• Arne
    416
    The place of language within Being and Time is misunderstood and that is mostly Heidegger's fault and I suspect he would agree. That having been said, the misunderstanding itself is rooted in Heidegger's failure to clearly distinguish between language and what he calls discourse. Many walk away from Being and Time mistakenly believing Heidegger considers language and discourse to be generally synonymous. He does not. Instead and for Heidegger, discourse is comprised of anything and everything that we do, think, and say that is intended to render explicit our understanding of being-in-the-world. Further and for Heidegger, most of what does comprise discourse is what we do and not what we think or say. Simply put and for Heidegger, language is not front and center when it comes to rendering explicit our understanding of being-in-the-world.
  • fdrake
    2.5k
    when it comes to rendering explicit our understanding of being-in-the-world.Arne

    It seems to play a pivotal role in reflection though. Thematisation without writing is empty, indication without words is blind.
  • Arne
    416
    I agree that language plays a pivotal role in reflection and I suspect Heidegger would also agree. However, he would maintain that the role of reflection is quite minimal in our average everydayness. Only for the novice does reflection play a role in most of the routine things we do each and every day. That in fact the better we get at doing things (rendering explicit our understanding of what we are doing) the less thought we give them and the less thought we need to give them.
  • Arne
    416
    1. There is being-in-the-world.
    2. There is the intelligibility of being-in-the-world.
    3. There is an understanding rooted in the intelligibility of being-in-the-world.
    4. There is an interpretation of an understanding rooted in the intelligibility of being-in-the-world.
    5. There is a rendering explicit of an interpretation of an understanding rooted in the intelligibility of being-in-the-world.
    6. There is language as a method (one of several) for rendering explicit an interpretation of an understanding rooted in the intelligibility of being-in-the-world.

    Language does not make an appearance in the primordial order of being-in-the-world until level six and even then it is just one of several methods for doing what it does.
  • Terrapin Station
    12.5k
    Further and for Heidegger, most of what does comprise discourse is what we do and not what we think or say.Arne

    What would be an example of discourse that's not what we think or say?
  • Arne
    416
    When I turn the oven to 425 degrees in order to bake a potato, I have just expressed my understanding of the appropriate temperature at which to bake a potato. Every act is an expression of an understanding and every such expression is discourse.
  • Fooloso4
    1k
    A few quotes from Being and Time I.5 section 34: Dasein and discourse: Language


    Discourse is the articulation of intelligibility. (161)

    The attuned intelligibility of being-in-the-world is expressed as discourse. (161)

    The way in which discourse gets expressed is language. (161)

    Its constitutive factors are: what discourse is about (what is discussed), what is said as such, communication, and making known. These are not properties that can be just empirically snatched from language, but are existential characteristics rooted in the constitution of being of Dasein which first make something like language ontologically possible. (162-163)

    Hearing is constitutive for discourse. (163)

    On the basis of this existentially primary potentiality for hearing, something like hearkening becomes possible. (163)

    It requires a very artificial and complicated attitude in order to "hear" a "pure noise". The fact that we initially hear motorcycles and wagons is, however, the phenomenal proof that Dasein, as being in the world, always already maintains itself together with innerworldly things at hand and initially not at all with "sensations" whose chaos would first have to be formed to provide the springboard from which the subject jumps off finally to land in a "world". Essentially understanding, Dasein is initially together with what is understood. (164)

    Another essential possibility of discourse has the same existential foundation, keeping silent. (164)
  • Arne
    416
    Excellent. Heidegger is definitely a bit murky on the issue. And limiting oneself to just Being and Time is no help. But his failure to be more precise in Being and Time does not affect the overall ontological thrust of his work.

    In that context, I say:
    "Discourse" is the process whereby one expresses an interpretation of an understanding rooted in the intelligibility of being-in-the-world.

    And language is just one of the many ways for engaging in that process.

    For those who are unable to conceive of "Discourse" in non-verbal/non-linguistic terms, then I simply say:
    "X" is the process whereby one expresses an interpretation of an understanding rooted in the intelligibility of being-in-the-world.

    And language is just on of the many ways for engaging in that process.

    Had you actually replied directly to me, I would have responded days ago.

    Oh well.
  • Fooloso4
    1k


    What does Heidegger mean when he says, as quoted above: "Discourse is the articulation of intelligibility."? To articulate is to separate or distinguish. It is not simply something we do in language, it is a necessary condition for language. Thus: "Hearing is constitutive for discourse". We do not hear pure noise but, as in the example above, a motorcycle or wagon.

    He says:

    Discourse [Rede] is existentially equiprimordial with state-of-mind and understanding
  • Arne
    416
    "What does Heidegger mean when he says, as quoted above: "Discourse is the articulation of intelligibility."?"


    Why are you asking me? :smile:

    My interpretation of Heidegger suggests:
    Discourse is the process of expressing (articulating?) an interpretation of an understanding rooted in the intelligibility of being-in-the-world.

    So yes, discourse is ultimately rooted in the intelligibility of being-in-the-world.
  • Arne
    416
    He says:

    Discourse [Rede] is existentially equiprimordial with state-of-mind and understanding
    Fooloso4

    And therefore? Are you asking me whether I agree or what I think that means?

    I suspect any understanding of discourse as equiprimordial with state-of-mind and understanding is rooted in thrownness and falling. And thrownness and falling together are such that we have to keep moving forward in the world and we do so by our actions. And discourse is the process whereby our state-of-mind and our understanding are transformed into actions.
  • Fooloso4
    1k
    "What does Heidegger mean when he says, as quoted above: "Discourse is the articulation of intelligibility."?"
    ↪Fooloso4

    Why are you asking me?
    Arne

    It was a rhetorical question. I asked in order to provide the answer I gave. But also, such questions should be asked by anyone who is interested in interpreting the thought of others. I am writing on the assumption that I am not just addressing you but possibly others.

    Discourse [Rede] is existentially equiprimordial with state-of-mind and understanding
    — Fooloso4

    And therefore? Are you asking me whether I agree or what I think that means?

    It helps orient anyone reading Being and Time with regard to language and discourse. It is not readily apparent what it means though, so any comments you have might be helpful. Again, I am writing on the assumption that I am not just addressing you but possibly others.

    And discourse is the process whereby our state-of-mind and our understanding are transformed into actions.Arne

    How do you think hearing relates to this process of transformation into actions? Is hearkening to the call of conscience an action or does the action follow from hearing the call? How do you think this process relates to Heidegger's claim that keeping silent is an essential possibility of discourse, that silence has the same existential foundation?
  • Possibility
    498
    When I turn the oven to 425 degrees in order to bake a potato, I have just expressed my understanding of the appropriate temperature at which to bake a potato. Every act is an expression of an understanding and every such expression is discourse.Arne

    I only have a general understanding of Heidegger, so bear with me.

    I would have interpreted the action of turning the oven to 425 degrees as a transparent aspect of your experience in order to bake a potato for the sake of providing food, rather than an expression of understanding that enables one to share the world with others: which is more what I understand discourse to be. You’re assuming that I’m meant to interpret your expression by this action, but is this the reason you turn the oven to 425 degrees?

    While I agree that discourse is not just language or talking, it’s not just an act that demonstrates understanding, either. Discourse is tied to being-with: it includes listening or being silent as well as verbal, written or body language, facial expressions and other performative aspects of communication.
  • Janus
    8.3k
    I think Heidegger would probably reply that "in order to" and 'for the sake of which" are paradigmatically central elements of discourse.
  • Possibility
    498
    Fair enough - I may have to read up some more. I get that ‘for the sake of which’ can apply to discourse, but I can’t see how it applies in this case, except perhaps in writing/saying “I turn the oven to 425 degrees” - which of course defeats the purpose as an example of non-linguistic discourse.

    How would you say that the action relates to being-with, such that it is performed for the sake of ‘the one’ in terms of expressing an understanding of the appropriate temperature at which to bake a potato? I don’t quite follow.

    If indeed every act is an expression of understanding and therefore a discourse, then how does this relate to reflexes or subconscious/animal behaviour? I ask this because I (perhaps mistakenly) understood activity occurring at the level of understanding (skilled activity in the domain of ready-to-hand) and perhaps even intelligibility, not only beyond interpretation in explicitly taking something as something.

    I’d appreciate some help with the confusion.
  • Arne
    416

    First, I do believe my opening remark for the thread was to the effect that Heidegger’s position on language is a bit confusing and that one of the ways to untangle it is to accept that he does not consider “discourse” and “language” to be synonymous.

    Second, I too write for the “ear” of all those who may choose to read (and perhaps engage in) the ongoing discussion. And to be above board in that regard, my understanding and interpretation of being is obviously Heideggerian. But Heidegger is difficult to understand, leaves much room for interpretation, and leaves significant gaps in his overall ontological thrust. As a result, much of what I say includes my own interpretations of being and I do not in any form or fashion claim that Heidegger or anyone else for that matter would necessarily agree with them.

    But this forum is not formal to the degree that I am going to write footnotes or necessarily delineate clearly between my interpretations of Heidegger per se and my own interpretations of being in light of the deficiencies in Heidegger’s work.

    All of that having been said, I am not so certain that “silence” as a form of discourse is as complex as your questions suggest. When my wife and I had disagreements (I am a widower) and she went silent, it spoke volumes. Similarly and while I was growing up, my father spoke very little. But many is the person who would say to the effect, "your father does not speak much; but when he does, you are well advised to listen." And I do think those are the type of situations to which Heidegger refers.

    And in that regard, one of the things I see in Heidegger is a continual refusal to frame issues in terms of opposites. Intentional silence is not the opposite of discourse (it is a comportment toward discourse), intentional solitude is not the opposite of daseining-with (it is a comportment toward daseining-with), and a lack of solicitude is not the opposite of care (it is a comportment toward care).

    And finally, I recently read Heidegger's Analytic by Taylor Carmen. Chapter 5 is an excellent take on discourse and does push the envelope, though perhaps not as far as I. For those serious about Heidegger, the entire book is a must read. I suspect I will read it many times.
  • Arne
    416


    To clarify, I interpret discourse as the process of expressing an interpretation of an understanding rooted in the intelligibility of being-in-the-world. As you can see, the definition does not require that an expression be either public or communicative in any form, including verbal/linguistic forms (though it can be.).

    And for those who are uncomfortable with the notion of a private discourse divorced from the verbal and/or linguistic, I am happy to interpret "[X} as the process of expressing an interpretation of an understanding rooted in the intelligibility of being-in-the-world".

    If we had no understanding of the world, we would have no basis upon with to choose one act over another or several others. But we do have an understanding of the world and in order to act with purpose there are times we must render "explicit" our understanding. For example and if one wants a good potato, it is not enough to understand that heat is useful for baking potatoes. One must understand how much heat and for how long, i.e., one's understanding must be more explicit than heat is useful.

    And the process of rendering explicit our understanding is what Heidegger calls interpretation. In turn, discourse is an expression of our interpretation. And I express my interpretation of my understanding of what is necessary to bake a good potato by turning the oven to 425 degrees and setting the timer to 30 minutes at which point I would turn the potato and reset the timer for another 30 minutes.

    And none of that would be possible absent a general understanding of cooking and a more explicit understanding of cooking a potato and the ability to put that understanding in to actions both verbal and non-verbal and both private and public.

    Keep in mind, Heidegger is attempting to describe our regular and ongoing involvement in the world in our average every dayness, i.e,, walking the dogs, mowing the lawn, taking out the trash, baking potatoes. And very little of our average everyday involvement in the world is intended to be publicly communicative.
  • Arne
    416
    Discourse is tied to being-with:Possibility

    Discourse is not exclusively tied to being-with.

    Discourse is equiprimordial with both disposition (mood, state-of-mind) and understanding.

    As such and by definition Discourse is tied to being-in-the-world in general and that would not change even if you were the only remaining Dasein.

    Every being-in-the-world has 1) a disposition toward the world, 2) an understanding of the world, and 3) is in Discourse with the world.

    And when it comes to our average everydayness, most of our Discourse with the world is neither verbal/linguistic nor intended to be publicly communicative.

    Simply put and to put it another way, Discourse is the process whereby we render our disposition and our understanding in to active involvement in the world.

    If you are unable to think of Discourse in non-verbal/non-linguistic terms, then [X] is the process whereby we render our disposition and our understanding in to active involvement in the world.

    However and whatever term you find helpful, please keep in mind that it must also carry the burden of being equiprimordial with disposition and understanding. And that is no small task for any word.
  • Fooloso4
    1k
    But this forum is not formal to the degree that I am going to write footnotes or necessarily delineate clearly between my interpretations of Heidegger per se and my own interpretations of being in light of the deficiencies in Heidegger’s work.Arne

    I hear this quite often. While I do not think there is anything wrong with going beyond what a particular philosopher says, it leads to all kinds of confusion when the distinction is not made. Making the distinction does not require footnotes. Your opening post was about how Being and Time is misunderstood. If the text is to be understood we must attend to it. That is what I have been doing. It is what I thought you were doing. It is only by attending to the work that we can judge whether it is the work that is deficient or our understanding of the work.

    I am not so certain that “silence” as a form of discourse is as complex as your questions suggest.Arne

    I will let Heidegger speak. First, with regard to the examples you gave:

    But to keep silent does not mean to be dumb. On the contrary, if a man is dumb, he still has a tendency to 'speak'. Such a person has not proved that he can keep silence ; indeed, he entirely lacks the possibility of proving anything of the sort. And the person who is accustomed by Nature to speak little is no better able to show that he is keeping silent or that he is the sort of person who can do
    so. He who never says anything cannot keep silent at any given moment. (164-165)

    And with regard to genuine or authentic discoursing:


    Keeping silent authentically is possible only in genuine discoursing. To be able to keep silent, Dasein must have something to say-that is, it must have at its disposal an authentic and rich disclosedness of itself. In that case one's reticence [Verschwiegenheit] makes something manifest, and does away with 'idle talk' ["Gerede"]. As a mode of discoursing, reticence Articulates the intelligibility of Dasein in so primordial a manner that it gives rise to a potentiality-for-hearing which is genuine, and to a Being with-one-another which is transparent (165).

    Dasein is disclosed through our keeping silent. It is only when we, men, keep silent that we can hear what Dasein has to say.


    Indeed, hearing constitutes the primary and authentic way in which Dasein is open for its ownmost potentiality-for-Being ... (163).
  • tim wood
    3k
    Simply put and for Heidegger, language is not front and center when it comes to rendering explicit our understanding of being-in-the-world.Arne

    There has to be memory. And Heidegger also wrote, although not in B&T, that "language is the house of being."

    "Discourse" - as opposed to language (assuming I understand what you wrote) - can express, but there is no appreciation of expression except in language via memory. That is, language is exactly front, center, and all around. But it's like the house you live in. Always it's a living room, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, basement attic, even roof, foundation, walls, plumbing, & etc., all with respect to function. Rarely is the house as a whole in active consideration. And it seems to me you're not seeing the house.
  • Arne
    416
    Your opening post was about how Being and Time is misunderstood. If the text is to be understood we must attend to it. That is what I have been doing. It is what I thought you were doing.Fooloso4

    The thread is entitled Heidegger and Language and though I refer specifically toBeing and Time in the original post, there is nothing in the original post to suggest that I or anyone else must limit our discussion of Heidegger and Language to only Being and Time. If you would like to do that, I am fine limiting my discussions with you to only Being and Time.

    And I see no inconsistencies between my comments and examples regarding silence and your subsequent comments. Returning to the example of my father, his own tendencies to silence had the effect of amplifying his words on the occasions when he did choose to speak.
  • Arne
    416
    "Discourse" - as opposed to language (assuming I understand what you wrote) - can express, but there is no appreciation of expression except in language via memory. That is, language is exactly front, center, and all around.tim wood

    Though Heidegger did indeed consider language to be the house of being, it is important to keep in mind that in Being and Time he is attempting to describe being-in-the-world in terms of the average everydayness of our involvement in the world. And most of the average everydayness of our involvement has little to do with expressions intended for the appreciation of others.

    Most of our day is spent expressing our interpretation of our understanding of the world by taking the dogs for a walk, mowing the lawn, baking a potato, doing the dishes and so on. And such mundane involvements in the world take up far more time than the amount of time the average person spends upon expressions intended for consumption by others.

    Though language might well be "front, center, and all around" when dealing with expressions intended for public consumption and evaluation, such expressions account for an extremely small amount of the daily involvement in the world of the average person.

    And again and in Being and Time, Heidegger is in pursuit of the nature of being in our average everydayness.

    Woke up
    Fell out of bed
    Dragged a comb across my head
    Went downstairs and drank a cup. . .

    A Day in Life is not a day in which "language is exactly front, center, and all around." In fact, it is quite the opposite.
  • Fooloso4
    1k
    If you would like to do that, I am fine limiting my discussions with you to only Being and Time.Arne

    It is not a question of limiting the discussion but of identifying whether you are interpreting BT, introducing other works by H., or addressing something that is not in the text.

    And I see no inconsistencies between my comments and examples regarding silence and your subsequent comments.Arne

    The examples you gave are what H. describes in the first paragraph I quoted. He contrasts this with genuine or authentic silence.

    Returning to the example of my father, his own tendencies to silence had the effect of amplifying his words on the occasions when he did choose to speak.Arne

    As I understand it, the effect of amplifying his words is not what genuine silence is about. It is about the hearing, about the disclosure of Dasein.
  • Arne
    416
    It is not a question of limiting the discussion but of identifying whether you are interpreting BT, introducing other works by H., or addressing something that is not in the text.Fooloso4

    I am addressing Heidegger and Language. Confusion also results when people presume their projects are the same as the projects of other people. My primary project is to raise interest in Heidegger. You seem to suggest that my project has something to do with judging whether Heidegger lacks clarity regarding language. I have already made that judgment and it is clearly stated in the first sentence of the original post.

    It is clear that Heidegger says all sorts of things about discourse, language and silence. It strikes me as a fool's errand to reduce what Heidegger has to say about each to a single statement he may have said about each.

    As for my father's tendency to silence, I was merely commenting upon its effect in regard to those occasions when he chose not to be silent. And in that sense, I was using the example of his silence to highlight Heidegger's distinction between those who are silent because they have nothing to say and those for whom silence is what they have to say.

    As for "genuine" silence being about the disclosure of Dasein, that is true of all forms of disclosure. There is nothing else for Dasein to disclose but Dasein. Dasein is the disclosure of Dasein.

    Carry on.
  • Joshs
    716
    1. There is being-in-the-world.
    2. There is the intelligibility of being-in-the-world.
    3. There is an understanding rooted in the intelligibility of being-in-the-world.
    4. There is an interpretation of an understanding rooted in the intelligibility of being-in-the-world.
    5. There is a rendering explicit of an interpretation of an understanding rooted in the intelligibility of being-in-the-world.
    6. There is language as a method (one of several) for rendering explicit an interpretation of an understanding rooted in the intelligibility of being-in-the-world.
    Arne

    I would make the following modifications: Understanding is equi-primordial with being-in -the -world and thus with intelligibility. Interpetation of understanding is always a making explicit.

    "Interpretation is existentially based in understanding, and not the other way around. Interpretation is not the acknowledgment of what has been understood, but rather the development of possibilities
    projected in understanding. Circumspection discovers, that is, the world which has already been understood is interpreted. What is at hand comes explicitly before sight that understands."

    I wouldn't say that language in its broadest sense for Heidegger is merely one of several methods of rendering explicit an interpretation of understanding. Rather , language as signification is interpretation itself in all its guises.

    "For the most part, discourse expresses itself and has always already expressed itself. It is language. But then understanding and interpretation are always already contained in what is expressed. As
    expression, language harbors in itself an interpretedness of the understanding of Da-sein. This interpretedness is no more merely objectively present than language is, but rather its being is itself of the character of Da-sein."
  • Joshs
    716
    Woke up
    Fell out of bed
    Dragged a comb across my head
    Went downstairs and drank a cup. . .

    A Day in Life is not a day in which "language is exactly front, center, and all around." In fact, it is quite the opposite.
    Arne

    When we are involved in any activity, such as what is described above in McCartney's lyric, we are involved in significations. These activities only exist for us because they have relevance for us. They are meaningful in their significance, and in signifying, they are language.
  • Fooloso4
    1k
    "Discourse" - as opposed to language (assuming I understand what you wrote) - can express, but there is no appreciation of expression except in language via memory. That is, language is exactly front, center, and all around.tim wood

    What Heidegger says is that the intelligibility of our being-in-the-world is expressed in discourse and the way in which discourse gets expressed is language(161).

    So what is the difference between language and discourse? Arne thinks that Heidegger failed to clearly distinguish them. I think the failure is more likely to be on the part of the reader. It is not clear to me whether Arne is explicating or going beyond Heidegger in saying:

    discourse is comprised of anything and everything that we doArne

    What Heidegger says is:

    Its constitutive factors are: what discourse is about (what is discussed), what is said as such, communication, and making known. These are not properties that can be just empirically snatched from language, but are existential characteristics rooted in the constitution of being of Dasein which first make something like language ontologically possible. (162-163)Fooloso4
    [Stambaugh translation]

    The items constitutive for discourse are : what the discourse is about (what is talked about) ; what is said-in the-talk, as such ; the communication; and the making-known. These are not properties which can just be raked up empirically from language. They are existential characteristics rooted in the state of Dasein's Being, and it is they that first make anything like language ontologically possible.
    [Macquarrie and Robinson translation]

    He says nothing here about discourse being about anything other than what is said, what is talked about.

    In their translation Macquarrie and Robinson note:

    'Rede'. As we have pointed out earlier ... we have translated this word either as 'discourse' or 'talk', as the context seems to demand, sometimes compromising with the hendiadys 'discourse or talk'. But in some contexts 'discourse' is too formal while 'talk' is too colloquial ; the reader must remember that there is no good English equivalent for 'Rede'. (p.203)
  • Joshs
    716
    He says nothing here about discourse being about anything other than what is said, what is talked about.Fooloso4

    I wonder. My sense is that , as equi-primoridial with temporality, understanding, Care and attunement,
    discourse is indeed a primordial pre-condition for all of Dasein's experiencing. How so? Dasein implies the unconcealing disclosing of a world. For a world to be disclosed for Dasein, it must be articulated as totality of relevance. In its having significance for Dasein, the world signifies as discourse.
  • Fooloso4
    1k


    I am not sure if you are taking issue with the claim that discourse is not about what we do, that it is not, for example, as Arne would have it, turning on the oven to bake a potato. One might, however, say that talking is a kind of doing, but hearing and being silence are not a kind of doing. There is something active in disclosure but also something passive or receptive.
  • Joshs
    716
    I am not sure if you are taking issue with the claim that discourse is not about what we do, that it is not, for example, as Arne would have it, turning on the oven to bake a potato.Fooloso4

    As I understand Heidegger, Dasein is always a doing, but doing for Heidegger means a meaningful involvement with others in the world.which is at the same time a praxis, an understanding, an attunement and a discoursing. Discourse serves the same purpose for Heidegger that language does for Derrida and other post-structuralists. Rather than being a secondary phenomenon in relation to perception, it is intrinsic to all forms of experiencing.
  • I like sushi
    1.3k


    And in that regard, one of the things I see in Heidegger is a continual refusal to frame issues in terms of opposites. Intentional silence is not the opposite of discourse (it is a comportment toward discourse), intentional solitude is not the opposite of daseining-with (it is a comportment toward daseining-with), and a lack of solicitude is not the opposite of care (it is a comportment toward care).

    This is a point that should be taken into consideration during any discourse if we hope to gain something of substance from the exchange. The number of times I see the misapplication of antonyms in discussions makes me cringe. That is not to say a binary delineation is useless, only that it is a tool that can be blindly clumsily applied if we’re not careful.
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