Ventriloquism as communicative music


  • Ronald C. Arnett Duquesne University



communication theory, ventriloquism, pragmatism, signification, metadiscourse


This essay explicates connections between communication theory and François Cooren’s discussion of ventriloquism. Cooren provides a theoretical and practical exposition of a situated and contextually shaped communicative agent. Ventriloquism offers a practical depiction of the limits of individualism, or unrestrained individual autonomy. Ventriloquism suggests that we live within sounds and voices that continually affect a communicator; one cannot confuse the influence of random and, at times, orchestrated sounds and voices with ownership grounded within a single communicative agent. Ventriloquism explicates everyday life as orchestrated by ongoing communicative music of sounds and voices.

Author Biography

Ronald C. Arnett, Duquesne University

Ronald C. Arnett (Ph.D., Ohio University, 1978) is chair and professor of the Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies, the Henry Koren, C.S.Sp., Endowed Chair for Scholarly Excellence (2010–2015), and The Patricia Doherty Yoder and Ronald Wolfe Endowed Chair in Communication Ethics (2015–2018) at Duquesne University. He is the author/coauthor of nine books and four edited books and the recipient of five book awards, including Communication Ethics in Dark Times: Hannah Arendt’s Rhetoric of Warning and Hope, the 2013 recipient of the Top Book Award from the Philosophy of Communication Ethics Division of the National Communication Association, and An Overture to Philosophy of Communication: The Carrier of Meaning (with Annette Holba), and the 2013 Best Book award from the Philosophy of Communication Division, National Communication Association & 2013 the Everett Lee Hunt Award for Outstanding Scholarship. He is the recipient of the 2013 Presidential Award for Excellence in Scholarship from Duquesne University and is the recipient of the 2005 Scholar of the Year Award from the Religious Communication Association. Dr. Arnett was named both Centennial Scholar of Communication and Centennial Scholar of Philosophy of Communication by the Eastern Communication Association in 2009. Dr. Arnett is currently serving his second editorship for the Journal of Communication and Religion and is additionally the former editor of the Review of Communication. He is the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Communication Association and the Eastern Communication Association.




How to Cite

Arnett, R. C. (2015). Ventriloquism as communicative music. Language Under Discussion, 2(1), 41–44.