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I SEE A VOICE: A PHILOSOPHICAL HISTORY OF…
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I SEE A VOICE: A PHILOSOPHICAL HISTORY OF LANGUAGE, DEAFNESS AND THE… (edição 1999)

por Jonathan Rée (Autor)

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1091196,383 (3.6)Nenhum(a)
What is so special about the human voice? The relationship between the ear and the voice is unique among the senses. While we cannot emit light or smell or flavour at will, we control, unconsciously or consciously, the sounds that come from our mouths. For this reason, many thinkers, most notably Freud, have seen the voice as the outward expression of the soul. Careful listening to the voices of others, it was felt, would lay bare your innermost fears and desires. But given such an intimate connection between hearing and speaking, what has been the fate of those born deaf? How have they found ways of communicating? Ree's book uses fable and anecdote to examine the extraordinary treatment through the ages of the mute in Western culture. In doing so he uncovers some wonderful stories: the conflict between those who used sign language and who sought a deaf homeland and the oralists of Britain and Germany, who believed that the deaf should be integrated into society by being taught how to speak.… (mais)
Membro:signs2go
Título:I SEE A VOICE: A PHILOSOPHICAL HISTORY OF LANGUAGE, DEAFNESS AND THE SENSES
Autores:Jonathan Rée (Autor)
Informação:London Harper Collins Publishers c1999. (1999), Edition: First Edition, 288 pages
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I See a Voice: Deafness, Language and the Senses--A Philosophical History por Jonathan Ree

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Ree is a teacher and historian of philosophy,and perhaps (or in consequence) a bit of a philosopher himself. The best thing about this book is his very well written history of efforts to teach the deaf to use sign language or to speak - or both. The debate between signing and vocalization that we might remember from the movie 'Children of a Lesser God' is given its extraordinary history here. This history is quite riveting as the Church and secularists fought over the minds and souls of the deaf, each claiming they had the best method of bringing the deaf into the light of religious knowledge, and into hearing society.

There was no clear right on either side - although the reader might conclude that a mixed approach was the most reasonable - it was very clear that the deaf themselves had very little say in the direction of the debate and hence the methods applied. Enough stories are relayed of children being mentally and physically abused in vocalization-oriented deaf schools for straying into the use of sign language to make it clear that the mindset was about 'what was for the good of the deaf child', rather than about 'what is good for the deaf child.'

Rees becomes interesting, but not engaging, when he brings deafness and the ways and means the deaf have communicated into two very long and disjointed philosophical discussions. The first, (Part One of the book) is a discourse on the origins and substance of our senses of sound, language and sight. Partly history, and partly speculation on the authors part, this struck me as a history of delusional foolery. As history this was mildly interesting. What worried me - and almost convinced me to throw the book away - is that the author seemed to think that there was some wisdom or insight to be mined out of this rubbish.

The second essay into philosophy was at the end of the book (Part Three) where I was much more inclined to indulge the author. But here he seemed to veer off into a potted history of philosophical speculation about the role of the senses and intellect which was in itself uncontroversial, but also unexceptional and singularly lacking any perspective from the Deaf Community. The perspective of the deaf and mute was (as his history makes clear) very seldom sought or tolerated in any discussion on..., well anything really. So Rees might be forgiven for not being able to quote anyone on this, but I wonder why he didn't go and simply talk to people in the Deaf Community and work through this discussion with them, and then present it to us.

It is as if Rees has proposed that the real life situation of the Deaf Community offered the prospect of shedding light on centuries of philosophical speculation, but then found that he had no insight into (or insights from within) that Community that would help him seal the deal. Presenting the history of the relevant philosophical approaches, and the history of the hearing-worlds reaction to the Deaf Community gives the reader nothing more than an impression of two disciplines stumbling around with a very small torch in a very large dark room. And of course there's no mention of the blind in all of this, and almost no mention of all of the amazing (and tragic) variations in sensory capability that arise from traumatic brain injury.

Actually I suspect that we are reading a series of first year philosophy lectures given by Rees as part of his teaching responsibilities. They have that sense about them of challenging the student to consider the previously unconsidered without really aiming for any original insight. Out of this intellectual carpet bombing has come, however, a very readable history of the efforts to teach deaf mutes to commmunicate (Part Two of the book), and frankly while I rate this section very highly, I'd skip the rest - unless you have a penchant for trawling over low brow philosophical trash. Or unless your philosophy lecturer sets it as a required text! ( )
  nandadevi | Sep 27, 2012 |
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What is so special about the human voice? The relationship between the ear and the voice is unique among the senses. While we cannot emit light or smell or flavour at will, we control, unconsciously or consciously, the sounds that come from our mouths. For this reason, many thinkers, most notably Freud, have seen the voice as the outward expression of the soul. Careful listening to the voices of others, it was felt, would lay bare your innermost fears and desires. But given such an intimate connection between hearing and speaking, what has been the fate of those born deaf? How have they found ways of communicating? Ree's book uses fable and anecdote to examine the extraordinary treatment through the ages of the mute in Western culture. In doing so he uncovers some wonderful stories: the conflict between those who used sign language and who sought a deaf homeland and the oralists of Britain and Germany, who believed that the deaf should be integrated into society by being taught how to speak.

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