Aesthetic as Science of Expression and General Linguistic

By Benedetto Croce; Douglas Ainslie | Go to book overview

XII
THE PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE: HUMBOLDT AND STEINTHAL

ABOUT the time when Schleiermacher was meditating on the nature of the æsthetic fact, a movement of thought was gaining ground in Germany which, tending as it did to overthrow the old concept of language, might have proved a powerful aid to æsthetic science. But not only had the æsthetic specialists -- if we may so call them -- no notion of the existence of this movement, the new philosophers of language never brought their ideas into relation with the æsthetic problem, and their discoveries languished imprisoned within the narrow scope of Linguistic, condemned to sterility.


Progress of Linguistic
.

Research into the relations between thought and speech, between the unity of logic and the multiplicity of languages, had been promoted, like many other things, by the Critique of Pure Reason: the earliest Kantians often tried to apply the Kantian categories of intuition (space and time) and of intellect to language. The first to make the attempt was Roth1 in 1795; the same who wrote an essay twenty years later on Pure Linguistic. Many other noteworthy books on this subject appeared in quick succession: those of Vater, Bernhardi, Reinbeck and Koch were published one after another in the first ten years of the nineteenth century. In all these treatises the dominating subject is the difference between language


Linguistic speculation at the beginning of the nineteenth century
.

____________________
1
Antihermes oder philosophische Untersuchung üb. d. reine Begriff d. menschl. Sprache und die allgemeine Sprachlehre, Frankfurt and Leipzig, 1795.

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