Language Pangs: On Pain and Language

Workshop with Dr Ilit Ferber

Wednesday July 29. 1.00- 4.00pm
H8.05 & H8.06 Building H. Caulfield Campus

The RUEP is holding a workshop with Dr Ilit Ferber from the Department of Philosophy at Tel Aviv University.

Her overall projects starts with a reconsideration of the relation between language and pain in four philosophical theories of language: those of Herder, Rousseau, Wittgenstein, and Benjamin. The project seeks to undermine the traditional separation between emotions and the body on the one hand, and linguistic expression on the other. Hence the project is positioned against the idea that language’s emergence is necessarily bound up with an essential separation of the body and its most powerful sensations, pain being a paradigmatic instance. Despite philosophy’s traditional separation of language from pain, the two remain nevertheless securely entangled, most evidently at language’s original moments; moments which reveal a surprisingly productive intimacy between pain and language, an intimacy that cannot be easily dismissed.

In the first part of the workshop she will present the framework of the project in detail and discuss the philosophical, linguistic and moral implications of bringing pain and language together. In the second part, there will be a close reading of some of the texts essential to the project. The texts will be made available to all those who wish to participate in the workshop.

Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World, “Introduction” (Oxford University Press), pp. 3-11.

Johann Gottfried von Herder, “Treatise on the Origin of Language,” Philosophical Writings (Cambridge University Press), pp. 65-74.

Rousseau, “Essay on the Origin of Languages,” Essay on the Origin of Languages and Writings Related to Music (University Press of New England), ch. III.

Reservations are essential. Contact

For a copy of the texts contact: