Speakers in conversational discussions are often confronted with
the task of formulating themselves unrehearsed. Speaker and
listener cooperate to construct an interpretation of their
experience of the world, their part in the world, and the world of
experience within them, that can be evaluated by a listener as next
speaker or by the very same speaker who was primarily responsible
for the production of the formulation in the first instance. This
process of local cooperative and mutual co-construction and
evaluation of interpretations of experience I refer to as a course
of development. In a course of development an interpretation of
reality (social or otherwise) is interactively and rhetorically
worked up and dialectically worked through for coherence,
relevance, tenability, consequences, etc.
Excerpts from conversational discussions are used to demonstrate
the interactive rhetorical and dialectical work speakers and
listeners carry out in an effort to make sense of their experience
of the world and their relationship to the world and each other.
Ways of talking are analysed as means of constructing restricted
world-views that do not so much rely or depend on the grammar of
the particular language as on the dialogical-dialectical work of
the speakers and listeners.
The notions of horizon, perspective, appresentation, and
apperception developed by Husserl for the phenomenology of
individual perception are generalized to incorporate the mutual and
cooperative calibration of consciousness evidenced in a course of
development in conversational discussion. Contributions to an
on-going discussion are claimed to constitute -passing
theories- (a la Davidson) actualized in real time in the talk
where the Husserlian notions of horizon, perspective, etc. of
individual subjective consciousness are in a sense turned inside
out in the establishment and maintenance of inter-subjective
consciousness in relation to the topics and the events under
development in the conversation.