|Tid: Onsdag 1997-10-01, 13:15-15:00
Plats: MIT-huset, MC 413
Anders Sigrell, Department of Scandinavian Languages:
The Persuasive Power of Implicitness
Language is persuasive. That is the starting point for my thesis project and the scientific tradition called Rhetoric - The art of finding the best avalible means of persuasion (Aristotle The Art of Rhetoric).
From this search for the best available means for successful communication, follows the theoretical standpoint that we as communicators are in the position of choosing how to linguistically convey a particular thought to our fellow communicator. And one way of doing this is to do it implicitly, i.e. when there are no explicit signs in the surface structure of our language corresponding to a propositional content in the deep structure. Out of what is explicitly stated and my context knowledge I should, as an argumentation analyst, be able to make probable that the sender wishes to convey this content, or at least that he couldn't deny it with kept reliability.
My main interest is the type of implicitness you could ascribe a persuasive intention, i.e. implicitnesses that can be shown to be intended to influence attitudes/actions of the receiver. That is to say they are intended to influence thought in the same way as persuasion does. This type of implicitness contrasts with the implicitnesses whose main function is to make the communication run more smoothly. Or, to put it another way, I'm not interested in the implicitnesses in which there is no propositional content in the deep structure that lacks explicit representation in the surface structure.
I make excerptions from today's political discourse and my purpose is to try to find out if it is possible, within a scientific framework, to discuss the persuasive power of implicitness. My working hyphotesis is that, in defined contexts, implicit message conveying could be more persuasive than its explicit counterpart. I also have a normative approach to the field of argumentation, which will be commented upon at the seminar.
I will, briefly, present my thesis project and some of its theoretical backgrounds; and I want to discuss whether it is at all possible and get some valuable aspects on the topic from your side of the wide field of communication.