297. Freilich, wenn das Wasser im Topf kocht, so steigt der Dampf aus dem Topf und auch das Bild des Dampfes aus dem Bild des Topfes. Aber wie, wenn man sagen wollte, im Bild des Topfes müsse auch etwas kochen?

297. Of course, if water boils in a pot, steam comes out of the pot and also pictured steam comes out of the pictured pot. But what if one insisted on saying that there must also be something boiling in the picture of the pot?

(Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, tr. Anscombe)

i’ve been re-reading Wallace Stevens and the PI in tandem. Stevens writes poetry as a form of philosophy, Wittgenstein philosophy as a form of poetry. “Philosophy” and “poetry” are names we use without much thought, and the idea that they are two highly distinct and even opposing forms would have bemused Heraclitus. i think it was Plato, with his zeal for mathematics, who initiated the great division; however it is not a tenable division, and i doubt anyone would bother with badly-written philosophy, unpoetry. Words endure; ideas mutate, blur, dissolve.

Advertisements