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Language Use in the Public Sphere

Methodological Perspectives and Empirical Applications


Edited By Inés Olza Moreno, Óscar Loureda Lamas and Manuel Casado

This book comprises a range of general discussions on tradition and innovation in the methodology used in discourse studies (Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis, Argumentation Theory, Rhetoric, Philosophy) and a number of empirical applications of such methodologies in the analysis of actual instances of language use in the public sphere – in particular, discourses arising in the context of the debate on the presence of religious symbols in public places.
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Trust and Suspicion as Principles of Discourse Analysis: Manuel Casado-Velarde:



Trust and Suspicion as Principles of Discourse Analysis1

In this chapter, the author discusses influential perspectives on language and discourse in the modern era (in Nietzsche, analytic philosophy, Wittgenstein, Ogden and Richards, etc.) focusing on the underlying epistemological attitude of suspicion. Coseriu’s critique of the polar-opposite attitudes of overconfidence (logicism) and excessive suspicion (antilogicism) with respect to language is analyzed. The conclusion comprises an overview of various contemporary formulations of a general principle of trust, referred to variously by renowned scholars as the cooperative principle (Grice), the principle of trust (Coseriu), and the principle of relevance (Sperber and Wilson).

Keywords: Discourse analysis; Attitude of suspicion; Principle of trust; Cooperative principle; Relevance.

1.Some milestones in the history of language under suspicion

At the turn of the twenty-first century, Stephen Toulmin noted that,

Looking back at the twentieth century, historians will speak of it as the Century of Representation: a time when, in all fields of art, thought, literature, and science, people considered, or reconsidered, the place of language in human life, and the basis on which our reliance on it rests (2001: 67). ← 53 | 54 →

Any general account of the prevailing attitude towards language during the modern era, especially during the twentieth century, must be framed in terms of distrust or suspicion. From the beginning of the modern era down to the present day, such attitudes of suspicion have been expressed in many different ways....

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