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The Chattering MindA Conceptual History of Everyday Talk$
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Samuel McCormick

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226677637

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226677804.001.0001

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Ancient Figures of Speech

Ancient Figures of Speech

(p.157) Five Ancient Figures of Speech
The Chattering Mind

Samuel McCormick

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 5 explores Heidegger’s early lecture courses on Aristotle’s Rhetoric and Plato’s Sophist. Implicit in these courses is an early-Heideggerian spectrum of discourse that has eluded readers of his work for almost a century. Chapter 5 charts this spectrum of discourse and conceptualizes each of its constitutive elements. What results is an elaborate and heretofore unseen hierarchy of linguistic practices, communicative effects, and representative figures in early-Heideggerian thought, all of which can be shown to derive from ancient ways of speaking and being with others.Ranging from authentic existence to average everydayness, this hierarchy includes the silence and pure perception of the theorist, the genuine speech and disclosive knowledge of the philosopher, the speaking- and thinking-through of the mock-modest dialectician, the arguments and counter-arguments of the disciplined orator, the idle and deceptive talk of the arrogant sophist, the idle and dissimulative talk of the yes-man-qua-stooge, and, finally, the garrulous distractions of the babbler. Driving these conceptual developments was Heidegger’s belief that academic nostalgia for Greek philosophy had become the false consciousness (and thus an opportunity for the productive critique) of modern German thought.Redeeming both of these intellectual traditions, chapter 5 argues, was among his primary tasks in the mid-1920s.

Keywords:   Martin Heidegger, idle talk, babble, Aristotle, Plato, rhetoric, sophistry, doxa, logos, philosophy

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