On Development: World, Limit, Translation


Victoria I. Burke

Martha Nussbaum and Seyla Benhabib have raised the question of how the Western subject might engage with the non-Western other in a non-imperialistic fashion.  However,

both of these feminist thinkers propose a universalist framework, consistent with Donald Davidson’s conclusions regarding the translatability of ”conceptual schemes”.  Drawing

upon the thought of G.W.F. Hegel and Walter Benjamin, I argue that the historically constituted subject that emerges in the wake of the Enlightenment affords an account of subjectivity

that recasts the meaning of rationality and thus the way in which translation should be understood.  I shall argue, with Benjamin, that a linguistic conceptual scheme--in short,

a world--needs translation in order to remain vital, and that genuine translation not only translates the other but transforms the self who seeks to translate.