Review of Hegel and Language Posted by Alexei on August 5th, 2007
Throughout his career, and at crucial moments in his phenomenological investigations, Hegel invokes a rich and distinctive, if tantalizingly undeveloped, or implicit, conception of language. And though he did not cast philosophical problems in terms of a purely linguistic framework, his suggestive positioning of language as “the existence [Dasein] of Spirit” (Phenomenology of Spirit. §652) – as a site of contradiction where the ‘abstract’ convictions underwriting one’s self-conscious judgments come to clash with one’s ‘concrete’ actions through the very use of language – promises to expand and deepen our comprehension of Hegel’s work. For the movement from (linguistic) utterance [Äuβerung] to what it expresses [Ausdruck] and back exemplifies the basic movement of Hegel’s philosophy in general.
However, rather than steadfastly following the affinities between the dynamics of language-use and the movement of Hegel’s dialectic, and further developing them, the essays contained in Hegel and Language – as Jere O’Neill Surber remarks in his Introduction – “regard this case as already made” (2). Instead, as “the first anthology exclusively dedicated to Hegel’s linguistic thought” (ibid.), its intention appears to be much more modest. It hopes to “provide a fine introduction to a much more extensive body of research concerning Hegel’s thought about linguistic issues and its significance for central contemporary philosophical discussions” (14). Read the rest of this entry » Posted in Post-Kantian Philosophy, Criticism, Philosophy No Comments »