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The Global World and its Manifold Faces

Otherness as the Basis of Communication


Susan Petrilli

The Global World is a pivotal formula in present -day «Newspeak». The book’s leitmotif – if it is true that the faces of today’s global world are manifold – is that language opens to the other, that the word’s boundaries are the multiple boundaries of the relation to others, of encounter among differences. Otherness logic is in language and life. The aim is to evidence how, contrary to implications of the newspeak order, new worlds are possible, critical linguistic consciousness is possible – a «word revolution» and pathway to social change. The method is «linguistic» and concerns the language and communication sciences. But to avoid that the limits of the latter influence our perspective on «the global world and its manifold faces», this method is located at the intersection of different scientific perspectives. As such it pertains to «philosophy of language», but in dialogue with the science of verbal and nonverbal signs, today «global semiotics», therefore it is also «semiotic». And given that how to understand «the global world» is not just a theoretical issue, but concerns how we relate to others, to differences in all their forms and aspects, the method proposed with this book is also «semioethic».
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XI. Misunderstanding in Understanding


[…] You must bear in mind that nothing which I try to express is ever to me otherwise than complementary. I always see any point, so far as my dim glimmer goes, plus other – perhaps more central, often more generally acknowledged, and sometimes apparently contradictory – aspects. And defined and formulated doctrine is a region which I draw from or work towards, but desire to touch not. […] How difficult to express even this! Words are so ambiguous. […]

(Welby to Richard Hutton 1879–1882, in Cust 1929: 27–28)

The author can never turn over his whole self and his speech work to a complete and final will of addressees who are on hand or nearby […], and always presupposes […] some higher instancing of responsive understanding that can distance itself in various directions. Each dialogue takes place as if against the background of the responsive understanding of an invisibly present third party who stands above all the participants in the dialogue (partners). (Cf. the understanding of the Fascist torture chamber or hell in Thomas Mann as absolute lack of being heard, as the absolute absence of a third party).

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