Is it not a little surprising that Coleridge, who coined "dyspathy," did not also coin "empathy" and go on to desynonymize
it from "sympathy"?
(10) Their work is in this respect typical of the late-eighteenth-century attempt to desynonymize
aesthetic terms in the interests of conceptual clarity; see the discussion of Coleridge's desynonymization of 'imagination' and 'fancy' in Paul Hamilton, Coleridge's Poetics (Oxford UP, 1983).
Among the categories doing a lot of (subterranean) work in biological, literary, and philosophical narratives of Bildung is that of "difference" or, rather, "differentiation." Its centrality comes into focus as soon as one begins to desynonymize
, as any study of Bildung must, the claims of organicism from those of dialectics, the framework to which it bears the greatest affinity; and it is the (mostly implicit) work done by "difference" and "differentiation" that will be the principal focus of the remarks to follow.
I am arguing that the disease, and unease, that once went by that name is retained, transposed into a self-checking, dialectical consciousness, one that desynonymizes