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The defeat of radical singularism in Russian, English and French literature

The fracture between a sender’s intent and a receiver’s actuality in the communication process is the result of a radical singularism, which maintains that meaning is not communicable at the level of deep structure. This, in turn, is the result of idiosyncratic cognition, a function of the value orientation sets, qualia, and hypostatisations of reality inhabited by the parties to the communication. It is a platitude, however, to point out that humans do in fact communicate at some level. The question addressed in this paper is how radical singularism has been defeated in selected works of English, Russian and American authors, supported by works of other figures in literary history. The conclusion is that the singularist interpretation of a word, text (or indeed the universe), which results from knowledge by acquaintance, is strongly mediated by its mode of presentation and description. In particular, counterfactuals are ensured despite experience. In conclusion, persuasion – the ancient method of successfully associating the systematised philosophical positions of speakers and hearers – is shown to proceed by abandonment, explanation, or assumption. The latter process may lead to exploitation, as the American singer Bruce Springsteen reveals of US President, Donald Trump.

KEYWORDS: singularism, semantics, semiotics, qualia, hypostatisations of reality, literature, novelists


Brian Bebbington. Director of Research and a member of the Board of the South African Institute of Management. Has published, consulted and lectured at MBA and post-graduate level in Business Management for over 40 years in South Africa and Nigeria. Currently Tutor in Business Strategy and International Management at the Netherlands Business School. Holds a BA in English Language and Literature, a BA Hons in Russian, a BA Hons in Linguistics, and a MA in Business Administration. Current interests include the western model of business, and the cognitive structure of concepts. Has published critical essays on English and Russian literature and analyses of English and African folk music. Currently completing a thesis on Sappho for the degree of Doctor of Literature and Philosophy with the University of South Africa.


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