Cubes, Clouds & Reading the Philosophical Investigations

Rebekah Rutkoff

Abstract



The Philosophical Investigations is filled with gestures of pulling-apart: word
from meaning, meaning from object, object from identity, picture from use. From
the very start, the sustainability of the scenario in which every word has a
meaning--the object for which the word stands--is surely in great trouble, as
Wittgenstein threatens to snip the flimsy cord tying the object to its apparent
companions. In response to both the fantasy of separation and the actuality of
its impossibility, I will investigate the Philosophical Investigations by means
of two words, two concepts, two forms, two pictures which exist in a kind of
mingled and chiastic relationship to one and other: cube and cloud. I will
inspect both their explicit presence in the text (Wittgenstein has much to say
about clouds and cubes) and their implicit presence as looser rhetorical forms
that are connected to the hardness and vagueness of logic, certainty and thought
itself.

Keywords


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; shape; cube; cloud; psychoanalysis

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