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[Sherali Tareen] Burke/tree

Sherali Tareen: The supernatural, literary connotations of words, and the distinction between the two concepts seem to be the main main focus for Burke. For instance, he discusses the non-verbal nature of trees that is entirely unrelated to the object of living thing “tree” itself. (1) However, the distinction between “the Word” and “words” remain unclear to me. (2)

Kiarina Kordela: (1) The non-verbal aspect of “tree” is the “living thing ‘tree’ itself”. What is non-verbal is being. Burke’s point is that the effect of the verbal (language/sign) is that in the last analytic there were more than two terms (the sign versus being) because language introduces also the negative/metaphysical. So there is the verbal (sign), the physical (being) and the metaphysical, God, Other. //(2) “The Word” is a concept of the theocratic discourse – not of the secular, “The Word” acknowledges that the sign involves the metaphysical by attributing all signs to God: whatever clue we say, it is always God who speaks through us. // “Words” is the secular understanding of the sign: it is simply humans who speak through signs: Burke (and Lancan’s) point is that, due to (1), it is (the Other/the metaphysical) that speaks even through (secular, words) the sign. When I speak, it is It (God the unconscious -> the metaphysical negative) that speaks.

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