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By Søren Kierkegaard

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BookID=184324&Fil... Page 38 comparable has even become the justification for a double betrayal insofar as the two incommensurable masters were rendered commensurable through the translation-construction. So there remains a final untranslatable that we discover through the construction of the comparable. That construction is accomplished at the level of ‘meaning’, the only word that we have not commented on, because we took it for granted. Now the meaning is extracted from the unity it shares with the flesh of words, that flesh which we call the ‘letter’.

First, the well-known fact of the universality of language: ‘All men speak’; that is a measure of humanity alongside the tool, the institution, burial; by language, let us understand the use of signs, which are not things, but concern things2 – the exchange of signs in interlocution: the main role of a common language at the level of community identification. This is a universal competence contradicted by its scattered achievements, a universal ability contradicted by its fragmented, scattered and disorganized execution.

E. thinking and speaking Greek. So the absolute strangeness is on our side, it belongs to we who think and speak Greek, whether it is in German or in a Latin language. Pushed to the extreme, the thesis is that Chinese and Greek can be distinguished by an initial ‘fold’ [pli] in what can be thought and what can be experienced, a ‘fold’ beyond which we cannot go. Thus, in his last book, entitled Du temps [Of Time],2 Jullien maintains that Chinese verbs do not have tenses because Chinese does not have the concept of time worked out by Aristotle in Physics IV, then reconstructed by Kant in ‘The Transcendental Aesthetic’, and finally universalized by Hegel through the ideas of the negative and the Aufhebung.

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