Worldview (<i>Weltanschauung or Weltansicht</i>)

W. Underhill James

in Humboldt, Worldview and Language

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780748638420
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671809 | DOI:
Worldview (Weltanschauung or Weltansicht)

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This short chapter introduces Wilhelm von Humboldt's concept of worldview. It considers the way the terms Weltbegriff and Weltanschauung were used by Humboldt's predecessor, Kant, and the way those concepts were harnessed and promoted by Hegel. It considers political worldviews such as the Nazi worldview studied by Klemperer. But the author shows the relevance of Jürgen Trabant's crucial distinction, between political, ideological or religious worldviews, on the one hand, and the concept of a language as a human conceptual construction of the world as a place in which each speaker takes his or her place. Ideologies can be discussed and argued over, but only language gives us the concepts, of man, history, destiny, nation, and morality, and so on, which allow us to debate the foundations and validity of ideologies and systems of thought.

Keywords: Christian worldview; Kant; Hegel; Ideology; The Sense of Language; Trabant; Weltanschauung; Weltansicht; Weltbegriff

Chapter.  1630 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics

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