The Subtractive and Nihilistic Modes of Silence: Heidegger and Beckett, Wittgenstein and Giacometti

  • Steven Bindeman
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 62)


How is it possible to mean more than we actually say? Why would we want to do so in the first place? Why would we ever wish to use language in such a way that we would want to transcend its logical form and its informative purpose? Finally, how could silence ever perform the function, through such indirect discourse, of reaching beyond the limits of language? Such questions reflect the painful realization that there are times when we are unable to articulate (either to ourselves or to others) what we really want to say. Such moments place us in a situation of uncanniness, whereby we are forced to confront the essential disconnectedness between ourselves and the world around us. The common reaction to this moment of silence is to fill it up with words, since it’s not the sort of experience one wants to endure for long. When we confront language with silence, the nature of language, and the constructed world it encompasses, both undergo significant changes.


Mystical Experience Indirect Discourse Idle Talk Momentary Loss Linguistic Framing 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven Bindeman
    • 1
  1. 1.Strayer UniversityUSA

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