Is the utterance "I speak" a performative?

What did you say? And what did you mean by it?

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Exan
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Is the utterance "I speak" a performative?

Post by Exan » Fri Aug 24, 2018 12:19 pm

Maurizio Lazzarato in his book "Signs and Machines" wrote: " In fact, " I speak" cannot be a performative since the result of the utterance is mere information from which no obligation follows.
It institutes no "right", no convention, no role, no distribution of powers. Even if it accomplishes what it states, it is nevertheless not a performative". " I speak" is an utterance that communicates something but it does not act on the "other"." Can we consider "I speak" as having a just simple communicative function? Can it be the performative in a broader than Austin's sense?

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Re: Is the utterance "I speak" a performative?

Post by -1- » Sat Aug 25, 2018 3:38 am

Exan wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 12:19 pm
Maurizio Lazzarato in his book "Signs and Machines" wrote: " In fact, " I speak" cannot be a performative since the result of the utterance is mere information from which no obligation follows.
It institutes no "right", no convention, no role, no distribution of powers. Even if it accomplishes what it states, it is nevertheless not a performative". " I speak" is an utterance that communicates something but it does not act on the "other"." Can we consider "I speak" as having a just simple communicative function? Can it be the performative in a broader than Austin's sense?
"I speak" acts on the other, in that it categorically implies, "you listen". This is inherent, once you accept that it is an act of communication (which you and Lazzarato did). "I speak" and it is not a communication, then you don't necessarily have to listen -- you could be speaking at the same time, or be asleep, or be far away. But if communication happens, and you did say it happens, then "I speak" can't be performed when you are concurrently speaking. "I speak" and there is a communication inherent in the utterance, then it follows that you listen. Therefore it acts on the other. Therefore it is a performative.

Exan
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Re: Is the utterance "I speak" a performative?

Post by Exan » Sat Aug 25, 2018 5:33 pm

-1- wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 3:38 am
Exan wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 12:19 pm
Maurizio Lazzarato in his book "Signs and Machines" wrote: " In fact, " I speak" cannot be a performative since the result of the utterance is mere information from which no obligation follows.
It institutes no "right", no convention, no role, no distribution of powers. Even if it accomplishes what it states, it is nevertheless not a performative". " I speak" is an utterance that communicates something but it does not act on the "other"." Can we consider "I speak" as having a just simple communicative function? Can it be the performative in a broader than Austin's sense?
"I speak" acts on the other, in that it categorically implies, "you listen". This is inherent, once you accept that it is an act of communication (which you and Lazzarato did). "I speak" and it is not a communication, then you don't necessarily have to listen -- you could be speaking at the same time, or be asleep, or be far away. But if communication happens, and you did say it happens, then "I speak" can't be performed when you are concurrently speaking. "I speak" and there is a communication inherent in the utterance, then it follows that you listen. Therefore it acts on the other. Therefore it is a performative.
You are right that “I Speak” implicates the presence of the other. Yet, it possible to problematize the present relations with this “other,” and to ask questions about who is this “other.” According to Foucault analysis in his essay “ The thought from outside,“ this “Other” is not an ordinary interlocutor; Foucault ’s addressee of “I speak” is the general socio-cultural dispositive of our societies, assuming the actual absence of the dialog and real
exchange.
"Although the formal position of "I speak" does not raise problems of its own, its meaning opens a potentially unlimited realm of questions, in spite of its apparent clarity. "I speak" refers to a supporting discourse that provides it with an object. That discourse, however, is missing; the sovereignty of "I speak" can only reside in the absence of any other language; the discourse about which I speak does not pre-exist the nakedness articulated
the moment I say, "I speak"; it disappears the instant I fall silent. Any possibility of language dries up in the transitivity of its execution. The desert surrounds it. In what extreme delicacy, at what slight and singular point, could a language come together in an attempt to recapture itself in the stripped-down form, "I speak"? Unless, of course, the void in which the contentless slimness of "I speak" is manifested were an absolute opening through which language endlessly spreads forth, while the subject —the "I" who speaks —fragments, disperses, scatters, disappearing in that naked space. "

Can we consider this radical problematization of “I Speak” as answering the question about the performativity of the utterance?
Last edited by Exan on Sat Aug 25, 2018 8:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Dalek Prime
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Re: Is the utterance "I speak" a performative?

Post by Dalek Prime » Sat Aug 25, 2018 6:28 pm

What if it's muttered?

Exan
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Re: Is the utterance "I speak" a performative?

Post by Exan » Sat Aug 25, 2018 8:58 pm

Thank you for your response! By the way, it is a very good illustration of what this Foucault's quote says about
the meaning of "I speak"!

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Re: Is the utterance "I speak" a performative?

Post by -1- » Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:14 am

I think Foucault et al are saying "what do you say after someone uttered, "I speak"?" It is a perfectly normal utterance, it is true to the bone, but there is nothing it says beyond what it says, which is that it says "I speak".

This is not a problem;it is a special case of lingual example, which nobody has employed in the history of mankind, until Nietzsche came along: "Also sprach Zaratustra". Because Zaratustra spake, "I speak", and that's about the size of that.

There are tons of sentences precisely similar to "I speak" one can generate in his own spare time.

"At eight o'clock I am."

"Zsuzsi is."

"Money is going to."

"Just do, or be, your choice, cutie pie."

"Existentialism exists."

Exan
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Re: Is the utterance "I speak" a performative?

Post by Exan » Sun Aug 26, 2018 4:18 pm

-1- wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:14 am
I think Foucault et al are saying "what do you say after someone uttered, "I speak"?" It is a perfectly normal utterance, it is true to the bone, but there is nothing it says beyond what it says, which is that it says "I speak".

This is not a problem;it is a special case of lingual example, which nobody has employed in the history of mankind, until Nietzsche came along: "Also sprach Zaratustra". Because Zaratustra spake, "I speak", and that's about the size of that.

There are tons of sentences precisely similar to "I speak" one can generate in his own spare time.

"At eight o'clock I am."

"Zsuzsi is."

"Money is going to."

"Just do, or be, your choice, cutie pie."

"Existentialism exists."
The discourse of Nietzsche in “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” and other texts provides an outstanding example of why “I speak” is a problem which is still actual. To whom talked Nietzsche? Who was his interlocutor? Who was the Other of his discourse? Did he talk to himself in the absence of any dialog? Definitely, Nietzsche produced numerous self-affirming utterances, and the goal of each utterance was to confirm his own existence as well as to state some truth or belief. Yet, all his attempts of self-establishment, self-identification kept failing, not resulting in a creation of a stable long-term subject of enunciation.

Exan
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Re: Is the utterance "I speak" a performative?

Post by Exan » Sun Aug 26, 2018 4:50 pm

-1- wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:14 am

There are tons of sentences precisely similar to "I speak" one can generate in his own spare time.

"At eight o'clock I am."

"Zsuzsi is."

"Money is going to."

"Just do, or be, your choice, cutie pie."

"Existentialism exists."
Those are good examples of why "I speak" is still a problem. All these utterances are generated according to the hidden pattern, that I try to problematize.

Impenitent
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Re: Is the utterance "I speak" a performative?

Post by Impenitent » Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:33 pm

speaking without an immediate audience (aside from oneself) is an internal event...

writing in lieu of spoken words, without consideration of audience, is a matter of indirect interpretation by both the author and the reader...

clowning around with language is more of a performative than juggling bowling pins but I digress...

-Imp

Exan
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Re: Is the utterance "I speak" a performative?

Post by Exan » Sun Aug 26, 2018 8:29 pm

Impenitent wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:33 pm
speaking without an immediate audience (aside from oneself) is an internal event...
If we consider a monologue (what was Hamlet’s audience?), or so-called “inner speech,” we can not find an audience, physically present at the instance of utterance generation. Nevertheless, in both cases, speech acts are socially determined and have dialogical characteristics.

Impenitent
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Re: Is the utterance "I speak" a performative?

Post by Impenitent » Sun Aug 26, 2018 9:16 pm

Exan wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 8:29 pm
Impenitent wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:33 pm
speaking without an immediate audience (aside from oneself) is an internal event...
If we consider a monologue (what was Hamlet’s audience?), or so-called “inner speech,” we can not find an audience, physically present at the instance of utterance generation. Nevertheless, in both cases, speech acts are socially determined and have dialogical characteristics.
hamlet had no audience... hamlet is an interpretation of a written work

thinking in language... the monological may have dialogical characteristics, but they are not completely similar

-Imp

Exan
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Re: Is the utterance "I speak" a performative?

Post by Exan » Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:43 am

Impenitent wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 9:16 pm

thinking in language... the monological may have dialogical characteristics, but they are not completely similar
Why not? According to the theory of inner speech, developed by Lev Vygotsky, inner speech is the result of the process of interiorization of a child's egocentric speech, which is completely monological. So, in principle, both kinds of speech have the same nature.

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Re: Is the utterance "I speak" a performative?

Post by -1- » Mon Aug 27, 2018 7:57 am

Exan wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 4:50 pm
Those are good examples of why "I speak" is still a problem.
Why do you call this a problem? it causes grief to whom?

It is not a problem. It happens, but it harms no one, it is not disruptive, it is not vicious or malignant, it is not harmful to anyone by any stretch of imagination. It is benign.

Maybe you use the word "problem" a different way. But using common informal English, the utterance "I speak" is not a problem.

Why do you keep on referring to it as such? Does it cause you grave heart aches, or what?

Exan
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Re: Is the utterance "I speak" a performative?

Post by Exan » Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:56 pm

-1- wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 7:57 am
Exan wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 4:50 pm
Those are good examples of why "I speak" is still a problem.
Why do you call this a problem? it causes grief to whom?

It is not a problem. It happens, but it harms no one, it is not disruptive, it is not vicious or malignant, it is not harmful to anyone by any stretch of imagination. It is benign.

Maybe you use the word "problem" a different way. But using common informal English, the utterance "I speak" is not a problem.

Why do you keep on referring to it as such? Does it cause you grave heart aches, or what?
Thank you for your contribution to this thread! :) Maybe the word “problem” is not the best, and I could not articulate well my concerns regarding “I speak.” You are right that the ordinary use of “I speak” in English is quite benign. However, relying on a tradition of thought, developed by Nietzsche, Blanchot, Foucault, and Virno it is possible to understand, that behind neutrality and innocence of “I speak” is a real problem, a hidden pattern, controlling our discourse.
Taking again your examples:
“There are tons of sentences precisely similar to "I speak" one can generate in his own spare time.

"At eight o'clock I am."

"Zsuzsi is."

"Money is going to."

"Just do, or be, your choice, cutie pie."

"Existentialism exists."

Why should we endlessly produce tons of meaningless sentences? Must we obey an imperative to speak? To take part in the infinite amount of chats, flooding and destroying our discourses?

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Re: Is the utterance "I speak" a performative?

Post by -1- » Mon Aug 27, 2018 5:20 pm

So the problem is producing tons of meaningless sentences. Okay. There are quite a few on these boards of ours who practice that problem full time. :-)

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