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Heidegger’s language

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Staples, AJ 2013 , 'Heidegger’s language', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

In this dissertation I attempt to provide a cogent reading of Heidegger’s fledgling account of the being of language. Emphasis is placed on the analysis of language in Being and Time in particular; for it is with respect to Being and Time that interpretations of Heidegger’s fledgling account are developed, and against which his mature account is usually contrasted. Amongst these interpretations are the derivativist and instrumentalist accounts of language, which suppose that language is itself pre-figured by a pre- or non-linguistic grasp of phenomena. Against these accounts, the structure and arguments for which I lay bare, I contend that language is in each case already there, meaningfully articulating the world, affecting understanding ab initio; that language is not therefore prefigured by – and in the first instance absent from – the being-in-the-world which is our own. This, I claim, is also Heidegger’s stance; a stance which, formed in Being and Time in essence, founds his subsequent, increasingly dedicated thinking about what language, as such, ‘is’.
In addition to my critique of instrumentalism and derivativism in this dissertation, I contest the contemporary pragmatist reading of Being and Time inasmuch as it is occasionally employed to champion a non-linguistic normative pragmatism with which to explain just how a non- or pre-linguistic grasp of phenomena might properly occur.
As such, this dissertation encourages the reorientation of the philosophy of language (as well as contemporary thinking about Heidegger’s own account of the phenomenon) away from the temptation to think language ‘formally’ according to an hierarchical structure of being-in-the-world, and towards the role and function of language in the structural articulation of the world itself, human being-there, and the hermeneutic tradition in which we inevitably find ourselves to be. As such, it outlines and suggests the possibility and preferability of a phenomenological – as opposed to a metaphysical – account of what language is, attempts to show the universality and ubiquitousness of language in human being, and illustrates the opening ‘way’ to language qua language which Heidegger’s mature thinking was eventually to take.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Staples, AJ
Keywords: Philosophy of language, Heidegger, derivativism
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Copyright 2013 the author

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