Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The problem of meaning

397. Suppose it were part of my day-dream to say: "I am merely engaged in phantasy", would this be true? Suppose I write such a phantasy or narrative, an imaginary dialogue, and in it I say "I am engaged in phantasy" - but, when I write it down, how does it come out that these words belong to the phantasy and that I have not emerged from the phantasy?

Might it not actually happen that a dreamer, as it were emerging from the dream, said in his sleep "I am dreaming"? It is quite imaginable there should be such a language-game.

This hangs together with the problem of 'meaning'. For I can write "I am healthy" in the dialogue of a play, and so not mean it, although it is true. The words belong to this and not that language-game.
(Q. E. D. "O poeta é um fingidor..." não é uma "boutade" do Pessoa)

Wittgenstein, Zettel, translated by G. E. M. Anscombe and edited by G. E. M. Anscombe and G. H. von Wright, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 2007 (1967)

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