Becoming-language/becoming-other: Whence ethics?

Educational Philosophy and Theory 36 (3):313–325 (2004)
The problematics of language and communication, as pertaining to educational theory and practice, is closely connected with the understanding of human subjectivity (Biesta, 1995; Garrison, 1999). The discussion in this paper will focus on a specific philosophy of language as developed by Gilles Deleuze. In order to address some possible implications of such philosophy for moral education, this paper will position Deleuze’s philosophical thought against the background of Charles Taylor’s book The Ethics of Authenticity (1991), in which Taylor introduces his quite influential notion of the language of personal resonance. Taylor’s assertion that such a language might play a central role in helping us to be more responsive to the claims of nature and the social world at large will be critically examined, as will Taylor’s distinction of the two kinds of subjectivation and the danger, which, according to Taylor, arises from the confusion between the two. While recognizing the appropriateness of conceptualizing subtle languages, and supporting in general Taylor’s intent of the idea of reconstruction, this paper will question Taylor’s views on what he specifically identifies as a deconstructive strand of philosophical thought. The paper’s argument—in an effort to consider poststructuralist thinking as a sign of cultural evolution rather than decline, posited by Taylor—will address Gilles Deleuze’s postmodern, yet thoroughly constructive and pragmatic, philosophy that he called a philosophy-becoming . Within the scope of this paper, the review of Deleuzian (and Deleuze and Guattari’s) thinking will be selective and limited to some aspects of the problematics of language in both its expression and content. The paper will conclude by presenting a brief summary of Deleuze’s ethics for the purpose of considering his philosophical method within the context of moral education.
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