Wanting to Say Something: Aspect-Blindness and Language

In William Day & Víctor J. Krebs (eds.), Seeing Wittgenstein Anew. Cambridge University Press (2010)
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Abstract
"Lest one think that the focus on aspect-seeing in Wittgenstein is only a means to more contemporary philosophical ends, one ought to read Day’s remarkable 'Wanting to Say Something: Aspect-Blindness and Language'. Day considers the issue of aspect-blindness, arguing that universal aspect-blindness is impossible for beings with language. Specifically, he shows that a child’s first attempt at language, at trying “bloh” for “ball,” is neither an indication that the child sees the ball for the first time, nor an indication that the child is giving a first label for an object seen all along. Rather, he shows that this attempt is an indication of the dawning of an aspect. The dawning of aspects, so common during the phase of language acquisition, becomes supplanted by language itself. Universal aspect-blindness is not humanly possible, then. Day argues that the acquisition of language results in a loss of desire for aspects (which it is possible to regain through art). Localized aspect-blindness is familiar because as language-users, we have lost our desire for aspects. Day then turns to questions about the deep purpose behind Wittgenstein’s style. Why are those doubting voices prominent? Why does Wittgenstein demand so often that the reader answer his questions? Day shows that these elements of Wittgenstein’s style arise from a motivation to regain his own desire for aspects, and he wants to re-awaken our own desire for aspects. Day motivates us to consider aspect-seeing in order to see Wittgenstein himself anew." --Chris Weigel, Book Review of Seeing Wittgenstein Anew, Journal of the History of Philosophy 49:2 (April 2011): 263.
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