By David Michael Kleinberg-Levin
Prior to the Voice of cause is a phenomenological critique of cause grounded in our adventure of the voices that already handle us and summon us sooner than the emergence of the voice of cause. partly one, David Michael Kleinberg-Levin explores the voices of nature and attracts on Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology to supply a brand new state of mind approximately environmental accountability. partially , he seems on the voice of the ethical legislation and the voices of different people, advances a extra nuanced account of Levinas's contrast among "Saying" and "Said," and proposes a brand new argument for our accountability to the opposite.
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Extra info for Before the voice of reason : echoes of responsibility in Merleau-Ponty's Ecology and Levinas's Ethics
Could Reason hear, and could its voice register, the dissonant voices of dissent? To be sure, the universal voice of Reason does, in many decisive ways, welcome and protect the multiplicity of voices—the voices of the many. Conversely, however, the universal voice of Reason itself requires hospitality and protection: without that, the voice of Reason has no legitimacy, no authority. But if this voice of Reason—a socially constructed voice—is a gathering of voices, each of which is already itself a gathering of voices; and if the voices that Reason must gather are voices of pain and suffering—the voices of the foreign migrant worker, the orphan, the poor and chronically ill, the homeless, the destitute—voices whose ethical claims, according to my reading of Levinas’s phenomenology, reverberate as categorical imperatives in all human voices, even if unbeknownst, without reﬂective attention, to their speakers, then it becomes necessary to ask how the “ideal tonality” constitutive of this “voice of Reason” can avoid a certain exclusionary violence.
And I can hear, within my voice, the voices of nature—its animals, its birds, its creaking, sighing and whispering trees, its raging waters, waters descending the mountains, howling winds, thundering clouds. Adopting words ﬁrst used to describe the sounds of animals, we speak, for example, of people barking, growling, howling, snarling, purring, parroting, chirping, hissing, and croaking. Learning to speak, the infant’s voice is solicited by all these sounds, beckoned and bestirred, ﬁnding itself admitted into meaningful communication as it gathers them up into a wondrous repertoire of phonemes, syllables, and the recognizable shapes of words.
54 I wholeheartedly concur, but cannot refrain from remarking that, in its own ways, vision can also support logocentrism, the metaphysical delusion of absolute self-presence, total knowability, constancy and permanence. Indeed, from its most archaic beginnings, Western philosophical thought has always favoured vision because of its power to enframe and dominate a ﬁeld of presence. Nevertheless, in the wake of these critiques, I suppose it necessary to say, here, that it is not because I hold the voice to grant absolute presence, nor in order to defend the voice against such critiques, that I have dedicated a book to the voice, but rather because I want to call attention to the normative ethical claims of the voice: the voice that, in its multiple manifestations, comes before the voice of Reason.