The Philosophical Relevance of Wittgenstein’s Discussion of Experiences of Meaning

Michel ter Hark


It is often assumed that the discussion of the experience of meaning marks a
shift of interest in Wittgenstein’s writings after finishing Part 1 of the Investigations in 1945. Yet there is abundant evidence of
an early interest in this topic in writings from the first half of the 1930s.
Thus, Wittgenstein distinguishes between meaning as use and William James’s
conception of the experience of meaning as early as 1932. In the same period he
devotes a long discussion partly published in Philosophical
Grammar to the relation between understanding in the sense of
experiencing the meaning of a word and what he later calls ‘aspect seeing’.
Finally, in the second part of the Brown Book, his most
sustained treatment of the experience of meaning at the time is to be found.


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; meaning-experience; meaning-body; aspect seeing; transitive use; intransitive use; synaesthesia

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