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On the diversity of linguistic constructions and their influence on the spiritual development of mankind, an unpublished translation of Wilhelm von Humboldts canonical work

Grant number: 21/01490-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2021
Effective date (End): July 31, 2026
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Linguistics - Philosophy of Language
Principal Investigator:Sheila Vieira de Camargo Grillo
Grantee:Taciane Domingues Ferreira
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):22/02548-2 - Wilhelm von Humboldt, a transcendental idealist: on a transcendental philosophy of language, BE.EP.DR


Wilhelm von Humboldt dedicated himself to the comparative studies of languages and engaged in Immanuel Kant's metaphysics for the theorization of linguistic phenomena. According to Kant, truth is constituted on the conformity between representation and the thing-in-itself. Humboldt states that representation is language - the mother tongue, more precisely; according to him, no thought may ever occur outside the embodiment in linguistic forms. In this Doctoral project the thesis will be "how does Humboldt theorizes linguistic construction as representation?" I will investigate the scope of Humboldtian Philosophy that speculates about linguistic creation inside the limits of a biological organism and its intellectual faculties, which were considered by Kant to be innate: i) the production of sound-forms (Lautform) and of words by kantian mental faculties and their categories; ii) the correlation between representation and the definition of language as constant generative activity (energeia); iii) intellectual and cultural cultivation (Bildung) and the world-views (Weltansichten) as collective representation phenomena. The object under my scrutiny will be both the corpus and the main results of this investigation: the major work "On the diversity of linguistic construction and its influence on the spiritual development of human species" (Über die Verschiedenheit des menschlichen Sprachbaues und ihren Einfluss auf die geistige Entwicklung des Menschengeschlechts) will be analyzed and unprecedentedly translated to Portuguese Language. The main goal is to promote a wide reception in lusophone countries of this philosopher of language, who proposed a Neo-Kantian model in the field of language studies and whose work was reference for important thinkers of the 20th century, such as Ferdinand de Saussure, Noam Chomsky, Mikhail Bakhtin and Valentin Voloshinov. (AU)

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