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Hamann and Benjamin on the Concept of Experience

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Jonathan Gray

on 14 December 2012

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Transcript of Hamann and Benjamin on the Concept of Experience

“The great transformation and correction which must be performed upon the concept of experience, oriented so one-sidedly along mathematical-mechanical lines, can be attained only by relating knowledge to language, as was attempted by Hamann during Kant’s lifetime.” Hamann and Benjamin
on the concept of experience
Jonathan Gray
Royal Holloway
University of London 1918 1915-6 "On Language as Such and on the Language of Man" "On the Program of Coming Philosophy" Birth 1892 1926-7 1934 1926-8 "Goethe" 1938 Letter to Horkheimer Book review Book review 1940 Johann Georg Hamann 1730 Born in Königsberg 1788 Death 1757 Trip to London 1759 Death Socratic Memorabilia 1762 Aesthetica in Nuce “The senses and passions speak and understand nothing but images. All the wealth of human knowledge and happiness consists in images.” “Every impression of nature in man is not only a memorial but also a warrant of fundamental truth: Who is the Lord. Every reaction of man unto created things is an epistle and seal that we partake of the divine nature.” “To speak is to translate – from an angelic language into a human language.” “All we have left in nature for our use are jumbled verses and disjecti membra poetae. To gather these together is the scholar’s modest part; to interpret them, the philosopher’s; to imitate them – or bolder still – bring them into the right order, the poet’s” 1784 Metacritique on the Purism of Reason “[M]etaphysics abuses the word-signs and figures of speech and of our empirical knowledge by treating them as nothing but hieroglyphs and types of ideal relations. Through this learned troublemaking it works the honest decency of language into such a meaningless, rutting, unstable, indefinite something = x that nothing is left but a windy sough, a magic shadow play, at most, as the wise Helvétius says, the talisman and rosary of a transcendental superstitious belief in entia rationis, their empty sacks and slogans.” - Aesthetica in Nuce - Aesthetica in Nuce - Aesthetica in Nuce - Aesthetica in Nuce - Metacritique on the Purism of Reason - On the Coming Program of Philosophy God Angelic Language Human Language (Song, Poetry Sculpture) (Abstraction, Empty Words) The Abyss of Prattle The fundamental categories of experience are to be derived from language. Suspicion of rationalistic philosophy, abstraction and system-building. Critical of the 'mathematical-mechanical' conception of experience as evidence. Language includes many forms of human expression. Language is historical and has a material basis. Language and the arts have epistemological as well as genealogical priority over mathematics and science. Our concept of time has its origin in rhythm and breathing. Our concept of space has its origin in colour and painting. Understanding revolves around images. Language is fragmentary. Writing is bricolage. The world of language is a unity. There is a fundamental unity to all human activity. Jonathan Gray
Royal Holloway
University of London

http://jonathangray.org “Poetry is the mother-tongue of the human race.” - Aesthetica in Nuce
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