Rowman and Littlefield International

Proto-Phenomenology, Language Acquisition, Orality and Literacy

Dwelling in Speech II

By Lawrence J. Hatab

2 Reviews

Hatab presents a new vocabulary for Heidegger’s early phenomenology of being-in-the-world and applies it to the question of language.

Hardback ISBN: 9781786613981 Release date: Oct 2019
£85.00 €119.00 $130.00
Ebook ISBN: 9781786613998 Release date: Oct 2019
£29.95 €41.95 $43.99

Series: New Heidegger Research

Pages: 328


Through his innovative study of language, noted Heidegger scholar Lawrence Hatab offers a proto-phenomenological account of the lived world, the “first” world of factical life, where pre-reflective, immediate disclosiveness precedes and makes possible representational models of language. Common distinctions between mind and world, fact and value, cognition and affect miss the meaning-laden dimension of embodied, practical existence, where language and life are a matter of “dwelling in speech.” In this second volume, Hatab supplements and fortifies his initial analysis by offering a detailed treatment of child development and language acquisition, which exhibit a proto-phenomenological world in the making. He then takes up an in-depth study of the differences between oral and written language (particularly in the ancient Greek world) and how the history of alphabetic literacy shows why Western philosophy came to emphasize objective, representational models of cognition and language, which conceal and pass over the presentational domain of dwelling in speech. Such a study offers significant new angles on the nature of philosophy and language.



Chapter 1: Proto-Phenomenology and Language: A Summary of Volume I
1. Proto-Phenomenology and the Lived World
2. The Personal-World
3. The Environing-World
4. The Social-World
5. Projection
6. Temporality
7. Embodiment
8. Disclosure and Interpretation
9. Language
10. Truth and Pluralism

Chapter 2: The Child’s World
1. Ecstatic Dwelling
2. The Personal-Social-World
3. The Environing-World
4. Affective Attunement
5. Projection
6. Temporality and History
7. Embodiment
8. On the Way to Language

Chapter 3: Language Acquisition
1. Natural Language
2. The Phenomenological Priority of Language
3. Language Learning and Dwelling
4. The Personal-Social-World
5. Embodiment and the Environing-World
6. Temporality and History
7. Differential Fitness, Development, and Truth
8. Summary

Chapter 4: Orality and Literacy
1. Oral and Written Language: Two Different Worlds?
2. The Alphabet and Learning How to Read and Write
3. Orality in Ancient Greece
4. Elements of Orality and Literacy
5. Proto-Phenomenology and Literacy

Chapter 5: Philosophy and Literacy in the Greek World
1. Greek Myth
2. The Homeric World
3. The Advent of Philosophy
4. Plato and the Poets
5. Literacy and Philosophy
6. Plato and Writing
7. Some Effects of Literacy in Greek Philosophy

Chapter 6: The Transcribed World
1. From Greek to Latin
2. The Evolution of Literacy
3. Print
4. Science and the Book of Nature
5. Representation and Subjectivity
6. Literal and Metaphorical Language
7. A Post-Literate World?
8. Concluding Remarks


Lawrence J. Hatab is Louis I. Jaffe Professor of Philosophy at Old Dominion University. He is the author of Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morality (2008), Nietzsche’s Life Sentence: Coming to Terms With Eternal Recurrence (2005), Ethics and Finitude: Heideggerian Contributions to Moral Philosophy (2000), A Nietzschean Defense of Democracy: An Experiment in Postmodern Politics (1995) and Myth and Philosophy: A Contest of Truths (1990).

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2 Reviews

This book is a fitting and in many ways surprising completion of the first volume. Hatab's work on language and language acquisition is ground breaking. Influenced by but not subservient to Heidegger, Hatab takes phenomenology in new directions. This is not a book about phenomenology; it is doing phenomenology.

Drew A. Hyland, Charles A. Dana Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, Trinity College, USA

Philosophers who believe in the primacy of embodiment for how we experience the world have labored to ascertain how to make sense of our condition. To approach this question—Hatab asks how does meaning arise amongst humans who are not originally or only verbal, representational beings? Starting with our everyday manner of experiencing, this book is a compelling study of how his “proto-phenomenology” understands human meaning as naturally arising out of our lived condition in opposition to views that restrict meaning within the mental world.

Talia Welsh, Professor of Philosophy, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, USA

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