2.18.2002

[19] I continue to mull over the Bateson notion of types, how metaphors are achieved, and the kind of distance that is a component of irony (according to Kierkegaard). But I want to move on today to 19 and "forms of life." "And to imagine a language is to imagine a form of life." This follows the language as an ancient city metaphor.

The remark is an investigation of "Slab!" Is this an abbreviation of the sentence: "Bring me a slab" ? Is "bring me a slab" a lengthened version of "Slab!"? What Wittgenstein is seeking to show here is the complexity of even the simplest of languages. But there is more. The remark is an exploration of the location of meaning. When I say "Slab!" is there a language of thought that is different than the utterance? Do I think "that he should bring me a slab" while saying "Slab!" Do I think, conversely, "Slab!" but utter "Please bring me a slab"?

Is there irony in this particular philosophical investigation of "Slab!" in the form of life shared by the workers? We are imagining this language, which we understand to be a form of life. Is there a form of life for imagining? What is the relation between imagining and language? Between thought and language? Is the language of thought temporally prior to the command? Does the language of thought reside in a distinctive space? With the introduction of forms of life, Wittgenstein has emphasized the context in which communications occur. The impulse is to move right on to the next remark. For now, however, I want to think about the strategy of foregrounding the idea of language as a form of life here.

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