You write, "It seems that Wittgenstein is putting naming before us for a reason." When I read this earlier today, I had one of those "Well, duh!" moments. Of course he is, though I hadn't thought about it in this way. In fact, skimming back--if one ever skims Wittgenstein--over the remarks from 20 on, it's not as if W is being coy about "putting naming before us" & in fact he's quite clearly foregrounding this concept in order to call it into question. But W's style can throw one off--it seems so tentative; and I think it was put into tentative language naturally (as oppose to intentionally, which is a problematic notion with language). That is, Wittgenstein really is feeling his way along, though once we, in our privileged position as readers 51 years after W's death, work through the tentative working-out, there is a wonderful clarity about the notion of naming, about the activity of naming. Great philosophers struggle for the rest of us & leave a record of their struggle. Had Jesus written the Gospel himself, it would be something like the Philosophical Investigations.

"Naming would be different from one language game to the next." Yes, but somehow still recognizable as naming. I find your examples of the activity of naming in politics & natural science very much to the point & also agree with you that the metaphor of the mosaic needs to be softened or deepened . . . or something . . . in order to communicate the qualities of language games we are trying to delineate.

I've always been struck by the Irish-Catholic idea that one must "make one's soul." I'm thinking about poetry here & wondering what the relationship between naming & making might be. More on this tomorrow.


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