Nothing Is What There Is

  • Lars Iyer


According to the classical conception of the relationship between the philosopher and language he or she is obligated to use, the doctrine of the philosopher elevates itself above its expression; language is a medium, the tool that subordinates itself to the delivery of the message. On this account, there is a clearly determined relationship between the constative and the performative, the philosophical and the rhetorical, the philosophical and the poetical. Hyperbolic language of whatever kind-the flourish of the author, the vivid image, the life-giving metaphor-would be an exaggeration of a univocal philosophical language that, whilst excessive, might still be safely paraphrased. But what if this hyperbolisation resisted translation into a calmer, more philosophical idiom? What if there was a language of thought that disrupted the classical relation between philosophy and language?


Philosophical Discourse Literary Language Real Existence Philosophical Text Philosophical Language 
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  1. 2.
    Levinas, Totality and Infinity, translated by Alphonso Lingis (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1969), 298.Google Scholar
  2. 9.
    Freud, Case Histories II, translated by James Strachey (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979) 38, 44.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Lars Iyer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lars Iyer
    • 1
  1. 1.Philosophical StudiesUniversity of Newcastle upon TyneUK

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