The Description of Immediate Experience

David G. Stern

in Wittgenstein on Mind and Language

Published in print March 1995 | ISBN: 9780195080001
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199786145 | DOI:
 The Description of Immediate Experience

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The first section of this chapter presents a close reading of Wittgenstein’s “Remarks on Logical Form”, focusing on the conception of the relationship between language and experience, and the nature of the analysis of immediate experience that are set out there. Section two sets out an interpretation of what Wittgenstein meant when he said that he had rejected “phenomenological language” or “primary language” as his goal. Distinguishing between a weak and a strong sense of these terms shows how he could have given up the goal of formulating a language that would amount to a complete analysis of immediate experience, yet retain the goal of finding ways of clarifying what we say about experience. Section three discusses Wittgenstein’s use of the analogy of the pictures on a roll of film in a movie projector and the pictures on a cinema screen for the relationship between world and experience. The final section analyzes how and why the analogy leads Wittgenstein to a paradoxical conception of immediate experience as a separate realm, “timeless” and “neighborless”, a conception of the “world as idea” that is supposedly inexpressible.

Keywords: Wittgenstein; experience; phenomenological language; primary language; analysis; logical form; world; idea

Chapter.  17785 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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