Continuing from part one on Philosophy in a New Key (1942), ch. 1-5. We start off by considering whether the hardware-software distinction with regard to our minds can help make sense of what Langer has proposed in saying that symbol-making is basic to us. Is she saying that we’re more flexible (software-driven) than evolutionary biology would suggest, or does her claim that symbol-making is built right into our senses mean that we’re actually hard-wired to symbolize, and so her characterization does not imply more variations different people and groups?
We talk about pictures (presentational symbolism) vs. language (discursive symbolism), types of symbol-pictures, and what it means for sense experience itself to be symbolic.
In the full episode, we consider whether Langer’s account fare against Wittgenstein’s private language argument. We pick on Langer’s account of the growth of language and more about how our communicative and representational abilities compare to those of animals. Feral children!
It’s the aesthetic sense of import that a word or sign can have rather than strictly its use that motivates our continued use of a symbol. This sets us up well for our next two discussions, continuing with this book first on myth and religion, and then on art.