Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 27 (2&3):345–357 (1997)

John David Shotter
University of New Hampshire, Durham
We tend to seek theoretical explanations of our own human behavior, to understand everything we do as arising, computationally, from a systematic set of simple laws, principles, or rules. Here, influenced by the later Wittgenstein, I argue that the very possibility of the kind of talk we use in our theorizing arises out of the joint or dialogical activities in which we engage in our practical lives together, and only has its meaning within the context of such activities – thus we cannot turn it around to explain its own genesis. We can, however, achieve a greater reflective awareness of our own structuring of our own activities through the new, nontheoretical methods Wittgenstein introduces into our intellectual practices. Here, I explore some of these methods, and the strange nature of our dialogical activities when seen in their light
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DOI 10.1111/1468-5914.00042
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