Gemma Corradi Fiumara: A Philosophy of Listening within a Tradition of Questioning
Key Words: open listening, Gadamer, question, risk
Other Words: anomalies, logic, hermeneutics, epistemology, interdisciplinarity, the questioning of questioning
For all its ubiquity and apparent simplicity, “listening” remains a largely unexplored dimension of (logocentric) philosophy, a discipline that tends to emphasize the virtues of being heard over hearing. (Assuming, that is, there's a relation between listening and here - this may not be the case.) Listening is thus explored in this chapter philosophically—through the philosophical method of questioning: the questioning of questioning.
Listening actually impoverishes us from a rational point of view because if we seriously engage in paying heed we may even come to a state of helplessness and disorientation. And yet, even though in some respects the challenge pulls us away from the articulations of real knowledge, on the whole and in the long run it may contribute to a new (and not an alternative) style of philosophical work; a sort of work which seeks neither to comply with standard rationality nor to shape the world according to its views; we no longer know what discourse we ought to reproduce mimetically in accordance with certain basic meta-rules and no longer wish to shape culture according to certain principles of current rationality. "Reality," "nature", "the world" thus escape any restrictive construction and almost exclusively turn to renegotiate the relationship. (43)
In other words, if listening doesn’t risk some kind of fundamental shift in understanding, it’s not genuine listening. This may be what makes listening is so difficult in the first place.
Critically, Fiumara makes a distinction between short term and long-term value. To repeat the above: asking specific questions may be more efficient but more interesting answers often emerge if we listen to Heidegger, who says, “the authentic attitude of thinking is not a putting of questions—rather it is listening to the grant, the promise of what is to be put in question.” (39)
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