This chapter identifies some general features that characterize a conception of language as phenomenological. Taking Heidegger’s nondualist view of ‘being-in-the-world’ as a model, it suggests that this involves conceiving language as ‘language-in-the-world’, as characterized by an antireductionist attitude and rejection of the ideas that language is a ‘formal’ system of signs and that it sustains an inside-outside opposition. It is then argued that critically assessing the significance of a phenomenology of language in relation to other philosophical conceptions of language requires a specific focus, and that this is provided by Heidegger’s emphasis (chapter 1) on the derivative nature of predication and the possibility of prepredicative language use. Hence the chapter also examines the idea of prepredicative foundation, arguing that this refers to factors that are functionally and structurally presupposed by propositional content.
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