Philosophical connections and using Wittgenstein to link information

In my drawings, I have given a visual description of the manifestation of the embodiment of dialogue as both language exchange and phenomenological experience.

Wittgenstein describes language as a visual connection to a word and proposes that language is subjectively interpreted. He suggests, in his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, that private language (we can only relate to the world through ourselves) could be seen as a “beetle in a box”. He expresses the idea thus: I can see my beetle if I look in my box, but I cannot look into your box and see your beetle, nor you mine.  Thus, in creating a dialogue we (must/do) assume that the other beetle IS the same beetle, though, in reality, we visualise any thematic according to our own construct.

In his early work, LW expresses the notion that there is no definitive link between what can be expressed visually through language and the non- visual descriptor (WittgensteinLudwig, 2020).  i.e. we cannot visualise someone else’s love or pain we can only contemplate their expression of pain as relating to our own experience.

“Language disguises the thought; so that from the external form of the clothes one cannot infer the form of the thought they clothe, because the external form of the clothes is constructed with quite another object than to let the form of the body be recognised.”

― Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

This relates well to the notion I have used throughout the project when referencing the effect of self-bias on a dialogue, whilst building a more adult relationship with the concept.

Also, and apart from its pertinence in terms of LW’s reference to the use of language as a subjective or embodied action, this particular quotation creates a visual metaphor which relates to the structures I have created.

Their form suggests that the exchange of dialogue taking place is both hidden and heightened. The outer sleeve acting as both a cloak and a channel in the act of dialogue.

In his short paper on Wittgenstein and Aesthetics, Brooke Lundquist considers the implications of an artist’s private language in terms of visual interpretation and relates this to the interpretive perceptions of its audience.  He suggests that:-

“There are two theories about such a translational theory of art; the first says that the feeling or meaning of the work came first and the work was then created to represent that meaning.[and that] Somehow it produced a “thing” inside us which cannot be linguistically referred to”(Lundquist, 1999)

Thus imbuing the aesthetic of the art piece with a non-linguistic aesthetic which can only be interpreted in terms of an individuals’ personal ‘beetle’




Lundquist, B. (1999) ‘Wittgenstein and Aesthetics: What is the Language of Art?’. Minnesota: Gustavus Adolphus College. Available at: (Accessed: 17/01/2020).


WittgensteinLudwig (2020) Philosophical Occasions: 1912-1951 : Ludwig Wittgenstein : 9780872201545. UK ed. edn. Cambridge, MA, United States: Hackett Classics.


Further reading:

Grayling, A. C. Wittgenstein. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Hagberg, G. L. Art as Language: Wittgenstein, Meaning and Aesthetic Theory. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995.

Rhees, Rush, Yorick Smythies, and James Taylor. L. Wittgenstein: Lectures and Conversations on Aesthetics, Psychology and Religious Belief. Ed. Cyril Barrett. Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Philosophical Investigations. Trans. G. E. M. Anscombe. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall Press, 1958.
—. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Trans. D. F. Pears and B. F. McGuinness. New York: Routledge Press, 1961.