Language and philosophical anthropology in the work of Mikhail Bakhtin and the Bakhtin Circle

Sergeiy Sandler
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
The Bakhtin Circle’s conception of language is very much still alive, still productive, in the language sciences today. My claim in this paper is that to understand the Bakhtin Circle’s continuing relevance to the language sciences, we have to look beyond the linguistic theory itself, to the philosophical groundwork laid for this project by Bakhtin in what he himself referred to as his philosophical anthropology. This philosophical anthropology, at the center of which stands an architectonics of self—other relations, opens the door for a radical rethinking of what language is and how it works; a rethinking that in turn opens up and coincides with new directions being explored in the language sciences today. Within the context of Bakhtin scholarship, this paper also argues for taking Bakhtin’s early philosophical works more seriously when discussing the Bakhtin Circle’s conception of language.
Keywords Mikhail Bakhtin  Valentin Voloshinov  philosophical anthropology  intersubjectivity  philosophy of language
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