Interpreting Silence?

In: Research in Phenomenology
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  • 1 Pennsylvania State University, PA, USA

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Abstract

The guiding question in this essay is, how might we speak of silence—interpret silence—without objectifying it and losing a sense of it in the way we speak of it. That means that prioritizing the value of direct linguistic language, comprehension (i.e. constructing a conceptual grasp), interpreting what other hermeneuts say about silence, or attempting to make it visible is not a viable option. The myths of Hermes and Metis, however, might be integral to the lineages of speaking and knowing that are more suited to speaking of silence than the lineages that arise out of biblical exegesis and modern/contemporary philosophy and theology. In the process of shifting to the value of those myths, the bonding of truth and goodness with stability and moral decency is displaced by the value of uncertainty and indirection. Throughout, the essay accepts the distinction between silences and silence and prioritizes awareness of silence in the silence accompanying awareness.