Representationalism and the linguistic question in early modern philosophy

Frontiers of Philosophy in China 3 (4):595-606 (2008)
Abstract
The view of language is greatly changed from early modern philosophy to later modern philosophy and to postmodern philosophy. The linguistic question in early modern philosophy, which is characterized by rationalism and empiricism, is discussed in this paper. Linguistic phenomena are not at the center of philosophical reflections in early modern philosophy. The subject of consciousness is at the center of the philosophy, which makes language serve purely as an instrument for representing thoughts. Locke, Leibniz and Descartes consider language from a representationalist point of view. To them, language itself is idealized and represents thought as if it were thought representing itself. Like the structural linguist Saussure, the founders of phenomenology and analytical philosophy give much attention to the logical or static structure of language, and stick up for the representationalism of early modern philosophy. However, their successors refuse to accept this attitude, meaning the final collapse of representationalism.
Keywords language  idea  representationalism  early modern philosophy  语言  观念  表象论  早期现代哲学
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