Alexis Kalokerinos, Revisiting the names. Korais’ Political Cratylism

Alexis Kalokerinos - University of Crete, Heraklion
p. 327-371
Online publication date: 
Korais, Cratylism, Enlightenment, language reform

In this article I set out to explore some aspects of Korais’ engagement with language reform as a political enterprise. To do so, I try to contextualize relevant ideas of his in the broader intellectual framework of the Enlightenment, as concerns ideas about language, political ideas and their intertwinement, and to trace them in his pre- and post-revolutionary production. I attempt to solve a series of puzzles that arise successively, as one tries to unwind the threads of his intellectual constitution with regard to his aims and purposes. In that framework, I endeavor to clarify some of his theses on the relationship of (a) language, thought and morals, and (b) language, nature, and culture, which I attempt to show were: (i) based on mainstream empiricist Enlightenment ideas; and (ii) driven by and subservient to a program of political emancipation of a community which, as it happened, evolved into a modern nation.