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CFP Ordinary Language Philosophy and Resilience

Event Image
Thursday, March 23, 2023
All Day
NeMLA’s Convention

NeMLA's 54th Convention Niagara Falls, NY
March 23-26, 2023

Abstract deadline: September 30, 2022

To submit abstracts, click here:
Then click on "Go to our CFP to submit an Abstract" and search for "ordinary".


How can ordinary language philosophy's (OLP) picture of language as a shared form of life foster resilience? For OLP, language is a peculiarly stable and resilient reservoir of meaning which we share. Speakers agree in language, in form(s) of life, and, "queer as it may sound," Wittgenstein writes, in judgments. For Sandra Laugier, this is not intersubjective agreement but rather "as objective an agreement as possible." When we are beset by pain, trauma, or skepticism, we can resiliently recover from this alienation of the self by recalling the shape of our lives in language. However, OLP insists that our agreements are not pre-given: language cannot be ours unless we are capable of repudiating, losing, and projecting it into new contexts for others to receive. Resilience, then, may be found not only in the recalling of long-familiar meanings but also in the risking of new ones. Furthermore, in its persistent invocation of a "we," OLP advances a dialogic view of language: we constantly appeal to one another by our words in the hope that we can - and want to - find ourselves in each other's utterances. We are bound up with and responsible to one another. Stanley Cavell recognizes "language as everywhere revealing desire," especially in a cry, silence, or sob, and as demanding something that is owed - an acknowledgement, a response. Can Cavellian acknowledgement, even of voicelessness, enable us to move through trauma and tragedy rather than remain frozen? What does Wittgenstein's constant seeking and revealing of community in language teach us about the human and resilience? How does OLP help us to understand forms and acts of resilience in literature, film, and culture? Presenters might consider the role of the following: claims, criteria, form(s) of life, agreement, aspect-seeing, recognition, contestation, acknowledgement, passionate utterance, voice.


Nicole Ferrari (University of Pennsylvania) - Marcus Dominick (University of Pennsylvania) -

Contact: James Draney