Ventriloquism and accountability

Barbara Fultner


François Cooren’s ventriloquist pragmatism aims to do justice to the richness and complexity of communication and is informed by a wide range of communication theories. While I share Cooren’s pragmatist intuitions, I am less certain about his ventriloquist pragmatism (or pragmatist ventriloquism). I therefore ask, first, what we gain from the ventriloquism metaphor; and, second, how pragmatism serves as a meta-perspective and how ventriloquism facilitates a dialogue between the seven traditions of communication theory he identifies. Finally, I consider a Habermasian theory of communicative action as a possibly preferable alternative.


ventriloquism, communicative action, intersubjectivity, accountability

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