Journal of Intercultural Communication, issue 17, June 2008

Halvor Nordby

Values, Cultural Identity and Communication: A Perspective From Philosophy of Language


Problems of communication in intercultural dialogue typically arise when the communicators understand concepts of meaning and identity in strikingly different ways. This article employs influential assumptions in modern philosophy of language to discuss fundamental aspects of these problems. Drawing on a distinction between beliefs and values, it is argued that intercultural communication typically fails when communicators have different values and do not acknowledge that culturally shaped values are different from beliefs and thoughts. Within a hermeneutical approach to understanding, it is explained how an understanding of the nature of values can help secure successful intercultural communication. Cases of cultural conflict are used to clarify this and other practical implications of the philosophical analyses that are developed.

Keywords: intercultural communication, meaning, beliefs, values, Wittgenstein.

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