The Expression of Astonishment

  • Maria Balaska


The chapter further explores the idea that an experience of astonishment brings about a difficulty of intelligible expression and can challenge language’s sense-making capacities. This, I argue, reveals a more general and chronic difficulty with meaning, namely the impossibility of finding an ultimate ground for the meaning of our words. The difficulty of the groundlessness of meaning, a central theme both for Lacan and for Wittgenstein, gives rise to the temptation to avoid it either through an attempt to ground meaning in the a priori or through the rejection of the difficulty as a fictitious by-product of grammar. I discuss this and sketch the possibility of a third stance that does not attempt to avoid groundlessness.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Balaska
    • 1
  1. 1.University of HertfordshireHertfordshireUK

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