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in comparison with the individual image, there is something irrational about language : but the tendencies of speculation and of poetry are always contrary, even in their use of language; the former tends to make language approximate to mathematical formulæ ; the latter to
imagery (Bild).1 Schleier Leaving out many details which will be touched on in macher's their proper places, the foregoing is a fair summary of
the heads of Schleiermacher's æsthetic thought. Adding up the accounts of the whole statement of views, on the side of error and oversight we find : first, ideas or types are not wholly excluded, in spite of all Schleiermacher's care and anxiety to safeguard artistic individualisation and to make the ideas and types superfluous. Secondly, there is still, undefeated and unexpelled, a certain residue of abstract formalism, visible at various points of his theories. Thirdly, the definition of art as an activity of mere difference may be diluted but is not destroyed by making art a difference of complexes of individuals, a national difference. A closer reflexion on the history of art, a recognition of the possibility of appreciating the art of various nations and various times, a more patient investigation into the moment of artistic reproduction, even an examination of the relation between science and art, would have led Schleiermacher to treat this difference as empirical and surmountable, still holding firmly to the distinctive character individual as opposed to universal) he assigned to art in comparison with science. Fourthly, he did not recognize the identity of æsthetic activity with linguistic, and failed to make it the basis of all other theoretic activity. It would seem, moreover, that Schleiermacher had no clear ideas concerning that artistic element which enters into the constitution of historic narrative and is indispensable as the concrete form of science; or concerning language, taken not as a complex
of abstract means of expression but as expressive activity. Schleier These defects and uncertainties may perhaps be macher's, attributable in part to the fact that his thoughts on
to Æsthetic. 1 Vorles. üb. Asth. pp. 635-648. 2 Cf. e.g. p. 467 seqq.
æsthetic have reached us in an inchoate form, very far from a mature development. But if on the other hand we wish to cast up the sum of his very striking merits, it will suffice to run over the list of accusations heaped upon him by the two historians before mentioned, Zimmermann and Hartmann. Schleiermacher has denuded Æsthetic of its imperative character; he recognizes in it a form of thought differing from logical thought; he gives this science a non-metaphysical and merely anthropological character; he denies the concept of beauty, substituting that of artistic perfection, and actually affirms the æsthetic equivalence of small and great works of art, so long as each is perfect in its own sphere; he considers the æsthetic fact as pure human productivity : and so on and so forth. All these criticisms are meant for blame and are really praise ; for what is blame to the mind of a Zimmermann or a Hartmann, is to ours praise. In the metaphysical orgy of his day, in the perpetual building and pulling down of more or less arbitrary systems, Schleiermacher the theologian, with philosophic acumen, fixed his eye upon what was really characteristic of the aesthetic fact and succeeded in defining its properties and connexions; when he failed to see clearly and wandered from the track, he never abandoned analysis for fantastic caprice. By his discovery that the obscure region of immediate consciousness is also that of the æsthetic fact, he seems to bid his distracted contemporaries listen to the old adage : Hic Rhodus, hic salta.
THE PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE:
HUMBOLDT AND STEINTHAL
ABOUT the time when Schleiermacher was meditating on Linguistic.
the nature of the æsthetic fact, a movement of thought was gaining ground in Germany which, tending as it did to overthrow the old concept of language, might have proved a powerful aid to æsthetic science. But not only had the æsthetic specialists—if we may so call them—no notion of the existence of this movement, the new philosophers of language never brought their ideas into relation with the æsthetic problem, and their discoveries languished imprisoned within the narrow scope
of Linguistic, condemned to sterility. Linguistic Research into the relations between thought and the beginning speech, between the unity of logic and the multiplicity of the nine of languages, had been promoted, like many other things, teenth century.
by the Critique of Pure Reason : the earliest Kantians often tried to apply the Kantian categories of intuition (space and time) and of intellect to language. The first to make the attempt was Roth 1 in 1795; the same who wrote an essay twenty years later on Pure Linguistic. Many other noteworthy books on this subject appeared in quick succession : those of Vater, Bernhardi, Reinbeck and Koch were published one after another in the first ten years of the nineteenth century. In all these treatises the dominating subject is the difference between language
1 Antihermes oder philosophische Untersuchung üb. d. reine Begriff d. menschl. Sprache und die allgemeine Sprachlehre, Frankfurt and Leipzig, 1795.
and languages ; between the universal language, corresponding with Logic, and concrete, historical languages disturbed by feeling and imagination or whatever other name was applied to the psychological element of differentiation. Vater distinguishes a general Linguistic (allgemeine Sprachlehre), constructed a priori by means of the analysis of the concepts contained in the judgement, from a comparative Linguistic (vergleichende Sprachlehre) which attempts by means of induction to reach probable laws through the study of a number of languages. Bernhardi considers language to be an “allegory of intellect " and distinguishes it as functioning either as the organ of poetry or that of science. Reinbeck speaks of an Æsthetic Grammar and a Logical. Koch, more energetic than the others, asserts positively that the character of language is “non ad Logices sed ad Psychologiae rationem revocanda.”i Some few philosophers speculated on language and mythology : for example Schelling considered them to be the products of a pre-human consciousness (vormenschliche Bewusstsein), presenting them, in fantastic allegory, as diabolic suggestions which precipitate the ego from the infinite to the finite.2
Even the famous philologist, Wilhelm von Humboldt, Wilhelm von was unable to detach himself entirely from the prejudice Relics of of the substantial identity and the purely historical, intellectualism. accidental diversity between logical thought and language. His celebrated dissertation, On the Diversity of Structure of Human Languages (1836),is based on the notion of a perfect language split up and distributed amongst particular tongues according to the linguistic or intellectual capacity of various nations. “For,” says he, “ since disposition towards speech is general in mankind, and all men must necessarily carry within themselves the key to the comprehension of all languages, it follows that the
1 For these writers, see accounts and quotations in Loewe, Hist: crit. gramm. univ., passim, and Pott, introd. to Humboldt, Pp. clxxi.ccxii. ; cf. also Benfey, Gesch. d. Sprachwiss., introd.
* In Philos. der Mythologie : cf. Steinthal, Urspr. pp. 81-89.
3 Ub. d. Verschiedenheit d. menschl. Sprachbaues, posthumous work (2nd ed. by A. F. Pott, Berlin, 1880).
form of all languages must be substantially equal and all must attain the same general end. Diversity can exist solely in the means, and within the bounds permitted by the attainment of the end." Yet this same diversity becomes a real divergence not only in sounds, but in the use of sound made by the linguistic sense in respect to the form of language, or rather, in respect to its own idea of the form of the determinate language. “Languages being merely formal, the operation of the linguistic sense by itself should produce mere uniformity; the linguistic sense must exact from every tongue the same right and legitimate construction that is found in one of them. In practice, however, the facts are quite otherwise, partly owing to the reaction of sounds, and partly by reason of the individual aspect assumed by the same internal meaning in phenomenal reality.” Linguistic force “cannot maintain its equality everywhere or show the same intensity, vivacity or regularity ; it cannot be supported by an exactly equal tendency towards the symbolic treatment of thought or by exactly equal pleasure in richness and harmony of sound.” These, then, are the causes which produce in human languages that diversity which manifests itself in every branch of the civilization of nations. But reflexion on languages " ought to reveal to us a form which of all possible forms best fits the purpose of language" and approaches most closely to its ideal ; and “the merits and defects of existing languages must be estimated by their nearness or remoteness from this form.” Humboldt finds the nearest approximation to such an ideal in the Sanskrit tongues, which can therefore be used as a standard of comparison. Setting Chinese apart in a class by itself, he proceeds to the division of the possible forms of language into inflective, agglutinative and incorporative; types which are found combined in various proportions in every real language. He also inaugurated the division of languages into inferior and superior, unformed and formed, according to the way in which verbs are
1 Verschiedenheit, etc., pp. 308-310.