Coloured Vowels: Wittgenstein on Synaesthesia and Secondary Meaning

Philosophia 37 (4):589-604 (2009)
The aim of this article is to give both a sustained interpretation of Wittgenstein’s obscure remarks on the experience of meaning of language, synthaesthesia and secondary use and to apply his insights to recent philosophical discussions about synthaesthesia. I argue that synthaesthesia and experience of meaning are conceptually related to aspect-seeing. The concept of aspect-seeing is not reducible to either seeing or imaging but involves a modified notion of experience. Likewise, synthaesthesia involves a modified notion of experience. In particular, the concept of synthaesthesia involves a secondary use of ‘experience’ and hence is intrinsically dependent on the primary use of language. Recent discussions tend to overlook this distinction between the primary and secondary use of language
Keywords Wittgenstein  Synaesthesia  Aspect-seeing  Neuroscience  Ramachandran  Experience of meaning  Imaging  McGinn
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