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Paperback | $72.00 Short | £59.95 | 688 pp. | 7 x 9 in | August 2012 | ISBN: 9780262516976
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Philosophy of Communication


To philosophize is to communicate philosophically. From its inception, philosophy has communicated forcefully. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle talk a lot, and talk ardently. Because philosophy and communication have belonged together from the beginning--and because philosophy comes into its own and solidifies its stance through communication--it is logical that we subject communication to philosophical investigation. This collection of key works of classical, modern, and contemporary philosophers brings communication back into philosophy’s orbit. It is the first anthology to gather in a single volume foundational works that address the core questions, concepts, and problems of communication in philosophical terms.

The editors have chosen thirty-two selections from the work of Plato, Leibniz, Hegel, Husserl, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Benjamin, Lacan, Derrida, Sloterdijk, and others. They have organized these texts thematically, rather than historically, in seven sections: consciousness; intersubjective understanding; language; writing and context; difference and subjectivity; gift and exchange; and communicability and community. Taken together, these texts not only lay the foundation for establishing communication as a distinct philosophical topic but also provide an outline of what philosophy of communication might look like.

About the Editors

Briankle G. Chang is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is the author of Deconstructing Communication: Representation, Subject, and Economies of Exchange.

Garnet C. Butchart is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies at Duquesne University.


“Some books are so dramatically needed that one is amazed at discovering it took so long before they were conceived. Such is the case with this volume. Not only does it provide communication scholars with a remarkable research instrument, giving access to crucial philosophical writings, but, by regrouping texts that talk not only to us but to each other, it is a wonderful invitation to musing, discovery, serendipity.”
Daniel Dayan, Professor of Media Theory, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales
Philosophy of Communication is more than a compilation of vital texts for contemporary reflection on what might traditionally be called ‘philosophy of language.’ It is an ambitious philosophical gesture that seeks to call philosophy itself to its grounds and possibilities in the communicative relation. This important volume thus offers its collected writings, many of them long-established as key reflections on language and human community, to new articulations and a new appreciation.”
Christopher Fynsk, Professor of Comparative Literature and Modern Thought, University of Aberdeen
“True to its title, Philosophy of Communication does not offer ‘a’ or ‘the’ philosophy of communication but, rather, shows through its judicious selection of texts and its introductory essays the degree to which the concept of communication is both a major theme of theoretical reflection from Plato to Derrida and an unstable element of philosophical concept formation.”
Peter Fenves, Joan and Sarepta Harrison Professor of Literature, Northwestern University
“An excellent and timely anthology in the emerging field of the philosophy of communication. Tracking, from Plato to Derrida, a galaxy of fundamental reflections on the nature of human communication, Chang and Butchart’s reader will be an indispensable resource for students and scholars in an area which the volume will also do much to define.”
Andrew Wernick, Professor Emeritus of Cultural Studies, Trent University