Continental Philosophy


Who was Ferdinand de Saussure?

Ferdinand de Saussure (1857–1913) was a Swiss structuralist whose lectures were published by students after his death as Course in General Linguistics (1916). A manuscript of his that was found in his house in 1996 emerged as Writings in General Linguistics (2002). Saussure’s most influential idea was that language can be understood as a formal system, apart from its actual production and understanding. As a formal system, the elements of language get their meanings from other elements, apart from references to anything outside of language. This insight of the self-contained nature of language and other symbolic systems proved to be a foundation for what across many disciplines, philosophy included, developed as “the linguistic turn.”


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Philosophy Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App