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Archive for January, 2011

“In the Beginning was the Deed”, says Goethe’s Faust. By rejecting “Word” in favour of “Deed” in St John’s opening line, he implies that words are not themselves deeds, and that deeds have a creative potency which words lack. This ideology of Activism is expressed in Marx’s dictum, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it”; also in the “Propaganda of the Deed” that we see in terrorist atrocities like 9/11; and in the “Just do it!” slogan which advertises sportswear.

In this first talk of the spring term, Chris argues in response that speech, i.e., the utterance of commands, questions or statements in any medium, is action, that it is the paradigm of action as such, and that it is only in relation to speech that action has meaning.

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