For More than One Voice: Toward a Philosophy of Vocal Expression

Sara Burgess, Sarah K. Burgess, Stuart J. Murray
2006 Philosophy & Rhetoric  
Adriana Cavarero's most recent book, For More than One Voice, offers the reader a critique of Western metaphysics that challenges the hegemony of speech's rela tion to thought within politics. Revisiting Aristotle's Politics, Cavarero examines the famous definition of man as "zoon logon echon" usually translated as "ra tional animal." She is critical of the tradition that renders logos here as "reason" or "rationality," modeled on the abstract and disembodied Platonic idea. Reading the Politics
more » ... alongside the Poetics, she brings politics into a distinctly rhetorical sphere, and therefore figures logos as "phone semantike." In this light, man is a "speaking animal," an animal who speaks with a voice {phone) that is meaning ful {semantike an adjectival form that qualifies the voice itself). Cavarero's argument is that voice and meaning phonic and semantic must be sharply distinguished. The history of Western philosophy, she contends, has effaced this vital difference and focused instead on speech as a unitary phenomenon in which the vocalic and the semantic are always already joined as meaningful signification. In this way, the singularity of the vocalic itself has been elided in favor of speech that strongly privileges meaning. She therefore wishes to deliver us from language, as it were, through a recuperation of the force of the vocalic, the acoustic, the resonant and sonorous auditory quality of phone.
doi:10.5325/philrhet.39.2.0166 fatcat:nwqvnquvvjhh5fufp2ujxbowne