Linguistic Analysis
Linguistic analysis was a movement in 20th century philosophy (its roots were in the thinking of Wittgenstein, Bertrand Russell, and others, and its chief practitioners included Barfield's contemporaries A. J. Ayer and the German Rudolf Carnap) which insisted that almost all philosophical problems could be dispensed with once their underlying linguistic basis was exposed. Philosophy, linguistic analysis insisted, constantly asks questions which, given the inherently limited nature of language, should not be asked because they are not capable of being answered.

If linguistic analysis is correct, Barfield quotes C. S. Lewis (in "The Rediscovery of Meaning," "the history of the human mind since the beginning has consisted in 'almost nobody making linguistic mistakes about almost nothing'" (RM 13). But, as he was well aware, linguistic analysis is "the typical contemporary outcrop of a subterranean vein of human response which is unlikely to peter out" (PD 22). Fathered by logical positivism, linguistic analysis grows from it "as naturally as ever a chicken grew out of an egg" (WA 105).

His extreme distaste for its postulates does not prevent Barfield from admiring its ingenious effect:

Of all the devices for dragooning the human spirit, the least clumsy is to procure its abortion in the womb of language; and we should recognize, I think, that those--and their number is increasing--who are driven by the impulse to reduce the specifically human to a mechanical or animal regularity, will continue to be increasingly irritated by the nature of the mother tongue and make it their point of attack. . . . If . . . they succeed in expunging from language all the substance of its past, in which it is naturally so rich, and finally converting it into the species of algebra that is best adapted to the uses of indoctrination and empirical science, a long and important step forward will have been taken in the selfless cause of the liquidation of the human spirit. (XXX)

And yet, ironically enough, linguistic analysis may, in the long run, have a cleansing effect:

[It] is interesting and significant just because it forces the issue to its logical conclusion and brings into the open the mental predicament which acceptance of positivism has always really implied. Like a sort of scalpel, linguistic analysis lays bare [the] connection    . . . between the rise of positivism and the general sense of meaninglessness in the West. At last the choice is plain. Either we must concede that 99 per cent of all we say and think (or imagine we think) is meaningless verbiage, or we must--however great the wrench--abandon positivism. (RM 13-14)

See in particular Worlds Apart, pp. 92-103 (throughout, Dunn argues the case for linguistic analysis), "The Rediscovery of Meaning" (RM 11-21), "Language, Evolution of Consciousness, and the Recovery of Human Meaning," "The Evolution Complex," Poetic Diction, passim.