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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

versão On-line ISSN 2224-7912
versão impressa ISSN 0041-4751


DUVENAGE, Pieter. Language as world disclosure: A critical-appreciative interpretation. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2022, vol.62, n.4, pp.692-705. ISSN 2224-7912.

The issue of language as world disclosure forms the core of this contribution. In this process the following questions are asked: What is the role of language in society? Is language simply a tool that mankind can use at will or is there more at stake? How should language be thought of in contemporary societies and democracies? To answer these questions, Heidegger's conception of language as world disclosure will be considered. Section 1 starts with an attempt to understand his view of language by making a distinction between world disclosure 1 and world disclosure 2. World disclosure 1 is about the disclosure of an already interpreted, symbolically structured world - the world within which we always already find ourselves. It is a world that we form in order to question reality, and the categories according to which we usually see it - a position that Heidegger outlines in Being and Time. After Heidegger's so-called Kehre in the 1930s, so it is argued, Heidegger moves to a version ofworld disclosure 2 where the subject's contribution to truth and knowledge is limited, while the role of Being is highlighted. In addition, the traditional assignment of truth to propositional statements in normal language usage also becomes less prevalent. World disclosure 2 thus refers as much to finding and disclosing existing horizons of meaning as to disclose previously hidden dimensions of meaning. This section on Heidegger's position on language as world disclosure is concluded by raising three points of criticism - especially with world disclosure 2 in mind. These points of criticism include an aestheticisation of reality, the propositional nature of language, and the regard or disregard of the role of the public sphere. Section 2 focuses on Habermas's response to Heidegger via his communicative-rational conception of validity claims. It is particularly about how he interprets Heidegger's concept of world disclosure 2 after his Kehre in the 1930s. As an alternative, Habermas is of the opinion that within a holistically structured world of meaning one can still use its conditions to speak and act relatively autonomously and reflexively. The ability of people to raise and challenge validity claims is the beginning of learning processes that can retroactively change previous worldviews. In his alternative, Habermas argues that philosophy and literary criticism are closely related to the universality of the sciences. Like other specialised languages, such as science, law, morality, economics, and political science, they make use of clarifying metaphors only if they satisfy the purposes of problem solving. In all these cases, the literary dimensions of language use are secondary to the different forms of argumentation. At the end of section 2, points of criticism are also raised on Habermas's position. It includes Habermas's narrowing down of Heidegger's position to world disclosure 2, the concept of universalisation, and the role of world disclosure for semantic innovation. In the last section (3), the respective positions of Heidegger and Habermas are mediated, but a move beyond them is also suggested. The point here is that there is no need to frame world disclosure and communicative reason (via validity claims) in mutually exclusive terms, as both Heidegger and Habermas tend to do. The contribution ends with a discussion of the political and aesthetic implications of the preceding discussion - also with reference to the complex nature of multicultural democracies.

Palavras-chave : communicative reason; Habermas; Heidegger; Kehre; public sphere; validity claims; world disclosure 1; world disclosure 2.

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