Treatise on the Origin of Language

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Category: Philosophy
Source : Herder. Philosophical Writings , ed., Michael N. Forster, publ. CUP; About half of the essay is excerpted below. I do not want to pursue the hypothesis of the divine origin of language any further on a metaphysical basis, for its groundlessness is clear psychologically from the fact that in order to understand the language of the gods on Olympus the human being must already have reason and consequently must already have language. Still less can I indulge in a pleasant detailing of the animal languages, for, as we have seen, it turns out that they all stand completely ...