Comment elle a réussi à échapper aux machinations d’Aristote, ou Emily Dickinson et l’écriture de la blessure - Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne Access content directly
Book Sections Year : 2012

Comment elle a réussi à échapper aux machinations d’Aristote, ou Emily Dickinson et l’écriture de la blessure


The following essay is part of an ongoing research project which began with the first Res per Nomen conference. Its objective is to produce a radical critique of modern linguistics and of the prevailing trends of the philosophy of language. These two disciplines are still based on the principle of authority, which leads them to repeat the same superficial conclusions over and over and precludes them from asking new questions. More specifically, these disciplines have never broken free from Aristotle's pronouncement that predication is the central feature of language, whereas it is in fact only a secondary possibility. In addition, they generally make use of skeletal examples which only bear out the presuppositions and ready-made answers of the scholars who use them. On the contrary, I contend that examples should come from real subjects, that is to say subjects with a body as well as an unconscious and involved in (usually conflictual) human situations. The articles offered in the first two conferences denounced the superficiality of the post-Wittgensteinian theory of speech acts which are incapable of explaining how language actually works, as they (i) exclude large chunks of language and (ii) ignore the arbitrariness of signs when they connect utterances, contexts and meanings. The first two papers claimed that utterances should be studied along a gradient accounting for the fact that they-to varying degrees-either inscribe themselves in patterns of social repetition and power relationships ("pouvoir") or that they enable subjects to discover new possibilities of life ("puissance") in themselves and in the world. This article, which starts with a deconstruction of the notion of metaphor, returns to the problem of predication. Predication is useless when one asks the question of consciousness and personal identity. Subjects in fact do not appear to possess a fixed ego as they move from one mode of being (modus) to another in unending processes of becoming. Predication is only able to account for the more conventional and superficial modes of being. Here again, the approach chosen derives from the old British tradition of empiricism: modes of being are associations of habits and beliefs as we produce (more or less original or more or less repetitive) co-ordinations of relationships between heterogeneous singularities. Duns Scotus spoke of haecceity in that respect, and the English poet Gerald Manley Hopkins coined the term inscape at the end of the 19th century. The corpus chosen is a poem written in 1862 by the American poet Emily Dickinson probing the question of how far one can go in experimenting with language in order to make sense of extreme states of consciousness. Curiously (or not?), she discovers that she has to abandon predication in favour of coordination if she wishes to escape trite, ready-made answers.


Fichier principal
Vignette du fichier
ResPerNomen_3_2012_THOMIERES.pdf (429.36 Ko) Télécharger le fichier
Origin : Explicit agreement for this submission

Dates and versions

hal-02488357 , version 1 (26-02-2020)


  • HAL Id : hal-02488357 , version 1


Daniel Thomières. Comment elle a réussi à échapper aux machinations d’Aristote, ou Emily Dickinson et l’écriture de la blessure. Valérie Bourdier; Karine Bréhaux; Jocelyn Dunphy-Blomfield; Pierre Frath; Emilia Hilgert. Référence, conscience et sujet énonciateur, 3, ÉPURE - Éditions et Presses universitaires de Reims, pp.109-132, 2012, Res per nomen, 9782915271508. ⟨hal-02488357⟩
36 View
11 Download


Gmail Facebook Twitter LinkedIn More