Wittgenstein, Verbal Creativity and the Expansion of Artistic Style

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  • Garry L. Hagberg


Of the famous passage from Augustine’s Confessions1 that opens Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein writes,

These words, it seems to me, give us a particular picture of the essence of human language. It is this: the words in language name objects — sentences are combinations of such names. — In this picture of language we find the roots of the following idea: Every word has a meaning. This meaning is correlated with the word. It is the object for which the word stands. (PI, 2009, §1)

This remark has frequently been taken to simply identify as Wittgenstein’s point of departure the ‘naming theory’ of language. But as usual, closer attentiveness to Wittgenstein’s words extracts a good deal more content. Augustine’s words impart a picture not only of human language, but indeed a picture of the essence of language. So to begin, let us look briefly at the concepts of (1) picture and (2) essence as they are used here.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWittgenstein and the Creativity of Language
EditorsSebastian Sunday Grève, Jakub Mácha
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan UK
Number of pages36
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-137-47254-0
ISBN (Print)978-1-349-58073-6
Publication statusPublished - 2016


    Research areas

  • Ludwig Wittgenstein, creativity, language, philosophy, poetry, art, method, style, painting, photography, mathematics, logic, idealism, conservatism, ecology, politics, ethics, aesthetics, writing, reading, morality

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