Saturday, May 01, 2010

Presence of the Listener in the Utterance

The presence of the listener is inscribed in the utterance. It is I who speaks, Jacques says, but we who say. He asks, "What happens to the philosophical status of the person if we replace the individual's cogito with the proposition 'I speak, but we say'? (Difference and Subjectivity, p. 9) For one thing the refutation of "I do not exist" becomes problematic.

But should we allow such a distinction between speaking and saying? Is there a speaking that says nothing, a babble that isn't somehow destined for language? Is there an impersonal babble? Perhaps. Perhaps necessarily.

What of the inscription of the presence of the listener in the utterance? This echoes an idea of the intertextuality of the utterance while at the same time it responds to Buber, to a sense of that everything in discourse is affected by relations between the I and the you. The listener is not merely referred to but is there in the interlocutive event. Present. We won't shy away from the idea. It's difficult. How do we describe the presence of the listener? How does the listener appear? As the "other side of language," i.e., perhaps it need not be apparent at all? As an ethical constraint? Imperative? Does the listener present us with an imperative for coherence, for example?

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posted by Fido the Yak at 4:55 AM.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Babble indeed. Define coherence. "we say"? I presume that refers to norms of communication and conversation. If I choose to maintain that I do not exist---using whatever arguments--
I will maintain this even in the face of your norms and your notion of what makes sense. " we say" does not have the final say over my point of view---I do. ANd I do not have the final say over the denier of
my denial of existence--she does--and she will maintain that I am refuted, just as I will say I have refuted her. So what?

May 25, 2010 9:14 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

I would have thought that the fun lies in imagining that you would place your own existence in doubt and keep it there until you could persuade yourself otherwise. Does this describe the sad echo of a genuine philosophical dialogue? What if, on the other hand, instead of a commitment to reason and the dubious proposition of reasoning with oneself, "one" were to engage in dialogues with oneselves with no expectation of arriving at anything like the truth through anything remotely like a process of ratiocination? In the past when struck by a similar thought, after entertaining it some number of years, I've ultimately felt that thinking is an important part of life and worth talking about, and indeed, although the value of phaticity or other communicative functions is not lost on me, I feel that the fact that other people think makes phaticity (to name one) kind of poignant and worth talking about. So, hello there!

May 28, 2010 7:07 PM  
Blogger Alma Kaselis said...

Dialog with oneself is constant, I may not be aware but, hey, if you in public and loud...

May 17, 2011 9:20 PM  
Blogger firezdog said...

I suppose I can say, "Speaking is different from saying," -- but I cannot speak, "Speaking is different from saying" -- you don't speak things, in common usage -- you just speak, and when you speak, you say something. (If I say, "He spoke." Someone can perfectly well ask, "What did he say?")

But can't I think, "I think, therefore I am," without speaking at all (and so without saying it?) -- and if I think this to myself, why should I be thinking it for anyone except myself?

Why must there always be someone else who intrudes? Can't I ever be entirely alone?

(I am no different from myself, whatever Hegel and Derrida might say.)

August 25, 2011 10:18 AM  

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