What are some answers besides besides Mallarmé to Nietzsche's 'who is speaking?'


Nietzsche in what can be considered a critique of Cartesian reasoning at one point uses the identity of a flash with the lightning that 'produced it as a metaphor for famously saying that there's no doer behind the doing:

For, in just the same way as people separate lightning from its flash and take the latter as an action, as the effect of a subject which is called lightning, so popular morality separates strength from the manifestations of strength, as if behind the strong person there were an indifferent substrate, which is free to express strength or not. But there is no such substrate; there is no "being" behind the doing, acting, becoming. "The doer" is merely made up and added into the action – the act is everything. People basically duplicate the action: when they see a lightning flash, that is an action of an action: they set up the same event first as the cause and then yet again as its effect.

Are there any other answers to Nietzsche's question: if this is the case, who is speaking?

(this comes from the discussion of Mallarmé in The Return Of Language from chapter 9 called Man And His Doubles in The Order Of Things by Foucault on pages 332-333)

Dr Sister

Posted 2012-08-27T18:21:56.983

Reputation: 1 764

1I'm not sure I understand the question. Are you asking which philosophers Nietzsche is attacking here? Or asking who agrees with Nietzsche on this point? – Michael Dorfman – 2012-08-28T06:59:12.737

so it would be about who formulates this as Nietzsche did (with no doer behind the doing) but still provides an answer to the question 'who is speaking?'.. One perspective for example is Blanchot, who says that 'who is speaking' is the answer to the question 'who is speaking?', where in the question 'who' is part of a request for a name, in the answer 'who is speaking' it is a 'who' that is the entity that is speaking, so one answer to 'who is speaking?' is 'who is speaking' .. so my question is just looking for other philosophers or scholars who have responded to the question in this form – Dr Sister – 2012-08-28T08:00:33.613

Egad, what a confused analogy. It gets lightning wrong, and "strong" people wrong, and the analogy hardly fits even so. Can you pick something else to illustrate what the question is? – Rex Kerr – 2012-08-28T19:31:06.803

Egad indeed Rex Kerr! do you mean the analogy of a lightning that flashes and doers that do? what makes it a bad fit? the question is: who are some philosphers/scholars who provide an answer to Nietzsche's question 'who is speaking?' – Dr Sister – 2012-08-29T00:21:45.110

1the answer i'm looking for here would look something like: Walter Kaufman in [name of publication] addresses this question, as does ... . etc. i'm not after people here's own critique, just published material of philosophy. – Dr Sister – 2012-08-29T00:34:11.447

@Seldom - I'm wondering if anything I've read in philosophy of science covers the same ground (it seems like it should), even if it doesn't specifically quote that passage by Nietzsche. The quote seems to me such a nonsensical muddle that I feel I must be missing the main point. A flash of lightning is the energy released by electrons rushing from high potential to low; the energy they impart to the air is what "does" the flash. Likewise with pretty much any other causal process. I surmise there is a point about unnecessary multiplication of entities, but so far it just sounds batty to me. – Rex Kerr – 2012-08-29T17:33:59.610

i think it would be possible to argue that Nietzsche may say it's a psychologically necessary multiplication of entities. "We have arranged for ourselves a world in which we can live - by positing bodies, lines, planes, causes and effects, motion and rest, form and content; without these articles of faith nobody could now endure life. But that does not prove them. Life is no argument." The quote in the OP is basically saying a person is what they are presently doing, 'identities' ensuring sameness inside duration is a mystification engendered by power relations, implicit in the program of .. – Dr Sister – 2012-08-30T10:20:05.540

.. "breed[ing] an animal that is entitled to make promises". – Dr Sister – 2012-08-30T10:24:23.163

@Seldom - Well, thanks for trying, but that still sounds too muddled for anything that I'm familiar with to be of any use. If you follow e.g. Popper, I doubt that Nietzsche's points here will seem worth thinking about, but there's nothing like a direct refutation that I remember--just that if you naively followed what I think Nietzsche is getting at, you'll make hypotheses that do a horrible job of agreeing with observations. (I.e. entities can both store state and act.) But I'm still unclear enough on exactly what's being claimed that I'm not even sure of this. – Rex Kerr – 2012-08-31T22:12:15.183

That's a fair response, it's interesting to have someone with your background following along. for some context Nietzsche since The Birth of Tragedy sought to be what he called a 'Dionysian philosopher. to use a phrase from Deleuze i think it's fair to say Nietzsche celebrated 'the affirmative power of falisity', his work often i think is characterised less by questions of 'is ... true?' than a distancing of oneself from what is taken to be true and false, in order to reflect on how the 'truths' prevailing in any epoch relate to the production of subjectivity. – Dr Sister – 2012-09-01T04:18:21.280

the notion of 'truth in relation to identities is for Nietzsche actually really nefarious. Where for Aristotle there is a natural affinity between sensation, pleasure, knowing and truth, for Nietzsche knowledge "is not the appropriation of universals but an invention that masks the basest of instincts, instincts, desires and fears. There is no pre-established harmony of these drives and the world - just the contingent, temporary and malicious products of deceitful wills .. Knowledge is not a natural faculty but a series of struggles, a weapon in the universal war of domination and submission – Dr Sister – 2012-09-01T04:53:37.760

.. knowledge is always secondary to those more primary struggles. It is linked not to pleasure and flourishing but harnessed to hatred and struggle. Truth is our longest lie, out most intimate ally and enemy". (Paul Rabinow in the introduction to Foucault's Ethics) .. i quote this just to illustrate that it would be tremendously difficult to do philosophy of science according knowledge this particular epistemological status .. the quote i think is an extension of his conception of knowledge, and the Appolonian and 'fictive' nature of identities in general. – Dr Sister – 2012-09-01T05:10:16.460

@Seldom - Agreed; I don't know how one would do philosophy of science under that framework. – Rex Kerr – 2012-09-02T08:22:18.003

The philosophers Abbott and Costello may provide some assistance; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=airT-m9LcoY and wiki Click here hope this helps.

– Neomada – 2015-02-10T21:04:45.333

haha. very good – Dr Sister – 2015-02-12T00:32:19.453

No answers