Hanly Peter
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49(2013)4 - Heidegger and the Arts

Peter Hanly

Marking silence: Heidegger and Herder on word and origin

  • Language: English


It is clear that the question of language is of utmost importance to Heidegger’s work from the late 1930’s, the period of the so-called seynsgeschichtlich treatises. This preoccupation has become increasingly evident thematically, but is equally apparent in the interruptive and fragmentary presentation of the writing itself, a writing which seems to seek to bring into question the very possibility of philosophical discourse. This paper will argue that decisive, in these texts, both to the development of Heidegger's conception of language and to its mode of enactment, is an engagement with Herder’s work on the origin of language. This engagement is evidenced by the intensive address to that text that we find in the seminar notes from 1939: Vom Wesen der Sprache: Die Metaphysik der Sprache und die Wesung des Wortes. Zu Herder’s Abhandlung über den Ursprung der Sprache (GA 85). Herder's text allows Heidegger to develop a relation to the fragmentary that is decisive for the unfolding and development of his thinking.