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The dialogue between Voloshinov and Humboldt in the philosophy of language: paticipation of idealism in the Marxist synthesis

Grant number: 19/03809-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Master's degree
Effective date (Start): May 15, 2019
Effective date (End): November 14, 2019
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Linguistics - Philosophy of Language
Principal Investigator:Sheila Vieira de Camargo Grillo
Grantee:Taciane Domingues Ferreira
Supervisor: Denis Thouard
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Centre Marc Bloch, Germany  
Associated to the scholarship:17/25085-0 - The dialogue between Volóshinov and Humboldt in the philosophy of language: the participation of idealism in the Marxist synthesis, BP.MS


The purpose of this study is to investigate the share of influence of the German Idealistic school, represented by Wilhelm von Humboldt, in Valentin Voloshinov's Marxism and the Philosophy of Language. The Russian author launched the basis of a Marxist philosophy of language discussing: i) topics that should concern the studies of language, considered as a fundamental part of the study of ideologies and ii) that the Marxist philosophy of language represents a dialectic synthesis between two well known schools of their time: the Geneva School, claimed as the antithesis, and the German Idealism/Romanticism, claimed as the thesis. This project is to analyze the relations between language and thought in Humboldt and to compare them to Voloshinov's aforementioned work, aiming to find traces of influence of the first into the last. The project can be divided in three main sectors: i) detecting the dialogism in Humboldt's writings ii) measuring the importance of the otherness in Humboldt's Idealistic conception of Language and iii) comparing the results according to Voloshinov. So far, the results are related to the inversion, made by the Marxists, of the Idealistic dialectic at its starting point: for the German Idealism, the consciousness (the Geist or spirit) prints its laws onto the world; for the Marxists, on the other hand, the world gets into the consciousness throughout the ideological sign, a material fragment of the social interaction, for the consciousness needs semiotic material to operate. This inversion had also consequences on Stylistics studies made by the Bakhtin Circle and the Idealistische Neuphilologie School (from Humboldt's follower Karl Vossler). Both results were discussed in two papers published in 2017 and 2018 in Brazil, respectively. Now the aim is to investigate the role of the otherness in the formation of the Spirit according to Humboldt, in other words: a) if dialogism is on the very basis of Humboldt's thoughts towards Language and b) if, for Humboldt, the otherness is also on the basis of the Spirit (the mind or individual consciousness). (AU)

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