Critical Horizons 19 (2):140-156 (2018)

Alexander Stern
University of Notre Dame
This paper is a reconstruction of Walter Benjamin's philosophy of language, especially as it expressed in 1916's “On Language as Such and the Language of Man”. I read Benjamin's theory as a contribution to what Charles Taylor has called the “expressivist” tradition that includes eighteenth century thinkers like J.G. Herder and J.G. Hamann. Hamann's work and his interpretation of the theological concept of condescension are of particular importance. Although Benjamin's views are often regarded as impenetrable or mystical, they are relevant to and, in part, motivated by concerns of more mainstream twentieth century philosophy of language, in particular Russell's paradox. His “metaphysics of language” understands reference or designation, central to analytic theories of meaning, as derived from a more fundamental, aesthetic meaning.
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Reprint years 2017, 2018
DOI 10.1080/14409917.2017.1377456
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References found in this work BETA

Philosophical Arguments.Charles Taylor - 1997 - Philosophical Quarterly 47 (186):94-96.
The Origin of German Tragic Drama.Walter Benjamin - 1978 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 37 (1):103-104.
Benjamin's -Abilities.Samuel Weber - 2008 - Harvard University Press.

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