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Comprehensive Discourse Analysis

  Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 (applications)

Quotations from the above four Parts:

From Part 1


Part 1: Overview: The Height and Breadth of Discourse

Part 2: The internalization of Discourse

Part 3: The Externalization of Discourse.

Part 4: Applications of Comprehensive Discourse Analysis

              (a) Language Arts and ESL

Part 1: Overview: The Height and Breadth of Discourse

       The universe of discourse has been recognized in the writings of the world's literature to possess two directions of variation. The first direction may be called the height of discourse because it is a continuum that arranges discourse according to its level of abstract; that is, its degree of removal from the concrete. What this "concreteness/abstract" continuum consists of will be discussed in a moment. The second direction of the breadth of discourse because it is a continuum that arranges discourse according to its phase of externalization from the inmost impulses of human activity to its outermost manifestation in time and space or the external act itself. In this section I present a theoretical rationale for specifying these two fundamental dimensions of the existence of discourse. This work is based on the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772).


From Part 2

 Comprehensive Discourse Analysis: Illustration: The Heights and Breadth of Discourse




III. High-discourse 
Synergetic Function


Affective Domain (by (by presupposition)


Cognitive Domain 
(by implications) 


Sensorimotor Domain  (by paraphrase) 


The manufacturers are altruistic and fear for the life of the owner and the appliance  (9) The manufacturers believe that showing their disapproval for bad habits would make us more careful (8) It is dangerous and foolish to immerse this and other electric appliances in water at any time  

   You're doing a dumb thing if you don't keep water away from electric machines like this one.  (7)



II. Mid-discourse (TITLE-SENTENCES) 
Pragmatic Function 


The manufacturers have a sense of responsibility for their product and how it ought not to be handled    (6) The manufactures believe that appealing to our intelligence would give us the right attitude towards its safe handling  (5) This is an electric appliance, and like all electric appliances, should never be immersed in water  

 Keep water away from this machine at all times since it is electric  (4)

I. Low-discourse  
Communicative Function
The manufactures are trying to inform and warn owners regarding proper handling   (3) The manufactures believe that providing the relevant information would prevent breakdowns and accidents  (2) Do not immerse in water   

Keep water away  
from this appliance 


From Part 3

(i) The Threefold Self

     Comprehensive Discourse Analysis is conceived and proposed as an analytic method for investigating human affairs. It is not a theory as such though it involves certain assumptions one must be willing to adopt as an orientation in its use and application. I believe that there is general agreement among contemporary scholars regarding a few traditional values about humans and society. It is this agreement that can form the basis of an interdisciplinary methodology. In this section I want to show how this shared commonality can be forged into a shared orientation for the investigation of humans and their affairs. I hope it will be evident that this method can be shared by behavioral scientists, biographers, theologians, or philosophers, social workers and political scientists. In my thinking multidisciplinary sharing of a method and orientation is of great value and utility because it is likely to yield more comprehensive theories and accounts of human affairs.
     The height of discourse was defined by the operational terms symbol, title, and idea (see diagrams). Justifications were given for subdividing the height continuum into three zones called stages or levels. Briefly, these justifications were as follows. For the lowest level, called communicative discourse (I. Symbol), the function is the exchange of information in some domain of human affairs; also, its storage and retrieval. For the second level, called pragmatic discourse (II. Title), the function is the evaluative ranking of information; this necessarily involves knowledge and use of group norms regarding what is logical or commonsensical. For the third and highest level, called synergetic discourse (III. Idea). The function is the personal confirmation or appropriation of values and ideals that form and organize the two lower levels.
     This is then the logic of internalization and therefore, it must also be the logic of mental development and growth. To apply these assumptions to the development of the self, let us equate the height dimension of discourse to the height dimension of the self. The following might be one possibility worth exploring.
     Keeping in focus that we want three zones of height for the stages of self-development, we may define the lowest zone as involving the external person as a socio-legal entity. The law of the land sometimes extends its protection to the individual even while in utero (as in abortion laws) and always from birth onwards. This protection covers the full range of the external person: people's bodies, their deeds in act and speech, their, reputation, possessions, rights, and their freedom to pursue their own happiness. Traditionally, the external person is identified with the natural world: body and mind. The natural body is an object of medical treatment and study; its natural behavior is the study of psychology and other disciplines. The laws and principles governing the natural body and the natural mind have been known and explored by writers of human affairs since antiquity. Contemporary community practices show what we believe these laws and principle to be. For example, in education, the external child is taught by exposure, repetition, and social reward systems. Our judicial system apprehends and incarcerates the lawbreakers; the punishment of fines, imprisonment, or death is a relation of the State to the external, natural person. There is not necessarily an attempt to reform the ethics, religion, or life philosophy of convicts, though many have argued that we ought to do it.

     Tradition gives us the idea that the external person is but a covering for the internal person. In this notion, internal also means higher: the inner person is spiritual and external, it is the spirit or the soul, the 'psyche' that is an immortal organic entity. If this traditional view is going to be of utility to scientists as well as biographers, philosophers, and theologians, we need a bridging zone between the external self that is natural, and the internal self that is super-natural or spiritual. Such an intermediary zone has already been well elaborated by phenomenologists in philosophy, psychology, sociology, and biography/fiction. One expression used is the activity of "abstracting out" sensory and material concepts or thoughts so that only nonmaterial or rational ideas are left. For example, to explain human behaviors that appear altruistic or prosocial, many have invoked the notion that our outer (lowest) self is operating in accordance to selfishness or reciprocal competition with other outer selves, but that our inner self is operating in accordance to cooperativeness or interdependent life, of which altruism is an expression.


Thus, in this traditional view, the inner/higher self is an immortal spiritual organ and can assume control over the mortal, outer/lower self, which is a natural organ. In between these upper and lower zones of the self there is an intermediate zone which functions to bridge the gap between natural and spiritual: it is the rational self, which is thus a mixture of the natural and the spiritual. This rational self is an organ that accommodates mixed concepts; some "purely rational" -- which is actually "purified natural", others "mixed rational" -- which is the stimulus and beginning of purification of conceptual elevation. Much can be found in the literature of the world regarding these three selves of the human beings: the natural, the rational, and the spiritual. Diagram 3c/8q pictures many of these traditional notions. A further specification of these three ontological stages is possible when the three levels, of height are described each according to their phases of externalization. Thereto I now proceed.

     The breadth of discourse was defined by Comprehensive Discourse Analysis into three externalization phases called. (A) Affective Domain, (B) Cognitive Domain, and (C) Sensorimotor Domain. (See diagrams O/(13a) and O/(14a). These notions can now be combined and applied to a threefold-self model of human behavior, as pictured in diagram (3c/9a).

     The nine boxes of this ennead matrix are to be pictured as an upward spiraling vortex, with box 1 at the outermost bottom and box 9 at the inmost top. The automatic self (3 2 1) operates by externalizing built-in and acquired drives (3) through conventionalized methods of information processing (2) until they manifest as performed habit-routines (1). Thus, the discourse that exists at this level is communicative and involves symbols containing information--either affective information (3), cognitive information (2), or sensorimotor information (1). Low affective discourse (3) reveals the why of routine interactions; low cognitive discourse (2) reveals the how of routine interactions; low sensorimotor discourse (1) reveals the what of routine behaviors. For example, if a stranger on the street accosts us and says, "Which way is the beach?", we can specify three phases of externalization at the level of the automatic self, as follows:

  Affective Cognitive Sensorimotor
I Automatic Self 
(3 2 1)
The stranger  
wants to know 
where the  
beach is.
The stranger  
thinks I know 
where the beach 
The stranger is 
asking me to 
indicate where 
the beach is.
  Low (Why) Low (How) Low (What)


This analysis indicates how we automatically act upon a want or need through a conventionalized method and its execution.
     Now we can consider how this picture can be elevated or internalized by the reflective self. Consider:

  Affective Cognitive Sensorimotor
II. Reflective Self 
(6 5 4)
The stranger is 
committed to 
civilized rules of 
exchange and  
would do the  
same for me.
The stranger 
expects me to 
respond to his 
inquiry or else, 
it behooves me  to explain. 
The stranger is 
making a request of me.
  Mid (Why) Mid (How) Mid (What)


The more elevated character of this second-level discourse is visible when we contrast the underlined elements. In phase A of externalization the contrast is wants to vs. is committed to; in phase B, it is thinks vs. expects; in phase C, it is asks vs. requests. Note that wants to, thinks, and asks are expressions belonging to low-discourse and have a communicative function. Similarly, is committed to, expects, and requests are expressing belonging to mid-discourse.

3c/8a. The Threefold Self: Levels of Height or Internalization


III.  The Spiritual Self: 
Stage III. Interdependence Collective Life Adulthood  
Synergetic Function Idea

The Spiritual Mind. 

Responsive to Truth-value Involves Spiritual Wisdom or inspirational Intelligence Living according to Conformations in own life of ideas and values

II. The Reflective Self: 
Stage II. Independence Competitive Life Adolescence 
Pragmatic Function Title

The Rational Mind. 

Responsive to Reasoning Involves Socio-Moral Intelligence Living according to Borrowed Ideas and Values, Borrowed Reasonings, but Own Experiences

I. The Automatic Self: 
Stage I. Dependency Cooperative life Childhood 
Communicative Function Symbol

The Natural Mind. 

Responsive to Gain and Reward Involves Automated Intelligence Living According to Borrowed ideas and Values, Borrowed Reasonings, but Own Experiences


3c/9a. The Threefold Self: Levels of Internalization and Phases of Externalization

E X T E R N A L I Z A T I O N 




Affective Domain Cognitive Domain Sensorimotor Domain
III. Ideas Spiritual Self Synergetic function Internal Person

Discourse pertaining to the hierarchy of ruling loves & affections


Discourse pertaining to revealed, doctrines, universal truths and personal confirmation


Discourse pertaining to the execution of truths from loves, i.e. the doings of uses 


II. Titles Reflective Self Pragmatic Function Middle Person

Discourse pertaining to the hierarchy of rational motives and injunctions


Discourse pertaining to rationalization of derived truths and their inferences and implications 


Discourse pertaining to the execution of rationalized motives or planned behaviors 


I. Symbols Automatic Self communicative function External Person Discourse pertaining to the hierarchy of need-reward systems or acquired drives


Discourse pertaining to the processing of information in accordance with established routines and habits


Discourse pertaining to the execution of habit routines, their style and rhythm


The first group belongs to symbols (wanting to, thinking, asking), the second group to titles (committed, expect, request). Symbols involve information processing; titles involve information ranking or evaluation. Information processing with symbols such as wants, thinks, asks, is an automatic algorithmic. Machines and artificial intelligence software are simulations of human information processing routines. A robot is an image of the automatic self. It wants, thinks, and asks (or does). But a robot cannot be committed to, or have an expectation or request. Perhaps the robot may act as the agent or servant of the manufacturer or engineer, so that the robot can be committed to obeying in the name of the manufacturer; or perhaps the robot may appear to have expectations, but these too are in the name of the manufacturer who placed the software into the robot; similarly, the robot may appear to make a request, but again this turns out to be the manufacturer's request placed in the robot. Thus it may be seen what exactly is the character of discourse which the automatic self produces vs. the character of discourse which the reflective self produces.

     Now to complete the discussion, let us devastate the discourse to the synergetic function of the spiritual self and its use of idea-sentences to continue the same example:





III. Spiritual 


(9 8 7)

The stranger is entitled to be relieved from this type of distress so I must make myself available. The stranger must be given information I have in a way that he can understand it and remember it. The stranger has given me an opportunity to be useful.


That underlined expressions entitled to, must be in a way, to be useful, indicate the character of high-discourse. These expressions are in the category of synergetic function since they each function as cybernetic guiding mechanisms. Being entitled to, is determined by cultural premises and fundamental values: culture pre-defines the standards of who is entitled to and who is not, to one thing or another. Similarly with must do in a way that: this denotes a universal necessity or a personal necessity; no other way is acceptable. Similarly with to be useful: this denotes a universal and unconditional act of acceptance and relationship; any other stranger would be entitled to the same treatment. The character of the three zones of discourse by height may be seen through the threefold contrast of the example we've been considering and which is summarized in diagram 3c/14a.

3c/14a.  E X T E R N A L I Z A T I O N 

Internalization: Affective 
III. Own IDEAS: High-discourse of the  
Spiritual Self








Mid-discourse of the Reflective Self






Low-discourse of the Automatic Self






     This solution is in accord with the operational definitions given earlier (e.g., see diagrams 3c/9a and 13a and 14a). Solutions of this sort may be used to categorize expressions. The advantages to be gained from this method are several: we may need an empirical method for grouping particular expressions; we may want to measure the distance between two samples of discourse; we may want to prepare a thesaurus of glossary of expressions from which users can draw discourse segments of given levels of height; and so-on. In this case, the illustration may be applied to the issue of self-growth of the threefold self.

From Part 4

Table Of Contents

Comprehensive Discourse Analysis

 Comprehensive Discourse Analysis  
 The Organization of Discourse  
 Organization of Discourse (cont.)  
 Ennead Matrix Tables  
 Ennead Matrix Tables (page 2)  
 Ennead Matrix (page 3)  
 Field Theory of Social Action  
 Operational Schema of the Three-fold Self  
 The Threefold Self's 9 Zones of Life  
 The Growth of the Threefold Self  
 Psychological Mind Tables  
 Comprehensive Discourse Analysis  
 Uses of Language and Speech  
 Dictionary of Graphic Concepts: Ennead Structures  
 PSY 422 Quiz: Freud Group  
 Money-Thoughts Analysis Quiz  
 Quiz Answer: Money-Thoughts Analysis  
 Huddle-Buddy Food Behavior-Change Exercise  
 Dynamic Concepts of Personality  
 PSY 222 Quiz 
Topical Organization of Social Psychology  
Colloquium Memorandum  
Dictionary of Graphic Concepts: Ennead Structures (C001)  
Dictionary of Graphic Concepts: Ennead Structures (C002)  
Dictionary of Graphic Concepts: Ennead Structures (C003)  
Dean Neubauer Presentation  
Comments on the Colloquium Presentation  
Dictionary of Graphic Concepts: Ennead Structures (C006)  
Dictionary of Graphic Concepts: Ennead Structures (C007)  
 The Propositional Logic of Paraphastic Sets  
Society's Witness  
Assertion Types: Sub-Categories  
Classification of Utterances  
T.R. Kratochwill's Model: Treatment of Fears and Phobias  
ESL Brownbag Talk: The Language Teacher's Threefold Self  
11 Week Plan 




BY  Leon J._______

Leon James and Diane Nahl
Daily Round Archives
Psychology Department, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822 USA

SUGGESTED TITLE FOR ENTRY    _C007, 8 / Organizational Development & Psychology

SUGGESTED TRACINGS & CROSS-REFERENCES  David Heenan's Colloquium, Psych Dept.
Nov. 5, 1981_________________   ______________________________________________

  Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 (applications)

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