Meaning, Language, and Time


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Given the history of concepts like meaning, time, language, and discourse, any serious attempt to understand them must be interdisciplinary; so MEANING, LANGUAGE, AND TIME draws on a wide range of important work in the history of philosophy, rhetoric, and composition. In this groundbreaking work, Porter joins these conversations with the aim of breaching the traditional disciplinary walls and opening new areas of inquiry.



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Published 11 March 2006
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EAN13 9781932559804
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Meaning, Language, and Time Toward a Consequentialist
A éŝŝ
Philosophy of Discourse
Meaning, Language, and Time
Kevin J. Porter
Meaning, Language, and Time
Meaning, Language, and Time
Toward a Consequentialist Pilosopy of Discourse
Kevin J. Porter
Parlor Press West Lafayette, Indiana
Parlor Press LLC, West Lafayette, Indiana 47906
© 2006 by Parlor Press All rigts reserved. Printed in te United States of America
S A N: 2 5 4 - 8 8 7 9
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Porter, Kevin J., 1970- Meaning, language, and time : toward a consequentialist pilosopy of discourse / Kevin J. Porter.  p. cm.  Originally presented as te autor’s tesis (P. D.)--University of Wis-consin-Madison.  Includes bibliograpical references (p. ) and index.  ISBN 1-932559-78-7 (pbk. : alk. paper) -- ISBN 1-932559-79-5 (ard-cover : alk. paper) -- ISBN 1-932559-80-9 (adobe ebook) 1. Meaning (Pilosopy) 2. Consequentialism (Etics) 3. Time--Pilosopy. 4. Language and languages--Pilosopy. I. Title.  B105.M4P67 2006  121’.68--dc22  2006006626
Printed on acid-free paper. Original cover art by Colin Carlton.
Parlor Press, LLC is an independent publiser of scolarly and trade titles in print and multimedia formats. Tis book is available in paper, clot and Adobe eBook formats from Parlor Press on te World Wide Web at ttp:// or troug online and brick-and mortar bookstores. For submission information or to find out about Parlor Press publications, write to Parlor Press, 816 Robinson St., West Lafayette, Indiana, 47906, or e-mail
For my son, Connor—te most consequential person in my life
Contents Table and Illustrationsviii Acknowledgmentsix 1  Te Neglected Question of Meaning3 2  Te Principle of Pancronism: Eternity, Mysticism, and Interpretation66 3  Pancronism and Consequentialism:Te Labor of Meaning and te End of Interpretation106 4  Te Principle of Simultaneity: Absolute Time and te Spatialization of Society, Language, and Mind126 5  Simultaneity and Consequentialism: Te Distensions and Discontinuities of Mind and Community186 6  Te Principle of Durativity: Duration, Evolution, Intertextuality, and te Problem of Surplus Meaning209 7  Meaning and Time253 8  Severity, Carity, and te Consequences of Student Writing: Toward a Consequentialist Pedagogy277 9  (In)Conclusion: An Envoi316 Appendix: Premises about Time, Discourse, and Mind318 Notes325 References349 Index397 About te Autor413
Table and Illustrations
Table 1.1 Studies Figure 4.1 Figure 4.2 Dialects
Taxonomies of Retoric and Composition 32 Einstein’s Tougt Experiment128 A Grid System for te Geograpical Study of 150
Figure 5.1 Blind Spots and te Apparent “Filling In” of a Colored Pattern198 Figure 5.2 Te Apparent “Filling In” of Text198
I cannot mention all of te people wo ave made tis book possible by supporting me in my efforts to become someone wo could write it. But I would like to pay some of te debts of gratitude tat ave ac-cumulated during te past ten years. Te first person I must tank is Martin Nystrand, for is ready ear and sound advice and for allowing me te latitude to write wat would prove to be a rater un-disser-tation-like dissertation. I must also tank te oter members of my PD committee at te University of Wisconsin-Madison, wo pressed me on points were I needed to be pressed: Micael Bernard-Donals, Debora Brandt, David Fleming, and Robert Asen. Micael was and remains a source of encouragement; to im, I also owe muc gratitude, not only for elping me to develop a book proposal, but for making me believe tat suc a proposal sould be written in te first place. Debora was a great elp during te early stages of my writing te es-say, eventually publised, tat I reexamine in Capter 8. Jon Fowler, a good friend, generously gave of is time to talk about and troug my ideas, even te most counterintuitive, in a way tat was rigor-ous and serious, yet also fun; I’m not sure ow many afternoons we spent in restaurants on State Street. Frank Walters steered me toward analytic pilosopy—especially te work of Donald Davidson—and encouraged me during my earliest attempts, in my MA tesis, to con-struct a teory of meaning; ad e dwelt on its many flaws instead of seizing upon a few spots of brigtness, tis book would not ave been written. A special tanks goes to Lynn Worsam for publis-ing two essays of mine—“Literature Reviews Re-Viewed: Toward a Consequentialist Account of Surveys, Surveyors, and te Surveyed” JAC 23 (2003): 351–377; and “Composition and Retoric Studies and te ‘Neglected’ Question of Meaning: Toward a Consequentialist Pilosopy of Discourse”JAC 23 (2003): 725–764—tat, in modi-fied form, constitute te nucleus of Capter 1; in doing so, se twice
granted me a forum troug wic to address my colleagues. And er acceptance of my essay, “Te ‘Neglected’ Question of Meaning: Toward a Consequentialist Pilosopy of Discourse,” provided me wit a timely sense of validation for my work during a time wen I was in doubt as to weter I sould, or even could, continue. I wis to tank David Blakesley for is encouragement and patience and for providing tis book a ome during a time of crisis in academic pub-lising tat as forced many university and scolarly presses to take fewer cances on genre-stretcing, interdisciplinary researc. I also wis to tank Jon Muckelbauer, wose review of te manuscript was toroug and tougt-provoking; is comments ave elped sape te “final” version of tis book in ways tat, altoug tey will remain forever invisible to readers, are quite obvious to me. And I very muc appreciate te work of copyeditor Colin Carlton. And finally, I wis to tank my son, Connor, wo as seen me sit-ting in front of a computer more often tan I would like. I dedicate tis book to im, paradoxically, because e as te miraculous ability to make me forget all about my work.
Meaning, Language, and Time