Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Sharing Voices

I recently read Jean-Luc Nancy's "Sharing Voices" (in Ormiston and Schrift, eds., Transforming the Hermeneutic Context: From Nietzsche to Nancy, SUNY Press, 1990). Unfortunately I no longer have the volume in my hands, but I wanted to comment on one of the ideas he raised, namely that being may simply be its announcement. What then do we make of beings that have no voice? Are mute beings not truly beings? Do we listen to them anyway, as if they could really speak? If we do, if the question of being entails an anthropormophic hermenuetics, then one of its dimensions according to Nancy is communitarian. Does this really evade the problem of subjectivism? What would it mean to have a communitarian relationship with the river? For Nancy meaning is itself an alterity–it won't be so easy to undercut his thinking here. Is this alterity human? If it isn't human, what does that say about the connection between meaning and community. If we stretch the definition of community to encompass all sign relations, all relations between an organism and its world, between predator and prey, do we not still need another concept to cover the ordinary sense of sociality, an idea of communitas. Or is this exactly what Nancy intends? Or, and this is a distinct possibility, Nancy wouldn't be concerned with the non-human. He wouldn't be concerned with the river as such, but rather with my exposure to otherness, the community that belongs to my interpretation of the river. I don't like this sense of limitation, the feeling that my questions about the being of the inanimate don't really count for much. On the other hand, I can't deny that I have announced the question of the being of the river to you, dear reader.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 2:29 PM.


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