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Language, reason and education

Studies in honor of Eddo Rigotti

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Edited By Giovanni Gobber and Andrea Rocci

Language as reason represents the unifying theme of this multifaceted reflection on Eddo Rigotti’s scientific contribution offered by his students and colleagues on the occasion of his seventieth birthday. Spanning argumentation theory, linguistics, psychology, semiotics and communication sciences, the volume reflects Rigotti’s generous personality and his trajectory of semiotician, philosopher, linguist and specialist in argumentation studies. Language as an instrument of communication with semiotic peculiarities is considered at different levels in which it manifests traces of reason at work. This means considering how reality reveals itself by means of language and how the semiotic character of language structures is used by people to enable joint actions and change the natural and social world. Particularly in focus is the realm of argumentation, that is of those joint actions where people exchange reasons in various communities, fora and markets in view of understanding and practical deliberation. To argumentation Eddo Rigotti devoted all his research efforts in recent years, with a keen sense of its intrinsic educational value and a sincere care for fostering the development of the argumentative mind.
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Lorenzo Cantoni, Stefano Tardini: Listening and silence in communication: reflections on two texts

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Listening and silence in communication: reflections on two texts

LORENZO CANTONI & STEFANO TARDINI, University of Lugano

1. Messages between production and understanding

In his famous novel about a marionette who became human, Carlo Collodi presents one of the first misbehaviors of Pinocchio: as soon as Pinocchio can use his legs, he flows away in the street, followed by Geppetto, who cannot catch him and shouts to everybody in the street: “Catch him! Catch him!”. A carabineer grabs Pinocchio by the nose and returns him to Geppetto:

The little old man wanted to pull Pinocchio’s ears. Think how he felt when, upon searching for them, he discovered that he had forgotten to make them! (The Adventures of Pinocchio, Ch. 3)

As researchers and educators in the field of communication, are we caring enough for the ears? The risk of forgetting them, so busy as we are with messages themselves and their production, is something we can’t overestimate.

In fact, one could argue that listening (and understanding) is by definition part of every communication act/experience: without that receiving part, it would remain a mere expression, not yet communication. This is for sure true. On the other side, however, recent trends seemed to have stressed the production and the product sides over the reception one, leaving listening, interpreting, and – hopefully – understanding, to the hermeneutical philosophy or to literary studies. In the preparation of communication experts – as well...

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