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Philosophical Profiles in the Theory of Communication

With a Foreword by Richard J. Bernstein and an Afterword by John Durham Peters

Edited By Jason Hannan

Philosophical Profiles in the Theory of Communication is the first book to draw systematic attention to the theme of communication in twentieth-century academic philosophy. It covers a broad range of philosophical perspectives on communication, including those from analytic philosophy, pragmatism, critical theory, phenomenology, hermeneutics, feminism, psychoanalysis, systems theory, and more. What emerges is a vital, long-neglected story about the theme of communication in late modern academic philosophy. Each chapter features a «profile» of a particular philosophical figure, with a brief intellectual biography, an overview of that figure’s contribution to communication theory, and a critical assessment of the significance of that contribution. The clear and accessible organization of the volume makes it ideal for courses in both philosophy and communication studies.


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Introduction JASON HANNAN 1


Introduction JASON HANNAN ________________________________________ This is a study in intellectual history. Its aim is to bring attention to the theme of communication in twentieth-century academic philosophy. It should be noted right from the outset that there is already a large body of studies examining the place, and in some cases the centrality, of communication in the thought of specific twentieth-century philosophical figures. Taken individually, the essays presented here serve that purpose, and each has in fact been written in such a way that it could be read independently of the rest. When taken together, however, they have a distinct effect, namely, that communication emerges as a kind of overarching, even pressing, philosophical theme, one unrestricted to any particular school of thought or line of inquiry. Why bring attention to this theme? This volume was designed for the student and scholar of communication studies. Like most disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, commu- nication studies has a rather quirky and idiosyncratic institutional history, one that has played a decisive role in shaping its theoretical orientations and methodological traditions. One consequence of this institutional influence has been a certain myopia with respect to contributions to communication theory from outside disciplines. It is only relatively recently that students and scholars of the field have come to appreciate the limitations in theoretical scope and vision imposed by their disciplinary past and the historical oppor- tunity now to move beyond them. In his 1986 essay “Institutional Sources of Intellectual Poverty in Com- munication Research,” John...

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