Scenes of Inner Devastation: Confessional Improvisation

TitleScenes of Inner Devastation: Confessional Improvisation
Publication Type Journal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsWetzel, James
JournalKilikya Felsefe Dergisi
Pagination37 - 50
Date Published2015
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsAugustine, Autobiography, Cavell, Confession, Wittgenstein

Wittgenstein and Cavell have both been alerting me over the years to unsettling possibilities: that secularization is not always a lessening of religious intensity, that philosophy can be a religious calling, that God is less real in our theories than in the grammar of our lives. In short, I have been made aware of the possibility of a secular confession, not as an amputated version of the religious original, but as a genuine improvisation: a way of speaking to God without having to say much, if anything, about God. When Cavell’s hefty memoir came out in 2010, some thirty years after my first encounter with his writing, I assumed I would have my chance to test this possibility. This essay is the outcome of that testing.

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