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Rizzuto, A. (1992). The Other Side of Language. A Philosophy of Listening: By Gemma Corradi Fiumara. Translated by Charles Lambert. London/New York: Routledge, 1990. 214 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 61:123-127.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 61:123-127

The Other Side of Language. A Philosophy of Listening: By Gemma Corradi Fiumara. Translated by Charles Lambert. London/New York: Routledge, 1990. 214 pp.

Review by:
Ana-Maria Rizzuto

Gemma Corradi Fiumara is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Rome University and a practicing member of the Italian Psychoanalytic Society. She has written another book, The Symbolic Function and the Philosophy of Language (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1990), thus revealing her scholarly dedication to the understanding of the function of language in human life, especially in the areas of discourse and knowledge. The book I am reviewing is entirely philosophical. Its core proposal, however, is so central to analytic theory and technique that it cannot be ignored by psychoanalysts interested in the cultural stance and philosophical underpinnings of psychoanalysis.

Corradi Fiumara opens her book by observing that among the many meanings of the "Greek term logos there do not appear to be recognizable references to the notion and capacity of listening; in the tradition of western thought we are faced with a system of knowledge that tends to ignore the listening process" (p. 1). The consequences of such conceptual absence affects us in the present: "Elevated to an essential principle of our culture … [it] appears to control and shape all of our rational pursuits… At any moment in which reality is constructed we can identify an attitude which is able to say and not to listen" (p. 2). The social repercussions are even more staggering: "The mechanism of 'saying without listening' has multiplied and spread, to finally constitute itself as a generalized form of domination and control" (p.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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