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P A R T T W O Idle Talk 123 F O U R Beginning More than Halfway There Between Things In 1916, Martin Heidegger published his obscure postdoc- toral thesis on The Doctrine of Categories and Signifi cation in Duns Scotus. A decade later, he published the book that would make him famous: Being and Time. In the interven- ing years, he published nothing at all— and his university career suffered accordingly. Twice he was denied profes- sorships due to lack of publications, and even when he managed to secure a tenure- track appointment, largely on the basis of

A Conceptual History of Everyday Talk

Contents List of Abbreviations in Text Citations ix Introduction 1 P A R T O N E Chatter 13 1 Barbers and Philosophers 15 2 Fuzzy Math 49 3 Preacher- Prattle 85 P A R T T W O Idle Talk 121 4 Beginning More than Halfway There 123 5 Ancient Figures of Speech 157 6 The World Persuaded 191 P A R T T H R E E Empty Speech 217 7 The Writing on the Wall 219 8 First and Final Words 240 9 A Play of Props 260 Conclusion 288 Acknowledgments 305 Notes 307 Index 319

– 81, 185, 189t, 201, 202– 3, 208– 10. See also Schwätzer Badiou, Alain, 77 Beck, Ulrich, 293– 94 Being and Time: on Abständigkeit, 203; Arendt’s refl ections on, 175; comparison with History of 320 I N D E X the Concept of Time, 196, 198– 99, 201, 205; and Dasein, 155, 213– 14; develop- ment of, 11, 123, 127; draft of, 191; on everyday life, 205– 7, 220; on falling, 143, 206, 208, 211– 13; fear, 211; on fl eeing, 211– 13; and Geschwätz, 141; on idle talk, 167– 68, 197, 198– 99, 215; and Jeweiligkeit, 153; Rede and Gerede in, 137, 192, 194, 197, 208, 210

becomes one of many means to the ends of public opinion and collective will- formation. As we have seen, however, there is often something incessant about everyday talk, particularly when it occurs as chatter, idle talk, empty speech, and the like. More than means- turned- ends or means- to- ends, these average, everyday modes of discourse frequently operate as means without end. Speakers regularly suspend the pursuit of attainable rhe- torical advantage in order to prolong their own utterances— and for no other reason than to prolong their own utterances. If

one in need of philosophical commentary and now, in the algorithmic era, ongoing technological support. In particular, the following chapters trace the conceptual history of everyday talk from Søren Kier ke gaard’s inaugural theory of “chat- ter” (snak) to Martin Heidegger’s recuperative discussion of “idle talk” (Gerede), to Jacques Lacan’s culminating treatment of “empty speech” (parole vide)— and ultimately, if only allusively, into our digital present, where small talk on various social media platforms has now become the basis for big data in the hands of

up your cross. Quit whining. What does it matt er how miserable you are in this life if you’ll get that pie in the sky when you die? Such fatalism in many faiths— God willing, deo volente, mert- sishem, insh’Allah— precluded idle talk of earthly happiness. Said Job in his travail, “If I have put my trust in gold, or said to pure gold, ‘You are my security,’ . . . then these also would be sins to be judged, for I would have been unfaithful to God on high” ( Job 31:24). “I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Th e judgments of the

. William McNeill (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992), 17. Hereafter abbreviated CT. 9. Heidegger went on to summarize the distinction between nous and Ge- rede as follows: “The fi rst: nous, conceptual determination; the One, the Whole, Being. What beings are in themselves undistorted; truth, Being. The other: doxa, ‘semblance,’ idle talk [Gerede]; the multifarious in what is otherwise, the equivocal [?], opposition, nonbeing. Semblance distorts, since the many individuals are not the One.” Philosophical inquiry, he 314 N O T E S T O P A G E S 18 7 – 2 2 9 tells his

too. Perhaps it would be useful to think of a commonality without community where what we share is not something that can be easily spoken of in the social realm but which, nonetheless, inhabits it as a silent bond or, as Heidegger puts it, a stillness within the “idle talk” of the “they.” Indeed, in his famous discussion of the call of conscience in Being and Time it is precisely silence and stillness that characterize the uncanny: Only in keeping silent does the conscience call; that is to say, the call comes from the soundlessness of uncanniness, and the

everything, 7, 12, 33, 43–47, 49–50, 55, 62, 71, 76, 84, 88, 114, 159–60, 175–77, 179, 187, 202, 208, 216. See also anything; cal- culation; curiosity; enframing; idle talk; machination; nothing everywhere, 3, 12, 50–51, 67, 76–77, 81, 91n32, 96, 100–101, 115, 150, 158, 162, 175, 192, 212. See also nowhere evolution, 142–43, 145, 170, 172 excess, 125, 148, 182, 195n10; of language, 164, 211 exchange, 134, 140 exclusion, 122–23 exegesis, 162, 164 existence: authentic, 155; day- to- day, 193; and essence, 65; fi nitude of, 2; inauthen- ticity of, 38; infi nitude and