Care for bodies…

Communicative interaction in which participants aim at reaching understanding is often peppered with gestures of politeness and deference, the absence of which is felt as coldness, indifference, insult. Discussion is also wrapped in nonlinguistic gestures that bring people together warmly, seeing conditions for amicability: smiles, handshakes, hugs, the giving and taking of food and drink. […]

Our ‘characteristic mode’…

Mead identifies two forms or levels of social interaction in human society. He refers to them respectively as “the conversation of gestures” and “the use of significant symbols”; I shall term them respectively “non-symbolic interaction” and “symbolic interaction”. Non-symbolic interaction takes place when one responds directly to the action of another without interpreting that action; […]

‘Performing robots’, humanly speaking…

Without the accompaniment of speech, at any rate, action would not only lose its revelatory character, but, and by the same token, it would lose its subject, as it were; not acting men but performing robots would achieve what, humanly speaking, would remain incomprehensible. Speechless action would no longer be action because there would no […]

An early (mis)step…

Furthermore, since language is the specific medium of reaching understanding at the sociocultural stage of evolution, I want to go a step further and single out explicit speech actions from other forms of communicative action. I shall ignore nonverbal actions and bodily expressions. Jürgen Habermas, in “What Is Universal Pragmatics?” (1976)

In the beginnning was the deed…

Giving grounds, however, justifying the evidence, comes to an end; but the end is not certain propositions striking us immediately as true, i.e. it is not a kind of seeing on our part; it is our acting, which lies at the bottom of the language-game. Ludwig Wittgenstein, On Certainty, §204 The origin of the primitive […]