Herder’s Philosophy of Language, Interpretation, and Translation: Three Fundamental Principles

Review of Metaphysics 56 (2):323 - 356 (2002)
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A GOOD CASE COULD BE MADE that Herder is the founder not only of the modern philosophy of language but also of the modern philosophy of interpretation and translation and that he has many things to say on these subjects from which we may still learn today. This essay will not attempt to make such a case, but it will be concerned with some aspects of Herder’s position that would be central to it: three fundamental principles in his philosophy of language which also play fundamental roles in his theory of interpretation and translation. The essay’s aim is also threefold: first, to describe the principles in question and their roles in this theory; second, to explain their emergence in a way which helps to make clearer the nature of Herder’s contribution ; and third, to give at least a sense of their philosophical subtlety and defensibility.



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Michael Förster
Universität Bonn

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