Listening, Thinking, Being: Toward an Ethics of Attunement

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9780271063324: Listening, Thinking, Being: Toward an Ethics of Attunement

Although listening is central to human interaction, its importance is often ignored. In the rush to speak and be heard, it is easy to neglect listening and disregard its significance as a way of being with others and the world. Drawing upon insights from phenomenology, linguistics, philosophy of communication, and ethics, Listening, Thinking, Being is both an invitation and an intervention meant to turn much of what readers know, or think they know, about language, communication, and listening inside out. It is not about how to be a good listener or the numerous pitfalls that stem from the failure to listen. Rather, the purpose of the book is, first, to make readers aware of the value and importance of listening as a fundamental human ability inextricably connected with language and thought; second, to alert readers to the complexity of listening from personal, cultural, and philosophical perspectives; and third, to offer readers a way to think of listening as a mode of communicative action by which humans create and abide in the world. Lisbeth Lipari brings together historical, literary, intercultural, scientific, musical, and philosophical perspectives, as well as a range of her own personal experiences, to produce this highly readable analysis of how “the human experience of being as an ethical relation with others . . . is enacted by means of listening.”

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About the Author:

Lisbeth Lipari is Associate Professor of Communication at Denison University.

Review:

“In Listening, Thinking, Being, Lisbeth Lipari addresses “our failure to listen for the other” and the need to conceive of communication, particularly listening, beyond Western culture’s emphasis on speech, which privileges visual and spatial conceptions of the communication process.

“This beautifully written book takes the reader on a journey where the usual perspectives on language and communication are turned upside down and reconceived from an alternative standpoint. Lipari offers a complete picture, leading to an ethics of discourse: listening has a place in the ethical relation to the other, and is a source of ethical virtue. Communication and ethics flow together in the existential statement that listening brings humans into being, and ethics is enacted in listening ‘for and to the otherness of others.’

“The book will further the theoretical discussion within the fields of both communication studies and ethics. Moreover, it invites not only an intellectual and knowledge-oriented reading, but reflection on the reader's own practice of speaking and listening.

“This is an important, thought-provoking work which is sure to find an audience. It will be very useful for teaching as well as for reflection on language and on otherness for practitioners of all kinds.

—Marie-Cécile Bertau, Institute for Phonetics and Speech Processing, University of Munich



“In Listening, Thinking, Being, Lisbeth Lipari addresses “our failure to listen for the other” and the need to conceive of communication, particularly listening, beyond Western culture’s emphasis on speech, which privileges visual and spatial conceptions of the communication process. This leads to an ethics of discourse: listening has its place in the ethical relation to the other. Communication and ethics flow together in the existential statement that listening brings humans into being.

“The book invites not only an intellectual and knowledge-oriented reading, but reflection on the reader's own practice of speaking and listening. It is an important, thought-provoking work that is sure to find an audience.

—Marie-Cécile Bertau, Institute for Phonetics and Speech Processing, University of Munich



“How often do you feel truly listened to? Not often. But what if listening was more important than speaking? Would our relations to each other change? If Lisbeth Lipari is right, and I think she is, the answer is yes, considerably! I only discovered her work on listening a few years ago, but I have read everything of hers ever since. In this important book, in setting out what she calls interlistening, she shows how it is possible for me to treat you as you are rather than what I think you seem to be.”

—John Shotter, Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science, London School of Economics



“How often do you feel truly listened to? Not often. But what if listening was more important than speaking? Would our relations to each other change? If Lisbeth Lipari is right, and I think she is, the answer is yes, considerably! In this important book, in setting out what she calls interlistening, she shows how it is possible for me to treat you as you are rather than what I think you seem to be.”

—John Shotter, Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science, London School of Economics



“Lisbeth Lipari offers readers an intricate and masterfully crafted analysis of how the human experience of being as an ethical relation with others is enacted by means of listening. The eloquence of Lipari's prose also adds to a very rewarding read. Highly recommended.”

—Michael Hyde, Wake Forest University



“This beautifully written book embarks on a journey where the usual perspectives on language and communication are reconceived from an alternative standpoint. Lisbeth Lipari addresses ‘our failure to listen for the other,’ which leads her to describe an ethics of discourse: listening has its place in the ethical relation to the other. Indeed, ethics is enacted in listening ‘for and to the otherness of others.’ An important, thought-provoking book, Listening, Thinking, Being will develop the theoretical discussion within the field of communication studies as well as within ethics. Moreover, it invites a reflection on the reader's own practice of speaking-and-listening.”

—Marie-Cécile Bertau, Institute for Phonetics and Speech Processing, University of Munich



“In this well-written book, Lipari provides an analysis of how humans build ethical relationships with others through listening. In eight chapters, the author makes clear the value and importance of listening as a fundamental human ability inextricably connected with language and thought. Through a variety of philosophical, personal, and cultural perspectives, Lipari frames listening in new ways. In a particularly interesting chapter, “Communication and a Nice Knock-Down Argument,” Lipari argues that even communication in isolation is dialogic because of the ways in which words from the past reverberate with the rhetor. In a concluding chapter, Lipari argues for “attunement,” the inseparable connection between speaking and logos. Many other texts engage the importance of listening in human communication . . . but Lipari is one of few scholars to take on the daunting task of developing new philosophical approaches to this subject.”

—K. L. Majocha, Choice

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