chapter  5
25 Pages

Phenomenology, Language, and the Limitations of the Wittgensteinian Grammatical Investigation

WithAvner Baz

This chapter explores the deep affinity between Wittgenstein's understanding of language and Merleau-Ponty's. It discusses what Wittgenstein himself was coming to realize when, in his final years, he was trying to become clearer about what he calls 'aspect perception'. The limitations of the Wittgensteinian grammatical investigation stem from what Merleau-Ponty, following Husserl, refers to as our 'natural attitude'. The Phenomenology of Perception employs several methods that aim at enabling us to overcome that difficulty. On the intellectualist picture, language is expressive of thoughts—understood in terms of the 'categorization' of worldly items; and individual words are expressive of concepts—thought of as defining or constituting categories. In fact, an important tenet of Wittgenstein's grammatical investigation is that it is meant, among other things, to turn our attention away from our experiences.