Studies in Philosophy and Education 35 (4):399-413 (2016)

From the beginning of history sounds have played a fundamentally important role in humanity’s development as ways of expression and of communication. However in contemporary western society, and indeed globally, we are experiencing an excess of speech and a relentless encouragement to expression. Such excess indicates a misunderstanding about what expression and dialogue should be. This condition encourages us to think about silence, solitude and contemplation and the role they might play in restoring the realm of personal understanding of the Self and of one’s authentic experience of the Other. The purpose of this article is to explore the potency of a silence that arises from our participation in the world. We present first some ideas about silence as a human phenomenon. This is followed by an examination of silence and language, an investigation of silence in dialogue, and of its educational implications. The article concludes by emphasising the value of silence as potency in itself, assisting in recovering the expressive powers of language. We argue that it is important to understand the positive status of silence in order to recognise and avoid repressive speech and to introduce its potential for reflective learning.
Keywords Silence  Dialogue  Expression  Learning
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11217-015-9485-0
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,091
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Tacit Dimension. --.Michael Polanyi & Amartya Sen - 1966 - Chicago, IL: University of Chicago.
Totality and Infinity.Emmanuel Levinas - 1961/1969 - Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.
Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority.Emmanuel Levinas - 1961 - Distribution for the U.S. And Canada, Kluwer Boston.
I and Thou.Martin Buber - 1958 - New York: Scribner.

View all 30 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Mortality and Medicine: Forms of Silence and of Speech.M. Rowe - 2003 - Medical Humanities 29 (2):72-76.
Listening From Silence: Inner Composure and Engagement.Leonard J. Waks - 2008 - Paideusis: Journal of the Canadian Philosophy of Education Society 17 (2):65-74.
The Meaning of Silence.Richard Ennals - 2007 - AI and Society 21 (4):625-632.
God's Silence as an Epistemological Concern.Brooke Alan Trisel - 2012 - Philosophical Forum 43 (4):383-393.
Practising Silence in Teaching.Michelle Forrest - 2013 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 47 (4):605-622.
Logos, cri, silence.Guy Petitdemandge - 2009 - Archives de Philosophie 72 (4):645-659.
The Break of Conversation.Zali Gurevitch - 1998 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 28 (1):25–40.
Immemorial Silence.Karmen MacKendrick - 2001 - State University of New York Press.
Can We Forget to Censor Silence? A Rejoinder to Applebaum.John E. Petrovic - 2003 - Journal of Moral Education 32 (2):163-166.
Sourds et silences liturgiques.Anne Bamberg - 2004 - Gregorianum 85 (4):689-698.


Added to PP index

Total views
26 ( #438,906 of 2,506,113 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #277,380 of 2,506,113 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes