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Quietude and identity - the silent core of language

Citation: Siebers, Johan (2011) Quietude and identity - the silent core of language. Empedocles: European Journal for the Philosophy of Communication, 2 (1). ISSN 17571952 (Submitted)

Despite the Heideggerian advice to remain silent about silence, this article explores the idea of a fundamental silence at the core of language, an idea that is present in the phenomenological tradition from Husserl to Derrida, but also in other thinkers. The relation between silence, speech, the face and identity is charted, and related to the question what it means to speak a language, and to speak this language rather than that language. The considerations establish the need for a philosophy of communication (in addition to a science of communication) and for an ethics of cautious anticipation regarding language change and linguistic diversity, an ethics which avoids the complicit dangers of (cultural and linguistic) fetishization and instrumentalisation; a multiverse of languages emerges as the only state in which language can exist.

Additional Information: An author-generated post-print of this article, incorporating the results of peer review but before copy-editing and typesetting.
Creators: Siebers, Johan and
Official URL:
Subjects: Culture, Language & Literature
Keywords: Silence, Meaning, Quietism, Derrida, Bloch, Agamben, Communication, Philosophy of Language, Metaphysics, Linguistic Diversity
Divisions: Institute of Modern Languages Research
  • 2011 ()


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