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German Philosophy of LanguageFrom Schlegel to Hegel and beyond$
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Michael N. Forster

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199604814

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199604814.001.0001

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Wilhelm von Humboldt

Wilhelm von Humboldt

(p.82) (p.83) 3 Wilhelm von Humboldt
German Philosophy of Language

Michael N. Forster

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on Wilhelm von Humboldt, a founder of linguistics. It provides an overview of Humboldt's life and thought. He knew most of the leading intellectuals of his time personally, including Herder, Goethe, Schiller, Friedrich and August Wilhelm Schlegel, Heyne, George Forster, Fichte, Jacobi, and Coleridge. His earliest theoretical statement on language, the short essay On Thinking and Speaking, is strongly influenced by Herder. His mature philosophy of language contains many further borrowings from Herder as well. His intellectual contributions cover several fields, but he deserves to be remembered above all for his work in developing the discipline of linguistics and for his educational and political philosophy. Humboldt holds that language is essential to the very existence of the human being.

Keywords:   Wilhelm von Humboldt, linguistics, intellectuals, Herder, philosophy of language

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