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On Wittgenstein's Notion of Meaning-Blindness: Its Subjective, Objective and Aesthetic Aspects

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Abstract:

Abstract

Das Aussprechen eines Wortes ist gleichsam ein Anschlagen einer Taste auf dem Vorstellungsklavier. (Uttering a word is like striking a note on the keyboard of the imagination.) (PU ยง6)

Polonius: What do you read, my lord?

Hamlet: Words, words, words!

(Hamlet, act 2, scene 2)

Wittgenstein in his later years thought about experiences of meaning and aspect change. Do such experiences matter? Or would a meaning- or aspect-blind person not lose much? Moreover, is this a matter of aesthetics or epistemology? To get a better perspective on these matters, I will introduce distinctions between certain subjective and objective aspects, namely feelings of our inner psychological states versus fine-tuned objective experiences of the outer world. It seems to me that in his discussion of meaning-blindness, Wittgenstein unhappily floats between these two extremes, the subjective and the objective. I will also introduce some notions from Kant's aesthetics, to get a better understanding of the interplay between feeling and meaning. This will shed some new light on Wittgenstein's enquiry into meaning- and aspect-blindness.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9205.2009.01382.x

Affiliations: National Taiwan University

Publication date: July 1, 2010

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