Telling Silence

Thresholds to No Where in Ordinary Experiences

By Charles E. Scott

Subjects: Philosophy, Autobigraphy, Spirituality, Poetry, Death And Dying
Series: SUNY series, Insinuations: Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, Literature
Hardcover : 9781438495194, 154 pages, November 2023
Paperback : 9781438495187, 154 pages, May 2024

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Table of contents


1. Intimations: Telling Silence

2. The Vastness of the Sensuous

3. Connie’s Walk in the Forest

4. A Silent Gap’s Power

5. Being True to Nothing

6. Haunting Silence

7. Dwelling with Silence

8. “That Silence”

9. Interpreting Silence? Deviations and Interruptions in Hermeneutics in the Lineages of Zeus’s Messenger

10. Interpreting in Discontinuities

11. Silence, Really?

12. Sensibilities with Silences

13. Discovery in Darkness and Light

14. Sense of Silence

15. Sudden Sparks and Wonders of My Solitude: Silent Creation and Free Spirits

16. Breaches of Divisions

17. Silent Space

18. Touching Silence

19. Moments

20. A Story of Silent Unreason: Nomadic Freedom with Imagination’s Dangerous Instability

21. Spring

22. The Fall of the Power of Fell Time: Abstractions Treated as Unimagined Realities

23. A Story about Two Lovers in Pervading Silence Silencing


Aims to let silence disclose itself by cultivating attunements with silences’ happening.


In Telling Silence, Charles E. Scott speaks of silence, often indirectly, in such ways as to create occasions in which people might become more aware of silence in their experiences of themselves and the world around them. The core question of the book is: how can people be aware of silence without turning it into a thing and losing it? Lack of awareness of silence is lack of awareness of a major dimension of lives, both human and nonhuman. Attunements with silence enable attunements with being alive in the fragility that invests even the strengths of living beings. Telling Silence performs this attunement in descriptive accounts and instances of non-reflective awareness, awareness that does not deliberate or ponder. In twenty-three "fragments," poems, stories, and ways of thinking and speaking are brought together to intensify intimations of silence telling of itself.

Charles E. Scott is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, Vanderbilt University and Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of numerous books including Living with Indifference, The Lives of Things, and The Time of Memory.


"Charles Scott does not write the way other philosophers write. He does not think the way they think. Silence tells him much more than it does the rest of us. If readers allow their imaginations to be stretched, Scott will show them how many and vast are the secrets of silence." — David Farrell Krell, author of A Black Forest Walden: Conversations with Henry David Thoreau and Marlonbrando