95 Theses on Philology
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95 Theses on Philology
Translated by Catharine Diehl

1

The elements of language explicate one another. They speak for that which still remains to be said within that which is said; they speak as philological additions to one another. Language is archiphilology.

2

The elements of language explicate one another: they offer additions to what has hitherto been said, speak for one another as witnesses, as advocates, and as translators which open that which has been said onto that which is to be said: the elements of language relate to one another as languages. There is not one language but a multiplicity; not a stable multiplicity but only a perpetual multiplication of languages. The relation that the many languages within each individual language, and all individual languages, entertain to one another is philology. Philology: the perpetual extension of the elements of linguistic existence.

3

The fact that languages must be philologically clarified indicates that they remain obscure and reliant upon further clarifications. The fact that they must be expanded philologically indicates that they never suffice. Philology is repetition, clarification, and multiplication of impenetrably obscure languages.

4

To be able to speak means to be able to speak beyond everything that has been spoken and means never to be able to speak enough. The agent of this "beyond" and of this "never-enough" is philology. Philology: transcending without transcendence.

5

The idea of philology lies in a sheer speaking to and for [Zusprechen] without anything spoken of or addressed, without anything intended or communicated.

6

The idea of philology, like the idea of language, forbids us from regarding them as something had [eine Habe]. Since the Aristotelian definition of man as a living being having [End Page 25] language uses the (linguistic) category of having [Habe] for language itself, and thus tautologically, language is without a finite object and is itself a non-finite category, an apeiron.

7

The object of philology is—in extension and in intensity (reality), as well as in the intention directed towards it—infinite. It lies, as Plato might say, epékeina tēs ousías. It is therefore not an object of a representation or of a concept, but an idea.

8

From the logos apophantikos, the language of propositions relating to finite objects in sentences capable of truth, Aristotle distinguishes another logos, one that does not say something about something and therefore can be neither true nor false. His only example of this nonapophantic language is the euchē, the plea, the prayer, the desire. Propositional language is the medium and object of ontology, as well as of all the epistemic disciplines under its direction. Meaningful but nonpropositional language is that of prayer, wish, and poetry. It knows no "is" and no "must," but only a "be" and a "would be" that withdraw themselves from every determining and every determined cognition.

9

Unlike the sciences—ontology, biology, geology—that belong to the order of the logos apophantikos, philology speaks in the realm of the euchē. Its name does not signify knowledge of the logos—of speech, language, or relation—but affection for, friendship with, inclination to it. The portion of philía in this appellation was forgotten early on, so that philology was increasingly understood as logology, the study of language, erudition, and finally as the scientific method of dealing with linguistic, in particular literary, documents. Still, philology has remained the movement that, even before the language of knowledge, awakens the wish for it and preserves within cognition the claim of that which remains to be cognized.

10a

In contrast to philosophy, which claims to make statements about that which itself is supposed to have the structure of statements, philology appeals only to another language and only towards this other language. It addresses it and confers itself to it. It does not proceed from the givenness of a common language, but gives itself to a language that is unknown to it. Since it does this without heed and à corps perdu, it can remain unknown to itself; since it seeks a hold in the other language, in the one that appeals to philology, it can assume that it recognizes...