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Re: [xmca] Thinking about writing
Hi Greg, the quote
"I write to find out what I'm thinking about."
I wonder if it is also possible to consider the statement
"I write to find out what we're thinking about."
I happen to be reading an article by Katherine Nelson about Wittgenstien
and contemporary theories of word meaning. She is using Wittgenstein's
perspective on language use as the source which generates meaning, not
meaning located within the interior mind or within the word. Katherine
argues there is no way to clarify the meanings of language INDEPENDENT of
its uses in specific contexts.
The context of sitting down to write is no exception. Katherine quotes
Kripke who is explaining his understanding of Wittgenstein's perspective.
"someone MEANS something when the circumstancs are such that they are
genuinely assertable and that the game [form of life] of asserting them
under such conditions has a role in our lives. No supposition that 'facts
correspond ' to those assertions is needed."
Katherine offers this quote to highlight the difference between "someone
means something" and "words mean something" "Language as use" in contrast
to "language as correspondence"
I found Katherine's article in the Journal "New Ideas in Psychology" volume
27 (2009) pages 275-287. This month the journal is devoted entirely to
Wittgenstein and all the authors are exploring how their projects relate to
Wittgenstein's perspective on meaning and language use.
Greg, I wish you well is discovering what you think as you write it down.
On"I write to find out what I'm thinking about." Sun, Jan 8, 2012 at 7:57
PM, Greg Thompson <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Just came across a few quotes that felt very CHAT-y and which I found to be
> very helpful in my own thinking about writing. One of my problems in
> writing (or so I gather) has been my assumption that writing is a process
> of mental transcription - I think about something in my head and then
> figure out what to say and then I write out my thoughts. But smarter minds
> (and better writers!) than I have suggested the opposite insight. Here are
> a couple gems I came across:
> Edward Albee: "I write to find out what I'm thinking about."
> W. H. Auden: "Language is the mother, not the handmaiden, of thought; words
> will tell you things you never thought or felt before."
> Alan Dugan: "When I'm successful, I find the poem will come out saying
> something that I didn't previously know, believe, or had intellectually
> agreed with."
> As a belated New Year wish, I hope that we all are able to write so that we
> might, through our writing, be taught something new and worthwhile (and
> beautiful?) by our words.
> Here's to wishing.
> p.s., I originally heard the Albee quote (ascribed to Auden) in an
> interview with Jonathan Safran Foer (
> http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2012/01/06/foer-loud-close), but he appears to
> have improperly ascribed Albee's quote to Auden, who said something
> similar, but different. Here is the website with lots more wonderful quotes
> from great writers, Enjoy:
> xmca mailing list
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