Speech Act as Event: Derrida, Austin and Arendt

Russian Sociological Review 13 (2):9-24 (2014)

While the Anglo-American tradition approaches speech acts mainly through the philosophy of language, Derrida relocates the field of analysis and considers speech acts within the broader context of political philosophy as well as the philosophy of subject. Instead of asking ‘how and under which conditions certain speech acts change the state of affairs’, Derrida questions the very nature of social links in order to reveal the ‘condition of possibility’ of performative acts in particular and of verbal communication in general. He shows that this condition is the primordial trust between interlocutors. The primordial trust is based on two heterogeneous types of experience: experience of relation to the absolute Other and experience of a sacral universal law that ensures stability of society. The speech act as based of the trust is twofold: it is both an event and a reinstatement of an automatic process. This juxtaposition of the event and the mechanical forms of social life links Derrida’s political thought to that of Arendt. Their agreement, however, does not continue into the realm of the philosophy of subject. Derrida insists on the importance of the hidden conversion of the speaker who privately addresses the Other, whereas for Arendt the self has no genuine access to itself outside of the public domain of the political
Keywords event   speech act   trust   social links   authority   Derrida   Austin   Arendt
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References found in this work BETA

How to Do Things with Words.J. L. Austin - 1966 - Mind 75 (298):262-285.
Philosophical Papers.J. L. AUSTIN - 1961 - Oxford University Press.
Speech Acts.J. R. Searle - 1969 - Foundations of Language 11 (3):433-446.
The Life of the Mind.Hannah Arendt - 1980 - Human Studies 3 (3):302-308.
Between Past and Future.Judith N. Shklar & Hannah Arendt - 1963 - History and Theory 2 (3):286.

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