Wednesday, 13 June 2018

John Bateman On Stratification And Reductionism

Stratificational description is not reductionism, it is not dissection and shredding of inalienable parts, and so on; it is drawing out the manifold ways in which behaviours and contexts co-articulate.

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is true.  Semantics does not reduce to phonology; culture does not reduce to phonetics.

[2] This misunderstands reductionism. Reductionism is not "the dissection and shredding of inalienable parts and so on" but the epistemological misunderstanding that the analysis of complex phenomena reduces them to the lowest level of organisation.  An example of reductionism is a previous contribution from Bateman himself (critiqued here):
well, *actually* there is no such thing as text. There's just variations of patterns of pressure gradients in the air and contrasts in brightness in the visual field....
[3] To be clear, the stratification hierarchy in SFL theory is a means of parcelling out the complexity of language into different levels of symbolic abstraction:
  • meaning (semantics), 
  • wording (lexicogrammar) and 
  • sounding (phonology) / writing (graphology).