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Language Pangs: On Pain and the Origin of Language

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en Limba Engleză Hardback – 22 Aug 2019
We usually think about language and pain as opposites, the one being about expression and connection, the other destructive, "beyond words" so to speak, and isolating. Language Pangs challenges these familiar conceptions and offers a radical reconsideration of the relationship between pain and language in terms of an essential interconnectedness.

Ilit Ferber's premise is that we cannot probe the experience of pain without taking account its inherent relation to language; and vice versa, that our understanding of the nature of language essentially depends on how we take account of its correspondence with pain. Language Pangs brings together discussions of philosophical as well as literary texts, an intersection that is especially productive in considering the phenomenology of pain and its bearing on language. Ferber explores a phenomenology of pain and its relation to language, before providing a unique close reading of Johann Gottfried Herder's Treatise on the Origin of Language, the first modern philosophical text to consider language and pain, establishing the cry of pain as the origin of language. Herder also raises important claims regarding the relationship between human and animal, questions of sympathy and the role of hearing in the expression of pain. Beyond Herder, the book grapples with the work of other profound thinkers, including Martin Heidegger, Stanley Cavell, and Andr� Gide, and finally, Sophocles, from them weaving new insights on the experience of pain, expression, sympathy, and hearing.

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ISBN-13: 9780190053864
ISBN-10: 0190053860
Pagini: 200
Dimensiuni: 163 x 243 x 20 mm
Greutate: 0.45 kg
Editura: Oxford University Press
Colecția OUP USA
Locul publicării: New York, United States


Pain seems to place on us a paradoxical demand—it resists comprehension while simultaneously calling for our understanding and our capacity to hear someone's pain and respond toitaccordingly. In this book, Ferber shows that, rather than letting the paradox trap us in an impossible dilemma, we ought to revise our conceptions of language and the structures that allow us to make sense of it as a site for communicability. This book is the perfect example of what itmeans to be able to listen to literature, and to let it guide us through key questions in the history of thought.
Guided by sophisticated analyses of Herder and Heidegger, Ferber shows how the experience of pain, far from simply being world-destructive, as has been claimed in some contemporary scholarship, is an essential and indeed irreducible element of any language that in its world-making capacity is community-constructive. An incisive contribution to the broader renaissance of the 'expressivist' conception of language that emerges from Herder's writings, LanguagePangs culminates in an exemplary reading of Sophocles' Philoctetes, where the value of literature for the advancement of philosophical reflection can be seen with the utmost clarity.

Notă biografică

Ilit Ferber is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Tel-Aviv University. She is the author of Philosophy and Melancholy: Benjamin's Early Reflections on Theater and Language (Stanford University Press, 2013) and co-editor of three books on the philosophy of moods and on the language of lament. She has published numerous articles on Leibniz, Herder, Freud, Benjamin, Heidegger, Scholem, and Améry.