Article/Publication Details

Language Games and Pre-Linguistic Experience

(Original title: Jazykové hry a předjazyková zkušenost)
Organon F, 2005, vol. 12, No 1, pp. 21-39.
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Abstract

The article tries to show, from the phenomenological posi­tion, that it must be possible to reflect on so called pre-linguistic experience. The argumenta­tion is based on a disputation with a symptomatic example used by Wittgen-stein to substan­tiate his language games theory. The analysis of the example at­tempts to indicate that the language games theory, which has to justify the rejection of the existence of pre-linguistic experience, meets with discre-pancies and difficulties which limit the range of this theory to a certain extent. Because it presupposes the existence of „private“, experiential sphere in which – even before language and verbali­zation enter the game – the struc­turing of the world, identifi­cation of things and an elementary under-stan­ding of these processes must be realized. It seems that the dis-cussion on this topic is not only a spe­cific polemic over one problem that can be found in Wittgenstein, but has wider implications because the language games concept in the form of various „discourses“, „vocabularies“ or „cultures“ has found great favour in contemporary postmo­dern philo­sophy. On its basis postmodern philosophy very radi­cally (and perhaps against the will of Wittgenstein himself) crosses out the world, profanes its rational, objec­tive description and calls for free variation of different interpretations – their legitimacy is authenti­cated only by a consensus of their users. In this dispute, phe­nome­nology does not declare that there is a single true description of the world and that it is possible to find a reliable criterion for its definite legiti­mization. It does, however, draw on the fact that so called pre-linguistic expe­rience does not succumb to the variability of langu­age games and the interests of its users, but that it more and more cle­arly reflects the unitary and scru­table style of showing the real, ob­jectively given world even though this al­ways happens in se­emingly impalpable subjective acts.

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