The language of violence: chiastic encounters

La Caze, Marguerite (2016) The language of violence: chiastic encounters. Sophia, 55 1: 115-127. doi:10.1007/s11841-016-0519-z

Author La Caze, Marguerite
Title The language of violence: chiastic encounters
Journal name Sophia   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1873-930X
Publication date 2016-04
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s11841-016-0519-z
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 55
Issue 1
Start page 115
End page 127
Total pages 13
Place of publication Dordrecht, Netherlands
Publisher Springer Netherlands
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
In her recent book, Violence and the Philosophical Imaginary (2012), Ann Murphy suggests that the philosophical imaginary, in particular that of contemporary continental philosophy, is imbued with images of violence (2012, 117). The concept of the philosophical imaginary is drawn from the work of Michèle Le Dœuff to explore the role of images of violence in philosophy. Murphy sets the language of violence, reflexivity, and critique against that of vulnerability, ambiguity and responsibility. Her concern is that images of violence have become and may become more ‘neutralised, domesticated or eroticised’ in objectionable ways (2012, 3). There is no doubt Murphy has isolated and highlighted a striking feature of the continental imaginary in a clear and thoughtful way. My paper takes Murphy’s argument further by elaborating a Le Dœuffian argument that theorises the reversal of priority from violent language to the violence of language. I take Murphy’s injunction for attention and sensitivity seriously by examining the language of violence and exposing that which is unfamiliar, what has become incorporated and what is revealed by the language that is used. The language of the third Reich and the language of the Rwandan genocide will be briefly compared to demonstrate these points. Our responsibility is to recognise the use of euphemism and metaphor to sometimes cover and sometimes blatantly advertise the horrifying truth. The focus on violence in philosophical language can lead us away from the violence of genocidal language and other violent language that philosophers, like all responsible people, are called to witness.
Keyword Ann Murphy
Le Dœuff
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
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