In close analogy to this devaluation of the written word against the spoken one, Augustine in his later theory of verbum mentis (mental word) is advocating the devaluation of the spoken word and the external sign in general against the internal sphere of mental cognition. It is now the mental or interior word (verbum interius), i.e., the mental concept, that is considered as word in its most proper sense, whereas the spoken word appears as a mere sign or voice of the word (signum verbi, vox verbi) (Augustine, De Trinitate XV 11 20, 1968, 486f.).[11] Thoughts (cogitationes) are performed in mental words. The verbum mentis, corresponding to what later was called the conceptus mentis or intellectus, is by no means a ‘linguistic’ entity in the proper sense, for it is “nullius linguae”, i.e., it does not belong to any particular spoken language like Latin or Greek. So we are confronted with the paradoxical situation that linguistic terminology (e.g., verbum, locutio, oratio, dicere, etc.) is used to describe a phenomenon whose independence from any language is strongly emphasized at the same time.

« Augustine advocates the devaluation of spoken word and written sign in favor of mental concept »

A quote saved on July 2, 2015.


Top related keywords - double-click to view: