The Enlightenment revival of the Epicurean history of language and civilisation

In Neven Leddy & Avi S. Lifschitz (eds.), Epicurus in the Enlightenment. Voltaire Foundation (2009)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
The Epicurean account of the origin of language appealed to eighteenth-century thinkers who tried to reconcile a natural history of language with

the biblical account of Adamic name-giving. As a third way between Aristotelian linguistic conventionality and what was perceived as a Platonic supernatural congruence between words and things, Epicurus’

theory allowed for a measure of contingency to emerge in the evolution of initially natural signs. This hypothesis was taken up by authors as different from one another as Leibniz, Vico, Condillac and Mendelssohn. By integrating the Epicurean account of language into their own theories, however, these authors also revived the tensions inherent in the ancient thesis and had to confront the ensuing difficulties in innovative ways
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
Archival date: 2010-04-16
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total views
339 ( #8,675 of 40,089 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
41 ( #13,147 of 40,089 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.