• Prishon
    984


    The teaching of the meaning follows from the feeling.
  • Antony Nickles
    374
    Witt Rules 9/2

    If you are talking about "what counts" in the concepts, then you are talking about the criteria of the concepts.Luke

    Yes I am, and I agree. Cavell says Kripke just takes Wittgenstein to be giving rules too much importance. The hard part here is that Witt does examine rule-following as an example (as he does with understanding, thinking), and he is not wrong about the concept, which makes it seem central. Also, it is tempting for rules to clear up our uneasiness with the uncertainty and unclarity of what we say.

    I don't make, or intend for, words to have "a public, conventional use". They already have that without me. I only intend how I use them.Luke

    Intend them every time? Not just when we stop and consider how to use our words, but every word is intentional?

    Again, how is using an expression "intentionally" not causal?
    — Antony Nickles

    It is causal. I cause my use of the expression.[/quote]

    And this is where I couldn't help but wonder what is happening here. Colloquially perhaps this picture of causing amounts to the same thing when I frame it that we say something, express something, in that there is no evaluating it except against the external practice, in your case, along rules, in mine with criteria in conjunction with, to whom and the place and time in which it is said.

    However, there can clearly be right and wrong ways of using these words (such as "dreaming" or "justice")Luke

    A word can be judged right or wrong when they are names or defined. This is also how words together can look like a sentence we understand, as "I am here" (#513), which in that sense cannot be judged as language incorrectly used, though neither can we say we know the importance of the expression from that determination alone. The picture of meaning solely within language does make judgment specific, recursive, and predictable, but an expression is a sentence in an event (in time and place) and criteria are what matters to us in our lives, what is meaningful to each actual thing. The uses of the word justice in its concept are what is just in our lives. Grammar is what is essential about a thing. (#371)

    One ought to ask... how the word 'imagination' is used. But that does not mean that I want to talk only about words. For the question as to the nature of the imagination is as much about the word "imagination" as my question is. — Witt, PI # 370

    Part of the problem here I think is the method Witt uses. He is looking at or imagining what we say or would say, and he will call that “language” sometimes, so it may seem as if he is only talking about how language works. The method of making claims (they will look like statements) about the implications when we say X, is to, e.g., reveal how we judge that X is the case (grammar/criteria). An example (of an expression in time with a possible context) like when we say "Did you intend to shoot the mule or was it an accident?" (Austin) shows a use of the word "intend", but it also tells us something about (real-life) intention (it only comes up when something goes wrong). A lot of times these claims look like statement about what we can or cannot say: "If anyone says: "For the word 'pain' to have a meaning it is necessary that pain should be recognized as such when it occurs"—-one can reply: "It is not more necessary than that the absence of pain should be recognized." The point is not to explain how language works, but to feel out the limits and logic of the world (our lives in it). (#119)

    If we can only know afterwards whether an expression is meaningful, then how can we teach (the meaningful uses of) language to anyone? What is it that gets taught in the teaching of a language?Luke

    It is only when there is a problem that we worry about where an expression fits into our concepts, how it is meaningful, which we learn as we grow up into our lives of actions and judgments and repercussions, etc. Our concept of a thing is absorbed with coming into our culture, being acculturated. I don't tell you (the grammar or rules or explanation of) how to choose something, it is part of our lives. We can, of course, examine what it means to be said to choose something (its grammar), or work out in a particular instance to what extent we could call something a choice, but neither of this is necessary before or after. Sometimes we just have to be an example, #208. #474.

    Again:
    Luke
    "...there is a way of grasping a rule which is not an interpretation, but which, from case to case of application, is exhibited in what we call “following the rule” and “going against it”. — Witt, PI #201


    A "way of grasping" that is not "an interpretation" is not meant to make a rule (and thus a word) fundamental, final, but to say that obeying a rule is not to interpret the rule, be an interpreting of it; it is simply the act (event) of applying it in a specific case. Since it is not an interpretation, it does not answer a conflict about a rule, nor eliminate the possibility of interpretation. Though interpretation is not involved at this point in this case, we still express a rule, interpret them by "substitution of one expression of a rule for another". Id. And you still (may) have to justify your action. (In this case, you could point to the rule, but you can have different justifications, as you do when rules are not involved). Of course, justifying how you obeyed the rule as you did may lead to a point where we run out of justifications.

    I really don't understand your argument that language (or an expression) is not used.Luke

    I think there is an important difference between a persons's use of words following the rules of our practices or not, and the picture of something said and then resolving any confusion, justification of how it fits into (which use or sense of) a concept by means of its criteria and the situation, and where that leaves us afterwards. Rather than judging whether the use of a word correctly follows the rules for a practice (language), I am judging how an expression, something said, fits into a concept (it's possibilities) based on the concept's criteria, e.g. "How did you mean 'I know'? [what use of "I know" is this?]"

    Cavell would say this is placing too much importance on rules, not seeing that rule-following is discussed and then moved on from to show how the grammar of other concepts differs.
    — Antony Nickles

    Why do you (or Cavell) think rule-following is discussed at all?
    Luke

    Part of the reason to discuss rules would be to draw a limit around how they differ from grammatical/logical rules. Grammar can logically differentiate between the identity of one thing from another, but they also tell us how something matters to us, what our interest in a concept is.

    So I am inclined to distinguish between the essential and the inessential in a game too. The game, one would like to say, has not only rules but also a point. — Witt, PI #564

    There's also the grammar of understanding a sentence (#527), seeing as opposed to looking; pain (see index); seeing an aspect pp. 166-177.

    can you provide a reference that W shows "how the grammar of other concepts differs"?Luke

    Expectation is, grammatically, a state; like: being of an opinion, hoping for something, knowing something, being able to do something. But in order to understand the grammar of these states it is necessary to ask: "What counts as a criterion for anyone's being in such a state?" (States of hardness, of weight, of fitting.) — Witt, PI #572

    To say expectation is a state, is not a "rule"; nor is this a rule for using the word "expect". We do not follow a rule to expect something, but are said to be expecting (in that state). The judgment of that being the case is made by our criteria for expecting, how it differs from waiting, is similar to hoping, etc., we could say, necessarily, there must be the possibility of something going wrong, but this is a categorical requirement, not a rule.

    But if the judgment is simply that my use is senseless (wrong), then that does not give us anything to do other than correction (re-conformity) or rejection.
    — Antony Nickles

    Why do you need something more to do? Nobody complains that breaking a rule of badminton "does not give us anything to do other than correction...or rejection".
    Luke

    There are some things people disagree about (justice, beauty, the limits of knowledge) where resolving them has to do with more than the application of a rule; though we can even disagree about the application of those, and our justifications possibly come to an end.

    Expression is judged on criteria, not rules, and words are (nothing without) concepts.
    — Antony Nickles

    I think W would say you have it backwards; that concepts are nothing without (the use of) words. Concepts are ideas; mental contents.
    Luke

    Okay, you need words, yes. Witt's term "concept" is used in the sense of a classification for what we do: apologizing, understanding, knowing, seeing, etc. These are parts of our lives, so concepts are not abstract from that, nor individual nor arbitrary.

    And to say, e.g., that "recognizing your fault" is a criteria for an apology does not mean that it is a rule of correctness. The apology may still come off (I may accept it), as you may acknowledge your blame but I may still not consider it an apology.
    — Antony Nickles

    Why would you not consider it an apology if you accept it as such? Or is your acceptance or rejection about something other than whether or not it meets the criteria of being an apology (i.e. the grammar of "apology")? (Consider PI 354-355 and PI 496-497)
    Luke

    You may acknowledge your transgression, but, yes, part of the grammar of an apology is that I can reject it. Now, you may be apologizing correctly, and I may be “wrong” in rejecting it, but that is all within what is acceptable, and I may have my own reasons (outside the criteria that identify an apology), only one of which may be that I do or do not feel you are sincere. In this way, I matter more than the rules.

    Unless you can provide evidence to demonstrate that Wittgenstein is talking about morality in PI... then the evidence explicitly indicates that Wittgenstein's interest is limited only to grammar. He is not concerned with morality in PI.Luke

    I'm thinking your idea of morality is different. Let's call it the grammar of our ethical situations.

    "What is internal is hidden from us."... If I see someone writhing in pain with evident cause I do not think: all the same, his feelings are hidden from me. — Witt, PI #572

    "I cannot know what is going on in him" is above all a picture. It is the convincing expression of a conviction. It does not give the reasons for the conviction. They are not readily accessible. — Witt, PI p. 223

    My attitude towards him is an attitude towards a soul. I am not of the opinion that he has a soul. — Witt, PI p. 152

    Examples of Witt pointing out that there is a limit to knowledge (as with apologizing). We do not know the other by knowing what is going on with them. The "reasons for the conviction" make up our moral stance toward the other. Our desire for certainty (that "picture") overshadows our grammatical position--of reacting or not--to someone writhing in pain. This is our human condition of having an "attitude" toward the other (not based solely on knowledge). Say, I treat them as if they have a soul.

    I have also said he is setting out an ethical epistemology; that it matters the kind of search we do (that we can't start with a desire for mathematical criteria or a need for rules).

    Not falling into the desire to penetrate phenomena (to get at a thing in itself with certainty) #90. Not requiring ideal "mathematical" criteria, but sticking to our ordinary criteria that each concept has. #107 And I believe you have minimized his advice not to take the straight road of purity and the ideal (#420) as that he is merely dispelling the idea of something internal. But the whole point of dispelling that picture is to make people aware of our human desire to want to have something fixed to hang our skeptical hat on (whether internal or external); to admonish us (emphatically, morally) to keep our head up and look around to see the perfect ordinary means of being confidently certain, rather than mathematically so (p.191).
  • Luke
    1.6k
    Cavell says Kripke just takes Wittgenstein to be giving rules too much importance.Antony Nickles

    Doesn't Cavell also take Kripke to be misreading Wittgenstein, though?

    And this is where I couldn't help but wonder what is happening here. Colloquially perhaps this picture of causing amounts to the same thing when I frame it that we say something, express something, in that there is no evaluating it except against the external practice, in your case, along rules, in mine with criteria in conjunction with, to whom and the place and time in which it is said.Antony Nickles

    It might help to consider what you go on to say later:

    Rather than judging whether the use of a word correctly follows the rules for a practice (language), I am judging how an expression, something said, fits into a concept (it's possibilities) based on the concept's criteria, e.g. "How did you mean 'I know'? [what use of "I know" is this?]"Antony Nickles

    Your question "How did you mean 'I know'?" implies what I am saying here. You are asking what use of 'I know' was intended by the speaker. Why do you think that we use language without intention?

    He is looking at or imagining what we say or would say, and he will call that “language” sometimes, so it may seem as if he is only talking about how language works.Antony Nickles

    I haven't said that Wittgenstein is only talking about "how language works". He is talking about grammar and the bounds of sense, and this includes how language is interwoven into our daily lives.

    An example (of an expression in time with a possible context) like when we say "Did you intend to shoot the mule or was it an accident?" (Austin) shows a use of the word "intend", but it also tells us something about (real-life) intention (it only comes up when something goes wrong).Antony Nickles

    It's not an either-or scenario of grammar vs. "real-life"; it's both, and they cannot be separated. You seem to think Wittgenstein is pointing to something outside of language, or talks about "real-life" without talking about language, but he isn't. The "real-life" context of an intention is the reason that we call it an "intention". Language isn't just some scribbles on paper or the thoughts in one's mind.

    "If anyone says: "For the word 'pain' to have a meaning it is necessary that pain should be recognized as such when it occurs"—-one can reply: "It is not more necessary than that the absence of pain should be recognized." The point is not to explain how language works, but to feel out the limits and logic of the world (our lives in it). (#119)Antony Nickles

    No, the point is grammar, and what it makes sense to say (e.g. about pain).

    Sometimes we just have to be an example, #208. #474.Antony Nickles

    You have cited #208 a few times now, but I think you are mistaking what Wittgenstein is saying. He is not talking about something "beyond the rules", as suggested by your OP. Forgive the long quote of part of Baker and Hacker's exegesis of #208, but it may help to address the discussion topic:

    Of course, one must distinguish two uses of ‘and so on’: (a) as an abbreviation
    for a finite list (e.g. ‘the letters of the alphabet, viz. ‘A, B, C, D and so
    on’) and (b) as an indication of a technique of unlimited application.
    Employed as an abbreviation, ‘and so on’ is replaceable by an enumeration.
    If instead of ‘and so on’ we use the sign ‘. . .’, then these dots are ‘dots of
    laziness’ (AWL 6; cf. PLP 165). But employed, for example, in explaining
    what the series of even numbers is (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, . . . , 22, 24, and
    so on’), the ‘and so on’ is not an abbreviation. Rather, it indicates a technique
    for constructing an indefinitely long series (cf. BB 95). This is rendered more
    explicit by ‘and so on ad infinitum’. But one must beware of the muddled thought
    that an infinite development (such as π) is merely much longer than a finite
    one (so that as it were, God sees right to its end, but we cannot).
    (g) concludes that teaching the meaning of an expression defined by enumeration
    is different from teaching the meaning of an expression by examples plus
    an ‘and so on’. The criterion of understanding differs between such cases.
    In the first case, repetition of the examples will betoken understanding; in
    the second, the production of further, hitherto unmentioned examples (e.g.
    continuing the series at an arbitrary point).
    §208 exemplifies W.’s observation:

    what the correct following of a rule consists in cannot be described more closely than
    by describing the learning of ‘proceeding according to a rule’. And this description is
    an everyday one, like that of cooking and sewing, for example. It presupposes as much as these. It distinguishes one thing from another, and so it informs a human being who is ignorant of something particular. (RFM 392)

    (i) ‘by means of examples’: a cardinal point of W.’s argument is that a series
    of examples can itself be employed as the expression of a rule. Cf. ‘Isn’t my
    knowledge, my concept of a game, completely expressed in the explanations
    that I could give? That is, in my describing examples of various kinds
    of games . . . and so on’ (PI §75); see 2.1(i) below.
    (ii) ‘I influence him by expressions of agreement, rejection . . .’: the effect
    of explanations depends on the learner’s responses to encouragement, pointing,
    etc. (cf. Exg. §145).
    (i) ‘by means of examples’: cf. MS 165, 74: ‘When do A and B do “the
    same”? How can I answer that? By examples.’ See also BT 188: ‘I cannot give
    a rule in any way other than by means of an expression; for even examples,
    if they are meant to be examples, are an expression for a rule like any other’
    (cf. PG 273; RFM 320ff.). We are prone to think that a statement of a rule
    plus a few examples are only an indirect way of conveying to the pupil what
    the teacher has in mind. ‘But the teacher also has only the rule and examples.

    It is a delusion to think that you are producing the meaning in someone’s
    mind by indirect means, through the rule and examples’ (AWL 132).
    (ii) ‘I do not communicate less to him than I know myself ’: elsewhere
    W. stressed this point. We are inclined to think that a rule ‘in some sense’
    contains its own applications, and hence that when we understand a rule, our
    understanding foresees all its applications. (Hence, when we order a pupil to
    expand a segment of a series, we conceive of our meaning him to write ‘1002’
    after ‘1000’ etc. as an anticipation.) Here we confuse, inter alia, a grammatical
    articulation which we know (can say or think ) with a future step in an unfolding
    process. But my knowing the meaning of ‘x^2’ gives me no more reliable
    an insight into my own future performances than I can have of another’s.
    I have done many examples; I have understood and can give appropriate
    explanations. ‘I know about myself just what I know about him’ (LFM 28).
    An ability to employ a symbol according to a rule is not a mental container
    out of which my subsequent acts are drawn; ‘You yourself do not foresee
    the application you will make of the rule in a particular case. If you say
    “and so on”, you yourself do not know more than “and so on” ’ (RFM 228).
    This is not a form of scepticism, but an objection to a certain metaphysical
    delusion. We do not think that if A is able to hit the bull six times in succession,
    then, in some sense, he has already done so in advance. But we are prone
    to think that if A understands the rule of the series ‘+ 2’, and now knows
    that ‘1002’ succeeds ‘1000’, ‘1,000,002’ succeeds ‘1,000,000’ (which he does),
    then in some sense the sequence he is to write unfolds in his mind in advance
    of his writing it. Hence, we think, he must be able to predict what he will
    do at any stage in the application of the rule. But this is muddled, and the
    muddle runs parallel to that in kinematics (cf. Exg. §193), where the use of
    the future tense to state principles of movement looks like a prediction of a
    future movement.
    — Baker & Hacker on PI 208


    Since it is not an interpretation, it does not answer a conflict about a rule, nor eliminate the possibility of interpretation. Though interpretation is not involved at this point in this case, we still express a rule, interpret them by "substitution of one expression of a rule for another".Antony Nickles

    What do you make of the last (bracketed) paragraph of PI 217?

    "(Remember that we sometimes demand explanations for the sake not
    of their content, but of their form. Our requirement is an architectural
    one; the explanation a kind of sham corbel that supports nothing.)"

    What do you think is Wittgenstein's purpose with these remarks?

    This is what Baker and Hacker say with regards to PI 217:
    If I am asked why, given
    that I was told to add 2, I wrote ‘1002’ after ‘1000’, there is little I can say
    other than ‘That is what is called “adding 2”.’ We need have no reason to follow
    the rule as we do
    (BB 143). The chain of reasons has an end. When one
    has exhausted justifications, one reaches bedrock. This is what I do; and, of
    course, this is what is to be done.
    W.’s point is not that where justifications thus give out my action is
    unjustified (haphazard, a free choice), but rather that it has already been justified,
    and no further justification stands behind the justification that has been given
    (cf. RFM 330). The bedrock of justification in following rules is not a prenormative
    foundation. Shared behavioural propensities (looking in the direction
    pointed at) and common responses to teaching and training (learning the
    sequence of natural numbers) are presuppositions for the possibility of having
    such shared rules at all; not the bedrock of justification but the framework for
    its very possibility. The bedrock is the point at which justifications terminate, and
    the question ‘why?’ is answered simply by ‘Well, that is what we call “. . .”.’
    — Baker & Hacker on PI 217

    Hopefully, this shows that PI 217 is not indicating an invitation for further justifications.

    Rather than judging whether the use of a word correctly follows the rules for a practice (language), I am judging how an expression, something said, fits into a concept (it's possibilities) based on the concept's criteria, e.g. "How did you mean 'I know'? [what use of "I know" is this?]"Antony Nickles

    Perhaps I am simply confused by your quoting of PI 217 in the OP, which speaks of rules. Or perhaps I am confused by your claims that there are concepts without rules. But I think the larger point to be made is that the "rules for a practice (language)" and the "concept's criteria" both fall under the larger umbrella of grammar (the bounds of sense), and its rules. That is, it's all part of grammar, and you go wrong in trying to draw a distinction here.

    Part of the reason to discuss rules would be to draw a limit around how they differ from grammatical/logical rules.Antony Nickles

    How do they differ? There is no difference. There aren't rules on one side and grammatical rules on the other. The rules are techniques that we learn how to apply, as per B&H's exegesis of PI 208.

    Okay, you need words, yes. Witt's term "concept" is used in the sense of a classification for what we do: apologizing, understanding, knowing, seeing, etc. These are parts of our lives, so concepts are not abstract from that, nor individual nor arbitrary.Antony Nickles

    But neither is "what we do" separate from the words "apologizing", "understanding", "knowing", "seeing". The words encompass "what we do" and our uses/meanings of the concepts.

    Let's call it the grammar of our ethical situations.Antony Nickles

    Let's not. Grammar is of our language.
  • Joshs
    1.9k
    Let's call it the grammar of our ethical situations.
    — Antony Nickles

    Let's not. Grammar is of our language.
    Luke

    I have a suggestion to make which may or may not clarify this debate. Rather than giving the impression that what you are attempting to do is locate THE correct reading of Wittgenstein, maybe you could instead accept that there may be more than one ‘correct’ Wittgenstein, and proceed to learn about the alternatives to your own. You will still end up preferring one version over another, but at least you’ll have opened yourself up to other possibilities.


    it may be helpful to recognize use that, like with all great philosophers, interpretations of Wittgenstein fall into distinct camps. As I mentioned in an earlier post , I see this debate as pitting a certain Oxford reading ( Hacker and Baker) against what I would call a phenomenological-enactivist reading.

    “The Oxford movement that wanted to follow Wittgenstein actually fell back somewhat. It rightly emphasized that a word means its use in situations — the word marks or changes something in the situation in which it can be said. A word's use-contexts have no single picture or pattern in common. As Wittgenstein said, a word's situations are a "family," not a common pattern. But then the Oxford Analysts tried, after all, to define the use of a word, if not by a concept then at least by a rule, to capture what a word marks or does. That effort failed; rules don't limit what a word can mean, either.”( Eugene Gendlin)


    I don’t see evidence yet in your posts that you recognize there is such a camp that backs up Antony’s perspective on Witt. Or it may be that you are struggling to understand the coherence of such an account.

    Let’s see if it might help to widen the scope of this discussion a bit. The two camps I mention differ not just in their understanding of Wittgenstein, but in the broader psychological articulation of the relation between perception , cognition and language.

    Phenomenologically influenced models of cognition and language break away from older theories by abandoning f the notion of internal representations. In you discussion you have focused on such things as concepts, rules, criteria and the influence of social normativity.

    These are all factors which shape how we understand and use words, but the question for the enactivist Wittgensteinian camp is what exactly is the functional relationship between these influences and the actual senses of words that arise in contextual situations. Their argument is that none of these shaping factors can be seen as stored internal representations or as having some other sort of temporary identity to them, such that when we understand a word we are consulting some pre-existing scheme(rule. social norm, concept, etc). It is not that these don’t come into play. It is that when they do come into play it is not a matter of simply piecing together or cobbling a pre-existing structure with a new situation.
    Such background internal and culture constraints (grammar , rules) only function by being changed in actual use. The actual use co-invents the sense of the rule, grammar, concept that ‘was’ implicated.

    “All structures, concepts, representations, schemes and laws are to be viewed as already involving a concretely ongoing activity, and thus they can never explain or picture it.” (Gendlin)

    I know much more explanation needs to be given here , but it might help if you familiarized yourself with the enactivist critique of representationalist models.
  • Luke
    1.6k
    I have a suggestion to make which may or may not clarify this debate. Rather than giving the impression that what you are attempting to do is locate THE correct reading of Wittgenstein, maybe you could instead accept that there may be more than one ‘correct’ Wittgenstein, and proceed to learn about the alternatives to your own. You will still end up preferring one version over another, but at least you’ll have opened yourself up to other possibilities.Joshs

    I've just read through half of the first article you quoted, Practising pragmatist-Wittgensteinianism. It is almost completely unrelated to this discussion. What's worse is that the article is not even critical of the so-called "Oxford reading", which it turns out, relates only very narrowly to the reading of PI 43 (the meaning-as-use passage). The "Oxford reading" is coined in the article and is cited only in order to criticise a reading by H.O. Mounce. It is not, as you presented, a criticism of the "Oxford reading" or of Baker and Hacker's reading. So I'm afraid I'll have to take your advice with a handful of salt.

    I don’t see evidence yet in your posts that you recognize there is such a camp that backs up Antony’s perspective on Witt.Joshs

    I don't see evidence yet in your posts that you and Antony are even on the same page.

    Such background internal and culture constraints (grammar , rules) only function by being changed in actual use. The actual use co-invents the sense of the rule, grammar, concept that ‘was’ implicated.Joshs

    I quote Baker and Hacker because I view theirs as an orthodox reading. This is supported by the fact that Hacker was one of the two editors of the latest edition of the Philosophical Investigations in 2009. Their reading is also in accord with the current Stanford article on Wittgenstein, which offers insights such as these:

    Language-games are, first, a part of a broader context termed by Wittgenstein a form of life (see below). Secondly, the concept of language-games points at the rule-governed character of language. This does not entail strict and definite systems of rules for each and every language-game, but points to the conventional nature of this sort of human activity. Still, just as we cannot give a final, essential definition of ‘game’, so we cannot find “what is common to all these activities and what makes them into language or parts of language” (PI 65). [...]

    Grammar, usually taken to consist of the rules of correct syntactic and semantic usage, becomes, in Wittgenstein’s hands, the wider—and more elusive—network of rules which determine what linguistic move is allowed as making sense, and what isn’t. [...]

    The “rules” of grammar are not mere technical instructions from on-high for correct usage; rather, they express the norms for meaningful language. Contrary to empirical statements, rules of grammar describe how we use words in order to both justify and criticize our particular utterances. But as opposed to grammar-book rules, they are not idealized as an external system to be conformed to. Moreover, they are not appealed to explicitly in any formulation, but are used in cases of philosophical perplexity to clarify where language misleads us into false illusions.
    SEP article on Wittgenstein

    It is possible that you and Antony have mistaken me for appealing to "grammar-book rules" as per the final paragraph above, but I have been talking about the ""rules" of grammar" as described in the same paragraph. I have referred to this wider sort of grammar - Wittgenstein's concept of grammar - as a corrective to what is indicated by the discussion title: 'Rules' End', and to Antony's explicit statements that some concepts are without rules; the idea that some meaningful language-use is not rule-governed. That's just not the case. Furthermore, it is a clear misreading by Cavell (followed by Antony) to view PI 217 as pointing to an end to rules or an invitation for further justification. (Cavell reads far too much into the word "inclined".) I also find it odd that the OP is framed in terms of a student-teacher scenario, as the student does not yet know the rules, our technique. Wittgenstein isn't saying let's negotiate with someone who doesn't accept our exhausted justifications, as if their absence of knowledge might somehow be better than our knowledge.

    Regarding your claim that grammar and rules "only function by being changed in actual use", you have given no reason as to why these function only "by being changed", or why they do not function without being changed. The actual use can "co-invent the sense of the rule, grammar", but - if I understand you correctly - that is a change in the rules, not an end to the rules.
  • Joshs
    1.9k



    I've just read through half of the first article you quoted, Practising pragmatist-Wittgensteinianism. It is almost completely unrelated to this discussion. What's worse is that the article is not even critical of the so-called "Oxford reading", which it turns out, relates only very narrowly to the reading of PI 43 (the meaning-as-use passage). The "Oxford reading" is coined in the article and is cited only in order to criticise a reading by H.O. Mounce. It is not, as you presented, a criticism of the "Oxford reading" or of Baker and Hacker's reading. So I'm afraid I'll have to take your advice with a handful of salt.
    Luke

    I admit that one would have to read between the lines to extract a clear critique of Hacker and Baker in that article, so I have a couple of large blocks of salt to add to that grain. As far as the Oxford reading of Wittgenstein is concerned, I am not comfortable claiming that no one associated with that group interprets him in the way that I am attributing to both Antony and Hutchinson. I would rather point to specific readings that Hutichinson finds lacking, such as that of Hacker, Malcolm, Ryle and Strawson.

    You’ll find an unambiguous critique of Hacker and Baker in another piece by Hutchinson and Read titled ‘Whose Wittgenstein’.

    https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Phil-Hutchinson/publication/279027201_Review_article_Whose_Wittgenstein/links/5878db2508ae9a860fe2a58b/Review-article-Whose-Wittgenstein.pdf?_sg%5B0%5D=tH6S94ARp2JGAc2uTUTosTyRrEWJ1o93vrRFYsEAiiZcEdEkSt7lJMKbSzKnXCM_uFDPfG5CyLLc-kImJYNtXw.cIL_CZjrAm2fLfAmjm4Pq7O1YhUB99Gnt7ISbwYveH5sS_YMnVvcmell3-_Ua-HKUvEH80Pfp7cywm2AgcsbUA&_sg%5B1%5D=xUbobHnMyNV6-TK5P0zRpUf5wZKo0Vl3ny9G28AQpeKNNQ0KKhRa1AN4f_m9GmZF5OCmZ9t03V_Kcv_GPUIxZAjNEvumug81yRA4sgbbaUXw.cIL_CZjrAm2fLfAmjm4Pq7O1YhUB99Gnt7ISbwYveH5sS_YMnVvcmell3-_Ua-HKUvEH80Pfp7cywm2AgcsbUA&_iepl=

    Here are some snippets:

    “While one may be inclined to lean towards Baker & Hacker (if one must lean, on such matters) regarding Wittgenstein’s rule-following remarks when the target of their criticism is Saul Kripke’s exegesis—given that the latter (notoriously) selectively reads Wittgenstein’s remarks in order to generate ‘Wittgenstein-the-rule-following-sceptic’ or ‘Kripkenstein’—this does not blind one to …a recognition that there is in play therein an understanding of Wittgenstein on following a rule which, while avoiding the pit-falls of Kripke’s ‘reading’, saddles Wittgenstein with a substantive philosophy of questionable value.”

    “…Hacker’s summatory Wittgenstein: Connections and Controversies… tells one in the end rather less about Wittgenstein than about a narrow ‘Oxford philosophy’ which misses the richness and breadth of Wittgenstein’s work and appeal.”

    “Gordon Baker, Hacker’s co-author in these papers, had, from 1991 onwards, not only explicitly distanced himself from the Baker & Hacker reading of Philosophical Investigations but also frequently used ‘Baker & Hacker’ readings as a stalking horse for his own new reading…”

    it is a clear misreading by Cavell (followed by Antony) to view PI 217 as pointing to an end to rules or an invitation for further justification. (Cavell reads far too much into the word "inclined".)Luke

    “We find it odd that in HWCC—and in fact in the entire large volume of literature published by Hacker on these matters— he has never sought to seriously engage with Baker’s post ’90 ‘apostasy’.Particularly so since Baker explicitly identifies continuities between his own (post Baker & Hacker) reading of PI and the readings advanced by Stanley Cavell, James Conant, Cora Diamond and Burton Dreben. What is significant about Baker’s change of mind is not that he did so: a change of mind does not necessitate progress. What is significant is the extent to which Baker’s later work stands as a powerful critique of the reading propounded by he and Hacker in the 1980s, and by Hacker since.”

    “In short, Baker’s post­-1990 ‘position’—expounded throughout BWM—is that Wittgenstein’s method is radically therapeutic: therapeutic in that the aim is to relieve men­tal cramps brought about by being faced with a seemingly intractable philosophical problem; radically so in that how this aim is achieved is person relative, occasion sensitive and context dependent.”



    I don't see evidence yet in your posts that you and Antony are even on the same page.Luke

    Perhaps not. But I suggest we first find out if Antony supports Hutchinson’s ( and Baker’s) assertions about what is lacking in Hacker’s reading of Wittgenstein.

    It is possible that you and Antony have mistaken me for appealing to "grammar-book rules" as per the final paragraph above, but I have been talking about the ""rules" of grammar" as described in the same paragraph. I have referred to this wider sort of grammar - Wittgenstein's concept of grammar - as a corrective to what is indicated by the discussion title: 'Rules' End', and to Antony's explicit statements that some concepts are without rules; the idea that some meaningful language-use is not rule-governed. That's just not the case.Luke



    Regarding your claim that grammar and rules "only function by being changed in actual use", you have given no reason as to why these function only "by being changed", or why they do not function without being changed.Luke

    Maybe you could answer Hutchinson’s
    question put to Hacker:

    “ The thought that mapping our language might serve a purpose (non-person relative, non-occasion sensitive) relies on the assumption that certain relatively static reference points obtain within that language. What vantage point on language would one need to assume so as to be able to discern that which would serve as (non-person-relative, non­occasion-sensitive) reference points?”

    “The mistake here then is (Baker &) Hacker’s thought that what is prob­lematic for Wittgenstein—what he wants to critique in the opening remarks quoted from Augustine—is that words name things or correspond to objects, with the emphasis laid on the nature of what is on the other side of the word-V relationship. Rather, we contend that what is problematic in this picture is that words must be relational at all—whether as names to the named, words to objects, or ‘words’ belonging to a ‘type of use.’It is the necessarily relational character of ‘the Augustinian picture’ which is apt to lead one astray; Baker & Hacker, in missing this, ultimately replace it with a picture that retains the relational character, only recast. There is no such thing as a word outside of some particular use; but that is a different claim from saying, with Baker & Hacker, that words belong to a type of use. For a word to be is for a word to be used. Language does not exist external to its use by us in the world.”

    Hutchinson addresses the relation between rule and use in his focus on perspicuous representation.

    “A key indication of the difference ( between Hacker and the later Baker) can be gleaned from the understand­ings of the place of ‘perspicuous (re)presentation’, of which Wittgenstein writes in PI §122, that it ‘is of fundamental importance for us’. For Baker ‘perspicuous presentation’ does not denote a class of repre­sentations as it is usually thought to do (in the work of Baker & Hacker for instance, though, to be sure, not only there). It rather denotes what works: what achieves the therapeutic aim. And that this form of representation does so here, now, for this person, etc. does not imply that it will do so again, (or) for someone else. Therapy is achieved by facilitating one’s inter­locutor’s ((or) one’s own) arrival at a position where they might freely acknowledge hitherto unnoticed aspects.

    Acknowledging new aspects helps free one from the grip of a philosophical picture that initially led to the seeming intractability of the philosophical problem. Any presentation which serves this purpose can therefore be said to have been perspicuous— for that person, at that time, thereabouts. Perspicuity, on this understand­ing, does not denote a property of a class of representations but is rather an achievement term: perspicuity is accorded to the presentation that achieves the bringing to light of new aspects which are freely accepted by one’s philosophical interlocutor.
    One consequence of the later Baker’s rendition of ‘perspicuous presen­tation’ is that it allows one to reinterpret what ‘our grammar’ might be when we consider ourselves to be perspicuously presenting it . For (later) Baker ‘grammar’ is best read as ‘“our” grammar’; while for Hacker, ‘grammar’ is to be read as ‘the grammar’.”

    “… the word ‘grammar’ in Wittgenstein, far from meaning what Hacker (and the early D. Z. Phillips, and possibly, at moments, Dilman) takes it to mean, is intended as our grammar, as indexed to the person or persons employing it, in such a way that an appeal to ‘“the” grammar’ cannot be used to settle philosophical disputes, but only as a way of facilitating a person’s knowing how they are actually using a term and how that relates (or does not) to how they want to use it.”

    The actual use can "co-invent the sense of the rule, grammar", but - if I understand you correctly - that is a change in the rules, not an end to the rules.Luke


    If actual contextual use offers a fresh sense of a rule, and we only know rules in actual use , where is an ‘unchanged’ rule stored? Is there some internal or social non-contextual realm where they are kept protected from alteration?

    I’ll give Hutchinson the last word:


    “We focus here on the claim that there are two complementary strands, clarificatory and therapeutic, in Wittgenstein’s philosophy. We can find no evidence for these being discrete though complementary strands. Yet Hacker repeatedly asserts them to be so . However,
    leaving the question of textual evidence aside, asserting them to be so certainly has unfortunate implications for Hacker’s ‘Wittgenstein’. The unfortunate implications are: if elucidation and therapy (connective analysis, perspicuous presentation) are distinct endeavours,
    though both undertaken in PI, then what motivates the elucidations? It is difficult, without relating, i.e. subsuming, the practice of elucidating to the therapeutic thrust of PI, to understand why Wittgenstein would want to engage in such ‘clarifications of our language’. For if the clarification of our grammar is not occasion-sensitive—not carried out on a case-by-case basis with a particular interlocutor—then Wittgenstein, it seems, is embroiled in something of a performative contradiction.

    For if clarification per se is a goal then it presupposes a particular view of how language must be (contra, that is, PI §132). In clarifying language in this way Wittgenstein is taken to dissolve philosophical problems by showing us (clarifying, perspicuously representing) the rules of our grammar (linguistic facts). Again this raises the prospect of Wittgenstein, at a really quite basic level, contradicting his own metaphilosophical remarks in the very text in which he makes those remarks; a text, we should recall, that he laboured over for sixteen years.
    Indeed, it turns Wittgenstein into a closet metaphysician. This “problem of motivation” then presents further problems for Hacker; if he insists upon ‘connective analysis’ as separate and distinct from therapy, then this must (at the least) imply that Wittgenstein does have a picture (or a theory) of ‘language’; such that it enables us, as it were, to take up a stance external to that ‘language’ and survey it; and that these elucidations serve some non­person-relative and non-occasion-sensitive elucidatory purpose.

    This is important because holding on to the idea that there is more than therapy hereabouts leads Hacker to saddle Wittgenstein with a form of conventionalism. Hacker seems not to realize why others find his form of‘Wittgensteinianism’ easy to dismiss.”
  • Zugzwang
    131
    The actual use can "co-invent the sense of the rule, grammar", but ... that is a change in the rules, not an end to the rules.Luke

    If actual contextual use offers a fresh sense of a rule, and we only know rules in actual use , where is an ‘unchanged’ rule stored? Is there some internal or social non-contextual realm where they are kept protected from alteration?Joshs

    If I may jump in, all that's needed is a relatively stable background of conventions. For instance, I trust that you understand well enough what I'm getting at here, thanks to extremely complex conventions in stringing words together that have become almost automatic for both of us.
  • Joshs
    1.9k
    all that's needed is a relatively stable background of conventions. For instance, I trust that you understand well enough what I'm getting at here, thanks to extremely complex conventions in stringing words together that have become almost automatic for both of us.Zugzwang

    Hutchinson’s point is that the background conventions do not do this work of understanding by themselves. They don’t exist independently of person-relative, occasion sensitive use. Understanding happens in the bringing to light new aspects of what is presented.


    “ The thought that mapping our language might serve a purpose (non-person relative, non-occasion sensitive) relies on the assumption that certain relatively static reference points obtain within that languageJoshs
  • Luke
    1.6k
    Indeed, it turns Wittgenstein into a closet metaphysician.Joshs

    There's a book I own, which I read several years ago now, called "Wittgenstein and His Interpreters: Essays in Memory of Gordon Baker". In the introduction, under the heading of The 'orthodox' interpretation, it says:

    Wittgenstein interpretation reached a high point of scholarly detail in Gordon Baker and Peter Hacker’s comprehensive commentary on the Philosophical Investigations, published in four volumes from 1980 onwards. [...]

    The Philosophical Investigations [...] is understood by the ‘orthodox’ interpreters as a rejection of the Tractarian model of the language-world relation, and through it, of the tradition behind it. In particular, the book propounds an explicit anti-metaphysical view: philosophy is not taken to consist in the pursuit of the sempiternal and hidden structure of language and the world. Language can still be said to have essential features, but they lie in plain view and need only to be made perspicuous by way of describing the uses of words or by tabulating the rules by which language is governed (see PI § 92). Many of these features are not immutable, however, but belong to changing linguistic practices. The world, on the other hand, is no longer viewed as an object of a priori philosophical speculation, but only of empirical scientific investigation. The logical syntax of language does not mirror the hidden structure of the world, but is simply a means of representing the world. The study of language will thus not uncover any hidden metaphysical features of reality, since there are none. The traditional conception of the aims of philosophy, shared by the Tractatus, is taken to be the result of a misunderstanding of the relation between language and the world by (i) sublimating the essence of our language, and (ii) mistaking features of our linguistic representation of the world for features of the world. What previous philosophers took to be metaphysical truths about the nature of reality are in fact no more than ‘shadows cast by grammar’ (Baker and Hacker 2005, 97). Therefore, we need to discard this idealised model of language and give a systematic account of the language-games in which concepts are used and thus make our conceptual framework explicit in order to resolve philosophical problems.

    ...the later Wittgenstein is taken to argue that since language is a rule-governed practice (positive result), the idea of a private language is incoherent (negative result). Reading Wittgenstein as providing an overview of grammatical rules that will dissolve philosophical problems and confusions, this interpretation sees his later work as largely continuous with the work of Oxford philosophers such as Ryle, Austin and Strawson. [...]

    The orthodox interpretation attributes to Wittgenstein a concern with a methodical account of philosophically relevant concepts for the therapeutic purpose of releasing us from deep-seated confusions, but not primarily an ethical interest in philosophy, as certain other interpreters do (see below). Consequently, the hermeneutic task is seen as consisting in working out his nuanced and complex arguments and analyses, both positive and negative. On this approach, then, interpreting Wittgenstein need not be fundamentally different from the interpretation of other major philosophers.
    — Wittgenstein and His Interpreters: Essays in Memory of Gordon Baker

    So whose characterisation of Hacker and of the orthodox interpretation should I believe?

    I won't pretend to have read all, or even most, of Hacker's work, but I am willing to accept that his reading may be more clarificatory than therapeutic. I am also actually sympathetic to a slightly more therapeutic reading. But what you have raised strikes me as more nuanced and tangential than the substantial disagreement over the broad strokes of Wittgenstein's work that I have been having with Antony.

    How do you view the clarificatory/therapeutic dispute as being relevant to the current discussion regarding morality, the putative distinction between mathematical and ordinary rules, the exhaustion of justifications in following the rule "in the way I do", and the other matters raised in the OP? Do you find the OP to be consistent with your own reading of the Philosophical Investigations?
  • Antony Nickles
    374
    Rather than judging whether the use of a word correctly follows the rules for a practice (language), I am judging how an expression, something said, fits into a concept (it's possibilities) based on the concept's criteria, e.g. "How did you mean 'I know'? [what use of "I know" is this?]"
    — Antony Nickles

    Your question "How did you mean 'I know'?" implies what I am saying here. You are asking what use of 'I know' was intended by the speaker. Why do you think that we use language without intention?
    Luke

    The question only comes after the expression. My claim is that we don't always intend what we express; that that idea creates a necessity which, as Witt would say, forces a picture upon us (of causality). We can intend to say something--we can reflect and try to say something specific, perhaps explicitly trying to influence (ahead of its reception) which way to take what we think might be misunderstood as another sense of the expression. However, most times we don't intend what we say in this sense, as a deliberate choice. As I said, we ask "what did you intend when you said?" when (after) what you say is unexpected in this situation. Witt puts it as "An intention is embedded in its situation" (#337). Sometimes it would be strange to even ask what we intended, as when a question can not exist. The possibility, and possibilities, of us having to clear up the sense of an expression is the grammatical structure for the concept of intention, not casual or determined or a part of what happens during expression.

    "If anyone says: "For the word 'pain' to have a meaning it is necessary that pain should be recognized as such when it occurs"—-one can reply: "It is not more necessary than that the absence of pain should be recognized." The point is not to explain how language works, but to feel out the limits and logic of the world (our lives in it). (#119)
    — Antony Nickles

    No, the point is grammar, and what it makes sense to say (e.g. about pain).
    Luke

    That is one point, but not the one I was trying to draw your attention to there. I was pointing out the framing of the claim, not commenting on the topic of the paragraph. Those are not mutually exclusive.

    Sometimes we just have to be an example, #208. #474.
    — Antony Nickles

    You have cited #208 a few times now, but I think you are mistaking what Wittgenstein is saying. He is not talking about something "beyond the rules", as suggested by your OP.
    Luke

    As poorly misleading as the OP is named, I would still say: other than rules, but of course my topic was the influence of the mathematical on the desire for rules to play the part Kripke gives them. The mathematical can be extended repetitively with certainty and completeness for every application, predetermined and predictably (even when--particularly when--"used" incorrectly). It is this desire for certainty which "muddles" our expectation for everything else, generalizing the picture of meaning based on rules to impose as close to those criteria as can be across the board in place of the ordinary, various means of judgment for each different thing. Now granted grammar is sometimes about limits and do/don't-do, but clinging to that alone is to overlook that, as in this passage of Witt, our application of a concept may be in a never-before-mentioned way. That, unlike the mathematical, these concepts are opened-ended, extendable into unforeseen contexts. That we are not at a loss (limited), because complete knowledge is not necessary in advance to "continue a series" (with the ordinary this is metaphorical for extending a concept into a new context). Examples are necessary because we can not explain rules for our concepts that cover every situation--account for every context or predict the way in which they may go wrong. One example may shed light on a grammatical consideration, an implication when we say something in a certain situation; something to keep in mind, to educate us about ourselves, what we are getting ourselves into in saying this, here.

    A cardinal point of W.’s argument is that a series of examples can itself be employed as the expression of a rule. Cf. ‘Isn’t my knowledge, my concept of a game, completely expressed in the explanations that I could give? That is, in my describing examples of various kinds of games . . . and so on’ (PI §75) — Hacker

    This question is by the Interlocutor, who desires or believes possible a "complete expression" of a concept by explanations and describing examples. I take Witt's answer to the question here as no (or, not outside mathematical concepts, like the height of a mountain). In the paragraphs following he points out that we can draw boundaries around different parts--mine loose and yours definitive--but that ultimately most times we can't completely express a concept by explanation; we can't say what we know (#78) or we can't anticipate the 9 mil ways an expression may be meaningful (#79)(even apart from just "what I intend it to be").

    Despite that false start, there is a lot to agree with Hacker about unpredictability and our desire to overcome that. I would say he sees the problem of our desire for predictability, but his remedy is to contain our involvement to salvage some surety. He puts the variability on our unpredictability, when I would say its just that most concepts (non-mathematical) are categorically without the mathematical criteria (certainty) we hope for, even from rules.

    And Hacker couches the desire for predictability as our delusion, where I take Witt's Interlocutor to be voicing our real, human fear of the threat of skepticism. Witt is saying that fear is what stokes the desire for certainty, say in our rules, removing the involvement of the fallible, unpredictable human, who is, then, merely subject to judgment based on those rules--the outcome of an expression falling on my precarious shoulders alone.

    What do you make of the last [ paranthetical ] paragraph of PI 217?

    "(Remember that we sometimes demand explanations for the sake not of their content, but of their form. Our requirement is an architectural one; the explanation a kind of sham corbel that supports nothing.)"
    Luke

    I don't see how it alters Cavell's reading of the paragraph above, only to say that we sometimes judge by the adherence to grammar rather than the truth of a statement; that saying something the right way (in the right form) is more important than saying the right thing (content).

    We need have no reason to follow the rule as we do (BB 143). The chain of reasons has an end. When one has exhausted justifications, one reaches bedrock. This is what I do; and, of course, this is what is to be done. * * * W.’s point is not that where justifications thus give out my action is unjustified (haphazard, a free choice), but rather that it has already been justified * * * The bedrock is the point at which justifications terminate, and the question ‘why?’ is answered simply by ‘Well, that is what we call “. . .”.’ — Baker & Hacker on #217

    Hopefully, this shows that PI 217 is not indicating an invitation for further justifications.Luke

    The standard reading of Witt here is based on our requirement eventually for some kind of foundational justification, which is most times projected through all his terminology (forms of life, language games); that our shared lives are the final or preexisting justification for our choices. Kripke allows us "inclinations" and Hacker appears to give us "propensities", but the common practice is "what is to be done". This is Cavell's point in saying that Kripke's picture ends the conversation before we even begin about what to do when we are at a loss, what to base our action on in a situation when our justifications to each other run out--that Kripke's picture limits our relationship to judge/defendant. This is not to say there are further justifications, but that we are only "inclined" to end the discussion with a shrug (which you and Hacker have completely ignored). Cavell calls this (p. 95) assertion of judgment ("the repudiation of deviance") a "stance"** to the other (not a ground) without the authority to then claim we are right. (**you will notice the similarity of a "stance" to an "attitude" or a "conviction", as quoted previously about ethics). The desire for normativity creating social repression, suppressing the fallibility of the ordinary with the need to avoid the chaos of the skeptic's conclusions: we may not be justified, we may not (continue to) share a life, we can not be sure, relying on our knowledge and predetermination of practice or rules.

    Part of the reason to discuss rules would be to draw a limit around how rules differ from grammatical/logical rules.
    — Antony Nickles

    How do they differ? There is no difference. There aren't rules on one side and grammatical rules on the other. The rules are techniques that we learn how to apply, as per B&H's exegesis of PI 208.
    Luke

    There are grammatical limits (of identity) that you could call a rule (demarcating a threat from a warning), but not all grammar nor criteria are rules (and not something we are necessarily taught explicitly). As I've noted, Wittgenstein realizes our grammar shows our interests in our lives (what is important to us about something), and I'll point to this again as well:

    Expectation is, grammatically, a state; like: being of an opinion, hoping for something, knowing something, being able to do something. But in order to understand the grammar of these states it is necessary to ask: "What counts as a criterion for anyone's being in such a state?" (States of hardness, of weight, of fitting.)
    — Witt, PI #572

    To say expectation is a state, is not to say there is a "rule"; nor is pointing out that it is a state necessary for making the word "expect" have the sense of anticipating, much less an obligation, or probability. We do not follow a rule to expect something, but are said to be expecting (in that state). The judgment of that being the case is made by our criteria for expecting, how it differs from waiting, is similar to hoping, etc., we could say, necessarily, there must be the possibility of something going wrong (we are not sure or certain), but this is a categorical requirement, not a rule.

    Witt's term "concept" is used in the sense of a classification for what we do: apologizing, understanding, knowing, seeing, etc. These are parts of our lives, so concepts are not abstract from that, nor individual nor arbitrary.
    — Antony Nickles

    But neither is "what we do" separate from the words "apologizing", "understanding", "knowing", "seeing". The words encompass "what we do" and our uses/meanings of the concepts.
    Luke

    One hopes our langauge and the world are always together, connected in a way that is inseparable, but sometimes our language does not keep up with our lives, sometimes our words are dead to degenerate times, sometimes the use of words must fly in the face of practice. So to say we are only talking about language is minimizing, but to assume that in talking about language we are talking about our lives without separation, is to ignore the threats that exist to our communication and understanding, our lives as shared.

    Let's call it the grammar of our ethical situations.
    — Antony Nickles

    Let's not.
    Luke

    Okay, sure.
  • Joshs
    1.9k


    So whose characterisation of Hacker and of the orthodox interpretation should I believe?Luke

    It seems to me the introductory summary from Guy Kahane, Edward Kanterian, and Oskari Kuusela that you cited is in general agreement with Hacker’s approach and that of Oxford types like Strawson and Ryle.

    I’ve picked out passages from it that I think would be considered problematic from the later Baker’s perspective, and are problematic for me as well.


    “… the book propounds an explicit anti-metaphysical view: philosophy is not taken to consist in the pursuit of the sempiternal and hidden structure of language and the world. Language can still be said to have essential features, but they lie in plain view and need only to be made perspicuous by way of describing the uses of words or by tabulating the rules by which language is governed (see PI § 92).”

    “The logical syntax of language does not mirror the hidden structure of the world, but is simply a means of representing the world.”


    “...the later Wittgenstein is taken to argue that since language is a rule-governed practice (positive result), the idea of a private language is incoherent (negative result). Reading Wittgenstein as providing an overview of grammatical rules that will dissolve philosophical problems and confusions, …”
    Luke


    The introduction is rejecting metaphysical realism and substituting in its place an empirical , representational realism , also known as neo-Kantianism. But the later Baker would protest that rules and grammar are not ‘essential features’ in the sense of being linguistic facts or classes of representations. Language is not the interpreting of the world via contextually applied rule-based schemes.

    How do you view the clarificatory/therapeutic dispute as being relevant to the current discussion regarding morality, the putative distinction between mathematical and ordinary rules, the exhaustion of justifications in following the rule "in the way I do", and the other matters raised in the OP? Do you find the OP to be consistent with your own reading of the Philosophical Investigations?Luke

    I think that as long as one continues to hold onto the need for a clarifying role for language, one is still caught up in a representationalist thinking, and from such a vantage it may be difficult to see the coherence of Antony’s position on morality and the other issues you mentioned, since the sense of all of these is inextricably linked to the former.
  • Antony Nickles
    374
    I have referred to this wider sort of grammar - Wittgenstein's concept of grammar - as a corrective to what is indicated by the discussion title: 'Rules' End', and to Antony's explicit statements that some concepts are without rules; the idea that some meaningful language-use is not rule-governed. That's just not the case.Luke

    Not to get in the middle of this, but my pithy yet misleading title is not a narrow claim that we operate at the "end of rules". It would have been better to have said: what happens at the end of justification? What I was shooting for is the end of the idea that Witt is touting rules as a conclusion/solution/judgment rather than an example, among others. The line of discussion of this OP was supposed to be Cavell's reading that takes criteria and our human falibility as more important for Wittgenstein than rules (here championed by Kripke). We strayed into the issue of meaning and use because that picture allows for rules to be structured a certain way, say, to resolve everything other than our following them or not.

    IFurthermore, it is a clear misreading by Cavell (followed by Antony) to view PI 217 as pointing to an end to rules or an invitation for further justification. (Cavell reads far too much into the word "inclined".)Luke

    It is simply not clear how this is a misreading, though I see that is how you adamantly feel. This would be a case where, as Cavell says, we may come to where I say, "This is simply what I do", but that does not confer any authority, as we have not come to any resolution of what is "right". Thus, just an emphatic declaration that he is (I am) wrong carries no weight. We would need questions for clarification, counter-examples, to see the sense of another view, to address a claim seriously, etc., but not a patent rejection. It were as if there was a rule, and I am simply not following it. Here I would think, at the very least, there would need to be an accounting for the evidence of the text. Why, then, are we only inclined to say so? Witt uses the phrase at least 30 other times in the text, say, at #144. He also uses, "we should like to say", "we are tempted to say", "we might say". I would call these the data of investigation. Evidence from which he makes his claims to the grammar of an example, sometimes for correction, sometimes to allow for greater possibilities.

    Also, the opportunity left by this only being an inclination is not for further justification (though possibly repeated, or reworded) but to show that we are now two people (or society and me) in a relationship (here, "teacher" and "student" as in #211 to "continue" after "instruction"--call it justifyor and justifyee if you like) that may continue the conversation about the crisis, or rift between us. This does not have to be about what justifying can not seem to accomplish here: to resolve whether the rule was followed correctly. We may have to turn against ourselves in the sense of finding the rule no longer agrees with our lives.[/quote]
  • Antony Nickles
    374
    If I may jump in, all that's needed is a relatively stable background of conventions. For instance, I trust that you understand well enough what I'm getting at here, thanks to extremely complex conventions in stringing words together that have become almost automatic for both of us.Zugzwang

    Not to quell interest in any topic of discussion, but we are at the moment at which something falls apart: your understanding, our conventions, the "automatic" naturalness of expression and reception, and, in particular--what Witt is discussing here (PI #217, above)--the end of our ability to justify our actions to each other. It is, unfortunately, a tortured thread; I appreciate the interest.
  • Zugzwang
    131
    Hutchinson’s point is that the background conventions do not do this work of understanding by themselves. They don’t exist independently of person-relative, occasion sensitive use.Joshs

    Of course. We navigate, interpret, improvise...always against a background of personal and social habit.
  • Zugzwang
    131
    we are at the moment at which something falls apart: your understanding, our conventions, the "automatic" naturalness of expression and reception, and, in particular--what Witt is discussing here (PI #217, above)--the end of our ability to justify our actions to each other. It is, unfortunately, a tortured thread; I appreciate the interest.Antony Nickles

    It is a great line to wrestle with.

    If I have exhausted the justifications, I have reached bedrock and my spade is turned. — PI 217

    I've tended to take this in terms of justifying claims that one knows something. A dry example: a king is put in check by a bishop. Someone doubts this or doesn't understand. You explain the rules, perhaps trace the diagonal path of the bishop. If that fails to convince, there's nothing more to do. There's nothing deeper, nothing hidden.
  • Zugzwang
    131
    Examples are necessary because we can not explain rules for our concepts that cover every situation--account for every context or predict the way in which they may go wrong.Antony Nickles

    Agreeing with you and this, I suggest that 'rule' and (in another post) 'govern' are useful but imperfect metaphors. There's no top-down authority on what our noises and marks mean. We just live together, experiment, and hopefully get better at talking and writing and gesturing at others. What is 'better' here? Well, the use of 'better' is caught up in this 'game.' Any of us can give examples of when 'better' is used appropriately. Any of us can propose a definition. Personally I don't think any of us possess more than a 'cloud' of its so-called meaning...or the meaning of any other word. 'We don't know what we are talking about.' But we can improvise decade after decade. If they ask us what we mean, we give them still more words.
  • Zugzwang
    131
    Why is it impossible for the teacher to know "all there is about justice"? Surely they can know enough to teach a student what the word "justice" means (i.e. how to use the word "justice"). After all, didn't someone teach you what "justice" means? And couldn't you teach the meaning of the word to someone else?Luke

    I'd like your input on the following, inspired by the quote above. Personally it seems impossible for anyone to know all there is to know about (the token) 'justice.' At the same time, most of us could give most of us a rough idea, a start. Then we just keep living, keep interacting, and the way we understand or employ the token shifts, more or less, depending on our trajectories through time. It 'means' (roughly) how it's used. (I think we agree on this.) Its 'meaning' is out there in the hustle and bustle of the crowd, and definitely not in the possession of a clever individual. It has a 'market value.' I care about its so-called meaning only because I interact with others. Its meaning (for instance) is how they'll react to me if I used it like this rather than like that.
  • Antony Nickles
    374
    I've tended to take this in terms of justifying claims that one knows something. A dry example: a king is put in check by a bishop. Someone doubts this or doesn't understand. You explain the rules, perhaps trace the diagonal path of the bishop. If that fails to convince, there's nothing more to do. There's nothing deeper, nothing hidden.Zugzwang

    You may be interested/challenged by Cavell's reading, which I draw out in the first post, as he compares it with Kripke's, who puts an emphasis on rules, and neither take the claim to be that there is a fundamental justification. As a teaser, Cavell points out that we are only inclined to, as he reads it, throw up our hands.

    "If I have exhausted the justifications I have reached bedrock, and my spade is turned. Then I am inclined to say: 'This is simply what I do.'
  • Srap Tasmaner
    3k
    Why, then, are we only inclined to say so? Witt uses the phrase at least 30 other times in the text, say, at #144. He also uses, "we should like to say", "we are tempted to say", "we might say". I would call these the data of investigation. Evidence from which he makes his claims to the grammar of an example, sometimes for correction, sometimes to allow for greater possibilities.Antony Nickles

    What's clearly missing from this list is "compelled" and friends. (Wittgenstein exegesis holds little interest for me, so I'm not going to chase up where he says "here we can only say ..." or some variation of that, but I guess you might want to compare the two sets, if you could be certain the variation isn't stylistic.)

    I like the "turning toward each other as (moral?) agents" idea you floated. I've had the experience of teaching my own children how to play chess -- their choice, not mine, I'm not a monster -- and as with anything taxing, there will come a point where they are overwhelmed or bored or thinking about something else. One of the things a child will do in such a situation is be silly: I check their king and they move a rook in a great curving arc, flying over various pieces and pawns, and capture my piece. That's not misunderstanding but a signal that they're done for now. The best response always seemed to me to join them in the new silly barely-any-rules game, which will end very quickly and then they can go off and do what they'd rather be doing.

    Some parents tend to be a little tone-deaf about this sort of thing and think they have to insist upon every rule all the time -- "Look if you're not going to play right, ..." Treating failure as self-exclusion from the game (as readers of LW sometimes will) strikes me as similarly tone-deaf. "I don't want to play anymore right now -- in fact I just can't play anymore right now because my brain is tired" is not the same as "I don't want to play" or "I don't understand" or "I don't want to learn this" or any of the various other ways the game you're playing might stop, or might just pause for a while. Being alive to those differences matters, I think, and in that moment you need to remember why you are there playing together in the first place. Maybe that purpose can be put on hold for a while, or maybe it can be served by playing something else.

    It's a pity there's so little in Wittgenstein about games evolving or morphing into other games, so that his readers, especially the less sympathetic, have always had to deal with the temptation to take "game" as indicating a closed, static rule system. The games my children have played among themselves generally evolved so rapidly they had trouble keeping track.

    Anyhow, I like the idea, @Antony Nickles, whether it's yours or Cavell's or Wittgenstein's.
  • Joshs
    1.9k
    We navigate, interpret, improvise...always against a background of personal and social habit.Zugzwang

    This sounds like Hacker’s reading of Wittgenstein.
  • Antony Nickles
    374
    There's no top-down authority on what our noises and marks mean... Any of us can give examples of when 'better' is used appropriately.Zugzwang

    This is actually the basis of Wittgenstein's method. He sets out an example of what we might say (maybe setting out part of its context) and then makes a claim about how and why it seems appropriate or not to fit or to reveal something about us, for us to see for ourselves. This would be why he says he is not advancing theories, because for anything to have value as a grammatical claim, we have to come to it on our own, and then he hasn't really told us anything we didn't already know. There is a difference between a grammatical claim and a definition, but I wanted to acknowledge the democratic affinity.
  • Zugzwang
    131
    This would be why he says he is not advancing theories, because for anything to have value as a grammatical claim, we have to come to it on our own, and then he hasn't really told us anything we didn't already know.Antony Nickles

    That's how I understand it also. As it take it, grammar (in this context) is just the way we (actually!) use words these days. The reasons that computers can't have toothaches is not metaphysical. It's simply that we usually don't attribute toothaches to machines. This could change. Once upon a time, machines couldn't catch viruses or get worms. 'Incorrect' (metaphorical) usages can obviously catch on until they are 'literally' literally true.

    There is a difference between a grammatical claim and a definition, but I wanted to acknowledge the democratic affinity.Antony Nickles

    I suppose a definition is or could be seen as a type of grammatical claim. It's of the (implicit) form of: the world works like this, see? I need to know what a 'lawyer' or a 'bear' or 'cyanide pill' is. I need to know what these tokens 'mean' (how and when to use them). Their only meaning is out there in the wild, in the way they are actually being traded. (Contrast this with some 'angelic' language which is static, unambiguous, universal, and complete.)
  • Zugzwang
    131
    You may be interested/challenged by Cavell's reading, which I draw out in the first post, as he compares it with Kripke's, who puts an emphasis on rules, and neither take the claim to be that there is a fundamental justification. As a teaser, Cavell points out that we are only inclined to, as he reads it, throw up our hands.Antony Nickles

    If I can find the time, I think I'll like Cavell. I have read much of this thread, so I have an idea of what you mean. Instead of fundamental justifications, I think in terms of basic conventions, basic habits. We don't justify driving on the correct side of the road. Either side works. All that matters is that we all drive on the same side. This echoes the arbitrary nature of the sign. Call is 'red' or 'booboo.' To me it seems that justification is a layer on top of an animal-like training. Ultimately I think even this justification layer is still training, so it's more of spectrum. To me there's no crystalline intellect riding on a meat-wagon. We all keep training one another as we interact (with words, smiles, frowns, payments, violence, sex, promotions, etc.).
  • Zugzwang
    131
    t's a pity there's so little in Wittgenstein about games evolving or morphing into other games, so that his readers, especially the less sympathetic, have always had to deal with the temptation to take "game" as indicating a closed, static rule system.Srap Tasmaner

    I think Wittgenstein was almost bound to be misunderstood this way, precisely because philosophers salivate for closed, static rule-systems (the intellectual conquest of the cosmos with magic words.)
  • Zugzwang
    131
    This sounds like Hacker’s reading of Wittgenstein.Joshs

    I just ordered the first Hacker & Baker volume, so I'll find out soon.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    3k
    I think in terms of basic conventions, basic habits. We don't justify driving on the correct side of the road. Either side works. All that matters is that we all drive on the same side. This echoes the arbitrary nature of the sign.Zugzwang

    Obligatory plug for David Lewis's Convention: either side of the road is an equilibrium, a stable solution to the coordination problem.
  • Zugzwang
    131
    Obligatory plug for David Lewis's Convention: either side of the road is an equilibrium, a stable solution to the coordination problem.Srap Tasmaner

    :up:
  • Luke
    1.6k
    I will try and respond to the others later, but for now:

    The question only comes after the expression. My claim is that we don't always intend what we express; that that idea creates a necessity which, as Witt would say, forces a picture upon us (of causality).Antony Nickles

    You seemed earlier to be disputing that we ever use language intentionally, in relation to our discussion about meaning and use. I did acknowledge earlier that we may not always speak intentionally (e.g. on autopilot), but I would say that we speak intentionally at least most of the time.

    We can intend to say something--we can reflect and try to say something specific, perhaps explicitly trying to influence (ahead of its reception) which way to take what we think might be misunderstood as another sense of the expression. However, most times we don't intend what we say in this sense, as a deliberate choice.Antony Nickles

    I think that we generally use words with intention, particularly by intending one meaning of a word or sentence rather than another; intending to express something or other. Whether it is taken in the right way, understood or interpreted correctly by its audience is another matter. However, I confess that I don't think this talk of intention is very relevant to anything Wittgenstein was saying. Again, it only became an issue because you seemed to argue that we do not or cannot use language intentionally.

    Witt puts it as "An intention is embedded in its situation" (#337). Sometimes it would be strange to even ask what we intended, as when a question can not exist.Antony Nickles

    But that needn't imply that we only speak with intention when a question is raised about what we intended. It might be odd to ask what a speaker intended on a given occasion (e.g.) only because there can be no doubt about what the speaker intended.

    That is one point, but not the one I was trying to draw your attention to there. I was pointing out the framing of the claim, not commenting on the topic of the paragraph. Those are not mutually exclusive.Antony Nickles

    Your concluding line: "The point is not to explain how language works, but to feel out the limits and logic of the world (our lives in it)", together with your comments regarding the grammar of ethical situations, the grammar of art, and the grammar of sitting in a chair (that you later retracted), all indicated to me that you were bordering on a misunderstanding whereby grammar is no longer about language, but about the things themselves (about "the world" and "our lives in it"). Hence, my blunt responses to remind you that grammar is about language.

    As poorly misleading as the OP is named, I would still say: other than rules, but of course my topic was the influence of the mathematical on the desire for rules to play the part Kripke gives them. The mathematical can be extended repetitively with certainty and completeness for every application, predetermined and predictably (even when--particularly when--"used" incorrectly).Antony Nickles

    The point of 'rails invisibly laid to infinity' is that this is the wrong picture. I agree with Baker and Hacker's reading of 218-221 that (even in mathematics) we learn a technique of how to apply a rule; we do not learn or get to know every possible application of a rule in advance.

    That, unlike the mathematical, these concepts are opened-ended, extendable into unforeseen contexts.Antony Nickles

    Wittgenstein says at PI 67 that "we extend our concept of number". Are you using "extendable" differently to this? Wittgenstein's use of the word "extend/extension" is clarified at PI 68:

    For I can give the concept of number rigid boundaries in this way, that is, use the word “number” for a rigidly bounded concept; but I can also use it so that the extension of the concept is not closed by a boundary. And this is how we do use the word “game”. For how is the concept of a game bounded? What still counts as a game, and what no longer does? — PI 68

    That is, the concepts 'number' and 'game' can be extended to new kinds of 'number' and 'game' that share a family resemblance to what we currently call "numbers" and "games". The concepts 'number' and 'game' themselves get extended or expanded in terms of "what counts" (or what we count) as (falling under) those concepts.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but you appear to suggest that it is not the concepts themselves which can be extended (in terms of their family resemblance), but it is the applications/uses of the concepts which can be extended "into unforeseen contexts".

    Either way, Wittgenstein indicates that mathematical concepts can be as open-ended as any other (in the sense of "extension" he uses here).

    A cardinal point of W.’s argument is that a series of examples can itself be employed as the expression of a rule. Cf. ‘Isn’t my knowledge, my concept of a game, completely expressed in the explanations that I could give? That is, in my describing examples of various kinds of games . . . and so on’ (PI §75)
    — Hacker

    This question is by the Interlocutor, who desires or believes possible a "complete expression" of a concept by explanations and describing examples. I take Witt's answer to the question here as no
    Antony Nickles

    I'm not sure why you think anything at PI 75 is said by the interlocutor. Typically - but not always - what the interlocutor says is in quotes. Anyway, I take Witt's answer to the question here to be yes, my concept of a game is completely expressed in the explanations and examples that I could give. As he says at 69:

    69. How would we explain to someone what a game is? I think that we’d describe games to him, and we might add to the description: “This and similar things are called ‘games’.” And do we know any more ourselves? Is it just that we can’t tell others exactly what a game is? — But this is not ignorance. We don’t know the boundaries because none have been drawn. To repeat, we can draw a boundary a for a special purpose. Does it take this to make the concept usable? Not at all! Except perhaps for that special purpose. — PI 69


    In the paragraphs following he points out that we can draw boundaries around different parts--mine loose and yours definitive--but that ultimately most times we can't completely express a concept by explanation; we can't say what we know (#78) or we can't anticipate the 9 mil ways an expression may be meaningful (#79)(even apart from just "what I intend it to be").Antony Nickles

    Yes, our concepts are not everywhere circumscribed by rules (see PI 84), but they are still usable.

    The standard reading of Witt here is based on our requirement eventually for some kind of foundational justification, which is most times projected through all his terminology (forms of life, language games); that our shared lives are the final or preexisting justification for our choices. Kripke allows us "inclinations" and Hacker appears to give us "propensities", but the common practice is "what is to be done". This is Cavell's point in saying that Kripke's picture ends the conversation before we even begin about what to do when we are at a loss, what to base our action on in a situation when our justifications to each other run out--that Kripke's picture limits our relationship to judge/defendant. This is not to say there are further justifications, but that we are only "inclined" to end the discussion with a shrug (which you and Hacker have completely ignored).Antony Nickles

    I'm not sure about ignored; it just seems to miss the mark.

    If I am asked why, given that I was told to add 2, I wrote ‘1002’ after ‘1000’, there is little I can say other than ‘That is what is called “adding 2”. — Baker and Hacker, exegesis of PI 217

    What will you say to the poor sod who continues to demand further justifications for why we write '1002' after '1000' when we are told to add 2? How will you avoid "repressing" them during this "crisis"?

    The desire for normativity creating social repression, suppressing the fallibility of the ordinary with the need to avoid the chaos of the skeptic's conclusions: we may not be justified, we may not (continue to) share a life, we can not be sure, relying on our knowledge and predetermination of practice or rules.Antony Nickles

    Shared behavioural propensities (looking in the direction pointed at) and common responses to teaching and training (learning the sequence of natural numbers) are presuppositions for the possibility of having such shared rules at all; not the bedrock of justification but the framework for its very possibility. The bedrock is the point at which justifications terminate, and the question ‘why?’ is answered simply by ‘Well, that is what we call “...”.’ — Baker and Hacker, exegesis of PI 217

    Wittgenstein is pointing here to "extremely general facts of nature" (PI 142) - such as our shared form of life and our natural human reactions - as the "framework for the very possibility" of having shared rules. You and Cavell have it backward in reading Wittgenstein as talking about the end of justification. Witt is not talking about the end of justification, but its beginning; its possibility.

    We do not follow a rule to expect something, but are said to be expecting (in that state).Antony Nickles

    The rule pertains to the use of the word "expect", not to (how to) expect something. The emphasis is on "said to be" (expecting). - "we are not doing natural science; nor yet natural history".

    So to say we are only talking about language is minimizingAntony Nickles

    Philosophy is a struggle against the bewitchment of our understanding by the resources of
    our language. [PI 109]

    111. The problems arising through a misinterpretation of our forms of language have the character of depth. They are deep disquietudes; they are as deeply rooted in us as the forms of our language, and their significance is as great as the importance of our language. —– Let’s ask ourselves: why do we feel a grammatical joke to be deep? (And that is what the depth of philosophy is.)

    115. A picture held us captive. And we couldn’t get outside it, for it lay in our language, and language seemed only to repeat it to us inexorably.

    119. The results of philosophy are the discovery of some piece of plain nonsense and the bumps that the understanding has got by running up against the limits of language. They — these bumps — make us see the value of that discovery.

    124. Philosophy must not interfere in any way with the actual use of language, so it can in the end only describe it.
    For it cannot justify it either.
    It leaves everything as it is.
    It also leaves mathematics as it is, and no mathematical discovery can advance it. A “leading problem of mathematical logic” is for us a problem of mathematics like any other.
    — LW
  • Luke
    1.6k
    I'd like your input on the following, inspired by the quote above. Personally it seems impossible for anyone to know all there is to know about (the token) 'justice.' At the same time, most of us could give most of us a rough idea, a start. Then we just keep living, keep interacting, and the way we understand or employ the token shifts, more or less, depending on our trajectories through time. It 'means' (roughly) how it's used. (I think we agree on this.) Its 'meaning' is out there in the hustle and bustle of the crowd, and definitely not in the possession of a clever individual. It has a 'market value.' I care about its so-called meaning only because I interact with others. Its meaning (for instance) is how they'll react to me if I used it like this rather than like that.Zugzwang

    Our concepts are not everywhere circumscribed by rules (cf. §§68–70). But
    what would it be to have rules ready for all possible eventualities (cf. §84)?
    The case of the disappearing chair leaves us bereft of words — we do not
    know what to say. We do not have any rules to budget for such cases. But
    the idea that our mastery of the use of the word ‘chair’ consists in knowledge
    of a rule that settles the truth-value of ‘There is a chair’ in every conceivable
    circumstance
    is confused. We have rules for the use of the word ‘chair’ wherever
    we need them (and if a new need crops up, we can devise a new rule
    to budget for it, modifying our concept of a chair accordingly). Our concept
    of a chair is none the worse for not being determined by rules that cover the
    imagined kind of case, precisely because it does not arise. ‘The signpost is in
    order — if, under normal circumstances, it fulfils its purpose’ (§87).
    — Baker and Hacker, exegesis of PI 80
  • Antony Nickles
    374
    What's clearly missing from this list is "compelled" and friends.. but I guess you might want to compare the two sets, if you could be certain the variation isn't stylistic.)Srap Tasmaner

    Imagine we can take every word and placement seriously, as if it all mattered, that nothing is rhetorical (Cavell basically, from The Availability of the Later Wittgenstein). That every unanswered question was for us, every claim subject to our acceptance. If we take it that there is no depth our reading can't reach, maybe we will learn the responsibility we have for our actions, even if only to ourselves. So I do see a reason for the different phrasing: that we have a desire for certainty that forces us to see things a particular way; we are compelled to see a word I say as something I (and you) can be sure of, e.g., that I am tempted by the picture that I use (intend) words in the way, a practice, in which they are supposed to be, normally, rightly (or wrongly).

    [my children] move a rook in a great curving arc, flying over various pieces and pawns, and capture my piece. That's not misunderstanding but a signal that they're done for now. The best response always seemed to me to join themSrap Tasmaner

    When we are at a loss as to how to respond, as to how to take an expression, there are many actions we can take: judgment, dismissal, projection, moralism, assumption, etc. Socrates recommends in the Theatetus not to trip up your opponent, looking for controversy, but to be fair, in earnest and, with a friendly and congenial spirit, find out what they really mean. And putting himself in the other's shoes is the exact process by which Witt presents his examples. I haven't read through the idea of the continuation of the relationship we have with the opaque and strange people (p. 223), but one idea is that they are hidden from me, by: me, my inability to join them, ignoring their movements as actions, dismissing their institutions as without purpose.

    Some parents tend to be a little tone-deaf about this sort of thing.... Treating failure as self-exclusion from the game (as readers of LW sometimes will) strikes me as similarly tone-deaf.Srap Tasmaner

    The phrasing of not being able to hear a tone, bounces off Witt's image of understanding an expression as like a theme of music (#528). Cavell, In a Pitch of Philosophy, examines the idea of the human voice in philosophy (through opera), and its repression, turning on its head (side) the emperical idea of seeing reality for a hearing, listening for the right sound of an argument.

    "I don't want to play anymore right now"... as "I don't want to play" or "I don't understand" or "I don't want to learn this" or any of the various other ways the game you're playing might stop. Being alive to those differences matters[/quote]

    Each of these expression have a sense simply of which the child does not want to continue (as overwhelmed, play with you, put more rules on this game making it boring). Outside of their not wanting to engage anymore with the game, is a context the concept is extended into that doesn't involve interaction with the game, but is connected to the fact that they "just can't play anymore right now because my brain is tired". Can we say the sentences now have a different sense? Perhaps as excuses to save pride or avoid shame?
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