Article

Wittgenstein on The Experience of Meaning and Secondary Use

Michel ter Hark

in The Oxford Handbook of Wittgenstein

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199287505
Published online January 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199287505.003.0023

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

 Wittgenstein on The Experience of Meaning and Secondary Use

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Ludwig Wittgenstein returned to the experience of meaning time and time again in his later writings on the philosophy of psychology. In Part II of Philosophical Investigations, experiencing the meaning of a word, or as it is also called, ‘meaning-experience’, is introduced in the article, and it is dominated by the discussion of seeing aspects. The general moral of Wittgenstein's discussions in the first part of Investigations is that meaning and understanding do not refer to any simple item of experience at the moment of speaking. This article discusses the philosophical push to hypostasising experiences. A crucial role is played by Wittgenstein's discussion of ‘meaning-blindness’. The most important similarity between experiences of meaning and the seeing of aspects is that in both cases, a secondary use of language is involved. This article explains what secondary use is by relating it to the concepts of inclination and primitive reaction.

Keywords: Ludwig Wittgenstein; experiences; meaning; Philosophical Investigations; meaning-experience; meaning-blindness; aspects; secondary use; language; understanding

Article.  12251 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Language ; History of Western Philosophy

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