Language as Music, Language as Thought: Wittgenstein and the Linguistic Turn
Anat MATAR (Univ. Tel-Aviv)
It is no secret that music was not only important for Wittgenstein as a source of aesthetic delight, or indeed elation, but also as a source of inspiration upon his philosophical thought. Musical metaphors and allusions are scattered throughout Wittgenstein’s oeuvre from early on to the latest sets of remarks. In particular, his closely-connected conceptions of language and of philosophy, liberated from science-oriented dicta, emphasize the special kind of aesthetic sensitivity – the “musical ear”, in Wittgenstein’s own words – needed in order to understand and engage both language and philosophy: as competent language users and as non-dogmatic philosophers.
The relations between philosophy, language and music, as they surface in Wittgenstein’s writings have been widely discussed. My own interest in the present paper is not primarily with them; my wish is to get a firmer grasp of the nature and consequences of the so-called “Linguistic Turn” in philosophy, and to contribute to the study of Wittgenstein only indirectly. I believe that a deep, unresolvable tension, that is immanent to philosophy in general, surfaces after the Turn; Wittgenstein’s thought not only helps exposing it but also, as a paradigmatic manifestation of the Turn, indeed of philosophy in general, betrays such a tension itself.