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Comm thread: Need for affiliation

Chapter 36
Page 472

"Communication is motivated by our basic social need for affiliation..."(472)."Fear of isolation-loss of affiliation" causes the minority to remain silent. Mutual self-disclosure is one way to avoid isolation, while meeting the affiliation "human need" (472). I really enjoy how this chapter brings things full circle and ties the theories together. The way Griffin groups the related theories is healful for their application in real life sitautions. It is interesting to see how the motivation for communication varies so greatly from person to person, as well as in different contexts. In my philosophy class we have been discussing motives behind actions, and what qualifies an action as being "right." The ethical theories we learned about include act and rule utilitarianism, Kantian ethical theory and egoism. Kantian ethical theory is the only one that takes motives into consideration when defining "rightness/wrongness" of action. According to Kantian ethical theory, if your motive for communicating with someone, is based on acting from duty and good will alone, then your action is considered "good." Sometimes our motivations for communicating are solely selfish and sometimes they are selfless.


  1. In responding to Ada's first entry this week, I discussed the human need to explain behavior. That is, we want to know what motivates people. What's interesting to me in terms of identifying ethical/unethical behavior is not so much the behavior but the motivation underlying the behavior. Can we really know others' motivations? I'm not sure this is possible. Yet we always want to know what causes someone to do something, as if there's some simple answer. Humans are complex beings. While it's true humans are social and desire affiliation, people also like to be alone. The dialectics of human existence make identifying motivations challenging at best.

  2. I do agree with your opening quote from the text: that the way people choose to communicate is motivated by our need for affiliation. For whatever reasons, it seems that it is in human nature to feel that they belong. However, it is so true that everyone is motivated by different things. I find that I have to make that extra effort to remember that not everyone is motivated by the same things I am when it comes to communicating.

    I'm not sure if I'm in the same philosophy class as you, but I've also been reviewing Kantian and virtue ethics, as well as Utilitarianism in one of my classes and it's interesting when you learn these theories and see them in practice. I've found that a lot of these theories go hand-in-hand.