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Speaking from Elsewhere
A New Contextualist Perspective on Meaning, Identity, and Discursive Agency
Speaking from Elsewhere
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José Medina - Author
Price: $95.00 
Hardcover - 246 pages
Release Date: October 2006
ISBN10: 0-7914-6915-8
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6915-6

Price: $32.95 
Paperback - 246 pages
Release Date: June 2007
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6916-3

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Develops a contextualist view of identity, agency, and discursive practices.

In Speaking from Elsewhere, author José Medina argues for the critical and transformative power of speech from marginalized locations by articulating a contextualist view of meaning, identity, and agency. This contextualism draws from different philosophical traditions (Wittgenstein, pragmatism, and feminist theory) and crosses disciplinary boundaries (philosophy, cultural studies, women’s studies, and sociology) to underscore both the diversity of voices and viewpoints and the openness of discursive contexts and practices. Expressing a robust notion of discursive responsibility, Medina contends that, as speakers and members of linguistic communities, we cannot elude the obligation to open up discursive spaces for new voices and to facilitate new dialogues that break silences and empower marginalized voices.

“This is a groundbreaking and genuinely novel contribution to an emerging school of Wittgenstein interpretation. It combines careful attention to the texts with deep and broad connections to issues of general interest as well as of much theoretical concern.” — Naomi Scheman, coeditor of Feminist Interpretations of Ludwig Wittgenstein

“Medina’s book defends an original thesis, is extremely readable, and manages to interweave analytic philosophy of language, continental thought, postmodernism, and feminist philosophy with ease and elegance.” — Barbara Fultner, translator of Truth and Justification by Jürgen Habermas

José Medina is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University and the author of The Unity of Wittgenstein’s Philosophy: Necessity, Intelligibility, and Normativity, also published by SUNY Press, and Language: Key Concepts in Philosophy, and the coeditor (with David Wood) of Truth: Engagements Across Philosophical Traditions.

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Table of Contents


1. Contextualizing Meaning

1.1 The Indeterminacy of Meaning: “Unnatural Doubts” and “Theoretical Diagnosis”
1.2 Wittgenstein as a Theoretical Diagnostician: Overcoming the Temptations of Reification and Decontextualization
1.3 Contextual Determinacy: Wittgenstein and Dewey on Meaning and Agreement
1.4 Meaning in Context: Semantic Stability and Semantic Change
1.5 Sustaining Agreement in Action: Normalcy and Eccentricity
1.6 A View from Elsewhere

2. Contextualizing Identity

2.1 The Hegelian Connection: Identity, Difference, and Polyphony
2.1.a The Dialectics of Recognition
2.1.b To Be and Not to Be: This Mess Called My Identity
2.2 The Flourishing of Voices and Their Domestication

3. Contextualizing Agency

3.1 Fighting Philosophical Myths about Discursive Agency
3.2 On Having a Voice: Uncontrollability, Polyphony, and a Hybrid View of Agency and Responsibility
3.3 The Scandal of Our Agency: Agency without Sovereignty and the Possibility of Transgression

4. Speaking from Elsewhere: Silence, Exclusion, and Marginality

4.1 Contextualism and the Hermeneutics of Silence
4.2 Making Sense of Radical Silences and Exclusions: A Polyphonic Perspective
4.3 Spaces of Intelligibility and Marginality
4.4 Speaking from the Margins


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