Elemental Discourses
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97 pages

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John Sallis's thought is oriented to two overarching tasks: to bring to light the elemental in nature and to show how the imagination operates at the very center of human experience. He undertakes these tasks by analyzing a broad range of phenomena, including perception, the body, the natural world, art, space, and the cosmos. In every case, Sallis develops an original form of discourse attuned to the specific phenomenon and enacts a thorough reflection on discourse itself in its relation to voice, dialogue, poetry, and translation. Sallis's systematic investigations are complemented by his extensive interpretations of canonical figures in the history of philosophy such as Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Schelling, and Hegel and by his engagement with the most original thinkers in the areas of phenomenology, hermeneutics, and deconstruction.

1. Voices

2. Gathering Language

3. The Play of Translation

4. Things of Sense

5. Archaic Nature

6. Alterity and the Elemental

7. Objectivity and the Reach of Enchorial Space

8. The Scope of Visibility

9. Cosmic Time

10. The Negativity of Time-Space





Publié par
Date de parution 28 septembre 2018
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780253037268
Langue English

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This book is a publication of
Indiana University Press
Office of Scholarly Publishing
Herman B Wells Library 350
1320 East 10th Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405 USA
2018 by John Sallis
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Cataloging information is available from the Library of Congress.
ISBN 978-0-253-03722-0 (hardback)
ISBN 978-0-253-03723-7 (pbk.)
ISBN 978-0-253-03724-4 (web PDF)
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Index of Prinicpal Names
There are perhaps no powers that appear more manifestly and directly reflexive than the voice. The possibility of duplicity-of doubling and even of concealing the doubling-is by no means excluded: one can mimetically assume the voice of another or even lend one s voice to another as in ventriloquy. However, when one speaks in one s own voice, perhaps also attesting even that it is in one s own voice that one is speaking, then the seemingly direct reflexivity of the voice becomes operative. Then speech displays, precisely in this reflexivity, the character of ownness, and it is no longer openly marked by duplicity in either sense.
The reflexivity is perhaps most readily manifest in the word itself.
To say the word is to invoke immediately that which the word names. In the very voicing of the word voice , one instantiates what it means or at least attests to the power that it names. In being voiced, in sounding forth from the voice, the word performs what it names. In being uttered, it reflects back upon the utterance in such a way as to affirm their coincidence across the difference between word and deed, and .
Yet, reflexivity is also manifest in the very operation of the voice, quite aside from its engagement with the word. In this regard it can be compared to phantasy or even, more obliquely, to imagination. In the respective operations of the voice and of phantasy, production and reception are bound together in the most intimate connection. With regard to this structure, both the voice and phantasy can, in turn, be compared to original or intellectual intuition as this concept was posited by Kant. Intuition of this kind is-or would be, if it were-such that the existence [ Dasein ] of the object of intuition is given through it itself 1 -that is, through the intuition itself. In contrast to the derivative intuition belonging to all finite creatures, original intuition could be ascribed only to the primordial being ( Urwesen ). For such a being, the very intuition of something would coincide with its production-that is, as with phantasy and the voice, production-of images, of sounds, of objects-and intuitive reception of what is produced are bound together, either in intimate connection or, in the case of the primordial being, in absolute identity. Just as for the primordial being, intuition is bound to production, so in giving voice to an utterance I hear directly the utterance voiced; in speaking I hear myself speaking-indeed with such immediacy that the difference between the production and the reception of vocal sound appears to be completely dissolved.
The structural affinity between the voice thus regarded in its reflexivity and original intuition as the absolute identity of intuition and production point to the situatedness of this construal of the voice within the history of metaphysics. In effect, the construal of the voice as directly reflexive, as given back in its very sounding forth, envisions it as imaging the absolute reflexivity of the primordial being, for whom being an object is absolutely identical with being present to intuition. In other words, the voice is conceived within the compass of the identity of being and being present-that is, within the orbit of being as presence. In regarding this as the orbit in which metaphysics turns in the course of its history, it is imperative to observe that the word metaphysics floats undecidably between singular and plural. While the single determination of being as presence can-though not without discontinuities-be traced in the history of metaphysics, there are also multiple instances where a turn is initiated against precisely this determination, often even within the very affirmation of it. If this history can be regarded as the history of being-and this itself remains open to question-it is also, perhaps preeminently, the history of a thinking that can turn freely against the alleged destiny of being and interrupt its uniformity.
The philosophical concept of the voice belongs to this history, even though it assumes various guises. Yet, already in the Greek understanding of a certain breach of unity, a dispersion into different senses, can be observed. The most fully articulated sense is found in Aristotle. In Book 2 of De Anima 2 he offers a series of four interconnected determinations; they are set amid various discussions of how certain sounds such as coughing and sounds made by certain animals such as fish must be distinguished from voice. The first determination is of such generality that it does not quite exclude all these cases. It reads: Voice is sound produced by an ensouled being -though, as he adds, not with just any bodily part. The second determination describes the production: Voice consists in the impact of the inspired air on the so-called windpipe under the agency of the soul in those parts. The third determination states once again that the producer of the vocal sound must be ensouled, but it adds another, quite remarkable requirement: It is necessary that that which causes the impact be ensouled and do so with some phantasy [ ]. So, not only, as we have noted already, does phantasy exhibit a structural parallel with voice, but also, at least according to Aristotle s analysis, a certain exercise of phantasy belongs to voice, to the production of vocal sound. Without phantasy there would be only sound, no voice, not even if produced by an ensouled being. The final determination leaps entirely beyond all description of producer and production of voice, beyond to the operation of signification. It reads simply: Voice is a sound that means something [ -so: a signifying sound]. Aristotle does not draw a connection between the third and fourth determinations, specifically between the dependence of voice on phantasy and its capacity to mean something. However, one could readily suppose that phantasy serves to bring something into view-even though only, as we say, in the mind s eye-to bring it into view, to make it present, in such a way that in the sounding of the voice it can, in some register, be meant.
To the first of these determinations, which identifies voice as sound produced by an ensouled being, Aristotle adds another observation. He says that while inanimate things never make a vocal sound, there are certain things that can by virtue of similarity be said to do so; his examples are a flute and a lyre and indeed anything that has the characteristic features of a musical instrument. The similarity lies in the fact that voice also has these features, namely, musical range, tune, and modulation. Music is thus accorded a privileged relation to the voice. The affirmation of this relation, the reference of music as such to the voice, will remain decisive, even if covertly, until finally it is expressed explicitly in Hegel s Aesthetics -in these words: The human voice contains the ideal totality of soundings, which is merely spread out among the other instruments in their particular differences. 3 In this legacy running from Aristotle to Hegel, there is thus operative in the philosophical conception of music what Derrida will call phonocentrism.
For Aristotle voice is a certain kind of sound; it is sound produced by a certain kind of being in a certain way so as to have a signifying capacity. And yet, the word is not univocal-is not spoken as only one voice-but has also other senses. Near the end of Plato s Symposium , at the point where Socrates has just finished the speech in which he lent his voice to Diotima, there is a disruption of the conversation. Along with a hammering at the door, the symposiasts also heard the of the flute-girl -not her voice of course but the sound of her flute. Then, it is reported, they heard the of Alcibiades. 4 The sense is twofold: they heard the sound produced by Alcibiades, by his voice, his capacity to produce sound recognizable as his. The sense of voice as the power to produce a certain kind of sound-the sense that sounds most prominently in the English word voice -is still more explicit in a passage in Sophocles Electra . In this passage Clytemnestra is upbraiding Electra for having spread the rumor that her deed-the murder of Agamemnon-was brutal and unjust. She defends her action by appealing to Agamemnon s sacrifice of Iphigenia, their dau

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