ERIC Number: ED186946
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980
Reference Count: 0
Preface to a Theory of Human Symbolic Interchange: An Essay on Communication. Curriculum Praxis, Occasional Paper Series No. 15.
Martin, R. Glenn
The subjectivistic problem for knowledge and communication associated with philosopher Immanuel Kant is that everything we know may in fact be determined by the structure of our own minds and not by the actual nature of external reality. Ernst Cassirer's contribution to the solution of this problem is the notion of "symbols" produced by the knower that are shared cultural products rather than merely private means of individual understanding. Susanne Langer has developed the notion of symbol as important not only in the communication of experience but also in its formulation. Building on the work of these philosophers, a theory of symbol asserts that human nature lends itself so well to symbolizing that symbols tend to assume the central role in our perception of reality. Symbols are developed in symbolic interchange with others, by which we attain symbolic maturities. Implications of this theory for English educators include the following: it promises to unite the divergent "literature" and "communication" emphases in English education; it may explain the relationships of the various arts; it might provide a potential framework for analyzing the relationships among conceptual frameworks; and tolerance might result from the realization that our own cherished views are not "reality," but rather symbols. (DF)
Descriptors: Cognitive Processes, Communication (Thought Transfer), English Instruction, Higher Education, Language Role, Philosophy, Secondary Education, Speech Communication, Symbolism
Secondary Education Publications, Dept. of Secondary Education, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2G5
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Alberta Univ., Edmonton. Faculty of Education.
Identifiers: Cassirer (Ernst); Kant (Immanuel); Langer (Susanne)