Alessandro Duranti, “The Anthropology of Intentions: Language in a World of Others” (Cambridge UP, 2015)
Manage episode 215139304 series 2421491
Duranti takes up the stalled opposition between, on the one hand, analytic philosophy of language–which tends towards individualistic conceptions of intentions–and, on the other hand, linguistic anthropology–which rejects this armchair universalizing, offering counterexamples of contexts where inner states are not socially salient. In making the case for a continuum of intentionality, he offers a way to reconcile this opposition: the salience of intentions varies across individuals and cultures, and with it, the social and linguistic elaboration of being-in-the-world varies too.
For Duranti, intentionality is an irreducibly intersubjective phenomenon: an individual’s ostensible, performed, and uniquely conceived meaning is always in tension with the meaning interpreted and evaluated by a community, whether present or not. We are not just beings in the world: we always exist in a world of others. This intersubjective tension undergirds the social construction of, for example, authenticity and responsibility in politics, the ability to be an active listener in music, and the translation of a concept from one social world to another. This interview discusses The Anthropology of Intentions in relation to Duranti’s wide-ranging academic career, up to and including his recent sabbatical excursions into the ancient Greek world in search of the origins of the notions of intention, mind, and soul.
[Afterword. Alessandro Duranti contributed to a special edition of Journal of Ethnographic Theory (Vol 7, No 2, 2017) in which he discusses ideas we talked about in the podcast. You can find it here.]
John Weston is an Associate Lecturer in Applied Linguistics at Queen Mary University of London. His research focuses on the relationships between language, knowledge and ethics. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
111 episodes available. A new episode about every 24 days averaging 53 mins duration .