The Present Personal

Kobo ebook | January 22, 2005

byHagi Kenaan

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Is philosophy deaf to the sound of the personal voice? While philosophy is experienced at admiring, resenting, celebrating, and, at times, renouncing language, philosophers have rarely succeeded in being intimate with it. Hagi Kenaan argues that philosophy's concern with abstract forms of linguistic meaning and the objective, propositional nature of language has obscured the singular human voice. In this strikingly original work Kenaan explores the ethical and philosophical implications of recognizing and responding to the individual presence in language.

In pursuing the philosophical possibility of listening to language as the embodiment of the human voice, Kenaan explores the phenomenological notion of the "personal." He defines the personal as the irresolvable tension that exists between the public character of language, necessary for intelligibility, and the ways in which we, as individuals, remain riveted to our words in a contingently singular manner.

The Present Personal fuses phenomenology and aesthetics and the traditions of Continental and Anglo-American philosophy, drawing on Wittgenstein, J. L. Austin, Kant, Kierkegaard, and Heidegger as well as literary works by Kafka, Kundera, and others. By asking new questions and charting fresh terrain, Kenaan does more than offer innovative investigations into the philosophy of language; The Present Personal, and its concern with the intimate and personal nature of language, uncovers the ethical depth of our experience with language.

Kenaan begins with a discussion of Kierkegaard's existential critique of language and the ways in which the propositional structure of language does not allow the spoken to reflect the singularity of the self. He then compares two attempts to subvert the "hegemony of content": the pragmatic turn of J. L. Austin and the poetic path of Heidegger. Kenaan concludes by turning to Kant and discovering an analogy between the experience of meaning in language and the aesthetic experience of encountering beauty. Kenaan's reconceptualization of philosophy's approach to language frees the contingent singularity of language while, at the same time, permitting it to continue to dwell within the confines of content.

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Is philosophy deaf to the sound of the personal voice? While philosophy is experienced at admiring, resenting, celebrating, and, at times, renouncing language, philosophers have rarely succeeded in being intimate with it. Hagi Kenaan argues that philosophy's concern with abstract forms of linguistic meaning and the objective, propositi...

Hagi Kenaan is senior lecturer in the Department of Philosophy, Tel Aviv University. In addition to studies of aesthetics and the philosophies of Husserl, Heidegger, and Derrida, Kenaan has published poetry and a children's book, One Special Day, Philosophy.

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Format:Kobo ebookPublished:January 22, 2005Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231508271

ISBN - 13:9780231508278

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Philosophy and the Personal
1. Language and the Bell Jar
A Picture Held Us Captive
Language's Frame
The Fact of the Propositional
"This Is How Things Are"
The Bell Jar
2. The Limits of Language and the Dream of Transcendence
Philosophy and Disappointment
Language: The Map
Language and Silence: The Example of Abraham
The Limits of Language and the Question of Freedom
Before the Law of Language
From Disappointment to Philosophy
3. Austin's Fireworks
Austin's Fireworks: The Promise of the Pragmatic Turn
How to Do Things with Austin
The Act of Speech
The Pragmatic and the Personal
The Mirror at Hand: Afterthoughts
4. Personal Objects
Heidegger (Before) and (After) Austin
Heidegger's Pragmatic Interpretation of the Ordinary
The Prison of the Ordinary
The Aesthetic Elision of the Personal
Van Gogh's Shoes
Sabina's Hat
5. Language Unframed: Beauty as Model
It's Funny
Aesthetic Judgment
The Language of Taste
The Phenomenality of Your Words
6. Personal Time
The Time Is Past
Time and the Language of Possibility
Time Prefaced
Perhaps Present
In My End Is My Beginning

Editorial Reviews

Of course we experience persons. But the seeming obviousness of this fact loses sight of a problem that has shadowed our all toooften inhumane age. Kenaan succeeds in showing how such blindnessistied to a widely accepted understanding of language and reality. Wittgenstein, Kierkegaard, Austin, and Heidegger offer him the firstrungs of a ladder that promises an escape from the prison that holdsus captive. Given the dreariness of so much philosophical writingtoday, this short book strikes me as a breath of fresh air.