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By Ermanno Bencivenga

In his most modern booklet, Ermanno Bencivenga bargains a stylistically and conceptually intriguing research of the character of language, brain, and personhood and the numerous methods the 3 attach. Bencivenga, the most iconoclastic voices to emerge in modern American philosophy, contests the fundamental assumptions of analytic (and additionally, to an quantity, postmodern) methods to those themes. His exploration leads via attention-grabbing discussions of schooling, braveness, ache, time and historical past, selfhood, subjectivity and objectivity, truth, evidence, the empirical, strength and transgression, silence, privateness and exposure, and play--all issues which are proven to be imperative to our puzzling over language. Relentessly bending the foundations, Bencivenga frustrates our expectancies of a "proper" conception of language. He invokes the transgressions of Nietzsche and Wittgenstein whilst he appropriates the aphoristic form of Wittgenstein's Tractatus. Written in a philosophically playful and experimental mode, A thought of Language and brain attracts the reader right into a feel of continuous shock, healing pain, and discovery.

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One that will perhaps manifest itself in a dream, and startle us, and be judged absurd, and still be frightening in spite (or because) of its absurdity. 32This notion of strength is a primitive one for us, and it introduces a narrative element at the very core of our metaphysics. For telling is connecting, articulating, and conversely what is articulated can be told (not necessarily "by us"), and we are saying that a fundamental and irreducible metaphysical factor Page 8 emerges in an articulation process.

It's one thing to decide, say, how to describe the sort of person we would want to be a member of the Supreme Court, and quite another to decide how to find out that a given person [best] fits that description. 412The manifold has priority here. We reject the view that the many presuppose the one; specifically, that the manifold of "my" actions presupposes the unity of my person. Unity follows (when indeed it does) from multiplicity, and it requires considerable effort to keep it in place. (A lot more work must be done for that "my" to make sense.

Are we in for a surprise! (Of course not, you will say: science fiction has been describing things like that for ages. And you don't reflect on the importance Page 20 of calling it "fiction"or, on the contrary, of bringing it into a "serious" context. 4242What's wrong with dividing and conquering? you will ask. Aren't we suppose to side with multiplicity here? ) that what's wrong is the conquering, and that the relation between the two is not accidental: dividing is one of the best ways of unifying (things as divided).

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