Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Ludwig Wittgenstein and Wonderment
Ludwig Wittgenstein and Wonderment: In his Philosophical Investigations (published posthumously in 1953), Wittgenstein offers a variety of novel interpretations regarding the true nature of analytic philosophy. Concerning philosophy itself, Wittgenstein claims that all philosophical problems stem from a mere misunderstanding of language. What one person means by the word "phenomenology" for example, may be radically different from what another person means by it. Although there may be a general, philosophical definition of the word "phenomenology," the definition is postulated with a set of words that inevitably projects a so-called "meaning" onto it. Therefore, one cannot actually satisfy the logical conditions necessitated for a "meaning" rooted in language, especially since language itself constitutes an ever-expanding group of words with meanings that often presuppose their use(s). In this instance, Wittgenstein demonstrates how the "meaning" of any particular word presupposes our capabilities of using it to articulate or develop an effective manner of communication. Thus, even though language is fundamentally a public phenomenon, as one person utilizes it to communicate with another person, it is ultimately formulated in the private constructs of the mind.