Understanding As Listening: Dostoevsky Influence on Bakhtinian Philosophy

Kocaoğlu, Deniz
The primary purpose of this study is to reveal the difference between early and later philosophy of Mikhail Mikhailovich Bakhtin in terms of his ideas on the nature of intersubjective relationships. The main claim is that Bakhtin’s philosophy is not dialogical from the beginning, but the concept of dialogue begins to play a central role after his study on Dostoevsky in 1929. Starting with the explanation of the conditions of living communication between different particular subjects, I show the main features of dialogic relationships that are internality, mutuality and simultaneity. Later, by focusing on Bakhtin’s works that he wrote before Problems of Dostoevsky’s Art, I argue that the necessary conditions of dialogic relationship do not exist in participative relationship, because in his early philosophy Bakhtin defines a one-sided relationship rather than the one that each participant actively relate themselves to others simultaneously. After the explication of the difference between his early and later conceptions of aesthetic relationship, I demonstrate that the threshold between Bakhtin’s participative and dialogical understanding of intersubjective relationships is his phenomenological examination of Dostoevsky’s relation with the hero in his polyphonic novels. Finally, I examine Dostoevsky’s internally dialogic approach, as Bakhtin defines, in order to display the dialogic relationship between the author and the hero in his polyphonic novels.
Citation Formats
D. Kocaoğlu, “Understanding As Listening: Dostoevsky Influence on Bakhtinian Philosophy,” M.A. - Master of Arts, Middle East Technical University, 2021.