Volume 5, Issue 3
  • ISSN 2210-4119
  • E-ISSN: 2210-4127
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The present paper responds to two discussion articles previously published in Language and Dialogue 3:2 and 4:2: one by Wolfgang Teubert (“Was there a cat in the garden? Knowledge between discourse and the monadic self”), which is partly a critique of Roy Harris’ integrational epistemology (Harris 2009), and the other, itself a critical reply to Teubert, by Alison Sealey (“Cats and categories — reply to Teubert”). In this paper I adopt an integrational linguistic approach (e.g. Harris 1996, 1998) to Teubert and Sealey’s opposing philosophical views (social constructionism vs. realism), showing how their linguistic theories heavily rely on strategies of decontextualization (‘segregationism’) needed in order to cast themselves in the role of linguistic experts. Unlike the integrational linguist, who regards signs as radically indeterminate, the segregational linguist has to retain determinacy as a fundamental property of the sign — and hence the latter’s insistence that signs are ‘shared’. Both the relativist and the realist working within a segregational linguistic paradigm adhere to a semantic thesis of how words get their meanings that Harris (1980) has termed ‘surrogationalism’, i.e. the belief that words, in their function as names, ‘stand for’ things in the real world, the difference being that Teubert treats ‘reality’ as a discursive community-based construction (i.e. there is no objective reality for homo loquens), while Sealey thinks that material reality is independent of discourse and that words functioning as names of things reflect this to varying degrees.


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