Abstract

Abstract:

Literary critics have long discussed linguistic doxa (understood as truisms, cliches, generalities) in a negative light, as impeding genuine communication and promoting false consciousness. This essay offers a more nuanced account of doxa. It connects the skeptical attitude toward truistic language to debates surrounding epiphanic experience in the long centuries of Reformation. Further, it argues that the liberal tradition of language theory has generally approached the topic of doxa and epiphany in two ways: one, represented here by John Stuart Mill, emphasizing the psychological and social importance of truisms; the other, represented here by John Dewey, contrasting linguistic doxa and scientific reality. Finally, it proposes that a fresh emphasis on the epiphanic dimension of language might enrich contemporary literary criticism.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-661X
Print ISSN
0028-6087
Pages
pp. 611-632
Launched on MUSE
2016-12-22
Open Access
No
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