Wittgenstein

Wittgenstein, nurtured by the Vienna Circle (the wings of both Frege and Russell), though also considered to be soft deconstructionist by many contemporary academics, was a philosopher whose intellectual business concerned meaning—that is, how do words gain meaning?
His work, I believe, should be of particular interest to designers and artist alike—for these are both hybrid modes of communication. It is often an intuitive presumption on the part of artistic endeavors to decidedly determine as to why particular images, metaphors, or tropes have a specific meaning, or even have meaning at all. Though surely both designers and artists capitalize upon this assumption and manage to articulate grand narratives that supercede the closure of ordinary everyday language. Wittgenstein offers the “language game” as explanation for such semiotic phenomena—positing that language is a tool that gains meaning within a nexus of rule following users. “Meaning is use” as the traditional interpretations might say—though recently, in my opinion, the whimsical notion of ‘gaming’ within the context of the “language game” has taken center stage, resurrecting the possibility of Wittgenstein’s deconstructive tendencies and anti-philosophical positions. “Meaning is use” is thus flipped on its head, giving credence to communicative irony familiar to those working within artistic fields.
His work, from the Tractatus to the Philosophical Investigations, is interesting and still profoundly valuable to both the intellectual and artistic communities. But above all, his work is honest, for you can feel the profound wretch of his philosophical struggle through each aphorism. I highly recommend his texts to those interested in enriching their understanding of theories of meaning and philosophy in general.

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