Being Human Dialogically

Literary Perspectives and Projects


  • Jose Nandhikkara Dharmaram vidhya kshethram


Human, Literary Perspective, Homo Loquens, Dialogue, Sprachspiel


To live is to dialogue, and to dialogue is to live. As homo loquens, use of language is fundamental to and constitutive of being human, and all language use is dialogical. Even in silence we continue to speak and in monologues and confessions listeners are implicit. Language use, like any human practice, is objective and normative and it could be perceived and understood by other human beings. It is inherently social, even when no one is explicitly present. Though words have use and, hence, meaning only in a stream of life, to imagine a human form of life without language use is difficult, if not impossible, and such a life will be characteristically different from other human forms of life. We would not understand them as human.


Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, Oxford: Blackwell, 1953, 11.

Wittgenstein, On Certainty, G.E.M. Anscombe and G.H. von Wright, ed., Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1969, 475, 204.

Wittgenstein, Nachlass: The Bergen Electronic Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, 165, 94.

George Orwell, Politics and the English Language <>

(20 April 2016).




How to Cite

Nandhikkara, J. (2017). Being Human Dialogically: Literary Perspectives and Projects. Journal of Dharma, 42(1), 3–8. Retrieved from