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By: Jeffrey A. Tolbert & Ian Brodie | Edited by: Paul Atkinson, Sara Delamont, Alexandru Cernat, Joseph W. Sakshaug & Richard A. Williams Published: 2019 | Length:   2 | DOI: |
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Ostension is communication via the showing or demonstrating of something directly, as opposed to referring to or representing it indirectly. Employed by scholars in philosophy, linguistics, semiotics, anthropology, folkloristics, and other fields, ostension as a term has acquired distinctly different, though related, usages in each.

In common parlance, the descriptor ostensive/ostensible and its derivatives often connote a surface-level meaning that potentially hides something deeper. Its most frequent contemporary usage is adverbial: Something ostensibly has a certain significance, the one which meets the eye—the tacit assumption being that this surface appearance may conceal hidden meanings or intentions. Actions described as ostensible (or ostensive) thus invite further interpretation (e.g., as pretexts, they point to subtexts waiting to be discovered). Implied in this usage is a form of deception. ...

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