Marxist Anthropology Through the Lens of the Philosophy of Language
Engels, Li Zehou and Tran Duc Thao on the Origins of Humankind and Human Language
Keywords:Friedrich Engels, Li Zehou, Tran Duc Thao, Marxist anthropology, philosophy of language, origins of language
Marxist anthropology, as a kind of philosophical anthropology and an integral part of Marxist philosophy, seeks to find an answer to the question of its primary concern—what is humanity or human nature? From the Marxist perspective, human beings are distinguished from animals by making and using tools, and the creation of tools is closely related to the birth of language and consciousness. In this context, Marxist anthropology tries to trace the origin of humankind through tracing that of tools, language and consciousness. Consequently, it is endowed with a dimension of the philosophy of language. In his article “The Part Played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man”, Engels proposed a hypothesis on the origins of humankind and human language, which constructed the framework of Marxist anthropology. This framework was subsequently adopted and developed by Li Zehou and Tran Duc Thao, renowned philosophers in contemporary China and Vietnam, in establishing their own philosophical systems. This article, through illuminating and comparing Engels, Li Zehou and Tran Duc Thao’s hypotheses on the origins of humankind and human language, aims to shed new light on Marxist anthropology through the lens of the philosophy of language. I believe that this exploration will profoundly inspire the Marxist philosophy of language, an emerging trend in the field of the philosophy of language.
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