Is there a Language ‘Behind’ Speaking? How to Look at 20 th Century Language Theory in an Alternative Way

Sybille Krämer


There is a standard ‚picture‘ of how to look at 20th century theory and philosophy of language: Within this picture normally a pragmatic shift is identified from structure oriented (Saussure, Chomsky..) to act oriented concepts of language (Wittgenstein, Austin, Searle, Habermas…). The aim of my talk is to suggest another way of looking at the ‚logical geography’ of language theory by investigating the distinction language theorists often make between type/token, schema/use, rule/realization. From this perspective, a new kind of division emerges: On the one hand we can identify proponents of a ‚two worlds model‘ of language. To this ‘cluster’ belong structural thinkers such as Saussure and Chomsky as well as the speech act theorists Searle and Habermas. On the other hand, there are those philosophers who take the approach of an ‘embodied model’ of language, rejecting the division between schema and use. To this category Wittgenstein, as well as Austin, Davidson, Derrida and Butler can be seen to belong. This typology may seem surprising. My talk hopes to make it plausible.


20th century philosophy; linguistics; philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; embodied strategy; intellectualist; logosoriented strategy; new perspective on 20th century language theory; non intellectualist; Chomsky Noam; Davidson Donald; Derrida Jaques; Haberma

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