Friedrich Nietzsche, Human All Too Human (Menschliches, Allzumenschliches), subtitled A Book for Free Spirits (Ein Buch für freie Geister).

First published in 1878.   A second part, Assorted Opinions and Maxims (Vermischte Meinungen und Sprüche), was published in 1879, and a third part, The Wanderer and his Shadow (Der Wanderer und sein Schatten), followed in 1880.

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LANGUAGE AS A PRESUMPTIVE SCIENCE.  The importance of language for the development of culture lies in the fact that in language man has placed a world of his own beside the other, a position which he deemed so fixed that he might from there lift the rest of the world off its hinges, and make himself master of it.  Inasmuch as man has believed in the ideas and names of things as aeterne veritates for a great length of time, he has acquired that pride by which he has raised himself above the animal; he really thought that in language he possessed the knowledge of the world.  The maker of language was not modest enough to think that he only gave designations to things, he believed rather that with his words he expressed the widest knowledge of the things; in reality language is the first step in the endeavour after science.  Here also it is belief in ascertained truth, from which the mightiest sources of strength have flowed.  Much later only now it is dawnining upon men that they have propagated a tremendous error in their belief in language.  Fortunately it is now too late to reverse the development of reason, which is founded upon that belief.  Logic, also, is founded upon suppositions to which nothing in the actual world corresponds, for instance, on the supposition of the equality of things, and the identity of the same thing at different points of time, but that particular science arose out of the contrary belief (that such things really existed in the actual world).  It is the same with mathematics, which would certainly not have arisen if it had been known from the beginning that in Nature there are no exactly straight lines, no real circle, no absolute standard of size.  
 

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