OlioHouse | Words, Labels, & Power

Jeanne Proust at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sat, Jun 8 at 2 p.m.   |   90 minutes

Is there a specificity of human language? Can we say that animals have language? What is the relationship between words and the world? Is it able to describe reality adequately? Can we think without language? Do different languages convey different worldviews? What happens when we can’t find the rights words to say? Are there things that we can’t express/communicate?

Language shapes our world(s), just as it shapes our mind. How people express themselves is key to understanding their identity; the tone, the vocabulary, and the grammar we use shape who we are, how we think, and conditions the very clarity of our thinking processes. Words sculpt the framework in which we perceive reality; catching it, grasping it, enriching it. Or should we precisely see language as an impoverishing tool, as Bergson suggests? By calling words “labels”, “tags” glued onto things and thoughts, artificially separating them, Bergson makes us question the adequacy of language as a descriptive tool.

We'll talk about structuralism, but also about conception of performative language, as well as about the idea of language as a social marker. Our discussion will indeed not only focus on the relationship between words and the world (be it outer, our environment, or inner, our thoughts and emotions), but also about political correctness, and language as a means for political domination. Since the words we use shape the power dynamics between social groups, an open ethical discussion is necessary to make sure that they don’t explicitly or implicitly promote phallocentric, ethnocentric, or racist violence. Our language is not a "natural" labeling system – it is the product of a cultural and political history, and carries a symbolic violence that we will shed more light on.


Saturday


2pm - Communal Lunch

3pm - Is there a specificity of human language? Can we say that animals have language?

What is the relationship between words and the world?

Is it able to describe reality adequately?

Can we think without language?

Do different languages convey different worldviews?

What happens when we can’t find the rights words to say ? Are there things that we can’t express/communicate?

5pm - Free Time

7pm - What are the other functions of language?

In what ways can language be used as a means for domination?

8pm - Dinner at the Lantern Inn

Sunday

9am - Breakfast

11am - Do words invent reality?

Are there cases where we're allowed to lie?


Teacher: Jeanne Proust

Jeanne Proust's research focuses on Théodule Ribot’s Diseases of the Will, both in philosophical and psychological perspectives. While teaching at different universities here in New York, Jeanne is advocating for a widening of philosophical education beyond the academic frontiers.


Venue: OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

What is Think Olio?


Think Olio is here to put the liberation back into the liberal arts.

Classically, the liberal arts, were the education considered essential for a free person to take an active part in civic life. To counter a humanities that has been institutionalized and dehumanized we infuse critical thinking, openness, playfulness, and compassion into our learning experience.

Read more about our mission, our story, and how we are doing this.

Scenius Membership

If Friday night lectures, museum field trips, and living room salons sound like your kind of thing, then you've found your people. We can't wait to welcome you to the Think Olio Scenius. More info


Other Upcoming Olios


New Toys and New Tyrants: Capitalism and the Rise of Platform Economics

Location: at Online

Teacher: Rob Larson

June 4, 2020, 8 p.m.

A Dialogue: Buddhism and the Stoics

Location: at Online

Teacher: Bhante Kusala & Michael Prettyman

June 5, 2020, 8 p.m.

Seeing the Subconscious: Mindfulness, Psychology, and the Road to Healing Racism

Location: at Online

Teacher: Darryl Aiken-Afam & Robin Schlenger

June 7, 2020, 7 p.m.

Internet Omnipresence & Critical Thinking

Location: at Online

Teacher: Jeanne Proust

June 8, 2020, 8 p.m.

Escape From The City

Location: at Online

Teacher: Ted Barrow

June 10, 2020, 8 p.m.

Progressives, Radicals & Well-Meaning Liberals

Location: at Online

Teacher: Angie Beeman

June 11, 2020, 8 p.m.

Plato Goes East: The Republic and The Bhagavad Gita

Location: at Online

Teacher: Vishwa Adluri

June 14, 2020, noon

Socialism, A Day in the Life

Location: at Online

Teacher: Danny Katch

June 15, 2020, 8 p.m.

Government Action and Inaction in Response to Covid-19

Location: at Online

Teacher: Andres Bernal

June 19, 2020, 8 p.m.


Stay in Touch


Instagram Mailing List Contact

Get Involved


Liaisons Host an Olio

Olio: A miscellaneous collection of art and literature.