Affiliative and disaffiliative candidate understandings

2012-11-06T09:29:13Z (GMT) by Charles Antaki
A listener can offer an interpretation (can give a ‘candidate understanding’) of what a speaker is currently saying. I distinguish between, on the one hand, proposing a candidate understanding that solves a manifest problem by offering new, relevant information; and, on the other hand, proposing a candidate understanding that does not seem to relate to any obvious obscurity in what the speaker is saying, and only offers material that the speaker clearly knows, or ought to know. Both kinds are interruptions to the progressivity of the speaker’s project, but they differ qualitatitively. I argue that the former is affiliative and the latter disaffiliative, insofar as the latter calls attention to, and therefore invites correction or abandonment of, what the speaker is doing. I discuss what such a move might serve, and show how making it involves epistemic and deontological rights.