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Kilikya Felsefe Dergisi / Cilicia Journal of Philosophy

Volume 2, Issue 3, September 2015

James Wetzel
Pages 37-50
DOI: 10.5840/kilikya20152316

Scenes of Inner Devastation
Confessional Improvisation

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.