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Revisiting Dialogues and Monologues

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Abstract

In educational discourse dialogue tends to be viewed as being (morally) superior to monologue. When we look at them as basic forms of communication, we find that dialogue is a two-way, one-to-one form and monologue is a one-way, one-to-many form. In this paper I revisit the alleged (moral) superiority of dialogue. First, I problematize certain normative features of dialogue, most notably reciprocity. Here I use Socrates as my example (the Phaedrus). Second, I discuss monologue, using Jesus as my example (St. Luke's gospel). I argue that there are values in the monological form that tend to be overlooked and unrecognized, for example the freedom of the audience not to respond.

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