Goodness beyond speech

Alexander Segal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
378 Downloads (Pure)


The article addresses Raimond Gaita's attempt to construe the ethical in terms of a notion of speech that is tied to presence (each of us, he holds, is called to become someone 'authentically present in speech and deed' (Gaita 1991, p. 145)), a notion through which he articulates a sense both of human uniqueness ' speech demands that one find one's own words ' and of human fellowship: to find one's words is to achieve the depth that enables one to be taken seriously by others. The article argues, however, that the notion of speech is caught in a double bind; for it requires a spontaneity that is incompatible with the self-presence that it also requires. In a way that Gaita cannot acknowledge, goodness is beyond speech.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-221
Number of pages21
JournalPhilosophical Investigations
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2004

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