5. Talking Cures

Daniel Berthold

in The Ethics of Authorship

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780823233946
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240432 | DOI:
5. Talking Cures

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This chapter takes a closer look at Hegel's and Kierkegaard's theories of communication, and shows that both entail conceptions of the therapeutic power of language. It argues that whereas Hegel quite straightforwardly celebrates the emancipator and curative power of language, Kierkegaard is more ambivalent, since on the one hand he dedicates his life to a maieutic authorship in service to the reader, but on the other, he believes that ultimately it is only faith in God that can cure us, and that faith requires silence. Lacan's psychoanalytic account of the role of language is used to explore Hegel's view that language constitutes the self as well as Kierkegaard's employment of an indirect form of communication that he hopes will enable him to fulfill each of his apparently conflicting goals: to write and yet to remain silent. Although both Hegel's and Kierkegaard's authorships are designed as forms of therapy, and as such imply a structural relation to the reader analogous to the relation between analyst and analysand, two quite different conceptions of the ethics of this relation emerge.

Keywords: Søren Kierkegaard; G. W. F. Hegel; communication; language

Chapter.  10357 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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