Distance and defamiliarisation: Translation as philosophical method

Journal of Philosophy of Education 43 (3):421-435 (2009)
Abstract
In this article I posit translation as philosophical operation that disrupts commonsense meaning and understanding. By defamiliarising language, translation can arrest thinking about a text in a way that assumes the language is understood. In recent work I have grappled with the phrase 'ways of knowing', which, for linguistic and conceptual reasons, confuses discussions about epistemological diversity. I here expand this inquiry by considering languages in which more than one equivalent exists for the English verb 'to know'. French, for example, has both savoir and connaître , and German has wissen and kennen . This interlinguistic translation thus allows for a reconsideration of the inquiry into the phrase 'ways of knowing': do problems arise with 'ways of knowing-in-the sense-of connaître ', or with 'ways of knowing-in-the-sense-of savoir ', or both? Displacement is, more generally speaking, a method used by philosophers. Shifting the concept or phenomenon under consideration into a different context or discursive register allows one to defamiliarise it and see it in terms of something else. Through translation, whether interlinguistic or interdiscursive, philosophers ask what questions and understandings become possible when we see A in terms of B.
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References found in this work BETA
Stanley Cavell (2005). Philosophy the Day After Tomorrow. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA
Christiane Thompson (2012). Theorizing Education and Educational Research. Studies in Philosophy and Education 31 (3):239-250.
Stephen Dobson (2012). The Pedagogue as Translator in the Classroom. Journal of Philosophy of Education 46 (2):271-286.
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