7.08.2002

You speak of the inclusion of music in your recent thoughts on writing a novel. This left me thinking. There is Thomas Mann's Doktor Faustus that is the archetypal musical novel. Then there is Salmon Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories that includes song lyrics that you sing while reading. But musicality is so difficult to include in prose because it is a different language-game that has to be woven in. That it can be done tells us something of the malleability of some language-games. There is music in Wittgenstein, but I can hear it only with effort. It is not my music. Wittgenstein's musical tastes were quite circumscribed (read: conservative) and cultivated. Nevertheless, the play we find in Wittgenstein can be described in terms of musical expression-- particularly improvisational forms like jazz. Your reading journal has these qualities. I wonder if you have thought of composing the first novel using the blog form. The reason I thought of this is the form seems to capture and amplify your strengths as both a poet and storyteller.

[51,52] Of what does correspondence between word and object consist? "What does it mean to say that in the technique of using the language certain elements correspond to the signs?" "What is the criterion by which [there] is a mistake?"

Wittgenstein does not offer answers to these question. This would be a redundancy. What he does here, in this remark, is talk about how to go about answering these questions and similar ones: "We must focus on the details of what goes on; must look at them from close to." What we must accept when examining the word to object relation is that its nature is perceptual and can be addressed with acuity. Heretofore, Wittgenstein says, philosophers have sought to avoid this kind of work by offering generalizations. There are. we can say, particular correspondences, but this does not amount to a correspondence theory.

In offering generalizations, Wittgenstein states in 52, philosophy stands as an obstacle to "an examination of details." Philosophy obscures by positing general, distant, blurry images of reality that even when absurdly false cannot be shown to be false. "A mouse has come into being by spontaneous generation of grey rags and dust ..."

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