Download Contending with Stanley Cavell by Russell B. Goodman PDF

By Russell B. Goodman

Stanley Cavell has been a super, idiosyncratic, and debatable presence in American philosophy, literary feedback, and cultural reports for years. whilst he keeps to provide new writing of a excessive regular -- an instance of that's integrated during this assortment -- his paintings has elicited responses from a brand new new release of writers in Europe and the United States. This assortment showcases this new paintings, whereas illustrating the range of Cavell's pursuits: within the "ordinary language" philosophy of Wittgenstein and Austin, in movie feedback and concept, in literature, psychoanalysis, and the yank transcendentalism of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.

The assortment additionally reprints Richard Rorty's early evaluation of Cavell's magnum opus, The declare of Reason (1979), and it concludes with Cavell's great set of responses to the essays, a spotlight of that's his engagement with Rorty.

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Sample text

We might feel that this suspicion is also registered in his description of himself as “insisting” upon the Investigations as a philosophical text. In the Investigations itself, Wittgenstein is always suspicious of interlocutors who are led to insist on something; and Cavell maintains this wariness throughout The Claim of Reason. We might therefore ask ourselves: when Cavell insists that the Investigations is a philosophical text, who does he take himself to be informing, and of what? How or why might anyone think otherwise?

These are the materials with which the Wittgensteinian philosopher finds the ground of language strewn; they are the fragments from which a properly responsible modernist philosophy must construct its criticism of present human culture and attempt to reconstruct a humanly inhabitable form of life: Wittgenstein’s expression “The human body is the best picture of the human soul” is an attempt to replace or reinterpret these fragments of myth. It continues to express the idea that the soul is there to be seen, that my relation to the other soul is as immediate as to an object of sight, or would be as immediate if, so to speak, the relation could be effected.

Since any such designs can be effective only if those who encounter this text choose to stay with its orderings of words, we must first ask how it aims to elicit such a choice—how its opening encounter with its readers is designed to attract them. But where and how does this text conceive that its readers are to approach it? How are we to let this book teach us, this or anything? First Paragraph: Integrity and Reflexivity We might, provisionally, begin at the beginning. After all, the book’s Emersonian epigraph tells us that “[t]ruly speaking, it is not instruction, but provocation, that I can receive from another soul”; and the opening sentences of The Claim of Reason are certainly amongst its most provocative: If not at the beginning of Wittgenstein’s later philosophy, since what starts philosophy is no more to be known at the outset than how to make an end of it; and if not at the opening of Philosophical Investigations, since its opening is not to be confused with the starting of the philosophy it expresses, and since the terms in which that opening might be understood can hardly be given along with the opening itself; and if we 22 On Refusing to Begin 23 acknowledge from the commencement, anyway leave open at the opening, that the way this work is written is internal to what it teaches, which means that we cannot understand the manner (call it the method) before we understand its work; and if we do not look to our history, since placing this book historically can hardly happen earlier than placing it philosophically; nor look to Wittgenstein’s past, since then we are likely to suppose that the Investigations is written in criticism of the Tractatus, which is not so much wrong as empty, both because to know what constitutes its criticism would be to know what constitutes its philosophy, and because it is more to the present point to see how the Investigations is written in criticism of itself; then where and how are we to approach this text?

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