[KB] "Deacon"-structing Burke Part Whatever

Edward C Appel edwardcappel at frontier.com
Tue Oct 21 17:36:06 EDT 2014


	I want to summarize what I see as fifteen or so points of intersection between Burke’s dramatism/logology and Terrence W. Deacon’s semiotic theory.  I do so in no particular order.  I’m basing my assessments on Deacon’s most recent book, Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter, and three of his academic articles or book chapters: “The Symbol Concept,” “The Emergent Process of Thinking as Reflected in Language Processing,” and “Beyond the Symbolic Species.”  Seven times so far, I’ve posted here on Deacon at some length.  I’ll make reference to the dates of those postings, or a few of them, where you might find further treatment, when appropriate.

1.	Deacon’s notion of an “absential feature” in human symbolic action, as 
well as in whatever we want to call the nonsymbolic activity of the “lower animals,” echoes Burke’s primary emphasis on the “negative” as author and motivator of the human drama.  This “absential feature,” as extant in the “Creatura,” but not in the “Pleroma” (Deacon here borrows language from the ancient Gnostics by way of his mentor Gregory Bateson), is the elephant in the living room scientistic theorists recurrently ignore in their efforts to reduce anthropology to biology, biology to chemistry, chemistry to physics. 8/7/14.

2.	From this absential feature at the core of the “entelechy” that 
characterizes beings in the Creatura (yes, Deacon references Aristotle and the Four Causes), a list of ancillary features built around “purpose” and reflective of Burke’s pentad emerges.  See Deacon’s analogous idea of “teleodynamics.”  8/7/14, 8/9/14.
3.	 Deacon, like Burke, claims that action, so to speak, cannot be reduced 
to motion, phrasing the concept somewhat differently from Burke.  For Deacon, it’s the absential feature itself that eludes the scientistic rationale.  “There are no components to what is absent,” he emphasizes. 8/7/14.

4.	Deacon’s definition of what a symbol is and is not appears to mirror 
well enough Burke’s conception.  I say seems to mirror “well enough” because Burke does not as carefully exclude, or even much refer to, mathematical, signal- or code-like, computational-type “symbols.”  Deacon argues convincingly that math-type “symbols” do not possess the airy abstractiveness, web-like relatedness to and embeddedness in, a whole lexicon of terms none of which can be “mapped” in relation to objects in the real world, a “system-internal web of relationships” requiring “an associated indexical operation  . . . in order to point outside this system.”  Neither Melia’s book chapter “Scientism and Dramatism: Some Quasi-Mathematical Motifs in the Work of Kenneth Burke” (The Legacy of Kenneth Burke), nor Burke’s references to the “statistical” in PLF, seem to undercut this claim.

	To put the matter simply: In the lingo of dramatism, numerals in themselves do not exude “drama” (make exception for the indirect, the derivative), whereas the words, phrases, and sentences of the world’s conventional, arbitrary languages do.  That’s the implicit lesson Deacon’s semiotics would tend to highlight. 9/16/14.

5.	Deacon’s conception of the origins of language sounds a lot like Burke’s 
speculations in those QJS articles (1952/1953), reprinted in LASA (pp. 419-79).  Deacon speaks of “an undifferentiated starting condition.”  “We must ask: What’s the form of a thought”---or “the idea that a sentence conveys”---“before it is put into words,” the “’mental images’ not quite formed or desires and intentions to achieve some imagined goal only vaguely formulated?”  These “embryos of a speech act” would be “focused on aiming for and achieving expressive goals.
	For Burke, those “expressive goals”---“connotative,” “suggestive,” “loaded,” “fraught . . . with significance”; I’m deep into Roget’s here---might stem from a “’pre-negative’ . . . tonal gesture,” “calling attention-to “ “danger” with “sound[s] . . . hav[ing] a deterrent or pejorative meaning” (LASA, pp. 423-24).  Deacon’s “lexicality,” a pre-linguistic “pointing to” would serve as basis for this transition into morally-tinged negation of the kind that “dramatically” invests the danger or opportunity in question with quasi-theological import.  The negative as “engine of intentionality” with its now-infinite vistas (indeed, now “rotten with perfection”), would begin to indict as well as beckon, accuse as well as highlight, come upon its denizens with an aura of spiritual hazard, as well as material consequence. 9/16/14.

	Deacon does refine his description of this likely lengthy transition with: “I see this particular near universal [the “oral-vocal”] to be a relatively late emerging biological adaptation for symbolic communication.”  The “gestural embodiment” probably came first, since our primate ancestors were not good at vocality.  The vocal came to predominate because of its greater potential for myriad “sign vehicles.”
6.	Which brings us to Burke’s hexadic acknowledgement of “attititude” as 
an ingredient in the symbolic mix, language primarily expressing an attitude, creating an orientation toward certain pathways of action, giving cues to action and a command to follow those cues.  For Deacon, that attitudinal, “expressive” dimension is denominated a “mood.”  In respect to symbolic origins, “Within this frame of social communicative arousal,” he maintains, “what might be described as the ‘mood’ of the speech or interpretive act is differentiated.”  “This ‘mood’ needs to be maintained.”  It’s “a focused readiness and expectation with respect to social interaction.”
7.	 Burke famously defines humans as the “symbol-using animal.” 
Deacon’s “symbolic species” functions as a virtual synonym.  “In my work,” Deacon says, “I use the phrase symbolic species, quite literally, to argue that symbols have literally changed the kind of biological organism we are.”

	“Indeed, there is ample evidence to suggest that language is both well-integrated into almost every aspect of our cognitive and social lives, that it utilizes a significant fraction of the forebrain, and is acquired robustly under even quite difficult social circumstances and neurological impairment.  It is far from fragile.”

	“So rather than merely intelligent or wise (sapient) creatures, we are creatures whose social and mental capacities have been quite literally shaped by the special demands of communicating with symbols.  And this doesn’t just mean that we are adapted for language use, but also for all the many ancillary mental biases that support reliable access and use of this social resource.”

	This defining human trait or attribute gets locked in globally via “the near universal regularities of human language.”

8.	“Drama”---or, to put it more logologically, “theological drama”---as 
master “screen,” through which even the “positives of nature are seen through the eyes of moral negativity”?  Howabout Deacon’s approximation: “We are ‘symbolic savants,’ unable to suppress the many predispositions evolved to aid in symbol acquisition, use, and transmission . . . . We almost certainly have evolved a predisposition to see things as symbols, whether they are or not.”  E.g., “the make-believe of children,”  “find[ing] meaning in coincidental events,” seeing “faces in the clouds,” “run[ning] our lives with respect to dictates presumed to originate from an invisible spiritual world.”  “Our special adaptation is the lens through which we see the world.  With it comes an irrepressible predisposition to seek for a cryptic meaning hiding beneath the surface of appearances.”

	An approximation?  Sounds more like a paraphrase.  Always take note of “our special adaptation” and factor it into our interpretations of “reality.”

	More later, I hope, by way of additional intersections between Burke and Deacon.


On Thu, 10/9/14, Edward C Appel <edwardcappel at frontier.com> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [KB] "Deacon"-structing Burke Part Whatever
 To: kb at kbjournal.org
 Date: Thursday, October 9, 2014, 5:05 PM
     Let me reiterate, clarify, emphasize:
 It’s the dyadic grammatical pairing of subject and
 predicate that Deacon says is not “innate” in the human
 mind and human discourse, as in Chomsky’s universal
 generative conception, not the “symbolic” faculty
 itself.  No evolutionary, genomic, or neurological
 evidence exists for Chomsky’s view.  It’s mostly
 implicit in these shorter works by Deacon, but strongly
 implicit, that symbolization itself does come naturally to
 the Symbolic Species.  That is, you’ll recall, the
 title of his earlier book.
     You may wonder, too, at the claim that
 children pick up on their own a facility for indexical and
 combinatorial modes of symbolic reference, rather than learn
 that culminative syntax from the structures of the
 conventional language into which they’re socialized. 
 The fact is, Deacon asserts, “The infant already
 ‘knows’ the logic of these ‘rules’ of
 indexicality,” which bring noun subject and verbal
 predicate together.  Those necessary regularities are
 well absorbed the first year and a half by way of experience
     Also, as he or she reads him, a Burkean
 might be taken aback by Deacon’s occasional reference to
 the “predicate frame” (the “comment” on the
 “subject” or “topic” that requires the careful
 “indexing”) as the “symbolic” part of a
 “complete” sentence or iteration.  This does not
 mean, for Deacon, that the noun subject and object, or
 referential parts, of the fully-formed utterance hasn’t
 been symbolically transformed by the symbolizing
 species.  Even proper names, which, unlike common
 nouns, can be indexically “mapped” a la Saussure, are
 still embedded a culturally conventional, artifactualized
 linguistic system.  What Deacon seems to be suggesting
 here is that distinctive symbolization “emerges” from
 nonsymbolic indexicality—the “pointing” gestures and
 vocalizations of lower animals that indicate some recognized
 “icon” that poses danger, potentially satisfies
 appetite, requires territorial markings or
  signals of aggression or subservience, etc.---distinctive
 symbolization emerges especially via an “expressive,”
 “mood”-generating, “sense”-making, meaningful,
 ultimately abstractive vocalization that characterizes how
 to conceive of, proceed toward, exploit, or retreat from the
 object or being so referenced.  As Burke has said,
 “The true locus of assertion is not in the DISEASE, but in
 the STRUCTURAL POWERS by which the poet encompasses it”
 (PLF, p. 18, emphasis not added), a redemptive
 “act”-centered predication.
     So, there seems to be an underlay of the
 presymbolic in the indexical not so present in the
     Constraining indexicality Deacon
 anatomizes into four aspects, only one of which I’ll
 mention here, the most basic, what he calls “semiotic
 constraints.”  These manifest themselves in
 “predication constraints (symbols must be bound in order
 to refer)”; “transitivity and embedding constraints
 (indexicality depends on immediate correlation and
 contiguity across the transitive)”; and “quantification
 (symbolized indices need re-specification).
     In elaboration, Deacon says, “To state
 this hypothesis in semiotic terms: a symbol must be
 contiguous with the index that grounds its reference (either
 to the world or to the immediate agreeing textual context,
 which is otherwise grounded), or else its reference
 fails.  Contiguity thus has a doubly indexical role to
 play.  Its contiguity (textually or pragmatically) with
 the symbolizing sign vehicle [see paragraph 3 above] points
 to this symbol, and their contiguity in turn points to
 something else.  This is an expression of one further
 feature of indexicality: transitivity of reference.” 
 Or, more “simply stated, a pointer pointing to another
 pointer pointing to some object effectively enables the
 first pointer to also point to that object.”
     Ultimate grounding in the real world
 seems vital to Deacon for complete and satisfying
     Being the neuroscientist that he is,
 Deacon asks, by way of “transitivity” as he calls it,
 “How does this interaction between phases of sentence
 differentiation produce anything?  What sort of signals
 are being sent in each direction” from one area of the
 human brain to another?  To simplify, what’s
 happening is “counter-current information processing”
 that generally proceeds from “lower” to “higher”
 structures of the brain, and from back to front---from
 limbic, peri-limbic, and peripheral, to “specialized”
 cortical regions; from “posterior (attention-sensory)
 cortical systems” to “anterior (intention-action)
 cortical systems”; i.e., from reptilian brain structures
 like the thalamus, hippocampus, and amygdala, to the
 advanced cerebral components of mammalian, primate, and
 early hominid ancestry.  And, of equal importance, back
 again, from “higher” to “lower,” etc., as
 well.  These “counter-current”
  electro-chemical operations afford a kind of monitoring,
 provide checks and balances, generate “equilibrium.”
     Whether we’re neurologically examining
 sensory, or motor, or cognitive, or linguistic operations,
 they all look pretty much the same, I interpret.  They
 each exhibit similarly “emergent” characteristics, in
 terms of evolutionary origins and current sequential
     What remains to be dealt with is a
 summary of the complementary intersections between Burke’s
 dramatism/logology and Deacon’s semiotics, and also the
 challenge Deacon possibly poses to Burke’s action/motion
     At a later date.
     And a P.S.  If you object to my use
 of the singular form of the verb “to be” in the “what
 remains” sentence, do read the Fowler-Nicholson
 “Dictionary of American-English Usage,” pp.
 374-75.  Fowler and Nicholson don’t explain it well,
 but they do get it right, unlike billions of publications
 I’ve read, including the New York Times.  I’m still
 a grammarian of a kind at heart, even after the
 On Mon, 10/6/14, Edward C Appel <edwardcappel at frontier.com>
  Subject: Re: [KB] "Deacon"-structing Burke Part Whatever
  To: kb at kbjournal.org
  Date: Monday, October 6, 2014, 3:34 PM
      I’ve already said
  that Terrence W. Deacon’s semiotic theory partly
  partly enhances, and partly challenges Burke’s
  dramatism/logology, in my view.  Burke surely, we would
  maintain, enhances Deacon, as well.  Before I get to the
  “challenge”---as the song goes, “Don’t know where,
  don’t know when”---let me add to the themes of support
  and enhancement.  Here I’ll be referencing, in
  particular, two of Deacon’s shorter works, the journal
  article, “The Emergent Process of Thinking as Reflected
  Language Processing,” and Deacon’s book  chapter,
  “Beyond the Symbolic Species,” The Symbolic Species
  being the title of the anthropologist/neuroscientist’s
  tome that preceded Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged
  Matter, about which I previously bloviated.
      I would judge Deacon’s explanatory
  “god-term”/”rome-term” to be “emergent,” as
  the title of the here-featured treatise.  The word
  “emerge” plays a similar role, I think, in “Beyond
  Symbolic Species.”  All roads seem to lead from
  “emerge”/”emergent” to the two sets of dialectical
  opposites subsumed below:
      The primary polar matchup term
  “emergent” is pitted against, is “innate,” as in
  pre-processed, genetically-programmed and “engineered”
  universal generative grammar of Noam Chomsky and his
  epigoni.  No evidence of such a special facility can be
  found in the human genome or in the structures of the
  brain, which actually look not that much different from
  those found in a mouse, let alone a chimpanzee.  (I’m
  referencing Incomplete Nature as well as
  We have here a “process of coming out,” a “rising .
  . out of a surrounding medium,” even “an effect
  by a combination of causes but unable to be seen as the
  of their individual effects” (The Shorter OED), except
  through careful, detailed scrutiny of the natural history
  and evolution of living organisms, pathways of
  electro-chemical discharge in the brain, the very
  of sensory, motor, thinking, and linguistic development
   animal communication generally,
  even the listening and reading, as well as the speaking
  writing, of symbolizers like us---all these operations
  recapitulating the same sequential steps.  (It’s
  appropriate here to note what Susan Greenfield and
  Koch, both neuroscientists, said in an exchange in
  Psychology Today: Electrochemical discharges in the brain
  can occur within time frames of 1/14th of a second.)
      From this dialectical
  emphasis on “emergent” rather than “innate,” there
  is derived the contrasting concepts of
  “subject/predicate.”  They assume more independent
  “roles,” if not do “battle” with each other,
  seemingly asymmetrically, in a way that Chomsky would not
  likely entertain.  “Subject/predicate”; “noun
  phrase/verb phrase”; “”topic/comment”;
  support/predicate frame”; “’pointing’”/desired
  undesired result; “orientation component”/act to
  accomplish in respect to that “orientation”;
  “function,” as in functionary/”argument”;
  “reference/sense”; “indexical operation/symbolic
  operation”; “slots” for “pointing,” or
  “addresses”/”operation”; “(embedded) bound
  indexes/symbolic operation”; “disambiguating” the
  “indexical”/successful “symbolic” action toward a
  desired end---these serve as various expressions of the
  “process” of
   “emergence,” left to
  right, in communication, part of which, the
  “indexical”-founded-on-the-“iconic” preliminaries
  I’ve already spoken of, homo loquax/dialecticus shares
  with other living creatures.
      The major point Deacon makes is, there
  is no built-in genetic-neurological template by which the
  symbolic species gets from subject to predicate.  That
  aptitude, that enabling juxtaposition, resides not in our
  biology, nor in our cultural conditioning.  It is a
  humans learn in early childhood via the bound and required
  “logic” of successful symbolization. 
  “Disambiguating” indexicality---i.e., “:pointing”
  via gestures or indexical words to what it is we are
  symbolically talking about---is a requirement for
  human communication.  We must put those two communicative
  elements together somehow to get what we’re after, or
  others more or less accurately what we want them to
  Nonsymbolic animals have no such indexical problem,
  their communication doesn’t get beyond the “iconic,”
  the “:arousal” to “attention” a significant
  “form” will evoke for them---and the “indexical,”
  the gestural or
   vocal “pointing” to
  that feared or desired object.  “Symbolization” via
  predication complicates, potentially, actually
  interrupts, erects barriers in succession to making clear,
  what we are talking about, who or what we have in mind,
  we want others to “do” in order for our interests to
      How human thinking, sensory and motor
  skills, and language production get to happen involve
  similar, if not identical, neural continuities.
      And how all this
  dovetails so nicely with Burke’s dramatistic philosophy,
  yet broaches an issue Burke may not have adequately dealt
  with, remains.
  On Tue, 9/16/14, Edward C Appel <edwardcappel at frontier.com>
   Subject: [KB] "The
  Symbol Concept"
   To: kb at kbjournal.org
   Date: Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 1:08 PM
       Thanks, Bob, for your
  response on Burke,
   rhetoric, and
  “repetition.”  I hope to get back on
  that one later.
  posted a few weeks ago on Terrence W.
  Deacon’s book Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from
   Matter.  I said, in effect, and sought to
   summarize how, Deacon’s
  philosophy of language part
   supports, part
  enhances, and part challenges Burke’s
  dramatism/logology.  Ronald Soetaert of Ghent U.
   seconded that take on Deacon’s relevance to
       Since then, I’ve been in further
   dialogue with Professor Deacon.  He sent me
  three of
   his published articles, then
  later, a fourth, later still an
   essay now
  in press.  Two of these pieces have to do
  with his mentor, Gregory Bateson, whose work I referred
   in at least one of my posts as being a
  clear precursor of
   Deacon’s semiotics. 
  The other of those first three,
  encyclopedia chapter entitled “The Symbol Concept,”
   I’d like to summarize in this post and maybe
  one or two
   more.  The chapter appears in
  The Oxford Handbook of
   Language Evolution
  (Oxford University Press, 2011).  If
  you’re interested, please read on.
       (And as you read, do keep in mind
   Incomplete Nature has made a profound
  impact, judging from
   multiple reviews
  easily accessed on the internet.)
       First, Deacon’s confirmation of
   formerly unbeknownst to Deacon, as I
  noted: Deacon’s in
   anthropology and
  neuroscience, not communication and
  literature, the prime sources of Burkean interest and
   scholarship.  From the perspective of
   Nature, I pointed out how
  Deacon’s critique of the
  “scientific lens,” maybe epitomized by
  behaviorism’s notion of the human mind, any “mind,”
   a “black box” we ought to prescind
  from our motivational
   calculations, is
  faulty and inadequate.  Input and
  neural stimulus and response, reduction of mind to
   biology, then to chemistry, then to physics,
  are the
   requisite foci for useful data and
  explanation, so much of
   hard science, at
  least, seems to suggest.  Deacon says
  we have to factor in, indeed highlight, a necessary
   “absential feature”(similar to Burke’s
  negative) that
   becomes the basis for human
  purpose, trial and error---we
   can genuinely
  label it all the
    aspects of “action,”
  expressive of a chosen
  that cuts across “spontaneous” causes
  in nature and orients persons toward “work” that
   organizes, directs life
  Symbol Concept” further
   underscores the
  dramatistic relevance of Deacon’s
  thought.  Deacon once again takes issue with regnant
   scientific/technological terminologies that
  confuse what a
   “symbol” actually is. 
  A symbol is not, Deacon
   claims, mere
  “code,” “sign,” “icon,” or number,
   that is, symbols are not mere pointers ,
  markers, gauges, or
   portraits of the kind
  so often denominated
  Actual “symbols” refer, abstractly
  generally, “irrespective of any natural
  affinities.”  In other words, as per Burke, symbols
   synthesize, synthetically, disparate beings,
  entities, or
   events for seemingly
  pragmatic, culturally-conditioned
  that transcend mere appearance of similarity. 
   Contra Saussure (with the exception of proper
   symbolic reference cannot be
  “mapped.”  To the
   extent that a common
  word or symbol “maps” anything, it
  “maps” a position in a given lexicon in relation to
    terminologies in that
  symbol system.
  airy, diaphanous character of
  equivalent notion of symbolic action/reference
   finds peak expression in his chapter, “What
  Are the Signs
   of What?---A Theory of
  Entitlement.” in LASA.  There
  maintains what he said in the Grammar about how common
   symbols refer to “nothing” in the real
  world, only here
   he follows up with how
  “reference” is reversed, in terms
  customary suppositions: “Things are the signs of
   words,” rather than vice versa.  In so
   on” to the symbol’s
  concept, so to speak, tangible
   entities and
  “objects” “materialize” the
  “spirit” of the symbol, participate in its
   “pageantry” (pp. 361, 379).
  here’s where Deacon gets into
  and semiological issues foreign to Burke’s
   dramatism, i.e., the “enhancement” I
  the whole gamut of concepts related
  computer algorithms and “encryption,” come to bear in
   undergirding the higher-order cognitive
  process we call
   human symbolic
  communication.  Like love and marriage
  (for the traditionally minded, anyway), you can’t have
   without the other.  The symbols of
  human language are
   fashioned out of sounds
  and written or printed characters
   the roots
  of which are presymbolic, and prehuman, for that
   matter.  Such “iconic” and
  “indexical” sources
   of communication
  are evident in the activites of nonsymbolic
  animals, as well as in the “symbolic actions” of you
   me.  Thus, add “iconism” and
  “indexicality” to
  “absential feature” and Bateson’s
  “difference that makes a
  (that results from some pre-ethical sense of
   negation, and occasions a form of “trial and
  error” in
   the service of a kind of
  “preference,” a capacity for
   which all
  living things show signs of possessing and
  explaining this “hierarchy” of
  he uses in explaining how human symbolic action
   works, Deacon borrows from the philosophy of
  Charles Sanders
   Peirce.  Peirce coined the
  term “legisign” to refer
   to iconic,
  indexical, and symbolic signs in general. 
  The locution “sinsign” refers to a specific instance
   an iconic or lexical sign (there can be
  no such thing,
   actually, as a “symbolic
  sinsign,” as will become clear,
   I hope. 
  “Natural affinities” characterize
  sinsigns; not so, anything that attains the level of
   “symbolic,” based on, as Burke and Deacon
   arbitrary, conventional, culturally
  reflective origins of
   reference.)  A stick
  figure drawing on a restroom door
   is an
  iconic legisign.  It “portrays” in
  general.  A picture of a famous person is an iconic
   sinsign.  It portrays in particular.  A
   alarm sound is an indexical legisign,
  as is the position of
   a needle on a
  pressure gauge.  They “point” or
    toward an action in the large.  A
  particular smell of
   smoke is an indexical
  sinsign.  Spoken or written
   words, in a
  syntactical context or not, are symbolic
  legisigns.  The reference is to “a general concept or
   type of object.”
       Proper names might seem to be a bit
   symbolic sinsigns, but they are not. 
  Their reference
   can be mapped, one-to-one
  Saussure-like, but “the
   sign-vehicle is a
  conventional form.”  Therefore
  would call them “indexical legisigns.” 
   “Dolphin signature whistles are indexical
   (Deacon, e-mail message,
  9/9/14).  Symbolic signs of
   the most
  abstract or merely potential kind of reference
   Peirce calls “qualisigns.”
       Symbolic reference,
  then, functions like
   this: “A written
  word [for instance] is first recognized
  an iconic sinsign (an instance of a familiar form), then
   an indexical legisign (a type of sign vehicle
   with other related types), and
  then as a symbolic legisign
   (a conventional
  type of sign referring to a conventional
  type of reference).
      Deacon employs the text message “smiley
   face” and Aristotle’s take on how a
  “signet ring”
   functions in
  communication as examples of this hierarchal
   progression in the production of meaning for
   one of Deacon’s most
  salient points being: This
   “dependency of
  symbolic reference on indexical reference
  [and iconic reference]” mirrors the dependency of human
   symbolic action/communication on the
  “genetic,” even
  capacities for iconic and indexical
  communication of a sort in “living organisms” in
   general, a theme of Deacon’s (and
  Bateson’s) I
   emphasized in my previous
  posts on Incomplete Nature.
       So, for further review and/or
       What do
  Deacon’s semiotic distinctions,
  especially unifications, mean for Burke’s signature
   “(Nonsymbolic) Motion/(Symbolic) Action”
   (1978/2003)?  Is some sort of
  modification in order
   along the lines of
  Jim Chesebro’s complaint that Burke did
  not pay enough attention to nonsymbolic motive s (Burke
   panel at the ECA Convention, 1992)?
       Does Deacon’s
  critique of Chomsky’s
  Generative Grammar as the innate “constraint”
   on syntactical linguistic relationships in
   communication, in favor instead of
   constraints, tend to
  support Burke’s notion of the
   negative as
  “the engine of intentionality” and the very
   dawn of human symbolism (1952/1953/1966)?
       Maybe something on
  those issues later.
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