On Satzklang: on the Sense and on the Nonsense

Leonardo Distaso


The Wittgenstein’s notion of plain and patent nonsense is fertile because it shows the discovery of the ambiguity of the sense, in particular of the nonsense of contingency at the end of complete clarification. All the reflection of Wittgenstein’s philosophy is a question on the possibility of crossing, from the inside, language as it is to move from the hidden nonsense of the contingency of the language and of the reality to the patent nonsense of the philosophy. But since the clarity of the patent nonsense shows the paradoxical situation of our condition, the limits of the language, the patent nonsense is also the real discovery of the Philosophy that makes me capable of stopping doing philosophy when I want to. This is the aesthetical dimension of the sense, in which the patent nonsense makes a transition to the hidden and enigmatic nonsense. It is on the level of this hidden nonsense that we can find the notion of Satzklang: sound of proposition. When we grasp in a flash, when we hear and we pronounce a word or a proposition, we catch the sound of the word that has directly to do with its meaning or its application, and it brings us back to that preliminary dimension in which we belong to a language that guarantees the possibility of the meaning of what we say, a possibility that reveals itself only in a dimension of non-sense: the echo of the original sounds of the language as it stands as enigmatically senseless because it poses itself as a condition for any language, in a primitive and primeval dimension of language. The paradigmatic aesthetical experiences called understanding a musical theme and understanding a poem, the question about the meaning of the sounds and the meaning of a theme in music show are described from the transiction from patent nonsense to something which is hidden nonsense. The analysis of the sound of proposition shows the sense of nonsense moving toward the inaccessible original place of the language: the place of having the taking-place of language itself.


Wittgenstein; Aesthetics; Sense; Meaning; Musical understanding

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13128/Aisthesis-12851

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