The Perceptible and the Imperceptible: Diderot’s Speculation on Language in his Letters on the Deaf and Blind

  • Jules Paul Seigel
Part of the Studies in Applied Psycholinguistics book series (SAP)


The study of language has always been interrelated with the study of philosophy, rhetoric, and epistemolgy, but now, more than ever, it has become integrally related with the social and behavioral sciences, as well as with the study of the poetic process. Recently the problem raised by Descartes and others regarding the creative aspect of language (that uniquely human property of ordinary language use which is “both unbounded in scope and stimulus-free”) has been revived (Chomsky, 1966, pp. 5, 30–31). The importance of the seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and early nineteenth-century studies is that they raised fundamental questions regarding the character of language and its relationship to human behavior, questions which still command a genuine interest and which have yet to be answered satisfactorily.


Sign Language Deaf Student Creative Aspect Original Letter Gesture Language 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jules Paul Seigel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EnglishUniversity of Rhode IslandKingstonUSA

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