Philosophy and Rhetoric 40 (3):311-325 (2007)
One sort of usage of the phrase ‘talking past one another’ that is quite prevalent in the philosophical literature suggests the following account of a particular phenomenon of miscommunication: Agent A and agent B talk past one another during a philosophical discussion if and only if A has in mind one meaning or conception of a crucial expression P that is distinct from some meaning or conception of P had in mind by B. In this paper, however, I argue that this account – given the sort of phenomenon it is intended to be an account of – misses the mark. I then present and critically examine various alternative accounts of this phenomenon often labeled ‘talking past one another,’ finally presenting what I think provides the basis for a correct account.
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