• magritte
    227
    " 65. When language-games change, then there is a change in concepts, and with the concepts the meanings of words change.
    95. The propositions describing this world-picture might be part of a kind of mythology ...
    97. The mythology may change back into a state of flux, the river-bed of thoughts may shift.
    99. And the bank of the river consists partly of hard rock, subject to no alteration or only to an imperceptible one, partly of sand, which now in one place now in another gets washed away, or deposited.
    166. The difficulty is to realise the groundlessness of our believing.
    256. On the other hand a language-game does change with time.
    336. But what men consider reasonable or unreasonable alters." — W
    T H E

    OC2 is relativism. Relativism is the view that truth and knowledge are not absolute or invariable, but dependent upon viewpoint, circumstances or historical conditions. What is true for me might not be true for you; what counts as knowledge from one viewpoint might not do so from another; what is true at one time is false at another.— ACT H E

    To say that "Relativism is the view that truth and knowledge are not absolute or invariable, but dependent upon viewpoint, circumstances or historical conditions" is partially but not sufficiently correct in a Wittgensteinian context.
    Each language game has its own rules, concepts, and meanings. In a narrow sense, at times and given circumstances, it might (or might not) be possible to have knowledge and to express truths. In other language games those same words could be meaningless or have different meanings, so propositions formerly expressed are not untrue but meaningless now, and what was known is a question mark now.
  • T H E
    147
    In other language games those same words could be meaningless or have different meanings, so propositions formerly expressed are not untrue but meaningless nowmagritte

    :up:

    What comes to my mind is the slow drift of an entire 'framework' or 'form of life.' The 'meaning' of gestures and sentences 'inheres' in or is distributed through the entire framework or context. As I see it, it's not some invisible stuff in the individual mind but rather patterns/habits in social interactions.
  • T H E
    147
    It occurred to me that I imagine a fairly radical Wittgenstein, a 'semantic nihilist' or 'semantic pessimist.' Philosophy goes up in smoke with him.

    A characteristic distinguishing feature of linguistic practices is their protean character, their plasticity and malleability, the way in which language constantly overflows itself, so that any established pattern of usage is immediately built on, developed, and transformed. The very act of using linguistic expressions or applying concepts transforms the content of those expressions or concepts. The way in which discursive norms incorporate and are transformed by novel contingencies arising from their usage is not itself a contingent, but a necessary feature of the practices in which they are implicit. It is easy to see why one would see the whole enterprise of semantic theorizing as wrong–headed if one thinks that, insofar as language has an essence, that essence consists in its restless self–transformation (not coincidentally reminiscent of Nietzsche’s “self–overcoming”). Any theoretical postulation of common meanings associated with expression types that has the goal of systematically deriving all the various proprieties of the use of those expressions according to uniform principles will be seen as itself inevitably doomed to immediate obsolescence as the elusive target practices overflow and evolve beyond those captured by what can only be a still, dead snapshot of a living, growing, moving process. It is an appreciation of this distinctive feature of discursive practice that should be seen as standing behind Wittgenstein’s pessimism about the feasibility and advisability of philosophers engaging in semantic theorizing…


    [T]he idea that the most basic linguistic know–how is not mastery of proprieties of use that can be expressed once and for all in a fixed set of rules, but the capacity to stay afloat and find and make one’s way on the surface of the raging white–water river of discursive communal practice that we always find ourselves having been thrown into (Wittgensteinian Geworfenheit) is itself a pragmatist insight. It is one that Dewey endorses and applauds. And it is a pragmatist thought that owes more to Hegel than it does to Kant. For Hegel builds his metaphysics and logic around the notion of determinate negation because he takes the normative obligation to do something to resolve the conflict that occurs when the result of our properly applying the concepts we have to new situations is that we (he thinks, inevitably) find ourselves with materially incompatible commitments to be the motor that drives the unceasing further determination and evolution of our concepts and their contents. The process of applying conceptual norms in judgment and intentional action is the very same process that institutes, determines, and transforms those conceptual norms.
    — Brandom
    https://zenodo.org/record/2631340/files/2019Brandom.pdf?download=1


    This talk of Wittgensteinian Geworfenheit is another way of saying that we are forced to keep up with this mad jazz we've been thrown into if we can. The semantic optimist wants a closed, finite system. To master the music from an armchair, to say with authority what makes sense, what is rational, etc.
  • T H E
    147
    Let us simplify the model we are working with. A sceptic challenges us to justify a particular empirical belief, for example that there is a book on the table here before us. We respond, exploiting the same resource for doing so as OC does, by saying in effect that these circumstances are such and those words mean such that this is tantamount to a paradigmatic circumstance for using those words in these circumstances–that is, for claiming that there is a book on the table. The sceptic pushes his point, invoking considerations about non-standard perceptual phenomena and other psychological contingencies, including error; at which point we change gear and invoke countervailing considerations about the framework of the discourse (the system of beliefs constituting it; the 'conceptual scheme') by stating the assumptions upon which not just the claim, but also the challenge to it, make sense. And at this level of sceptical challenge, that has to be enough: justifications in ordinary discourse come to an end at this point.

    But now the sceptic mutates; he becomes a different and bigger monster. He is no longer interested in hearing what we have to say about the book on the table, but in what we have to say about the framework, the system of beliefs. What justifies our acceptance of the framework, or (more weakly) our employment of it? What if there were another framework, or other frameworks, in which different assumptions led to different outcomes with these words and these circumstances? And so on. The sceptic, in other words, has adopted the habiliments of relativism. Relativism, indeed, is the ultimate form of scepticism, because it challenges us to justify, as a whole, the scheme within which mundane judgments get their content and have their life.

    The answer which says: 'this is the scheme we have; it is a bare given that we have it', and which might–but this is a different thing–add, 'and of course there might be others', and–yet a further and a bigger step again–'we might never know what these other schemes are like or even that they exist', is unsatisfactory, at very least as the first response to relativism.
    ...
    As OC stands, it... only deals with scepticism at the lower, less threatening level, and fails to recognise that scepticism in its strongest form is, precisely, relativism.
    — AC

    If the sceptic acts like he doesn't see the book and we know that he's just being a metaphysical jackass, then we might brew some coffee and play the old game, which includes Witt's ideas as a critique of the game that still needs the context of the game and fits within it. If we didn't think the sceptic was playing the old game, we might worry that someone was blind or insane.

    When the bigger mutated monster sceptic asks for a justification of the framework as whole, one might remind the dizzy creature that asking for justifications is part of that framework. He's presupposing a 'space of reasons' and a shared language that may even be central to that framework. That it's only because of certain conventions that he makes sense to himself and to his credulous companion at all.

    The idea of other 'schemes,' other frameworks is like mist on the horizon. Frameworks and schemes do drift. The claim that future schemes are predictable now deserves scepticism. If the thesis that frameworks drift unpredictably is relativism, it's hard to see what's offensive about it, except that it makes the philosophical truffle-hunt for eternal truth (based on the structure of mind or language or ...can't predict) more difficult.

    Personally AC's read on W's intentions don't click for me. Maybe it's best to read Wittgenstein as a relativist in some (partial) sense. So what?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    8.5k
    This is just what is impossible, unless we want to consider screaming madness.T H E

    I explained very clearly why doubting the entire belief system is the only reasonable form of skepticism. Beliefs within a system are necessarily logically consistent and interrelated. That's what makes it a "system". To doubt one belief within a system requires doubting the beliefs it is dependent upon, and it is implied that the beliefs dependent upon the doubted belief are doubted as well. So it's unreasonable to doubt one belief without doubting the entire system within which it is integrated,

    This is why the idea that there are hinge propositions which are somehow indubitable is unacceptable epistemology. If the entire system is intrinsically consistent, and valid, which it must be to be a "system", then no part of the system can be doubted without doubting the whole. And this would require doubting the supposed hinge propositions as well.

    The preceding result, is the logical conclusion of assuming that beliefs exist as part of a "system". If we remove that premise, and allow that beliefs have individuality, free from the influence of an overall system, then it is reasonable to doubt individual beliefs. But then the whole game analogy, and the idea of hinge propositions is completely inapplicable. .
  • Harry Hindu
    4.1k
    OC2 is relativism. Relativism is the view that truth and knowledge are not absolute or invariable, but dependent upon viewpoint, circumstances or historical conditions. What is true for me might not be true for you; what counts as knowledge from one viewpoint might not do so from another; what is true at one time is false at another.T H E
    Does this statement not assert the absolute truth about Relativism? Statements like this defeat themselves. In asserting the truth that there is no truth, you end up pulling the rug out from under your own argument.

    OC2: Truth and knowledge are relative in that they are dependent on the language game in which the claims of truth or knowledge occur.Banno
    This statement defeats itself. This statement's truth value is dependent on the language game being used and isn't useful outside of this language game. What is basically being said is that this statement isn't true outside of the use of English. So this statement would not be true for Spanish speakers, yet we can translate this statement to Spanish.
    :roll:
  • Mww
    2.3k
    The fly is trapped in the bottle because it's transparent.T H E

    I’m gonna go ahead and assume that right there exemplifies good philosophy, but I’m just too dense to grasp it, and the benefit in expending the hard work of making the hidden assumptions visible, isn’t obtained by the effort.
    —————-

    trapped' in the transparent bottle of Cartesian assumptionsT H E
    'Prove to me I have a hand.'T H E
    It's just wheels spinning in the mud.T H E

    Yeah, just like that. Because ol’ Rene said he could doubt he had a hand presupposes it (the mud), so the proof thereof is given, making the request for such proof superfluous (a spinning wheel).

    'Do I see a chair or a representation of a chair?'T H E

    Dunno. Try sitting in a chair with your eyes closed, see if your butt lands on the floor. The spinning wheel here, is the mistaken relation between what is perceived and the representation of it. It isn’t the same. Never was.
    —————

    I can't do the word-math that proves the confusion in a word-math approach.T H E

    Seems that way, yes. If you could, you wouldn’t be questioning the chair. So maybe the confusion isn’t in the approach itself, but merely its proper application.

    the whole man-in-the-box problem of getting to the real worldT H E

    The word-math system shows the man-in-the-box that he doesn’t have to get to the real world, for the simple reason that real world is given to him. The real world gets to him so much so that it is absolutely impossible for him to ignore it. Sorta like that fly.....it is in no way self-contradictory to propose he (fly/man) isn’t so much trapped in a transparent bottle (box) objectified as his real world, as to propose he is, rather, protected by it. The boundary restricts his exorbitant creations (language games/inconceivable abstractions) concerning the other side, being necessarily governed by a very particular domain of possibilities he has been fated to populate.
    —————

    Mentalistic man-in-the-box language is unfortunately necessary.T H E

    There’s an inescapable reason for that, and it’s unfortunate only because it is impossible to work around that very necessity intrinsic to a “word-math” system. Which, of course, says loads about such attempts.

    Good talk. Coin-side one vs coin-side other.
  • magritte
    227
    OC2 is relativism. Relativism is the view that truth and knowledge are not absolute or invariable, but dependent upon viewpoint, circumstances or historical conditions. What is true for me might not be true for you; what counts as knowledge from one viewpoint might not do so from another; what is true at one time is false at another. — AC" — T H E
    Does this statement not assert the absolute truth about Relativism? Statements like this defeat themselves. In asserting the truth that there is no truth, you end up pulling the rug out from under your own argument.Harry Hindu

    There is no absolute truth outside of absolutist dogma. To an antirealist, pluralist, or relativist 'absolute' truth is complete nonsense because it does not belong to any naturally sensible or logically rational language game. Before you can challenge any of these people, it is entirely up to you to say what in the world an absolute truth is. Remember that Truth is not a Platonic or platonic object but the value of a binary evaluation. Binary evaluations don't work across all plural contingent realisms, and especially not outside all realism. They may be logically inapplicable.
  • Harry Hindu
    4.1k
    There is no absolute truth outside of absolutist dogma. To an antirealist, pluralist, or relativist 'absolute' truth is complete nonsense because it does not belong to any naturally sensible or logically rational language game. Before you can challenge any of these people, it is entirely up to you to say what in the world an absolute truth is. Remember that Truth is not a Platonic or platonic object but the value of a binary evaluation. Binary evaluations don't work across all plural contingent realisms, and especially not outside all realism. They may be logically inapplicable.magritte
    Is your post not an example if absolute truth? Are you not telling everyone that reads this that the absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth? If not, then what are you actually saying? Should we believe what you wrote? Why or why not? Is what you said useful to others? Why or why not?
  • magritte
    227
    Is your post not an example if absolute truth?Harry Hindu

    I couldn't possibly know that because I deny that your 'absolute truth' has any meaning to anyone else, further more, I challenge you to demonstrate that it does have philosophical meaning.

    Your attack on 'relativism' is an ad hominem attack against persons unnamed. Once you name them they will throttle your self-refutation argument based on their own language games. For you to succeed, you would have to have them grant your philosophy and its terms such as absolute truth. But there is no reason in the world that they should or be expected to make an illogical claim of your philosophy prior to your argument just to please you.

    Self refutation requires a person to say something deliberately or obviously illogical first so that you can then demonstrate that using logic. In Aristotle's argument he says just that.
  • Banno
    11.6k
    , I'm pretty much in concord with this, of course. The cynic in me supposes that Grayling needs philosophy to continue, since it is his bread and butter; there seems to be something mischievous in his misinterpretation. He has a fervent desire to avoid Wittgenstein's anti-philosophy.

    Hence Grayling reads philosophy back into the anti-philosophy, in the place pointed to. Foremost in the notion of a form of life is that language cannot be elucidated without giving consideration to how it fits into our common dealing with the world and with others. Grayling is uncomfortable with the vagueness of 'form of life', and with vagueness more generally. But vagueness is an inherent in language, and without it we would not have its malleability and novelty.

    It is this that distinguishes human language from that of birds and dogs... @creativesoul.

    Language use is only amenable to explicit codification post hoc. This, , is what renders it a family resemblance. So when @unenlightened and @bongo fury consider gameplay itself, they quickly head off into nonsense. @Metaphysician Undercover commits a similar act, desiring uncertainty of the language he uses to formulate that very uncertainty. The difference is that Meta does not see that he is writing nonsense.

    This is much the same consideration as found in Davidson's A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs, in which the utility of malapropisms is used to show that language can wriggle out of any codification.

    There's a danger in treating Wittgenstein as phenomenology. The congenital problem of Edmund Husserl's bastard is that it tries to treat of the world from an individual's point of view; it takes subjectivism seriously. Hence it finds itself forever trying to talk about it own private language. This leads @Mww puzzling over the mistaken metaphor as to whether the house is built on its foundations or the foundations built under the house. Rather,
    asking for justifications is part of that framework.T H E
  • bongo fury
    972
    If this isn't coherentism then I don't know what is.Shawn

    I agree. Witty's certainty = Quine's centrality.

    Two Dogmas: Jan '51. So, great minds.

    And then obviously his agenda has nothing to do with Moore's. The question whether scepticism or anything else is refuted is way off the point.
  • Banno
    11.6k
    Obviously, although there are relevant differences.

    It seems unlikely that Wittgenstein would have rejected analyticity, although he doesn't make use of the term.

    But more importantly centrality is about a web imagined as encompassing all beliefs, the central ones being the most ardently held. The present text is more broadly concerned with the role played by sentences in the multifarious language games that constitute a form of life. This to point out that Quine's account is far too unified, whereas Wittgenstein's accounts of the vast divergence in how we actually use words.

    Or putting this in more prejudicial terms, Quine is paying lipservice to scientism, Wittgenstein is self-consciously rejecting it.
  • bongo fury
    972
    Obviously, although there are relevant differences.Banno

    Oh, I never thought of that.
  • Banno
    11.6k
    Further, coherentism as an epistemological notion holds that what is true is what is coherent with the (vaguely defined) consensus of beliefs. In Wittgenstein truth remains undefined, leaving one, shall we say, deflated.
  • bongo fury
    972


    Wow, thanks for that definition, as well.
  • Shawn
    10.9k
    Further, coherentism as an epistemological notion holds that what is true is what is coherent with the (vaguely defined) consensus of beliefs. In Wittgenstein truth remains undefined, leaving one, shall we say, deflated.Banno

    Well, the term use defines analyticity in accord with hinge propositions here that are coherent within the intersubjectivity of the observer and another one, (not the world).
  • Banno
    11.6k
    What?

    As in, I've no clear idea of what you are claiming.

    Should that have been 'Well, the term "use" defines analyticity...' as in, are you claiming Witti defined analyticity in terms of use?

    It's clear from the discussion here and in Sam's thread that hinge propositions need not be analytic. That's their point, really.

    And what are intersubjectivity and observers doing here?
  • Banno
    11.6k
    @RussellA, you've no comment for this thread?

    the biggest philosophical problem with On Certainty is OC 2, in that the framework within which propositional hinges operate are themselves relative, and hard to resist against radical scepticism.RussellA

    The sceptic thinks he can step outside not just the framework at hand, but all frameworks altogether.
  • Fooloso4
    1.2k
    A key passage in OC is a quote from Goethe's Faust:

    "In the beginning was the deed." (OC 402)

    This is expanded upon:

    "But that means I want to conceive it as something that lies beyond being justified or
    unjustified; as it were, as something animal." (OC 359)

    "I want to regard man here as an animal; as a primitive being to which one grants instinct but
    not ratiocination. As a creature in a primitive state. Any logic good enough for a primitive means of
    communication needs no apology from us. Language did not emerge from some kind of
    ratiocination. " (OC 475)

    Language games are an extension of man's acting in the world. Primitive hinges are pre-linguistic. They are not language games, they are an essential part of the form of life in which language games come to play a part. It is not that they cannot be doubted, it is simply that they are not.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    8.5k
    Metaphysician Undercover commits a similar act, desiring uncertainty of the language he uses to formulate that very uncertainty. The difference is that Meta does not see that he is writing nonsense.Banno

    The fact that I express my uncertainty with language, just like I might express other emotions with language, doesn't mean that the emotion is a feature of the language.
  • Shawn
    10.9k
    Should that have been 'Well, the term "use" defines analyticity...' as in, are you claiming Witti defined analyticity in terms of use?Banno

    Yes, how else do you define it? It's all a web of beliefs, yes?
  • RussellA
    91
    no comment for this thread?Banno

    Have been busy starting to replace the 80 year-old electric junction boxes in my attic,
    and having to learn about lighting wiring circuits, but now underway and getting a bit more time.
  • Mww
    2.3k
    This [email protected] puzzling over the mistaken metaphor as to whether the house is built on its foundations or the foundations built under the house.Banno

    What....I was supposed to get that, out of this?

    “....given at 248: 'I have arrived at the rock-bottom of my convictions. And one might almost say that these foundation-walls are carried by the whole house.'....”

    That’s like the other day, this guy tells me...the fly is trapped in the bottle because it’s transparent.

    I suppose there’s some kind of epiphany in both of those, but the expense of effort isn’t worth the find.
  • Harry Hindu
    4.1k
    I couldn't possibly know that because I deny that your 'absolute truth' has any meaning to anyone else, further more, I challenge you to demonstrate that it does have philosophical meaning.magritte
    Exactly. That has been my point. Your statements are of no use to anyone else for the same reasons. So why make statements at all?

    Your attack on 'relativism' is an ad hominem attack against persons unnamed. Once you name them they will throttle your self-refutation argument based on their own language games. For you to succeed, you would have to have them grant your philosophy and its terms such as absolute truth.magritte
    I have only "attacked" those that make such statements that essentially mean, "it is true that there are no truths". For you to succeed, you would have to have them grant your philosophy and its terms, such as "no absolute truth". You don't seem to understand that your own arguments apply to your prior arguments where you attempt to assert what the term, relativism, is for everyone.
  • frank
    6.7k
    "At the core of all well-founded belief lies belief that is unfounded.". --W in OC

    Exactly.
  • Fooloso4
    1.2k
    This leads Mww puzzling over the mistaken metaphor as to whether the house is built on its foundations or the foundations built under the house.Banno

    This is not the metaphor and it is not mistaken. Wittgenstein knew a thing or two about architecture and engineering. What he says is:

    248: 'I have arrived at the rock-bottom of my convictions. And one might almost say that these foundation-walls are carried by the whole house.'....”

    It is not that the foundations are built under the house. or that there are fixed foundations upon which the house is built (see Descartes) but rather:

    152. I do not explicitly learn the propositions that stand fast for me. I can discover them
    subsequently like the axis around which a body rotates. This axis is not fixed in the sense that
    anything holds it fast, but the movement around it determines its immobility.
  • Banno
    11.6k
    The remark was directed at Mww's response:

    Metaphoric representation aside, it remains that foundation walls are not carried by the house; the foundation walls carry the whole house, in which case it is found that the clever encapsulation of Wittgenstein’s transcendental argument...is neither clever nor that argument.Mww

    Mww is returning to Cartesian foundations: "it remains that foundation walls are not carried by the house; the foundation walls carry the whole house". From previous conversations I take it that the foundations Mww wants to revive are Kantian.

    It seems to me that Mww is here mistaken in how he understands the metaphor - it is a metaphor. But it remains entirely possible that I have misunderstood Mww, since i readily admit to having difficulty following his line of thought. It's unclear what Mww is doing, especially given that he says "I agree with it" then "I don't"...
  • Fooloso4
    1.2k


    My mistake. I only looked at the post to see if the quote was correct. I assumed, perhaps wrongly, that an accurate quote would not be taken to mean the opposite of what it says.
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