Contemporary Western culture did not emerge, fully formed, from nothing but rather is the result of a long process of development under multiple influences, which continues to this day. The first half of this book explores the main trends in this intellectual history with an emphasis on theories about the nature of scientific knowledge, the peculiarities of language, human self-understanding and human coexistence from the earliest extant writings in ancient Greece to the eighteenth century, the Age of Reason.
The second half revolves around linguistics and its development out of earlier philosophical investigations into the nature of language. Following the first great movement to establish linguistics as science in the nineteenth century, in particular historical linguistics, the discussion turns to the two giants of twentieth century theoretical linguistics, Ferdinand de Saussure and Noam Chomsky.
The four authors are all professors in the Faculty of Languages and Cultures, School of Humanities, University