Language in Modern Philosophy
Keywords: universality, relativity, arbitrariness of expression, limitation by language, non-commensurability
The term “linguistic turn” refers to a movement of thought which first occurred in the early 20th century – mainly in analytical and pragmatic philosophy – which drew attention to the need for language research and structure, and the depiction and construction of the world through language, as well as its influence on philosophical thought. Even if the philosophical period from Cusanus to Hegel has been predominantly called the philosophy of consciousness, the modern period is also characterised by its unique approach to language.
The first significant moment differentiating the modern period from previous periods was abandoning a unified and universal language. While the Ancient world was characterised by the use of Ancient Greek, (and later predominantly Latin) as early as the Middle Ages, the world was dominated by a unified scientific ← 91 | 92 → and philosophical language – Latin. However, a new tendency occurred during the Renaissance. On one hand, there was a return to original languages motivated by the question of the accuracy of the translation of Aristotle from Arabic, and by the arrival of eastern scholars who once again mediated Greek heritage (Gemistos Pletho, Theodorus Gaza,…; as well as by an interest in Hebrew – Kabbalah; Arabic, and the like). On the other hand, there was a steadily increasing tendency to translate original writings into the living languages of people (Ficino translated Plato, Gaza translated Aristotle into Latin; with the arrival of Luther, the German language was codified...
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