Talking Heads: Language, Metalanguage, and the Semiotics of Subjectivity

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Duke University Press, Dec 10, 1997 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 376 pages
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In Talking Heads, Benjamin Lee situates himself at the convergence of multiple disciplines: philosophy, linguistics, anthropology, and literary theory. He offers a nuanced exploration of the central questions shared by these disciplines during the modern era—questions regarding the relations between language, subjectivity, community, and the external world. Scholars in each discipline approach these questions from significantly different angles; in seeking to identify and define the intersection of these angles, Lee argues for the development of a new sense of subjectivity, a construct that has repercussions of immense importance beyond the humanities and into the area of politics.
Talking Heads synthesizes the views and works of a breathtaking range of the most influential modern theorists of the humanities and social sciences, including Austin, Searle, Derrida, Jakobson, Bakhtin, Wittgenstein, Peirce, Frege, Kripke, Donnellan, Putnam, Saussure, and Whorf. After illuminating these many strands of thought, Lee moves beyond disciplinary biases and re-embeds within the context of the public sphere the questions of subjectivity and language raised by these theorists. In his examination of how subjectivity relates not just to grammatical patterns but also to the specific social institutions in which these patterns develop and are sustained, Lee discusses such topics as the concept of public opinion and the emergence of Western nation-states.

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There is an error at the top of page 204. Lee quotes from Woodcock and translates "Tum Quinctus,'En', inquit mihi, 'haec ego patior quotidie'" as "But she, within our hearing, said 'I am only a stranger here'". The translation actually goes with another quotation in Woodcock that immediately precedes the quotation that Lee is commenting on.  


The Foundations of Performativity Austin and Frege
Deconstructing Performativity
Reconstructing Performativity
Peirces Semiotic
Linguistics and Semiotics
The Semiotic Mediation of Language and Thought
Metalinguistics and Philosophy
The Metalinguistics of Narration
The Performativity of Foundations
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About the author (1997)

Benjamin Lee is Professor of Anthropology at Rice University and co-director of the Center for Transcultural Studies in Chicago.

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