LINGUIST List 13.2604

Fri Oct 11 2002

Books: Philosophy of Language: Lafont

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  1. dgw, The Linguistic Turn in Hermeneutic Philosophy: Lafont

Message 1: The Linguistic Turn in Hermeneutic Philosophy: Lafont

Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 14:58:28 +0000
From: dgw <>
Subject: The Linguistic Turn in Hermeneutic Philosophy: Lafont

Title: The Linguistic Turn in Hermeneutic Philosophy
Series Title: Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought
Publication Year: 2002
Publisher: MIT Press
Author: Cristina Lafont 
Translator: Jos� Medina 
Paperback: ISBN: 026262169X, Pages: 399, Price: $29.95
Comment: Hardcover published 1999

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 J�rgen 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's theory of communicative

Cristina Lafont is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Northwestern
University. She is the author of Heidegger, Language, and

Lingfield(s): Philosophy of Language
Written In: English (Language Code: ENG)

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Thursday, January 17, 2002