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differentia specifica

English translation: differentia specifica

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
German term or phrase:differentia specifica
English translation:differentia specifica
Entered by: mill2
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18:03 Aug 25, 2007
German to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Philosophy
German term or phrase: differentia specifica
Sprache und Sprechen gehören der Sphäre des Symbolischen an. Auf die *differentia spezifica* dieses Symbolismus kommt es an. Sprache ist das, was sie ist, im Unterschied zum Bild.

From a book on 20th century theories of language, readership is academic. This seems to be a term from philosophy, actually, but I can't find the English equivalent. Characteristic difference? Specific characteristic? References would be very helpful. Thanks.
mill2
Local time: 05:49
differentia specifica
Explanation:
Given that this is aimed at an academic readership, I think it would be appropriate to use the Latin term. Note that "differentia" is singular (the plural being differentiae). The term is used primarily in logic, though there is some overlap between logic and linguistics. The differentia of something is that property which distinguishes it from others.

"By making men into men, Prometheus’ subversive act becomes the symbol for men’s becoming political beings; and fire, in turn, becomes the symbol less of culture, reason, science or art, than of the primal fabric of men’s political essence... Fire becomes, to borrow Blumenberg’s phrase (1990, p. 308), men’s **‘differentia specifica’**."
http://www.psa.ac.uk/journals/pdf/5/2003/Dimitrios Akrivouli...

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Note added at 52 mins (2007-08-25 18:56:15 GMT)
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"In the twentieth century, the view that the **differentia specifica** of poetry can be located in formal characteristics, such as metre, formulas, or poetic language, was firmly put forward by structuralist critics, especially the Prague School. For example, Roman Jakobson in a famous article defined the poetic function of language as directedness toward the "message", that is, the verbal sign itself (1960: esp. 353-6), and went on to discuss linguistic criteria for poetry."
http://fds.oup.com/www.oup.co.uk/pdf/0-19-924550-9.pdf
Selected response from:

Peter Shortall
Local time: 04:49
Grading comment
Great, hadn't even thought of this as I'd never come across it in English-language writing before, but you seem to be right. Thanks very much.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
3 +5differentia specifica
Peter Shortall
3 +2specific differences
SusieZ


  

Answers


10 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +2
differentia spezifica
specific differences


Explanation:
is how I'd go about this.

A quick google search of specific differences and symbolism in google shows a variety of examples:

JSTOR: Mephistopheles and the Androgyne: Studies in Religious Myth ...Professor Eliade holds that many myths, symbols, divine figures, ... niscent of one another despite the latitude of their culture-specific differences. ...
links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0002-7294(196704)2%3A69%3A2%3C262%3AMATASI%3E2.0.CO%3B2-N


SusieZ
United States
Local time: 23:49
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  LegalTrans D: Derived from the Aristotelic definition of a definition: "Definitio fit per genus proximum et ***differentiam specificam***
23 mins

agree  Dr. Fred Thomson
26 mins

neutral  Frauke Schroeder: would go for this one if it was not an academic text
3 hrs

neutral  Jim Tucker: your cited google - culture-specific differences - is not applicable here ("culture-specific" is something different)
13 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

45 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +5
differentia spezifica
differentia specifica


Explanation:
Given that this is aimed at an academic readership, I think it would be appropriate to use the Latin term. Note that "differentia" is singular (the plural being differentiae). The term is used primarily in logic, though there is some overlap between logic and linguistics. The differentia of something is that property which distinguishes it from others.

"By making men into men, Prometheus’ subversive act becomes the symbol for men’s becoming political beings; and fire, in turn, becomes the symbol less of culture, reason, science or art, than of the primal fabric of men’s political essence... Fire becomes, to borrow Blumenberg’s phrase (1990, p. 308), men’s **‘differentia specifica’**."
http://www.psa.ac.uk/journals/pdf/5/2003/Dimitrios Akrivouli...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 52 mins (2007-08-25 18:56:15 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

"In the twentieth century, the view that the **differentia specifica** of poetry can be located in formal characteristics, such as metre, formulas, or poetic language, was firmly put forward by structuralist critics, especially the Prague School. For example, Roman Jakobson in a famous article defined the poetic function of language as directedness toward the "message", that is, the verbal sign itself (1960: esp. 353-6), and went on to discuss linguistic criteria for poetry."
http://fds.oup.com/www.oup.co.uk/pdf/0-19-924550-9.pdf

Peter Shortall
Local time: 04:49
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Great, hadn't even thought of this as I'd never come across it in English-language writing before, but you seem to be right. Thanks very much.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Frauke Schroeder: you are, after all, translating for an academic audience/ the spelling is correct Teresa (intelligentsia would be a further example within this category)
2 hrs
  -> Danke

agree  Teresa Reinhardt: I'd eliminate the incorrect spelling and put the phrase in italics
5 hrs
  -> Yes, I hadn't thought of italics - thanks

agree  xxxhollstes: Just to support this, a quote from George Eliot's 'Feuerbach's Essence of Christianity': 'The differentia specifica is always in the ordinary sense inexplicable' (found in the OED).
5 hrs
  -> Thanks

agree  Bernhard Sulzer: with Teresa
6 hrs
  -> Thanks

agree  Jim Tucker: w Bernhard & Teresa
13 hrs
  -> Thanks
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Changes made by editors
Aug 27, 2007 - Changes made by Peter Shortall:
FieldSocial Sciences » Art/Literary
Field (specific)Linguistics » Philosophy
Aug 27, 2007 - Changes made by Steffen Walter:
Term askeddifferentia spezifica » differentia specifica


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