THE CONCEPT OF LANGUAGE BEFORE AND AFTER SAUSSURE
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The title may be taken to cover two issues: (1) a narrower issue of the historiography of linguistics concerning Saussure's 'predecessors' and 'followers', as well as (2) a more general problem of intellectual history of whether Saussure's linguistics has a place, and what kind of place it has, in the overall history of thinking about the nature of language. This paper mainly deals with the second issue. It situates the 'Saussurean turn' within the more general anti-historicist, anti-psychologist, and anti-idealist turn of philosophy that is represented, in various areas, by Frege, Wittgenstein, the Vienna Circle, and Durkheim, among others. Similarities and differences between the Fregean and Saussurean concepts of language are emphasised, as well as the importance of the analogy between language and money. The conclusion is that Saussure's views, to the present day, constitute one of the most important chapters of the interpretation of the social nature of language, as well as of the history of the concept of linguistic form, starting with Plato.
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