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The two paradigms: Is a dialogue possible?

Ruthrof, H. (1991) The two paradigms: Is a dialogue possible? In: Freadman, R. and Reinhardt, L., (eds.) On Literary Theory and Philosophy: A Cross-Disciplinary Philosophy. Palgrave Macmillan UK, London, England, pp. 213-234.


The principle aim of this work is to explore the relationship between contemporary literary theory and analytic philosophy. The volume addresses this issue in two ways: first, through four exchanges between, on the one hand, proponents of avant-garde literary theory and, on the other, proponents of analytic philosophy (or of related literary critical positions); and second, through three cross-disciplinary essays on the relationship in question. Central topics in the volume include self, ethics, interpretation, language and characterizations of "analytic" and "continental" philosophy. Recent decades have witnessed profound changes within some areas of Anglo-American literary studies. The most influential of these changes have been associated with the emergence of contemporary literary theory. Such theory comprises a range of approaches to literature (and other communicative forms) many of which derive from or are heavily indebted to continental philosophy. At the same time, there has been resistance to these changes, or counter proposals for change, from more traditional "humanist" literary critics and scholars and, to a lesser degree, from analytic philosophers. Debates about these developments have focussed on a variety of issues - the nature of the text and its production and interpretation, for example - and have generated some fundamental questions. One such question asks whether it is possible to achieve effective dialogue between literary positions which are continental in inspiration and those which are humanist/analytic in tendancy. The principle aim of "On Literary Theory and Philosophy: A Cross-Disciplinary Encounter" is to pursue this question: to test the possibilities of dialogue between these positions and to reflect such dialogue as is possible. The volume comprises four exchanges (Section One) in which votaries of opposing positions debate central topics (Self, Ethics, Interpretation, Language), and three cross-disciplinary essays (Section Two) concerning key aspects of recent literary and philosophical developments.

Publication Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Arts
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan UK
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