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Heymann Steinthal (1823-99) was a German philologist and university professor who insisted that the development of linguistics could be properly understood only when viewed within a general cultural and philosophical framework. Initially an admirer of Wilhelm von Humboldt, he increasingly found more value in the works of fellow philologist August Böckh, to whom this 1863 work is dedicated. In this history of linguistics, Steinthal explores the concept of language in the Greek and Roman traditions, with special emphasis on the relationship to logic. The work is divided into two parts: in the first part, the author accounts for the nature of language in the philosophy of Plato, the Sophists and the Stoics; in the second part, he focuses on how grammar has developed since the Alexandrian school. Steinthal readily admits that Socratic irony and Aristotelian analytics are not simple concepts and warns against misrepresenting them by applying a contemporary interpretation.
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