Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

The temporality of language : Kant's legacy in the work of Martin Heidegger and Walter Benjamin

By Ian Lyne


Contrary to the idea that there are fundamental differences between the\ud work of Martin Heidegger and Walter Benjamin, the thesis shows that\ud there exists a profound similarity in the direction of their projects, by\ud exploring how they took up Kant's critical legacy concerning the\ud temporality of language: the belonging together of language and time.\ud The ground of Kant's system and of the necessity of systematicity - the\ud three-fold synthesis which 'generates' time under the direction of\ud conceptuality - is elucidated via the Second Analogy and the Critique of\ud Teleological Judgment. It is argued that Kant's understanding of language\ud and time remains fixed within a circular justification of Newtonian\ud Science, which prevented him from taking up the critical resources of his\ud treatment of teleological concepts and applying it to his idea of the\ud critical system itself. Heidegger's and Benjamin's work may be understood\ud as taking up the hermeneutic circularity of Kant's philosophical system,\ud though freeing it from its appeal to a limited time determination. They\ud both develop notions of a more originary temporality in conjunction with\ud a linguistic phenomenology. They further allow this more critical\ud thinking of language and time to reflexively fall back on the writing of\ud philosophy itself. Their understanding of the temporality of language is\ud explored through the way 'translation' focuses, in each case, a thinking\ud of tradition and of linguistic works. The thesis rejects attempts to\ud separate Heidegger's early work from his later approach, and further\ud rejects a tendency to focus on Benjamin's style of writing in isolation\ud from its theoretical basis. The thesis concludes by arguing that the\ud work of both Heidegger and Benjamin points to a rethinking of Kant's\ud legacy of the necessity of system, in terms of system as the inescapable\ud belonging together of language and time

Topics: B1
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (1978). 3-10 Denkerfahrungen (Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann,
  2. (1993). A Non-Sequitur of Numbing Grossness?
  3. (1990). A Response to Robert Bernasconi's "Heidegger's Destruction of Phronesis"', ' doi
  4. (1981). Benjamin or Towards a Revolutionary Criticism (London: Verso,
  5. (1981). by Alan Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, doi
  6. (1993). Commemorations (Bloomington and Indianapolis: doi
  7. (1993). Criticism: Retrieving the Cultural Politics of Destruction (Minneapolis and London:
  8. (1993). Heidegger and the Essence of Man, trans. by William McNeill (Albany:
  9. (1990). Heidegger, and the Politics of Memory', in Nietzche as Postmodernist, ed. by Clayton Koelb (Albany: State University of New
  10. (1989). Heidegger's Destruction of Phronesis', The Southern Jounal of Philosophy, doi
  11. (1979). Heidegger's Introduction to the Phenomenology of Religion, 1920-21', The Personalist,
  12. (1987). Heidegger's Path of Thinking, trans. by Daniel Magurshak and Sigmund Barber (New Jersey: Humanities Press International, doi
  13. (1992). History, Historicity and Historiography in Being and Time', in Heidegger and Modern Philosophy,
  14. (1991). Hollingdale (Cambridge and New York:
  15. (1974). Intentions and Impositions',
  16. (1971). Kant and Time (Bloomington and London:
  17. (1942). Kants gesammelte Schriften, 22 vols, ed. by the Königlich Preußischen Adademie der Wissenschaften (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter,
  18. (1976). Maraldo (Bloomington and London:
  19. (1982). Margins of Philosophy, trans. by Alan Bass doi
  20. (1984). Not Now: Full Speed Ahead, Seven Missiles, Seven Missives', trans. by Catherine doi
  21. (1976). Of Grammatology', trans. by Chakravorty Spivak (Baltimore and London:
  22. (1978). On Some Jewish Motifs in Benjamin', in The Problems of Modernity: Adorno
  23. (1986). On Textual Understanding and Other Essays, trans Harvey Mendelsohn (Manchester: doi
  24. (1965). On the Spirit and the Letter in Philosophy', trans. by Elizabeth Rubenstein,
  25. (1983). On Tragedy: Notes on the Oedipus and Notes on the Antigone, Comparative Criticism,
  26. (1973). Other Essays on Husserl's Theory of Sings,
  27. (1990). Papenfuss, Dietrich and Otto Pöggler, ed., Zur philosophischen Aktualität Heideggers, 3 vols (Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann,
  28. (1992). Saturnine Vision and The Question of Difference: Reflections on Walter Benjamin's Theory of Language', doi
  29. (1981). Selected Writings (The Hague and Paris: Mouton and Co., doi
  30. (1982). Sending: On Representation', trans. by Peter and Mary Ann Caws,
  31. (1989). The Decline of Art: Benjamin's Aura', doi
  32. (1985). The Ear of the Other: Otobiography, Transference, Translation, doi
  33. (1993). The Fate of the Distinction Between Praxis and Poiesis, in Robert Bernasconi, Heidegger in Question: The Art of Existing, doi
  34. (1970). The Human Situation in the Hegelian Phenomenology', in Hegel: Critical Assessments, II, 400-412 -. 'The Structure of Philosophic Language According to the Preface to Hegel's Phenomenology of the Mind,
  35. (1975). The Monstrosity of Translation',
  36. (1980). The Politics of Prose and the Art of Awakening: Walter Benjamin's Version of a German Romantif Motif',
  37. (1992). The Renewal of the Heidegger-Kant Dialogue: Action, Thought and Responsibility (Albany: State
  38. (1982). The Science of Knowledge, trans. by Peter Heath and John Lachs (Cambridge and New York:
  39. (1988). The Work of Culture in the Age of Cybernetic Systems', doi
  40. Time and Being, 1925-27', in Thinking About Being, doi
  41. vols (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp,
  42. (1993). What is Poetry? ', in Roman Jakobson: Selected Writings, doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.