(Re)-Constructing the Semantic Architecture of Wittgenstein’s Vermischte Bemerkungen by Syntactic Analysis

Kerstin Mayr


In the context of a cooperative project ("Culture and Value Revisited") between the Brenner Archives at the University of Innsbruck (FIBA) and the Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen (WAB), a computer supported qualitative analysis of Wittgensteins "Vermischte Bemerkungen" / "Culture and Value" is being carried out. This is done with GABEK (Ganzheitliche Bewältigung von Komplexität, Holistic Processing of Complexity), a method based on the theory of linguistic Gestalten (Zelger 1999) and its computer implementation WinRelan. With GABEK the essential aim is to obtain a holistic, integrated view of individual aspects of Wittgenstein’s remarks in Culture and Value (1994 Suhrkamp edition). The GABEK method for qualitatively analysing data allows a hierarchically structured presentation of a highly complex text and its network layers. The main objective of this analysis is to clarify and highlight content-related (semantic) interdependencies and intervening variables - hypotheses on inter-dependencies can be generated in a further step. Development of a rule-based network of data leads to the generation of - conceptual fields - causal interrelations of items (keywords), conceptual fields and topics - semantic inter-dependencies and networks the analysis and identification of which are needed to generate both deeper knowledge and understanding about the semantic structures of the Wittgenstein text. This knowledge expresses itself in the unique character of its organisation and structure and could help build the basis for further in-depth exploration and analysis concerning specific topics related to "Culture and Value". Consistent with the core objectives of the analysis of the German text version ("Vermischte Bemerkungen"), an encoding of the 1st and 2nd English edition ("Culture and Value") will be done for the purpose of comparison and exploration in terms of textual semantic similarity and deviation. These findings will provide the basis for further investigations concerning such questions as: - What kind of text is this? - Is the secret code in Wittgenstein’s remarks of any significance? - Is there a Wittgensteinian philosophy of culture found in the patterns and networks identified?


computer supported qualitative analysis; culture; network; semantic; textual architecture; thematic interrelation; value

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