[lit-ideas] Re: Why Popper Loved Buehler

  • From: Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 4 Sep 2015 22:15:17 +0000 (UTC)

Bühler identified the following three communicative functions:

the Expressive Function (Ausdrucksfunktion)
the Representation  Function (Darstellungsfunktion)
the Conative Function (Appellfunktion, i.e.  appealing function).>
Though Popper acknowledges Buehler's priority, Popper's own version uses
different terminology - so after the "expressive" we have the "signaling"
function, and then the descriptive function. To these Buehlerian three, Popper
adds the crucial "argumentative" function.

It may be argued that the "argumentative" function is always a W3-dependent
function, whereas "expression" and "signaling" are not and may exist as forms
of communication that involve only W1 and W2. The "descriptive" function is
perhaps a hybrid - some forms of description may be W3-dependent and others
not: alternatively, we might class the forms of 'description' that involve no
W3 content as mere signaling (e.g. the dance of the bee).

What is vital to the theory is not "corpuscularism" but "emergentism" and
anti-reductionism: the higher levels emerge from the lower and always
presuppose the lower - so it is impossible to argue without describing and
impossible to describe without signaling and impossible to signal without
expressing. But the higher levels cannot be reduced to the lower - we cannot
(validly) reduce arguing to mere description or description to mere signaling
or signaling to mere expression. (Of course, there have been many thinkers who
have argued that we can reduce the higher to the lower.)

In terms of this theory, the "expressive" function, though much beloved by the
literary, is very much the lowest function. It is always trivially present in
any act of communication - in fact, it is a function present in non-linguistic
settings, for a table or a cloud continually expresses its own state. It
follows that "expressionistic" theories of art or communication are either
radically mistaken or based on a triviality - or, if they have something more
to them, it is because they use "expression" in a way distinct from Buehler's
theory (perhaps even as a term that stands for a complex compendium that
involves much more than the expression of a communicator's 'state').

On Friday, 4 September 2015, 21:46, "dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx"
<dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Well, perhaps he wouldn't say 'love' (lieben),  and perhaps he would have
the umlaut instead of the 'ue', but my hypothesis is  that Popper, like
Grice, is a systematic philosopher ("was" a systematic  philosopher, Geary
corrects, "unless you are using the historical present"), and  as such loved a
philosopher who theorised on the functions of  language.

In a message dated 9/4/2015 3:33:14 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, 
jejunejesuit.geary2@xxxxxxxxx writes:
Language exists to create feelings and  to share feelings and to bury
feelings. Language is thoughts and feelings made  flesh.  Language is the human
of human existence. It is as much meant to be  played with as used to work
with.  In fact, I proclaim that FUN is its  first purpose.  Second, I say, is
to communicate feelings, third to create  humor that makes our souls
sparkle, fourth and non-finally, to communicate  ideas. 

I think Randolph Quirk quotes from an Englishman who attempted a similar 
classification of the uses or functions of language, the last of which was
"to  amuse others".

But anyway, this is Buehler's serious trichotomy taken even more  seriously
by Popper:

Bühler identified the following three communicative functions:

the Expressive Function (Ausdrucksfunktion)
the Representation  Function (Darstellungsfunktion)
the Conative Function (Appellfunktion, i.e.  appealing function).

Let us give some simple examples:

-- The expressive function. As when you hit your own finger with the 
hammer, and you utter "Ouch". This is cross-linguistic and multicultural. There 

are not known cultures where "Ouch" will not be understood as an expressive 
function of 'pain'.

-- The representative function. You are in a jungle and a lion approaches. 
You say to your companion: 'Miaow'. This is cross-linguistic and
multicultural.  The implicature: there is a cat (+>big cat) approaching, and
you may
want to  do something about it." "Miaow" represents a big cat.

-- The conative function. You say "Pass me the sugar" you are appealing to 
your co-conversationalist to pass you the sugar. Searle focused mainly on
this  function. ""Pass me the sugar"", he says, "can sound rude, hence the 
implicature, "Can you pass me the sugar?", where surely the utterer KNOWS
that  the addressee CAN pass the sugar. But an imperative can hurt, while a
question  can merely be left unanswered: ask no questions and you'll be told no

What Popper did what all this was corpuscularian in spirit.


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