Classifying an Andean Language—Rodrigo Diaz Babel Vol I, No 2 Contents Tagmemics of Stratificationalism—R.W. Jackson

Language—The Failure of Modern Philosophy

Dr. Georg Strudelfest
Leipzig, Germany

The musings of the great human philosophers have often gravitated toward the illusivity of natural language. With the coining of the brilliant Cartesian “vēnī, vīdī, vīcī,” the scope of the philosophical investigation was deftly expanded to incorporate the very medium of communication employed by lord and peasant, by educated and oppressed alike—human speech. The relentless lumens of such powerful minds as Plato and Pythagoras could not but penetrate the determined darkness that had enshrouded that which had remained mysterious.

The investigative feeding frenzy spawned by Descartes has been sustained to the very present day, although its height cannot be denied to have been attained with the advent of the serendipitous discovery by Bloomfield of the notorious sein/dasein/nichtsein distinction. This tri-partite triton of the psychosomatic deep has persistently frustrated modern investigations and must be overcome if further progress is hoped to be made. Perhaps Hegel’s historical dialectic best encapsulates the problem—and simultaneously, the solution.

Nor can the contributions of behaviorism properly be ignored; for Skinner had in mind a system whereby language—fully unmasked for the artificial construct it must be—became super-fluous in the light of “higher order” functions. But such distinctions, while undeniably necessary, fall inevitably short of the target.

That langue and parole are the issue also must not be forgotten, but Saussure’s significatum itself declined in significance as more structurally-oriented meta-theoretical systems gained popularity. Meanwhile, once-exalted Freudian theory has been thoroughly discredited by a disillusioned establishment.

Contemporary approaches, such as those of Wittgenstein and Labov, have without questions made widely traversable inroads; but the ancient issues remain essentially unaddressed. It seems unlikely that the “insights” of the new breed of researcher will prove, ultimately, of much eschatological significance.

Modern philologists have a justifiable right to expect more of their leaders than the regurgitations of classical work that repeatedly rear their heads. Where, then, are the thinkers of our day?

Classifying an Andean LanguageRodrigo Diaz
Tagmemics of StratificationalismR.W. Jackson
Babel Vol I, No 2 Contents