As part of a Common Knowledge colloquium on “lyric philosophy,” this essay considers (a) some of the connections between linguistic and nonlinguistic meaning (and the nature of that distinction), (b) the connection between linguistic meaning and what Wittgenstein called aspect perception or imagination-enriched perception, (c) issues in the analysis of meaning down to constituent parts and the problematic legacy of atomistic approaches to word-meaning, (d) the inflection of experience across time and across context and the role of sensibility in both perception and linguistic meaning, and (e) the larger problem of what Simone Weil called “enslavement to one's own method.” What Jan Zwicky urges, and philosophically as well as poetically works toward, is, in Wittgenstein's terms, “a changed way of seeing,” though in her work the focus is specifically on a changed way of seeing the long-established question of linguistic meaning. Hagberg's essay seeks to specify or at least to intimate the form of human mutual understanding that, while too easily missed by traditionally entrenched approaches, Zwicky's approach nicely captures.
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Garry L. Hagberg; The Approach of a Lyricist. Common Knowledge 1 April 2014; 20 (2): 214–222. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0961754X-2422908
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