determining meaning (a very small point -as expressly stated -in the text). In his critique of absolute time and how a priori conceptions of absolute time affect the discernment of meaning, he finds the meaning of intentions to be constituted by the very consequences which intentions produce (185). True, intentions can be remembered erroneously after the fact, and also true, intentions do not necessarily accurately correspond with utterances, so I see that we may not go by an utterer's word (although to a certain extent I follow Donald Davidson's lead that there is no language beyond what interlocutors "agree" upon). Yet, it seems a leap, to me, to move from establishing the need to distinguish intentions extraneously (to the utterers themselves and their claims) to asserting that we may, in a retroaction, use textual consequences, which are accumulating infinitum, to discern the meaning of intentions.

As I have told a few friends already, this text makes an excellent addition to a comps list -it is inherently interdisciplinary and, regardless of one's interest area (particularly within the humanities, but definitely beyond as well), it stimulates. And unlike (some) other texts of its class, it presents logical argument in an inviting tone (one of elegant inclusiveness rather than uncontrollable vehemence?).

That MLT is one book instead of four (at least as I write) reflects the state of publishing. I hope more will follow. As a practitioner, I would enthusiastically welcome the opportunity to be a fly on the wall of a classroom where a consequentialist pedagogy is being "inaugurated" (278).

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