Herder, Johann Gottfried (1744-1803) - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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Language

On the Origin is Herder's best-known work in the philosophy of language, but it is in certain respects unrepresentative and inferior in comparison with other works such as the Fragments and should not monopolize attention. On the Origin is primarily concerned with the question whether the origin of language can be explained in purely natural, human terms or (as Johann Peter Süßmilch had recently argued) only in terms of a divine source. Herder argues for the former position and against the latter. His argument is fairly persuasive. But this is unlikely to constitute a modern philosopher's main reason for interest in Herder's ideas about language (deriving its zest, as it does, from a religious background that is no longer ours).

Of far greater modern relevance are the following three theses already embraced by Herder as early as the 1760s, the...

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This section contains 4,419 words
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Buy the Herder, Johann Gottfried (1744-1803) Encyclopedia Article
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Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Herder, Johann Gottfried (1744-1803) from Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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