3.22.2002

Great! I was hoping you would return to the Klein bottle image. It is really suggestive: what is finite becomes infinite by turning back on itself. This gives me a way of thinking about language. More precisely: this gives me a way of thinking about the difficulties of returning to ordinary language. Cavell puts it in terms of skepticism and romanticism, where the skeptical side of us confronts what we take to be the limitations of language, while the romantic side seeks unity. The romantic is drawn by the "uncanniness of the ordinary" (Freud's felicitous phrase), while the skeptical resists settling for this. Romanticism is an achievement of the human; skepticism is the aspiration for the divine. Together, they reveal the difficult of the path Wittgenstein commands from the metaphysical or logically ideal ice world to the friction of the ordinary.

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