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《Foreign Language Research》 2006-01
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On Walter Benjamin's View of Language

Yuan Wenbin  
Benjamin's view of language is not preoccupied with the issues of modern linguistics embracing syntax, semantics and pragmatics, but the metaphysical nature of language. Behind Benjamin's presupposion of the pure language lies the hidden debate between "Adamic Theory" and "Locke Tradition", namely the opposition between historical comparative philology and structural linguistics. Taking Romanticism as his point of departure, Benjamin has critiqued instrumentalist/bourgeois view of language, on the basis of which he has also critiqued Kantian/Neo-Kantian subjective philosophy on experience. He thinks that the highest experience is language, which has been led to the way to primordial language in Heidegger's ontological sense. Owing to the different sources of his view in the earlier and later years, there is a tendency of transformation from ontology to epistemology in his view of language. The change from naming language to sign language or from realism to nominalism can be formulated in terms of change from internalities to externalities, which is the origin of modernity. Benjamin's view of language is no less than critique of language, which is his meta-theory. In turn, his critique of language has disseminated allegorical seeds for his reflections on translation, the philosophy of history and the problems of modernity.
【CateGory Index】: B089
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