Grudin's third book-length philosophical essay, On Dialogue, tackles no lesser subject than how the free mind thinks--in art, science, ethics, and politics. But the title is misleading: Grudin thinks that "being dialogic" is a characteristic of creative free thought even in many cases where no "dialogue," in the literal sense, is going on. For example, he defines the writing of a journal as a typically dialogic process, on the grounds that part of the pleasure and intellectual value of the exercise is to "externalize" ones own thoughts and then have them reflect back on more recent thoughts.
One obvious criticism is that Grudin, while ranging over a wide variety of subjects, including Plato, diversity in education, and political reform in the old Eastern bloc, doesn't explain what "undialogic" thought, if it exists, would be like. Some readers may find that the book tries too hard to be about everything, and would likely prefer his earlier book, Time and the Art of Living. --Richard Farr