Modernism can be characterised by the acute attention it gives to language, to its potential and its limitations. Philosophers, artists and literary critics working in the first third of the twentieth century emphasized language’s creative potential, but also stressed its inability to express meaning completely and accurately. In particular, modernists shared the belief that the kind of truth sub specie aeterni that was sought by philosophers was either meaningless or was more appropriately expressed by the arts – especially by literature and poetry. Modernism and the Language of Philosophy addresses the challenge this belief presented to philosophy, and argues that the modernist assumption rests upon a host of unacknowledged, repressed or denied dogmas or tacit images.
Drawing in particular upon the work of Michale Dummett and Jacques Derrida, this book explores a new solution to this crisis in philosophical language, and it is these two philosophers who drive the narrative of the book and offer perspectives through which both past and present day philosophers are examined.