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Cultura International Journal of Philosophy of Culture and Axiology

Volume 19, Issue 1, 2022

Conceptual History: China, Asia, and the Global

Fengyang Zhang
Pages 179-190

The Linguistic Approach in the Study of Modernity
Political Interpretation on the Methodology of Koselleck’s Begriffsgeshichte

The study of German Begriffsgeschichte (conceptual history) by scholars such as Koselleck focuses on historiography, but its basic hypotheses are highly philosophical. One of its tasks is to explore modernity from the perspective of language, hence can be understood as the “linguistic approach” in the study of modernity. As for the origin of the theory, the conceptual evolution of Verzeitlichung (temporalization), Demokratisierung (democratization), Politisierung (politicization), and Ideologisierbarkeit (ideologicalization) proposed by Koselleck was not only largely affected by Gadamer’s hermeneutics and Heidegger’s existential phenomenology but also deeply influenced by Carl Schmitt’s political philosophy. In Koselleck’s view, conceptual upheaval in the revolutionary era from 1750 to 1850 was, essentially, a semantic struggle in which old and new forces competed fiercely.