What is Chekhovs Siren Whispering to Us? On the Unavoidability of the ‘Impossible’ Creation of the Humanities

Leonard Neuger


The focus of my reflections on hermeneutics and the humanities is the short story or comic tale by Anton Chekhov entitled “The Siren” (1887) where we encounter two irreconcilable conceptions of representation; the story contains within it a philosophical aporia, but makes no attempt one way or another to resolve it. I believe that the non-metaphysical “adhesion” of this aporia is precisely its humour. Is such a humorous hermeneutics of uncertainty (of oneself) or such a comic approach to what we call the humanities, which is not sceptical because it to a certain extent a priori affirms the world as well as one’s own imperfection, at all possible? If I understand Chekhov correctly, then he confronts us with the problem of the uinavoidability of precisely this “impossible” creation of the humanities.

Słowa kluczowe: humour, hermeneutics, desire, representation

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