The Linguistic Turn in Hermeneutic Philosophy

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2002-09-01
  • Publisher: Mit Pr
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The linguistic turn in German philosophy was initiated in the eighteenth century in the work of Johann Georg Hamann, Johann Gottfried von Herder, and Wilhelm von Humboldt. It was further developed in this century by Martin Heidegger, and Hans-Georg Gadamer extended its influence to contemporary philosophers such as Karl-Otto Apel and Jurgen Habermas. This tradition focuses on the world-disclosing dimension of language, emphasizing its communicative over its cognitive function. Although this study is concerned primarily with the German tradition of linguistic philosophy, it is very much informed by the parallel linguistic turn in Anglo-American philosophy, especially the development of theories of direct reference. Cristina Lafont draws upon Hilary Putnam's work in particular to criticize the linguistic idealism and relativism of the German tradition, which she traces back to the assumption that meaning determines reference. Part I is a reconstruction of the linguistic turn in German philosophy from Hamann to Gadamer. Part II offers the deepest account to date of Habermas's approach to language. Part III shows how the shortcomings of German linguistic philosophy can be avoided by developing a consistent and more defensible version of Habermas' theory of communicative rationality.

Author Biography

Cristina Lafont is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Northwestern University.

Table of Contents

Preface to the English Editionp. ix
The Linguistic Turn in the German Tradition of the Philosophy of Language
Hamann's Critique of Kant: The Role of Language as Constitutive of Our Relation with the Worldp. 5
The Constitutive Dimension of Language According to Humboldtp. 13
The View of Language of Philosophical Hermeneuticsp. 55
The Conception of Language in Habermas's Theory of Communicative Action
Language as Medium of Understanding: The Communicative Use of Languagep. 125
Language as Medium of Learning: The Cognitive Use of Languagep. 227
Habermas's Theory of Communicative Rationality from an Internal Realist Point of View
Rational Acceptability and Truthp. 283
Rational Acceptability and Moral Rightnessp. 315
Bibliographyp. 361
Name Indexp. 375
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