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I See a Voice : Deafness, Language and the Senses--A Philosophical History,9780805062557

I See a Voice : Deafness, Language and the Senses--A Philosophical History

by
Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 11/1/2000
Publisher(s): Holt Paperbacks

Summary

A groundbreaking study of deafness, by a philosopher who combines the scientific erudition of Oliver Sacks with the historical flair of Simon Schama. There is nothing more personal than the human voice, traditionally considered the expression of the innermost self. But what of those who have no voice of their own and cannot hear the voices of others? In this tour de force of historical narrative, Jonathan Reacute;e tells the astonishing story of the deaf, from the sixteenth century to the present. Reacute;e explores the great debates about deafness between those who believed the deaf should be made to speak and those who advocated non-oral communication. He traces the botched attempts to make language visible, through such exotic methods as picture writing, manual spellings, and vocal photography. And he charts the tortuous progress and final recognition of sign systems as natural languages in their own right. I See a Voice escorts us on a vast and eventful intellectual journey,taking in voice machines and musical scales, shorthand and phonetics, Egyptian hieroglyphs, talking parrots, and silent films. A fascinating tale of goodwill subverted by bad science, I See a Voice is as learned and informative as it is delightful to read. Jonathan Reacute;eteaches philosophy at the University of Middlesex. A reviewer forThe Times Literary SupplementandThe London Review of Books,he is also the author ofPhilosophical TalesandHeidegger.He lives in Oxford, England. There is nothing more personal than the human voice, traditionally considered the expression of the innermost self. But what of those who have no voice of their own and cannot hear the voices of others? In this tour de force of historical narrative, Jonathan Reacute;e tells the astonishing story of the plight of the deaf, from the sixteenth century to the present. He explores the great debates about deafness and its "cure," from the "oralists" who believed that the deaf should be forced to speak, to the "gesturalists" who advocated sign-language and even a separate homeland for the deaf. But these debates, as Reacute;e shows, were distorted by systematic misunderstandings of the nature of language and the five senses. Reacute;e traces the botched attempts to make language visible, through such exotic methods as picture writing, manual spellings, and vocal photography. And he charts the tortuous progress and final recognition of sign systems as natural languages in their own right. I See a Voiceescorts us on a vast and eventful intellectual journey, taking in voice machines and musical scales, shorthand and phonetics, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and dance notation. A fascinating tale of goodwill subverted by bad science,I See a Voiceis an original history of deafness and the senses in the Western world. "An exceptional book: adventurous in conception, finely argued and beautifully written.I See a Voicewill become a landmark in the history of late-20th-century philosophy, and an inspiration for all those interested in the subject."Alain de Botton, author ofHow Proust Can Change Your Life "Distinctive, ingenious, and engrossing . . . An important bookclearly written, intricately argued, remarkably gripping."Bryan Appleyard,The Sunday Times(London) "I See a Voiceexplores the dilemmas of the deaf over the centuries with intelligence, lucidity, and a remarkable breadth of reference. Reacute;e's wider ambition is to make the rest of us think about the senses, what distinguishes each of them, and how they interconnect . . . This is a wonderful book."Linda Colley,The Observer(London) "Jonathan Reacute;e writes with such clarity and elegance that his prose is a pleasure to read . . . The book is not only a fascinating history of the belated corr

Author Biography

Jonathan RTe teaches philosophy at the University of Middlesex. A reviewer for The Times Literary Supplement and The London Review of Books, he is also the author of Philosophical Tales and Heidegger. He lives in Oxford, England.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
xiii
Introduction: The magic of the voice 1(14)
ONE Sound, voice and the soul
A history of metaphysics
15(2)
Sound and Substance
Blindness, deafness and the transience of sounds
17(8)
Physics and colour-music
The scale and the spectrum, and why there is no music to the eye
25(9)
Metaphysics, idealism and the blind
Outness, light and the sensation of sound
34(7)
Grammar, sound and horror
Seeing and hearing: paranoia and the world of sound
41(10)
Listening with the voice
Exploring the world with the eye and the ear
51(7)
Voice as expression
Expressing emotions: tears, laughter and the voice
58(7)
Speech and repetition
The linguistic cultivation of the voice: Narcissus and Echo
65(7)
Spiritual etymology
Language, history and the source of the soul
72(13)
TWO Visible speech and the fate of the deaf
A history of science
85(4)
Mutism and mythology
The abjection of the dumb, the disabilities of the deaf, and miracles
89(8)
`Seeing words' and the beginnings of deaf education
Speech and writing, face-reading and hand-language, 1550-1670
97(13)
Writing, meaning and parroting
Sound, script and the mind of the talking deaf, 1670-1700
110(8)
Muscular etymology and the language of signs
How the deaf escaped Babel: philosophers, hieroglyphs and the meaning of gestures, 1580-1680
118(11)
Time, syntax and the language of nature in a new academy for the deaf
Simultaneity and succession in signs and speech: philosophy and deaf education, 1648-1800
129(12)
Methodical signs and spiritual salvation
Signs, syntax and abstract ideas: the Abbe de l'Epee and deaf education in France, 1745-1780
141(12)
Reactions against signs: sight, sound and the taste of language
De l'Epee's method of signs under attack, 1764-1780, and the verdict of Zurich
153(13)
Sign language and the philosophers
Deafness, education and linguistic utopianism in France, 1760-1789
166(11)
Signs and the French Revolution
Ideology, deaf education and the philosophy of language, 1789-1815
177(18)
The deaf nation and its language
Sign language in Britain, America and France, 1815-1850: deaf nationalism and the cult of de l'Epee
195(12)
Tradition and the power of speech
De Gerando and the second reaction against sign language in France, 1825-1860
207(11)
The gift of speech and the care of the soul
The oralist movement in America and Europe to the Congress of Milan, 1840-1880
218(12)
The making of the Deaf
The reproduction of sign-language communities, 1880-1980
230(14)
Painting the voice
Alphabets in theory and practice from Plato to the photo
244(11)
Writing and the analysis of speech
Phonetics, phonology and the reinvention of the alphabet, 1775-1916
255(16)
Signs and primitive culture
Prehistoric anthropology, sign language and the deaf, 1800-1900
271(22)
Writing signs
Space, time and the notation of gestures, 1800-1860
293(16)
The science of Sign Languages
Language and non-language from Saussure to Stokoe, 1950-1995: science, metaphysics and linguistic structure
309(18)
THREE The senses and the self
A history of philosophy
327(2)
The five senses and the history of philosophy
Intellect and sensation from Kant to Aristotle and Husserl
329(17)
Space, time and the aesthetic theory of art
The five senses and the fine arts in Kant, Baumgarten and Lessing
346(7)
Art against aesthetics
Purity and danger in the aesthetic hierarchy of the arts
353(11)
A voice of your own?
Lines of language and the five senses: quotation, metaphysics, and the philosophy of the self
364(15)
Afterword: Science, metaphysics and the tasks of philosophical history 379(8)
Index 387

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