It Must Fail: On Language and Freedom in Benjamin’s Early Philosophy

  • Elise Derroitte

Abstract

This essay is primarily concerned with Benjamin’s theory of language in “On Language as Such and on the Language of Man” and “The Task of the Translator” with reference to Jewish mysticism and German Romanticism. I seek to show how Benjamin’s theory of language distances itself from a theory of restoration of a pure, divine language to
propose a theory of the self-expression of the world. I argue that human language translates the historical attempt and failure to reunite subjective experience and self-expression. Such a conception implies that Benjamin’s theory of language is based on his conception of human nature and that it finds its specificity in the free will of the subjects whilst a pure expression of the truth is never reachable in human language. I conclude in showing that Benjamin’s theory of translation expresses this theory of language where the self-expression exceeds the possibility of the words opening space for the creativity for the one who speaks.

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How to Cite
Derroitte, E. (1) “It Must Fail: On Language and Freedom in Benjamin’s Early Philosophy”, Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio, 8(2). Available at: http://rifl.unical.it/index.php/rifl/article/view/225 (Accessed: 19August2022).