Communication: A Philosophical Study of Language

By Karl Britton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
THE LANGUAGE, TRUTH AND LOGIC OF POETRY
1. Certain sentences, as commonly understood, refer us to 'immediate' feelings, imaginings, imagings, and have been described in Chapters III and IV.

I feel very angry
I like that picture
I want to go home
I am thinking about the problem
I remember this time last year
I have a toothache
I seem to see a bright light.

Any of these can be interpreted as referring to things that a normal observer cannot (by the very definition of 'normal observer') perceive. We must now consider this private sense of these sentences, and, in particular, of all sentences that would commonly be said to 'describe one's private and inward feelings'.
a. The signs, so understood, refer us to something that is beyond 'normal observation', but not in itself logically unobservable (see above, Chapter IV, § 9). It is not senseless for me to try to describe my feelings: an audience may properly suppose that I am trying to describe something that they cannot expect to observe, but which may very likely resemble their own experiences.
b. The description of feelings, however, is no easy matter, as we shall see if we consider the various methods that are in fact used.1
____________________
1
This list is partly taken from Mr. I. A. Richards' Practical Criticism, p. 217, etc.

-244-

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