Sat, Jun 8 at 2 p.m. | 90 minutes
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.
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
9am - Breakfast
11am - Do words invent reality?
Are there cases where we're allowed to lie?
While teaching at different universities in New York, Jeanne is advocating for a widening of philosophical education beyond the academia frontiers by participating in different events open to the general public. She taught at Rikers Island as a volunteer, and regularly gives public talks in philosophy, leading her to recently produce her own podcast, "Can You Phil It?”.