Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy

Wayne Cristaudo

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


    Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy (1888–1973) was a sociologist and social philosopher who, along with his close friend Franz Rosenzweig, and Ferdinand Ebner and Martin Buber, was a major exponent of speech thinking or dialogicism. The central insight of speech thinking is that speech or language is not merely, or even primarily, a descriptive act, but a responsive and creative act which is the basis of our social existence.[1] The greater part of Rosenstock-Huessy's work was devoted to demonstrating how speech/language, through its unpredictable fecundity, expands our powers and, through its inescapably historical forming character, also binds them. According to Rosenstock-Huessy, speech makes us collective masters of time and gives us the ability to overcome historical death by founding new, more expansive and fulfilling spaces of social-life.

    Rosenstock-Huessy also belonged to that post-Nietzschean revival of religious thought which included Franz Rosenzweig, Karl Barth, Leo Weismantel, Hans and Rudolf Ehrenberg, Viktor von Weizsäcker, Martin Buber, Lev Shestov, Hugo Bergmann, Florens Christian Range, Nikolai Berdyaev, Margaret Susman, Werner Picht (all of whom were involved in the Patmos publishing house and its offshoot Die Kreatur) and Paul Tillich. Common to this group was the belief that religious speech, which they saw as distinctly not metaphysical, disclosed layers of experience and creativity (personal and socio-historical) which remain inaccessible to the metaphysics of naturalism.
    Original languageEnglish
    Specialist publicationStanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2016


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