Theory Class

Monday, September 04, 2006

Theory Class

This is the Blog for the COMM 611 class. I hope that we can use this space to ask questions, post discussion questions that you want to put before the class, and perhaps start a class wiki for useful communication vocabulary words.

I'll post more soon.


Here I am again. I am starting a list of some concepts/vocabulary and a few questions that I think are important to our understanding of theory:

Why do you think metaphysical questions are now largely divorced from our discussions of communication--and of communication theory?


Blogger shara said...

I'll try taking a stab at this! Here goes...

Metaphysics attempts to understand and explain the fundamental nature of all reality. It seeks to break down the world into categories and explain how those categories are intrinsically related. Metaphysics looks for a "true essence" of reality that underlies all existence.

Because we in the field of communication view reality as a social construction (an unnatural web of meaning that humans build, sustain, and negotiate to understand the world), discussion of a true or essential reality (metaphysics) is unimportant, if not counterproductive, to our field studies and theories.

6:32 PM  
Blogger Leda said...

Is metaphysics about reality? Or ontology? Is there a difference?


6:43 PM  
Blogger shara said...

Okay, I'll have a go at it again...

"Ontology can be said to study conceptions of reality and asks one basic question: What actually exists?" according to Wikipedia.

Whereas Plato and friends believe that "truth" or "higher reality" exists outside of our social and everday lives, a social constructionist would oppose the idea that such an "essential truth" exists. Platonists argue that there is a static metaphysical essense of reality and social constructionists argue that reality is an active process built and negotiated by individuals and groups, but both sides are engaging issues of ontology in seeking to explain reality.

9:02 PM  

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