[Wittrs] Forwarded Quotes from DeMouy
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Sun Aug 28 20:42:10 CDT 2011
178. The peculiar experience of meaning is characterized by the fact that we come out with an explanation and use the past tense: just as if we were explaining the meaning of a word for practical purposes.
179. Forget, forget that you have these experiences yourself!
180. How could he hear the word with that meaning? How was it possible?! It just wasn't--not in these dimensions.--
181. But isn't it true, then, that the word means that to me now? Why not? For this sense doesn't come into conflict with the rest of the use of the word. Someone says: "Give him the news that..., and mean by it...."--What sense would this order make?
182. "When I uttered the word just now, it meant... to me." Why should that not be mere lunacy? Because I experienced that? That is not a reason.
183. The man I call meaning-blind will understand the instruction "Tell him he is to go to the bank--I mean the river bank," but not "Say the word bank and mean the bank of a river". What concerns this investigation is not the forms of mental defect that are found among men; but the possibility of such forms. We are interested, not in whether there are men incapable of a thought of the type: "I was then going to..."--but in how the concept of such a defect should be worked out.
If you assume that someone cannot do this, how about that? Are you supposing he can't do that either?--Where does this concept take us? For what we have here are of course paradigms.
184. Different people are very different in their sensitiveness about changes in the orthography of a word. And the feeling is not just piety towards an old use.--If for you spelling is just a practical question, the feeling you are lacking in is not unlike the one that a 'meaning-blind' man would lack. (Goethe on people's names. Prisoners' numbers.)
185. It's just like the way some people do not understand the question "What colour has the vowel a for you?"--If someone did not understand this, if he were to declare it was nonsense-- could we say he did not understand English, or the meaning of the individual words "colour", "vowel" etc.?
On the contrary: Once he has learned to understand these words, then it is possible for him to react to such questions 'with understanding' or 'without understanding'.
188. "I read each word with the feeling appropriate to it. The word 'but' e.g. with the but-feeling--and so on."--And even if that is true--what does it really signify? What is the logic of the concept 'but-feeling'?--It certainly isn't a feeling just because I call it "a feeling".
193. Isn't it just like this with the verb "to understand"? Someone tells me the route I have to take to some place and from there on. He asks "Did you understand?" I reply "Yes I did". --Do I mean to tell him what was going on within me during his explanation?--And after all that could be told him too.
194. Imagine the following game: A list of words from various languages and of senseless sound-sequences is read out to me. I am to say after each whether I understand it or not; and also what went on within me as I understood or failed to understand.--At the word "tree" I shall answer "yes" without reflection (perhaps an image floats before my mind); at a collocation of sounds that I have never heard before, I answer "No" equally without reflection. At words which stand for particular shades of colour, the answer will often be preceded by an image, at a few words ("continuum," say) there will be consideration; at words like the article "the" perhaps a shrug of the shoulders; words of a foreign language I shall sometimes translate into English; when images rise in my mind they are sometimes images of the objects that are designated by the words (in turn a host of cases), sometimes different pictures.
This game might be supplemented by one in which someone calls out the names of activities and at each one asks: "Can you do that?"--The subject is to give his reasons for answering the question "yes" or "no".
195. Let us imagine a kind of puzzle picture: there is not one particular object to find; at first glance it appears to us as a jumble of meaningless lines, and only after some effort do we see it as, say, a picture of a landscape.--What makes the difference between the look of the picture before and after the solution? It is clear that we see it differently the two times. But what does it amount to to say that after the solution the picture means something to us, whereas it meant nothing before?
196. We can also put this question like this: What is the general mark of the solution's having been found?
197. I will assume that as soon as it is solved I make the solution obvious by strongly tracing certain lines in the picture and perhaps putting in some shadows. Why do you call the picture you have sketched in a solution?
(a) Because it is the clear representation of a group of
(b) Because it is the representation of a regular solid.
(c) Because it is a symmetrical figure.
(d) Because it is a shape that makes an ornamental impression
(e) Because it is the representation of a body I am familiar
(f) Because there is a list of solutions and this shape (this body) is on the list.
(g) Because it represents a kind of object that I am very familiar with; for it gives me an instantaneous impression of familiarity, I instantly have all sorts of associations in connexion with it; I know what it is called; I know I have often seen it; I know what it is used for etc.
(h) Because I seem to be familiar with the object, a word occurs to me at once as its name (although the word does not belong to any existent language); I tell myself "Of course that's a..." and give myself a nonsensical explanation, which at that moment seems to me to make sense. (Like in a
(i) Because it represents a face which strikes me as familiar.
(j) Because it represents a face which I recognize; it is the face of my friend N; it is a face which I have often seen pictures of, etc.
(k) Because it represents an object which I remember having seen at some time.
(l) Because it is an ornament that I know well (though I don't remember where I have seen it).
(m) Because it is an ornament that I know well; I know its name, I know where I have seen it.
(n) Because it represents part of the furniture of my room.
(o) Because I instinctively traced out those lines and now feel easy.
(p) Because I remember that this object has been described to me. And so on.
(Anyone who does not understand why we talk about these things must feel what we say to be mere trifling.)
198. Can I think away the impression of familiarity where it exists; and think it into a situation where it does not? And what does that mean? I see e.g. the face of a friend and ask myself: What does this face look like if I see it as a strange face (as if I were seeing it now for the first time)? What remains, as it were, of the look of this face, if I think away, subtract, the impression of familiarity from it? Here I am inclined to say: "It is very difficult to separate the familiarity from the impression of the face". But I also feel that this is a bad way of putting things. For I have no notion how I should so much as try to separate these two things. The expression "to
separate them" does not have any clear sense for me.
I know what this means: "Imagine this table black instead of brown". To this there corresponds: "Paint this table, but black instead of brown".
199. Suppose someone were to say: "Imagine this butterfly exactly as it is, but ugly instead of beautiful"?!
200. In this case we have not determined what thinking the familiarity away is to mean.
It might mean, say, to recall the impression which I had when I saw the face for the first time.
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