The temporality of language : Kant's legacy in the work of Martin Heidegger and Walter Benjamin

Contrary to the idea that there are fundamental differences between the work of Martin Heidegger and Walter Benjamin, the thesis shows that there exists a profound similarity in the direction of their projects, by exploring how they took up Kant's critical legacy concerning the temporality of language: the belonging together of language and time. The ground of Kant's system and of the necessity of systematicity - the three-fold synthesis which 'generates' time under the direction of conceptuality - is elucidated via the Second Analogy and the Critique of Teleological Judgment. It is argued that Kant's understanding of language and time remains fixed within a circular justification of Newtonian Science, which prevented him from taking up the critical resources of his treatment of teleological concepts and applying it to his idea of the critical system itself. Heidegger's and Benjamin's work may be understood as taking up the hermeneutic circularity of Kant's philosophical system, though freeing it from its appeal to a limited time determination. They both develop notions of a more originary temporality in conjunction with a linguistic phenomenology. They further allow this more critical thinking of language and time to reflexively fall back on the writing of philosophy itself. Their understanding of the temporality of language is explored through the way 'translation' focuses, in each case, a thinking of tradition and of linguistic works. The thesis rejects attempts to separate Heidegger's early work from his later approach, and further rejects a tendency to focus on Benjamin's style of writing in isolation from its theoretical basis. The thesis concludes by arguing that the work of both Heidegger and Benjamin points to a rethinking of Kant's legacy of the necessity of system, in terms of system as the inescapable belonging together of language and time
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Pierre Keller (1996). Heidegger's Critique of the Vulgar Notion of Time. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 4 (1):43 – 66.
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