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Wittgenstein analysis of Nabokov's Lolita

This paper will subject various passages of Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita to a Wittgensteinian analysis. The basis for this analysis will be Wittgenstein's perceptions of language as contained in Part II of his Philosophical Investigations. In his earlier philosophy, as represented by the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Wittgenstein claimed that there is one language which describes all aspects of reality. However, by the time of the Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein had arrived at the opinion that reality is much too complex to be encompassed by any one language. Thus, one of the major themes of the Philosophical Investigations is that "the use of language and of the signs which compose it are exceedingly diverse."

In the analysis of language, Wittgenstein emphasized that the meaning of a word or phrase is to be found in its function, or use. In the Philosophical Investigations, this idea is expressed by the statement: "Let the use of words teach you their meaning." According to Wittgenstein, the meaning of a word or phrase is to be found in the concept which the word or phrase expresses. Furthermore, the concept of a word or phrase can be revealed by analyzing the way in which the word or phrase is used. Gilbert Ryle clarifies Wittgenstein's position on meaning and use by noting: "The use of an expression, or the concept it expresses, is the role it is employed to perform, not any thing or person or event for which it might be supposed to stand." However, since language is an extremely complex thing, Wittgenstein argued for a relativistic perspective on the various uses of words. In the second part of the Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein wrote:

If anyone believes that certain concepts are absolutely the correct ones, and that having different ones would mean not realizing something that we realize - then let him imagine certain very general facts of nature to be different from what we are used to...

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Wittgenstein analysis of Nabokov's Lolita. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 20:02, June 02, 2020, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1682111.html