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By François Cooren

What occurs while humans speak or discussion with one another? this can be the daunting query that this e-book proposes to deal with through ranging from a debatable speculation: What if human interactants weren't the one ones to be thought of, paraphrasing Austin (1962), as “doing issues with words”? that's, what if different “things” may be granted the prestige of brokers in a dialogical state of affairs? Action and service provider in discussion: ardour, incarnation, and ventriloquism proposes to discover this detailed speculation through mobilizing metaphorically the idea of ventriloquism. in accordance with this ventriloqual standpoint, interactions are by no means merely neighborhood, yet dislocal, that's, they always mobilize figures (collectives, ideas, values, feelings, etc.) that incarnate themselves in people’s discussions. This hugely unique booklet, which develops the analytical, useful and moral dimensions of the sort of theoretical positioning, might be of curiosity to verbal exchange students, linguists, sociologists, dialog analysts, administration and organizational students, in addition to philosophers attracted to language, motion and ethics

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Additional info for Action and agency in dialogue : passion, incarnation and ventriloquism

Sample text

Finally, if I am the one who flipped the switch, which closed the connection, I can, of course, also appropriate this action (and any observer can attribute it to me). When Davidson (1963/2006) contends that there is just one action, he is right to the extent that equivalences can be created because of the causal chain: Flipping the switch amounts to closing the connection, which amounts to lighting the bulb, which amounts to illuminating the room, which amounts to alerting the prowler. However, he is also wrong in that nothing prevents us from singularizing each of these contributions and saying that each somewhat constitutes a separate action that I could appropriate: I flipped the switch, I closed the connection, I lit the bulb, I alerted the prowler.

Here I need not have done four things, but only one, of which four descriptions have been given. As illustrated in this example, four different verbal phrases can be used to describe the same event: flipping the switch, turning on the light, illuminating the room, and alerting a prowler. But something that Davidson does not allude to is that the same reasoning could be used to account for nonhuman action. For instance, illuminating the room precisely requires the contribution of the switch, which, when flipped, closes the connection between two small electric terminals, allowing the current to flow to the light bulb.

Typically the answer is no, in which case the response is another reversal of roles: human agency is once more active in a revision of modeling vectors, and so on. The dance of agency, seen asymmetrically from the human end, thus takes the form of a dialectic of resistance and accommodation, where resistance denotes the failure to achieve an intended capture of agency in practice, and accommodation an active human strategy of response to resistance, which can include revisions to goals and intentions as well as to the material form of the machine in question and to the human frame of gestures and social relations that surround it.

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