meaning by asking: What is speaking as the expression of thought if we think. of it in terms of its origin in the inner activity of the spirit? The answer is contained in a sentence in Chapter Seventeen, whose adequate interpretation would require a separate study:

If in the soul the feeling truly arises that langua1e it not merely a medium of exchange for mutual understanding. but a true world which the intellect must set between itself and objects by the inner labor o£ its power, then the soul it on the true way toward discovering constantly more in language, and putting constantly more into it. (p. 135)*

According to the tenets of modem idealism, the labor of the spirit is a positing, a setting (thesis). Because the spirit is conceived as subject, and is accordingly represented within the subject-object model, the positing (thesis) must be the synthesis between the subject and its objects. What is so posited affords a view of objects as a whole. That which the power of the subject develops by its labor and sets between itself and the objects, Humboldt calls "a world." In such a "world view," a humanity achieves its self-expression.

But why does Humboldt regard language as a world and world view? Because his way to language is defined, not so much in terms of language as language, but rather in terms of an endeavor to offer a historical presentation of man's whole historical-spiritual development in its totality and yet also in its given individuality. In the fragment of an autobiography dating from t8t6, Humboldt write;: "What I am striving for is after all precisely this—to understand the world in its individuality and totality."

An understanding of the world with this orientation can draw on many sources, because the self-expressive power of the spirit is active in a variety of ways. Humboldt recognizes and chooses language as one of the chief sources. While language is not, of course, the only form of world view developed by human subjectivity, it is that form to which we must ascribe

* The translation of the Humboldt passage given here differs slightly from the Buck & Raven translation. (Tr.)

Martin Heidegger (GA 12) On the Way to Language