Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Language, philosophy: language is a set of phonetic or written coded forms fixed at a time for the exchange of information or distinctions within a community whose members are able to recognize and interpret these forms as signs or symbols. In a wider sense, language is also a sign system, which can be processed by machines. See also communication, language rules, meaning, meaning change, information, signs, symbols, words, sentences, syntax, semantics, grammar, pragmatics, translation, interpretation, radical interpretation, indeterminacy.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Hans-Georg Gadamer on Language - Dictionary of Arguments

I 383
Language/Gadamer: Gadamer Thesis: The fusion of horizons, which happens in understanding, is the actual achievement of language. >Horizon/Gadamer.
I 388
Understanding: Understanding a language is not really understanding in itself and does not include a process of interpretation, but an execution of life. One understands a language by living in it - a sentence that, as is well known, applies not only to living languages but even to dead languages.
I 408
Language as form: (...) it is undeniable (...) that linguistics and philosophy of language work under the premise that the form of language is their sole subject. But is the concept of form even relevant here? The language that is alive in speech, that encompasses understanding everything,
I 409
also that of the interpreter of texts, is so much involved in the execution of thought or interpretation that we have too little in our hands if we want to disregard what languages pass on to us in terms of content and only think of language as form. The language unconsciousness has not ceased to be the actual mode of being of speaking.
Ancient Philosophy/Gadamer: It had no word for what we call language.
I 421
Ideal Language/GadamerVsLeibniz: [With the rational construction] of an artificial language (...) one moves (...), it seems to me, in a direction that leads away from the essence of language.
Linguisticality is so completely in line with the thinking of things that it is an abstraction to think the system of truths as a given system of possibilities of being, to which a sign could be assigned, which a subject reaching for these signs uses.
The linguistic word is not a sign that one reaches for, but it is also not a sign that one makes or gives to another, not a being thing that one takes up and loads with the ideality of meaning in order to make another being visible. This is wrong on both sides.
Meaning: Rather, the ideality of meaning lies in the word itself. It has always been meaning. But, on the other hand, this does not mean that the word precedes all experience of being and externally adds to an already made experience by making it subservient to itself. The experience is not at first wordless and is then made an object of reflection by naming it, for instance in the way of subsumption under the generality of the word. Rather, it belongs to experience itself that it seeks and finds the words that express it.
I 449
Language/Gadamer: Language [has] its actual being only in conversation, that is, in the exercise of communication (...). This is not to be understood as if the purpose of language is indicated. >Communication/Gadamer.
I 453
In linguistic events (...) not only the insistent finds its place, but also the change of things. (...) in language the world presents itself. The linguistic experience of the world is "absolute". It transcends all relativities of existence, because it comprises all being-for-itself
I 454
in whatever relationships (relativities) it manifests itself in. The linguistic nature of our experience of the world is prior to everything that is recognized and addressed as being. The basic reference of language and world does therefore not mean that the world becomes the object of language.
I 461
Language/Hermeneutics/Gadamer: "Centre of the language": (...) we are guided by the hermeneutical phenomenon. But its all-determining reason is the finiteness of our historical experience. In order to do justice to it, we took up the trace of language, in which the structure of being is not simply reproduced, but in whose paths the order and structure of our experience itself is first and forever changing.
Language is the trace of finiteness, not because there is the diversity of human language construction, but because every language is constantly being formed and developed, the more it expresses its experience of the world. We have questioned important turning points in Western thought about language, and this questioning has taught us that, in a much more radical sense than Christian thought about what is finite, what happens in language corresponds to the finiteness of man. Cf. >Language/Christianity. It is the centre of language from which our entire experience of the world, and especially hermeneutical experience, unfolds. >Experience/Gadamer, >Hermeneutics/Gadamer, >Word/Gadamer.
I 462
"Centre of language"/Gadamer: Each word makes the whole of the language it belongs to sound and the whole of the world view it is based on appear. Every word, therefore, as the event of its moment, also makes the unsaid, to which it refers to in responding and waving, be present.
I 465
The important thing is that something happens here. Neither is the interpreter's consciousness mastering that what reaches it as the Word of Tradition, nor can what happens be adequately described as the progressive realization of what is, so that an infinite intellect would contain all that which could ever speak from the whole of Tradition. But the actual event is only made possible by this, namely that the word that has come to us as tradition and which we have to listen to, really strikes us as if it were addressing us and meant
I 466
Object/Gadamer: (...) on the part of the "object" this event means the coming into play, the playing out of the content of the tradition in its respective new possibilities of meaning and resonance, newly acquired by the other recipient.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Gadamer I
Hans-Georg Gadamer
Wahrheit und Methode. Grundzüge einer philosophischen Hermeneutik 7. durchgesehene Auflage Tübingen 1960/2010

Gadamer II
H. G. Gadamer
The Relevance of the Beautiful, London 1986
German Edition:
Die Aktualität des Schönen: Kunst als Spiel, Symbol und Fest Stuttgart 1977

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