Philosophy and Rhetoric 40 (3):311-325 (2007)

Jeffrey Goodman
James Madison University
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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DOI 10.1353/par.2007.0026
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