Language in Archaic, Pre-referential Cultures. The Emergence of Dualism

Ewa Binczyk


The main subject of concern in the paper are very exotic kinds of cultures: archaic, magical or preliterate cultures of the past. The exotism of the archaic world can be to some degree reconstructed by anthropology and the text presents such reconstruction, mainly on the basis of some Polish anthropological conceptions. But the inspiration of the paper was Josef Mitterer`s hypothesis that the so-called dualizing mode of speaking has its historical roots. The dualizing mode of speaking iscomprehended as a set of argumentative techniques that assume the ontological difference between the object and its description. Moreover, it creates the other side of discourse which plays an important role of the independent instance that can settle any argument. The other side of discourse can possess many faces, like the only God in monotheistic religion or objective reality in scientific argumentations. The fascinating picture of archaic, superperfomative and pre-referential use of language suggests that the assumptions of dualism can really have its history and institutional background. They can be seen as simple side-effects, arbitrary to some degree, of some techniques and rules of building argumentations. Consequently, we can also ask about possible cultural reasons and necessary conditions of the emergence of dualism. The paper tries to indicate selected factors in this process, underlying mainly the role of literacy and scientific revolution from the XVIIth century.


20th century philosophy; 20th century philosophy; linguistics; metaphysics; philosophy; philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; Wittgenstein Ludwig; antiessentialism; dualizing mode of speaking; magic speech; non dualism; prereferential culture

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