The Owl of Minerva 24 (2):163-180 (1993)

My aim here is to approach Hegel's thought as prefiguring Heidegger's attempt to reawaken an interest in the issue of language and to develop a relation to it which is not based on conventional linguistic forms. In this light language should not be construed abstractly as a structure unto itself that confines truth to the univocal meanings cemented in judgment; instead, language must be addressed in terms of its dynamic role in drawing attention to being and to the backdrop against which the entirety of what is can be revealed as opening the way to thought. Heidegger often credits a reawakening to the powers of logos to Hölderlin as the "poet of the poets"; but it is not easy to adopt Hölderlin's insights immediately from the domain of poetry without also considering the specific nuances with which language must be endowed in order to provide the fertile soil for thought. It should not be surprising, then, that Heidegger should seek a philosophical analogue to his own efforts in a figure such as Hegel; for it is well known that Hegel not only appreciated the contributions of Hölderlin, but also saw an important correlation between the philosophical and poetic modes of expression. Thus Hegel, in both the Phenomenology of Spirit and the Logic, examines the process of the determination of thought in such a way that he raises a question as ancient as Parmenides' concern for the interrelation between "being and thinking." More importantly, Hegel's attempt to unearth a perennial problem of this magnitude demands a retreat to a more basic level where language carves a deeper path within traditional ontology.
Keywords Major Philosophers
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ISBN(s) 0030-7580
DOI 10.5840/owl19932424
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