[1.]* Without, I confess, having read more than bits & pieces of Augustine's Confessions, I have used this notion as Wittgenstein uses it with my freshman writing students. That is, I have pointed out that most of them naively imagine that writing involves pulling a word off the shelf in their brain/mind in order to express a meaning & that combinations of words express complex meanings . . . . A little reflection, I then suggest, makes this view problematic. "What are some of the problems you encounter in getting your thoughts on paper?" I ask. Often, a student will respond that her thoughts seem to go "all over the place" & note that "getting organized" is a problem. I submit that to conceive of writing as "organizing" pre-existing thoughts is, while widely thought to be of the essence, a profoundly mistaken way of looking at the act of writing. Is it Heidegger who says "language speaks"? Must be. An instrumental view of language necessarily disregards this dynamical quality of language, this poetic quality. Any meaning that manages to get written is a sort of collaboration between the author & the language & the world of intractable things (see William Wordsworth's "Tintern Abbey").
*Chris, let's agree to number our own remarks to correspond to Wittgenstein's in PI 3rd edition (Prentice Hall paperback), since I think that's the one we both are reading.


Post a Comment

<< Home