Chapter

The Work of the Mind

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748638420.003.0009
The Work of the Mind

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This chapter confronts Humboldt's innovative post-Kantian thought with Locke's contribution to the human understanding. It explores the way different languages build concepts. Language is taken as the space in which individuals think together and create concepts, redefining them and discussing their complexity. The concept of language as a ‘mirror’ which ‘reflects’ ideas is critiqued. Perception and sensation, following Kant, are considered by Humboldt to be active processes. Impressions are not imprinted upon the mind. The mind actively constructs experience based derived from sensation. But unlike Kant, Humboldt holds the activity of the mind to be an interactive process. Individuals carve concepts together, and assert their relation to them in their speech together and their writing.

Keywords: Bildung; Forming Concepts; Geistestätigkeit; Perception; Sensation; Work of the mind

Chapter.  4022 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics

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