Jejudo, South Korea
There is no language without the performative dimension of the promise, the minute I open my mouth I am in the dimension of the promise. Even if I say that 'I don't believe in truth' or whatever, the minute I open my mouth there is a 'believe me' at work. Even when I lie, and perhaps especially when I lie, there is a 'believe me' in play. And this 'I promise you that I am speaking the truth' is a messianic apriori, a promise which, even if it is not kept, even if one knows that it cannot be kept, takes place and qua promise is messianic. And from this point of view, I do not see how one can pose the question of ethics if one renounces the motifs of emanicipation and the messianic. Emancipation is once again a vast question today and I must say that I have no tolerance for those who -- deconstructionist or not -- are ironical with regard to the grand discourse of emanicipation. This attitude has always distressed and irritated me. I do not want to renounce this discourse.
From "Remarks" by Jacques Derrida in Deconstruction and Pragmatism p. 82.
Believe it or not, I think we all agree with this. It does seem that everybody, so far, accepts that there is some relationship between the ethical and speaking a language. It seems a matter of which is logically prior.
I have no problems with according women and the problem of paternity a special role (The Big Discovery as at least it used to be called.), but when I picture abstract scenarios like this, I generally picture the beginning of teaching as requiring the necessity of language. Animals learn but do they teach?
Needless to say, I'm biased.
I'm a little confused, however, by Phaedrus's point:
Which seems to infer that ethics may not be required for species that donít group together, so which is it all species require ethics or only those that group together?
I don't think a species which doesn't group together requires anything resembling an ethical system. In fact, I don't think most species we define as gregarious require an ethical system. But I have to ask, what exactly are you talking about when you say ethics?
For me, it has to be something that conflicts with evolutionarily involves characteristics (even though I accept that it was also created evolutionarily). For me, if it didn't, we wouldn't need language, and perhaps we wouldn't even need human consciousness.