Page 163


Kripke’s reading of Wittgenstein on other minds I have argued that that way of responding to living things which reads iterable traits performs an originary, apostrophic ‘leap’ to a ‘we’. This is what Derrida calls ‘a friendship prior to friendship’ (Derrida, 1988, p. 636) and Wittgenstein calls ‘an attitude towards a soul’ which is ‘not an opinion’ (PI, p. 178; see also Wittgenstein, 1977, §301). On this account, no ‘epistemic-bridge’ from one ‘subject’ to another is necessary in order to ground being with others. Any such bridge comes too late. These ideas have, to a degree, been recognised by Saul Kripke in his reading of Wittgenstein: The correct interpretation of our normal discourse involves a certain inversion: we do not pity others because we attribute pain to them, we attribute pain to them because we pity them. (More exactly: our attitude is revealed to be an attitude toward other minds in virtue of our pity and related attitudes.) (Kripke, 1982, p. 142) My reading of Wittgenstein on this point diverges from Kripke in two important respects. First, while I fully agree that this idea is continuous with ideas in Wittgenstein’s earliest writings, 20 it is, on my account, clearly wrong to suppose that it is ‘a strand in Wittgenstein’s argument’ that should be separated from and ‘explained without resort to the notion of a criterion’ (ibid., p. 120). Second, once we do see its connection to this notion, it becomes clear that Kripke is wrong to suppose that my attitude requires an empathic move in which, for example, ‘I, who have myself experienced pain and can imagine it, can imaginatively put myself in place of the sufferer’ (ibid., p. 140). Kripke does not, at this point, sufficiently respect his own observation that the kind of account he is examining ‘involves a certain inversion [of the traditional interpretation]’ (ibid., p. 142). That a living human being has the kind of subject position or subject character described by Kripke presupposes and cannot explain being with others. As Heidegger puts it ‘“empathy” does not first constitute Being-with; only on the basis of Being-with does “empathy” become possible’ (BT, p. 125; see Z, §§540–2).

The interminability of reading Since the eventhood of an event of ‘writing’ is riven by iterability, there is never just one ‘proper reading’ of a ‘text’; another reading is always possible. ‘Writing’ is such that it always offers itself to new readings, new responses – and, hence, new responsibilities. This rhythm of reading, and the ineluctable responsibility which it implies, is inescapable. It is a rhythm that does not end. Or barely, for example,. now


Glendinning, simon on being with others heidegger‚ derrida, wittgenstein  
Glendinning, simon on being with others heidegger‚ derrida, wittgenstein