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Description: This course explores the linguistic turn in modern European philosophy by focussing on specific works by Heidegger, Gadamer, and Derrida. Is language essentially poetry? (Heidegger) What is speculative about the structure of language? (Gadamer) How does language deconstruct itself? (Derrida)

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Philosophy 227b

The Linguistic Turn in Modern European Philosophy

Kathleen Wright



Description: This course explores the linguistic turn in modern European philosophy by focussing on specific works by Heidegger, Gadamer, and Derrida. Is language essentially poetry? (Heidegger) What is speculative about the structure of language? (Gadamer) How does language deconstruct itself? (Derrida)



Required and Recommended Texts: Heidegger, Basic Writings, On the Way to Language, and Poetry, Language, Thought, Gadamer, Truth and Method, Derrida, Of Grammatology, Margins of Philosophy, and Writing and Difference



Requirements: Weekly response papers, two short papers, one oral presentation, and a term paper



Course Outline

Week One Introduction to the Linguistic Turn Taken by Modern European Philosophy



PART ONE Heidegger: Language is Poetry.

Week Two “Science, Metaphysics, and Mathematics” and “The Thing”

Week Three “Words” and “What are Poets For?”

Week Four “The Nature of Language”

Week Five “The Nature of Language”



PART TWO Gadamer: The Structure of Language is Speculative.

Week Six “The Ontology of the Work of Art”

Week Seven “The Hermeneutic Priority of the Question”

Week Eight “Language as the Medium of Hermeneutic Experience”

Week Nine “Language as Horizon of Hermeneutic Experience”





PART THREE Derrida: Language is the Play of Difference.

Week Ten “Différance”

Week Eleven “Structure, Sign, and Play”

Week Twelve “Writing before the Letter”

Week Thirteen “White Mythology”



Week Fourteen Oral Presentations