Oct. 14: Sandra Laugier’s passages

Sandra Laugier (Philosophy, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne) has just sent me the passages that she will speak about at the Oct. 14 celebration of the publication of Stanley Cavell’s Little Did I Know: Excerpts from Memory (Stanford University Press). As I did with Arnold Davidson’s selected passages (here), I want to share Prof. Laugier’s with all of you as well, to give you a chance to mull them over yourselves before the event. I will post the selections of the other three presenters (Norton Batkin, James Conant, and Paul Franks) as they come in. For full information about the Oct. 14 event (and the related events on the 15th and the 16th), please click here.

Matter and mind

  • The writing of Little Did I Know:

The obvious point in dating the times of writing was to keep separate the two necessary temporal registers in a narrative, the time of a  depicted sequence of events and the time (or place/time) of depicting  them. Formally this portrays the fundamental importance granted to the time and context of utterance in the work of Austin and of the later Wittgenstein that has meant so much to me. My stress on the time, or  time and place, of depiction is meant to capture what Austin means in tirelessly demanding the context (he would often call this the story) of an utterance and what Wittgenstein means by repeatedly asking to whom an utterance is made. When Wittgenstein asks, “How is telling done?” he is in effect asking how it is that saying something, speaking, is done; how it is that someone is in a position to be told something. This turns out to be a good question. (LDIK, pp. 60)

  • Philosophy of pawnbroking:

The concepts of grace and of redeeming are only beginning suggestions of the poetry of pawnbroking. Counting, especially counting up the monthly interest owed, upon redemption (I mean upon the pawner’s returning with his ticket to redeem his pledge), was another of my responsibilities. Here we encounter certain opening suggestions of the philosophy of the concepts of pawnbroking. The concept of what  we count, especially count as of interest or importance to us, is a matter fundamental to how I think of a motive to philosophy, fundamental to what I want philosophy to be responsive to and to illuminate. Something like the poetry and philosophy caught intermittently in the ideas of redemption and grace and interest and importance (or mattering or counting) was of explicit fascination to me before I stopped working in the pawnshop, the year I graduated high school. (LDIK, p. 115-6)

  • Film and importance :

It is part of the grain of film to magnify the feeling and meaning of a moment, it is equally part of it to counter this tendency, and instead to acknowledge the fateful fact of a human life that the significance of its moments is ordinarily not given with the moments as they are lived so that to determine the significant crossroads of a life may be the work of a lifetime. It is as if an inherent concealment of significance, as much as its revelation, were part of the governing force of what we mean by film acting and film directing and film viewing. (“The Thought of Movies”, Thees out of school, p. 11)

  • Taking yourself seriously:

I do not, I  think, know what people mean when they accuse others, so often and easily, of taking themselves too seriously. Why in the world should one not take oneself with utmost seriousness? Because it would cause me to take others insufficiently seriously? I do not believe that. Then because it would make me consider myself important, or more important than  am? I believe that even less. But if importance, or false importance, is what is feared, then say that. (LDIK, p. 297)

  • Conclusion:

We involve the movies in us. They become further fragments of what happens to me, further cards in the shuffle of my memory, with no telling what place in the future. Like childhood memories whose treasure no one else appreciates, whose content is nothing compared to their unspeakable importance for me. (The World Viewed, p. 154)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s