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Avi Lifschitz
University College London
  1. Translation in Theory and Practice: The Case of Johann David Michaelis’s Prize Essay on Language and Opinions (1759).Avi S. Lifschitz - 2010 - In Stafanie Stockhorst (ed.), Cultural Transfer through Translation. Rodopi.
    In this article Johann David Michaelis’s views of language and translation are juxtaposed with his own experience as a translated and translating author, especially with regard to the translations of his prize essay on the reciprocal influence of language and opinions (1759). Its French version originated in a close collaboration with the translators, while the pirated English edition was anonymously translated at second hand. The article reconstructs Michaelis’s relationship with the French translators and his renouncement of the English version, publicly (...)
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  2. Language as the Key to the Epistemological Labyrinth: Turgot’s Changing View of Human Perception.Avi S. Lifschitz - 2004 - Historiographia Linguistica 31 (2/3):345-365.
    A belief in a firm correspondence between objects, ideas, and their representation in language pervaded the works of Anne Robert Jacques Turgot

    (1727–1781) in 1750. This conviction is particularly manifest in Turgot’s sharp critique of Berkeley’s philosophical system and his remarks on Maupertuis’s reconstruction of the origin of language. During the 1750s Turgot’s epistemological views underwent a change, apparent in two of his contributions to the Encyclopédie: the entries Existence and Étymologie (1756). These articles included a reassessment of Berkeleyan immaterialism, facing (...)
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  3. From the Corruption of French to the Cultural Distinctiveness of German: The Controversy Over Prémontval’s Préservatif (1759).Avi S. Lifschitz - 2007 - Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century (2007:06):265-290.
    In July 1759 the French philosopher Andre´ Pierre Le Guay de Prémontval (1716-1764) published in Berlin a diatribe against the excessive and incorrect use of French in the Prussian capital. Far from being a mere guide to linguistic style, the Préservatif contre la corruption de la langue françoise generated a heated debate, attested by an official threat to ban its publication. The personal animosity between Prémontval and the perpetual secretary of the Berlin Academy, Jean Henri Samuel Formey (1711-1797) was amply (...)
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  4. The Enlightenment Revival of the Epicurean History of Language and Civilisation.Avi S. Lifschitz - 2009 - In Neven Leddy & Avi S. Lifschitz (eds.), Epicurus in the Enlightenment. Voltaire Foundation.
    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 (...)
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