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Revisiting Dialogues and Monologues



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.