Re: Welcome to heidegger (ps Q on Derrida)

On Sat, 6 May 1995 [email protected] wrote:

> This is quite uncanny! Your earlier query prompted me to take a look at *On
> the Way to Language*.

How great! Let me respond to something else you have written about:

> By page 23 the discussion between the Japanese and the Inquirer has arrived
> at the phrase "house of Being" and the Inquirer suggests that the phrase
> gives a "hint of the nature of language." The Japanese replies, "It seems to
> me you have just said a freeing word." Later the Japanese says "...I fear
> that to call your "house of Being" a hint might tempt you and me to elaborate
> the notion of hinting into a guiding concept in which we then bundle up
> everything." The Inquirer replies that "This must not happen."

I read this as a concern that the metaphor 'house of being' is a 'hint'
becomes a vacuous cliche' (this is a termhe uses at the bottom of p. 81 in
"The Nature of Language"). We would 'bundle everything up' and not have
anything left to illuminate.

This is not an authoritative reading, however. I have only glanced at
the Dialogue on Language, and not recently.

> This sounds like a preemptive strike against the sort of approach that
> Derrida was to take, as "hint" seems to resonate with "trace." Does anyone
> else see it this way?

I think this is an interesting connection, but it isn't how I see
Derrida's "trace." When I think of "trace" I think of the metaphysics of
presence having a "trace of non-presence". One cannot focus on presence
without knowing that there is 'non-presence' to disregard -- and thus
presence has the "trace" of "non-presence." (from Grammatology, I think.)

If I can, in turn, pull you into my thoughts about the Nature of Language,
essay, I want to tell you how I am reading it for you to comment on. I
see him as saying that our thoughts are the echo of what we hear, or
perhaps some version of what we hear. (And thoughts and what we hear can
illuminate the world.)

For example, he says "We hear it [language] constantly, of
course, but do not give it thought. If we did not hear it everywhere we
could not use one single word of language." (p.76) "Our speaking merely
follows language constantly."(p.75)

So just as I sometimes hear myself saying things that sound like someone
else, so the hearing of others echos in my mind and gives me thoughts.
This leaves us with the question of what in my thoughts are 'mine' (to
employ a capitalistic metaphor).

One other thing, if anyone here reads Wittgenstein, I am thinking his
concept of 'neighborhood' in this essay is close to language game. A
language game does not only create a 'way of life' but, to switch
metaphors, a neighborhood of meaning. Your thoughts?


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