By Charles Travis
This e-book presents a singular interpretation of the information approximately language in Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. Travis areas the "private language argument" within the context of wider topics within the Investigations, and thereby develops an image of what it really is for phrases to undergo the which means they do. He elaborates models of a personal language argument, and indicates the results of those for present tendencies within the philosophical idea of which means.
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Extra resources for The Uses of Sense: Wittgenstein's Philosophy of Language
A similar approach to mystery and revelation is also explored by Levinas in his analyses of the Old Testament. In Beyond the Verse, he writes: A Revelation that can also be called mystery; not a mystery which dispels clarity, but one that demands it with an increased intensity. An invitation to intelligence, which at the same time, by the mystery from which it comes, protects it against the ‘dangers’ of truth. (1982a:162; 1994:133, 213; translation slightly modified) The mysterious does not resist clarity as a reactionary, obscurantist force would.
For the ‘beautiful soul’, who turns to nature for inspiring nourishment, the devices of the landscape garden would be the equivalent of deception (Betrug). What would he make of the theatricality of, for example, Alexander Pope’s employment of a man to be a hermit, to live in moral and aesthetic reclusion in his grotto at Twickenham? Maybe the country gentleman should resign himself to the ‘vigorous’, sublime grief that Kant describes (1990a:§29 204; 1988a:130) rather than hope to find an adequate form in nature for his moral aspirations for society.
These reflections on blind spots are in themselves most illuminating: they open up theoretical possibilities mis-recognised by Kant himself. As a consequence, this study is no simplistic psychoanalytical reading of Kantian symptoms,6 or a brilliant revelation of the repressed items of his system. The troublesome points that I will address are in full evidence in Kant’s works, not deviously hidden away. Implied in my re-readings of Kant, therefore, is the suggestion that blind spots are not to be attributed solely to the Enlightenment period: they are instead indicative of Western metaphysics in general.