ERIC Number: ED418406
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
What Kind of Discourse? Thinking It through.
Composition instructors are particularly interested in the fact that hypertext, as the mode of discourse that computers promote and prefer, introduces a new problematic for those concerned with teaching critical thinking. What kind of discourse is hypertext, and to what extent does it encourage, enable and demand critical thinking? The issue is not strictly about a computer technology, but a way of writing and a way of reading. To think about hypertext's nature as discourse, for example, consider Paul Ricoeur's interpretation theory as a guide in his "Interpretation Theory: Discourse and the Surplus of Meaning." Ricoeur bases discourse analysis on the distinction between semantics and semiotics. His approach to interpretation theory makes it possible to see how critical thinking remains possible and necessary, but in important respects, changed in the hypertext environment. Considered as discourse, hypertext is closer to writing than to speech and so presents the tasks of literary interpretation and criticism. If hypertext remains in a sense "text," then the reading skills that are required still bear a relation to those that print requires. It is the larger structures that hypertext radically transforms. It is the "link," a particular kind of transition, that seems to characterize hypertext as a genre; the invitation is to explore a world that exists not simply in front and behind but offers paths in many directions. Hypertext encourages exploratory, multilinear writing rather than polemical writing. (CR)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Computer Assisted Writing; Ricoeur (Paul); Writing Contexts
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (48th, Phoenix, AZ, March 12-15, 1997).