A Pitch of Philosophy: Autobiographical Exercises (The Jerusalem-Harvard Lectures)
By: Stanley Cavell (author)Paperback
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What is the pitch of philosophy? Something thrown, for us to catch? A lurch, meant to unsettle us? The relative position of a tone on a scale? A speech designed to persuade? This book is an invitation to the life of philosophy in the United States, as Emerson once lived it and as Stanley Cavell now lives it - in all its topographical ambiguity. Cavell talks about his vocation in connection with what he calls voice - the tone of philosophy - and his right to take that tone, and to describe an anecdotal journey toward the discovery of his own voice. Cavell asks how the voice of philosophy can be heard amid the commerce of everyday life. His autobiographical exercises begin at home with his parents, his father an accidental pawnbroker and accomplished raconteur, his mother a trained and talented musician. In the course of showing us his certain steps in the discovery of his trade, he conveys the sense of what it means to learn to walk on one's own, with a Thoreauvian deliberateness. He pays suitable attention to a serious ally and antagonist to the task of philosophy as he understands it, namely, Jacques Derrida - yet Derrida has mounted a full-scale attack on "voice" and other concepts that Cavell has held open for much of a lifetime. The chapters are interwoven with intense family reminiscences in Cavell's discovery of J. L. Austin, his understanding of Wittgenstein, his raising of Emerson to the philosophical canon, his fascination with film (images of women in a medium for women), the revelation that film and opera are the media of otherness for women. And the voice at the end: hearing in himself the voice of his mother, which is music. Complex, sentimental, witty, A Pitch ofPhilosophy is for anyone who cares to take on philosophy, under whatever name it goes.
Stanley Cavell is Walter M. Cabot Professor, Emeritus, of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value, Harvard University.
Overture 1. Philosophy and the Arrogation of Voice 2. Counter-Philosophy and the Pawn of Voice The Metaphysical Voice Worlds of Philosophical Difference Pictures of Destruction Derrida's Austin and the Stake of Positivism Exclusion of the Theory of Excuses: On the Tragic Exclusion of the Theory of the Non-Serious Skepticism and the Serious Two Pictures of Communication: Assigning What (Thing) Is Transmitted? Austin Moves Two Pictures of Language in Relation to (the) World Three Pictures of My Attachment to My Words: Signing Opera and the Lease of Voice Bibliography Acknowledgments Subject Index Name Index
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