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Keywords:

  • Irony;
  • Epic;
  • Confession;
  • Argument;
  • Kierkegaard;
  • Bakhtin;
  • Dialogue

ABSTRACT

This article is a theoretical examination of the relationship between truth (understood experientially) and forms of dialogue, in discursive psychology. To do this, I mainly draw on Bakhtin (1929/1984, 1975/1981) and Kiekegaard (1841/1989, 1846/1968). In contrast to a hermeneutic tradition that has sidelined the importance of the author to discourse (e.g., Barthes, 1967/1977), these authors offer an understanding of truth that depends on the author's emotional connection to the truth they are expressing. They most clearly demonstrate the dynamics of our emotional connection to truth in their descriptions of different forms of speech. Kierkegaard describes the relationship between self and truth in irony, while Bakhtin does the same in the epic, the confession and the quarrel. It is my argument that these forms of speech interact with truth and help organise selfhood. I also argue that our current methodological emphasis on the function of words or the play of dominant discourses tend to overlook the experiential landscape of language and its reciprocal relationship with our subjectivity.