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Niels Helsloot, 'Linguists of all countries ...!, On Gramsci's premise of coherence', in: Journal of Pragmatics 13, 1989, p. 558.
Chapter 6.
© 1989, 2003 (posted with permission from Elsevier)


Charlatanism of the will (Vološinov)

In spite of the open-endedness of Gramsci's quest for 'norms', normativity marks the borderline of his imagination. If reality exists only in a historical relationship with people who modify it (PN 346), it becomes an open question: one which only history can solve. Gramsci pleads, however, for this openness's tendency to be partially closed, due to the principle of coherence; and he uses precisely this principle to break loose from the epistemological dilemma. We can now ask ourselves whether such a quest for coherence is inevitable in practice. [9] Could we not modify language and 'reality' in other ways in order to distinguish the facts accepted by oneself from those accepted by others? And are there any criteria to differentiate between the two?

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 6.1. Coherencep. 558
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p. 558   9.   With this question, I deviate from the argument of Maas (1987) in favor of 'self-determination'. Laclau, too, understands the idea of a quest for 'non-fixity' as "a description of the psychotic world, but not of an intellectual program" (in an unpublished part of an interview, cf. Laclau and Mouffe (1985: 112)). But what is the difference, if also intellectuals live in a world that is undeniably out of control?

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