This important early Heidegger text sheds new light on his later focus on language.
This English translation of Vom Wesen der Sprache, volume 85 of Martin Heidegger's Gesamtausgabe, contains fascinating discussions of language that are important both for those interested in Heidegger's thought and for those who wish to think through the nature of language. The guiding theme of these reflections on language is found in Heidegger's lecture notes for a 1939 seminar that focused on J. G. Herder's treatise On the Origin of Language. This course, given just after the completion of his Contributions to Philosophy, sheds new light on the force of language in Heidegger's thought and shows the first openings to his later, better-known works dedicated to the topic of language. The result of this project is to outline how it is that thinking the being of the word moves out of metaphysics into the poetic word and its relation to history. A crucial work, this course brings the reader close to a decisive moment in Heidegger's thought, letting us see how he struggled forward to new ways of thinking how it is that "language as language" can be thought.
"This excellent translation of Heidegger's 1939 lectures on Herder's account of the origin of language offers the English speaker access to a hidden gem of the Gesamtausgabe. In these lectures, Heidegger traces a detour around the German Idealist approach to language as a medium for expressing conceptual thought, in order to arrive at a more primordial origin for evoking meaning through the emergence of speech from silence. As a result, Herder appears as a key historical figure, too easily forgotten in the wake of Schelling and Hegel, who points to a radical retrieval of the essence of language through the dynamics of its enactment." — Frank Schalow, author of Heidegger and the Quest for the Sacred: From Thought to the Sanctuary of Faith
"Provides a glimpse into the workings of a Heidegger seminar while also presenting one of the most significant historical encounters from which Heidegger's later reflections on language emerged." — John Sallis, author of Platonic Legacies
Wanda Torres Gregory is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Simmons College and the coeditor (with Donna Giancola) of World Ethics. Yvonne Unna is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Seton Hall University.
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Table of Contents
I. CONCERNING THE INTERPRETATION OF HERDER, ON THE ORIGIN OF LANGUAGE
1. The human being has language—The word has the human being
2. The traditional understanding of "language" and the essence of the human being (animalhood) and Herder's posing of the question
3. On the essence of language
4. Why do we ask for the essence of language?
5. Our reflection on language
6. The distinction between animal and human being
7. Herder's treatise
8. On the "Monadology"
II. CONSTRUCTION OF THE ORIGIN OF LANGUAGE IN THE MODE OF USE OF THE FREELY OPERATING REFLECTION
9. Origin of language
10. The human being
11. The analogue construction of the essence of the human being, developed from the animal economy
12. Reflective awareness
13. Reflection and attention (differentiating), distinct, interpretable representing
14. Cognitio distincta (distinctness)
15. Reflective awareness and free-standingness
16. "Reflective awareness" and "language"
17. The inner word: mark of a distinct reflection
19. Individual considerations and conceptual determinations
III. TOWARD A DISCUSSION WITH HERDER
20. Toward a fundamental discussion with Herder
21. Critical question regarding the analogue construction of the human being
22. Essential steps
24. Question—the fundamental position
IV. ON THE ESSENCE OF LANGUAGE
25. The word as essencing of being [des Seyns]
27. Language and "language"
28. The traditional—metaphysical appearance of language
29. The human being and "language"
31. On the essence of language
V. ON HERDER, ON THE ORIGIN OF LANGUAGE
33. On Herder in general
34. Herder and Leibniz
36. Human language—animal language
37. Herder's first section
38. "The first word"
39. Reflection (reflexion)
40. Reflective awareness—reflection—thinking over—reflexion
41. The eternal merry-go-round
42. Language—the human being
43. Herder—on the origin of language
VI. PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE
45. The beginning of philosophy of language proper during the Enlightenment
47. On the essence of language
48. The word
49. The other beginning
50. The knowledge of the crossing
51. The word "of" being ["des" Seyns]
VIII. METAPHYSICS OF LANGUAGE AND THE CROSSING
52. The metaphysics "of" "language" and the consideration of language within metaphysics
53. Decisions, developed from the metaphysics of language
54. Psychology of language
IX. STEFAN GEORGE
55. Crossing word
56. Sea Song
57. Sea Song
58. Sea Song
59. The Word
60. Freedom and word
61. Animal and human being
XI. ON THE QUESTION OF THE ORIGIN AND THE HERDERIAN
MEDITATION ON THE ORIGIN AS METAPHYSICAL
63. Drives of the unfolding and development of language
64. Herder’s meditation on the origin as metaphysical
65. Herder's question of the origin (In how far "question of the essence"?)
67. Question of the origin as question of the essence (metaphysically—being-historically)
68. Question of the essence and of the origin
69. Question of the origin and question of the essence
70. "Origin of language"
71. Question of the origin—as question of origination and of essence
72. Question of the origin
73. Structure and course of the meditation on the origin
74. Inner and outer language
75. Inner and outer word
76. The role of hearing
78. Herder: the human being
79. Three hints on being [das Seyn] (and being-there)
XIII. QUESTION OF THE ORIGIN
80. Question of the origin as question of origination and of essence
81. Essence as beingness and essencing
XIV. FROM HERDER TO GRIMM
(METAPHYSICS AND SCIENCE OF LANGUAGE)
83. Grimm's address (1851)
84. From Herder to Grimm
85. From Herder to Grimm
86. From Herder to Grimm
87. The "divine" origin of language
XV. SAYING AND HEARING—SOUND AND SILENCE
89. Sounding (sound)
91. Hearing and hearkening
92. "Hearing" and being [Seyn]
93. Mark and sound
94. "Sound" and mark
95. The outer word
96. Sounding and script
97. Language (human) and hearing
98. Herder: "that which is alive"
XVI. HEARKENING AS MIDDLE OF THE SENSORIUM COMMUNE
"SOUNDING" AND THE "TONE THAT BREAKS FREE"
99. Herder's consideration of the role of hearing
100. Hearing, language, making sounds, sounding Question of decision
101. The being-historical response (cf. Question of decision)
102. Hearing as middle of the sensorium commune and the essence of hearkening
103. The sounding of language
XVII. "FEELING" AND "SENSE OF HEARING" IN HERDER
SOUNDING AND MAKING SOUNDS
105. The sensorium commune and the sense of hearing
106. Language and sound
107. Herder's approach
108. Relation between the 2nd and 3rd section of the 1st part
109. What is reason?
XVIII. "THE SHEEP BLEATS"
110. "You are the one bleating"
112. "Listen!" "The sheep bleats"
113. "The ear the first teacher of language"
114. Sound and tone
XIX. LANGUAGE AND REASON
115. Reason and language
116. Reflective awareness and language (inner word)
117. Reflective awareness and mark
118. Wanting to know
119. Reflective awareness
120. The distinction
121. The "as" and the "for"
122. Language as "medium of our spiritual self-feeling and consciousness"
123. Mark—thought in being-historical manner
124. Mark—inner word and dialogue
125. Aping and imitating
126. Origin of language: The question of the origin as question of the essence
127. The one and the other project of the essence of language
128. Language—the word
129. The experience of the word
APPENDIX: SEMINAR MINUTES
1st Class: Alfred Franz
2nd Class: Georg Schmiege
3rd Class: Heinz Maeder
4th Class: Elisabeth Schmidt
5th Class: Siegfried Bröse
6th Class: Dr. Wolfgang Ritzel
7th Class: Otto Rasper
8th Class: Hans Hermann Groothoff
9th Class: Irmgard Mylius
10th Class: Karl Ulmer
11th Class: Paul Wettach