• Janus
    11k
    Suppose you are right. Then those feelings and sensations are private. There is therefore, by your own argument, no way we can ensure that we are talking about the same thing when we use the word "pain" or "Loneliness".

    No?
    Banno

    I think we can know that we are talking about the same feelings, or kinds of feelings, but we cannot know that the feelings will be exactly the same for each of us, or even exactly the same at the different times we experience them.

    But the same applies to objects in our common world. We have no way of knowing whether the table looks exactly the same to each of us.

    I don't think we can, and nor do we need to, "ensure" anything. We all seem to know what we are speaking about when it comes to words that refer to common human feelings. And I would say that those of us who actually experience those feelings really do know what we are talking about, whereas those who don't experience them, not so much.
  • Banno
    14.5k
    But the same applies to objects in our common world. We have no way of knowing whether the table looks exactly the same to each of us.Janus

    The Blind Rugby Player example shows that its not the experience but the shared world that we can use to "triangulate" your beliefs against mine. It doesn't matter if you experience the table differently, it's still the table. If we disagree as to, say, if it will fit into a particulate space, we can put it to the test, together.

    That is not possible with sensations.

    The table is a fixed, shared point on which the language games in which it is involved may pivot.

    But if you are right in supposing that sensations are unsharable, then they cannot act as a fixed pivot for our language.

    It seems to me that you are in the untenable position of insisting that sensations are both not shared and yet the commonality on which talk of sensations is based.
  • Janus
    11k
    It seems to me that you are in the untenable position of insisting that sensations are both not shared and yet the commonality on which talk of sensations is based.Banno

    I didn't say sensations are not shared, though. I said the opposite; that they are common, in kind if not in token, and that people need to have experienced them in order to know what the words that refer to them mean. They also need to have seen and understood the behavior of others who profess to be having those sensations.

    Experiencing the sensation is one half of the equation and witnessing the behavior of others who are experiencing the sensation is the other half; so meaning has it's genesis in both private and public dimensions of experience. I can't understand why you want to eliminate the private dimension of experience, when it is obviously not irrelevant to the understanding of meanings.
  • Banno
    14.5k
    My point is just that the feelings elicited by a poem are ultimately private, like sensation.Janus

    I didn't say sensations are not shared, though.Janus

    Think that's enough. Cheers.
  • Janus
    11k
    My point is just that the feelings elicited by a poem are ultimately private, like sensation. — Janus


    I didn't say sensations are not shared, though. — Janus


    Think that's enough. Cheers.
    Banno

    As I said they can be shared in type if not in token; and also that they can be shared does not entail that they will be. A congenitally blind person cannot share your experience of seeing anything; they don't know what you are referring to when you speak of the flashing lime-green leaves. So there be no contradiction lurking there.

    But if you're done. you're done I guess; no problem from my side.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    9.1k
    [
    A token does not refer to how many times you see something.Luke

    For "every day" on which he has the sensation means more than once. He is not talking about a single instance which would be a token of the sensation.Luke

    So, which is it? Can a person encounter the same token more than one time or not? Or are you saying that a person can see the same token more than one time, but a person cannot 'sense' the same token more than one time?
  • Sam26
    1.8k
    There is no way to resolve the many interpretations of Wittgenstein, because the interpretations are as varied as language itself. Even people who have studied Wittgenstein all their life can't agree on how to interpret some of Wittgenstein's passages, and especially their implications. It seems the more we explicate what this or that passage means, the further apart we get. This is not to say that there aren't important points to be made about meaning within social contexts for example, but it is to say that we still have much to learn when it comes to thought, language, and the world. It would be wrong to try and pigeon hole Wittgenstein into this or that interpretation. Only Wittgenstein could clear up some of these mischaracterizations of what he's saying.

    Language and thinking, by its very nature is a bewitching thing. Hence, Wittgenstein's warning, "Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language (PI 109)." For myself, I hope that I've learned a methodology from Wittgenstein that will help provide some clarity, but definitely not complete clarity. Complete clarity may be a phantasm. It seems that any thought or theory can be pushed to the breaking point using language. This breaking point can be seen in the changing nature of language and knowledge. Language in some sense is a kind of fog that is more or less dense given this or that understanding. This isn't to promote a kind of skepticism, although there are things to be skeptical about, but only to point out that language traps us into a kind of mire from which we cannot escape. There is a kind of mysticism to my point, and I think to Wittgenstein's thinking.
  • TheMadFool
    12.6k
    The implications of a private language are what's important. One view on language is that people's minds are distinct in terms of the referent for words. So, the word "water" refers to A in one person's mind and B in another person's mind. Yet, the two of them use the word "water" in a conversation as if when the fact is .

    In short, everyone is talking to each other in their own private language. What would follow if this were true? Firstly, it's plain as the nose on my face that we would be talking past each other. What then? Confusion of course but of a rather insiduous and pernicuous kind. For instance, my God is different from your God but because both use the same word, "God", it gives us the false impression that we're talking about the same thing (same referent). Thus philosophers caution that before you engage in debate, define your terms. This simple but essential first step in a philosophical debate is an acknowledgement of the possibility that each and everyone has and uses a private language.

    Unless, we're on the same page - working with words whose definitions are mutually intelligible - no discussion should even begin lest we waste precious time and energy.

    Wittgenstein claims private languages even if one attempts to create one will be not only incomprehensible to another person but also can't be understood by the private linguist faerself.

    Thus the above view of language collapses. It can't be the case that the word "water" means A to one person and B to another (private meanings for words like "water" can't be used in ways consistent enough to make private languages possible). If so, language must be about what can be put in the public domain i.e. language is a social entity, dealing only in matters that can be shared.
  • Sam26
    1.8k
    I have no quarrel with the above post.
  • TheMadFool
    12.6k
    I have no quarrel with the above post.Sam26

    :ok:
  • Luke
    1.6k
    Can a person encounter the same token more than one time or not?Metaphysician Undercover

    It depends on the token/type. In terms of sensations, "encountering a token" is a particular instance of having the sensation. Unless you can time travel and live that moment over again, then you cannot have the same token of a sensation more than once.

    Or are you saying that a person can see the same token more than one time, but a person cannot 'sense' the same token more than one time?Metaphysician Undercover

    It's not about seeing a token. A token is a particular instance of a type. In the case of iPhones, my iPhone is one particular instance and your iPhone is another particular instance. In the case of chairs, a particular chair is one instance. In the case of sensations, having the sensation at a particular time, or for a particular duration of time (i.e. for as long as the sensation lasts), is one instance.

    Your assertion, that if a sensation goes away and comes back it cannot be the same token, makes no sense because it is completely unjustified. I get a pain in my toe sometimes at night, I can get it many nights in a row, or some nights I don't get it. It wakes me up when I'm sleeping. I cannot see what causes it to come and go. But the fact that it comes and goes does not give me reason to claim that it is not the same token of the type "pain" every time it occurs .Metaphysician Undercover

    I will grant you this one point. It is possible for someone to have the same pain for several days in a row, and we might consider this to be a single token or instance of pain. Admittedly, I had assumed that the sensation 'S' was fleeting and was presumed to last less than a day. Whether we call it a different token or not makes little difference, however, because the problem remains: how can you be sure that you are remembering it correctly as the same sensation after you have stopped sensing it for a while (e.g. after you have slept or lost consciousness)? In other words, are you correct to still call it 'S'?

    It's the same problem if it were a different token. If you didn't have the sensation for a day or more and then it apparently returned, you could not be sure that you were remembering it correctly as the same sensation. The point I have been making is: why would you call it by the same name ('S') if it is not the same token/instance of the sensation? If it goes away for a week or a month or a year and then returns, then it is not the same instance of the sensation. This shows that 'S' is supposed to be the name of a type of sensation, not the name of only an instance or token of (having) the sensation. To write 'S' in a calendar "for every day on which I have the sensation" implies that there may be some days that I do not have the sensation.

    Nevertheless, the point is moot. I raised the type/token distinction because you have long-standing problems with identity and what "the same" means. You are right that Wittgenstein does not talk about the type/token distinction, but I never claimed or meant to imply that he did. I thought that the type/token distinction might help you. I still think it's easier to think of it in terms of different tokens of the sensation, but it needn't be. The problem is in remembering whether it is still the same type or token of the sensation - whether it can still correctly be called 'S' - after you have stopped sensing it for a while.
  • Janus
    11k
    This isn't to promote a kind of skepticism, although there are things to be skeptical about, but only to point out that language traps us into a kind of mire from which we cannot escape. There is a kind of mysticism to my point, and I think to Wittgenstein's thinking.Sam26

    I think this is right: it is only the language of poetry that can escape the mire; because it doesn't aim to be propositional but rather allusive and evocative.
  • Sam26
    1.8k
    I think this is right: it is only the language of poetry that can escape the mire; because it doesn't aim to be propositional but rather allusive and evocative.Janus

    For me, probably not Banno, there is a kind of mystical experience in poetry, music, art, and even prayer, that transcends language to a point, not completely. So, the mystical can be seen in, for example, an act of prayer, and it's not about being true or false, it's about what the experience shows us. Wittgenstein admired some of the writings Kierkegaard (I don't put that much value in Kiekegaard), but I think it had to do with admiring the transcendent reach, right or wrong. The mire I'm referring to is confusion, but I don't think poetry escapes this - depending on what you mean by the mire. As long as we use language, in whatever venue, we are in the mire. Don't think I'm saying something against clarity, because I'm not, I'm just saying that language is a muddled approach to reality. I do think that Wittgenstein's thinking helps to bring us one step closer to clarity, if clarity is the objective.

    I'm not sure I communicated my point well, but there you have it.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    9.1k
    It depends on the token/type. In terms of sensations, "encountering a token" is a particular instance of having the sensation. Unless you can time travel and live that moment over again, then you cannot have the same token of a sensation more than once.Luke

    As I've repeated numerous times now, you've provided nothing to support this assertion. You are claiming two distinct types of tokens, ones which can be encountered numerous times and ones which cannot. But such a distinction needs to be justified, and as I explained many inner experiences like memories and ideas seem to involve encountering the same token numerous different times. So the distinction cannot be based in an internal/external division. You seem to be putting "sensations" in a category other than "inner experience", and other than "external object". And that doesn't make any sense.

    I will grant you this one point. It is possible for someone to have the same pain for several days in a row, and we might consider this to be a single token or instance of pain. Admittedly, I had assumed that the sensation 'S' was fleeting and was presumed to last less than a day. Whether we call it a different token or not makes little difference, however, because the problem remains: how can you be sure that you are remembering it correctly as the same sensation after you have stopped sensing it for a while (e.g. after you have slept or lost consciousness)? In other words, are you correct to still call it 'S'?Luke

    OK, I'm glad we're finally getting to the point. Whether or not you believe it is possible to have the same token of a type of sensation on numerous occasions, is not what is at issue. What is at issue is that the private diarist is claiming this, and is claiming to mark down S every time the very same token of sensation occurs, "a particular sensation". Whether it is possible for the person to actual have the same particular sensation is not the issue.

    The question Wittgenstein asks, is if the person might be correct in judging that a present instance is the same as a prior instance. And, he concludes that since there is no criteria which will tell the diarist whether it truly is the same or not, it doesn't make sense to even talk about the possibility of being correct. Again, the question of whether it's possible for the person to have the very same sensation on numerous occasions is not relevant, because what Wittgenstein has concluded is that it is impossible for the person to know whether or not it is the very same sensation anyway. So even if it is possible that it is the same, and it actually is the same, the person would not know whether it is the same, because the person does not have what is required to make that judgement.

    It's the same problem if it were a different token. If you didn't have the sensation for a day or more and then it apparently returned, you could not be sure that you were remembering it correctly as the same sensation.Luke

    I think you need to rethink this, because it is not correct. If the diarist is judging the distinct instances, as distinct particulars, rather than as one and the same particular, the problem of a criterion of identity evapourates. The diarist can make up any criteria whatsoever as to what constitutes "the type". He can even say that they are the same type because he named them both S. The diarist may create the type. Simply naming them as the same type is sufficient criteria for making them the same type. This is what comes up at 270, once the diarist switches from trying to identify the same particular to identifying instances of the same type, there's no such thing as naming it wrong, because the type is determined by the particulars (tokens) which are named as being of that type.
  • Luke
    1.6k
    As I've repeated numerous times now, you've provided nothing to support this assertion. You are claiming two distinct types of tokens, ones which can be encountered numerous times and ones which cannot. But such a distinction needs to be justified, and as I explained many inner experiences like memories and ideas seem to involve encountering the same token numerous different times.Metaphysician Undercover

    Look up the type/token distinction. It doesn't have a private meaning.

    But such a distinction needs to be justified, and as I explained many inner experiences like memories and ideas seem to involve encountering the same token numerous different times.Metaphysician Undercover

    What do you mean by "the same token"?

    So the distinction cannot be based in an internal/external division.Metaphysician Undercover

    I'm not basing it on an internal/external division; I'm basing it on types (classes) and tokens (instances of those classes). You are incorrectly basing it on instances of "encountering".

    You seem to be putting "sensations" in a category other than "inner experience", and other than "external object".Metaphysician Undercover

    No, I'm saying you have sensations as an "inner experience".

    Whether or not you believe it is possible to have the same token of a type of sensation on numerous occasions, is not what is at issue.Metaphysician Undercover

    I'm not saying that; I'm saying it is supposed that you have different tokens of a type of sensation on numerous occasions, where each token is a different instance of having the (supposedly same) sensation.

    What is at issue is that the private diarist is claiming this, and is claiming to mark down S every time the very same token of sensation occurs, "a particular sensation".Metaphysician Undercover

    It's the same type, not the same token. The diarist claims to mark down 'S' every time the very same type of sensation occurs, with each instance of the sensation being a different token.

    The question Wittgenstein asks, is if the person might be correct in judging that a present instance is the same as a prior instance.Metaphysician Undercover

    Right.

    And, he concludes that since there is no criteria which will tell the diarist whether it truly is the same or not, it doesn't make sense to even talk about the possibility of being correct.Metaphysician Undercover

    Which is why the use of 'S' cannot be established.

    I think you need to rethink this, because it is not correct. If the diarist is judging the distinct instances, as distinct particulars, rather than as one and the same particular, the problem of a criterion of identity evapourates. The diarist can make up any criteria whatsoever as to what constitutes "the type". He can even say that they are the same type because he named them both S.Metaphysician Undercover

    I don't see why you say this is incorrect. As I said in my last post, it could be considered to be the same "particular" or token of the sensation both before and after one has slept or been unconscious. The problem is in remembering it correctly after waking up or regaining consciousness. Therefore, the problem can equally apply to tokens. That is, if you prefer to define a token, or a particular instance of a sensation, such that it includes a discontinuity in your awareness of it. We commonly refer to some pains in this way.

    The diarist can make up any criteria whatsoever as to what constitutes "the type".Metaphysician Undercover

    The same applies to a token that includes a discontinuity of your awareness of it. (Although not entirely accurate, it may be easier to call this a 'discontinuous token' or a 'broken token'. Or, we could simply refer to them as two different tokens.) The diarist can make up any criteria whatsoever as to what constitutes it being the same token both before and after the discontinuity.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    9.1k
    Look up the type/token distinction. It doesn't have a private meaning.Luke

    I didn't say anything about a "private meaning". I don't know what you're talking about here, and can only assume that you misunderstood what was said, unless you are back to your way of intentionally misunderstanding (straw man).

    What do you mean by "the same token"?Luke

    I already went through this, when you accused me of changing the subject to talk about memories, and I replied to tell you that Wittgenstein is talking about "inner experiences" in general, and sensation is used as an example. Here; I'll reproduce it for you..

    You appear to be missing the point Luke. If the same token of a chair can come and go many times, relative to my conscious experience, then why can't the same token of sensation come and go many times, relative to my conscious experience? One comes from ,and goes to; an external source which is outside my conscious experience, and the other comes from and goes to an internal source which is outside my conscious experience How could your memory work, if it wasn't the same token coming and going, to and from your mind, each time that you remember the same event? A memory of an event comes and goes from your conscious experience, coming from and going to some internal place. Why would you think that each time the memory occurs to you, it is a different token? If it was a different token, you would not remember it as the same event, it would occur to you as a different event each time. And if each time the idea of two came into your mind, that is the number two not the symbol, it was a different token, how could you do any mathematics?Metaphysician Undercover

    I'm not basing it on an internal/external division; I'm basing it on types (classes) and tokens (instances of those classes). You are incorrectly basing it on instances of "encountering".Luke

    I fully understand the type/token distinction. I don't understand the basis of your claim that a single token of a sensation cannot be experienced (since you do not like "encountered") by a person more than one different time. Isn't any duration of time "more than one different time"? Obviously we experience the same token of chair many different times, and as I described the other day, it appears like we must experience the same token of memory, and the same token of idea, many different times. I do not understand why you think a token of sensation is different.

    No, I'm saying you have sensations as an "inner experience".Luke

    If a sensation is an inner experience, just like memories and ideas are inner experiences, how is it that we appear to experience the same token of a memory many different times, and the same token of an idea many different times, yet you still insist that we cannot experience the same token of sensation a multitude of times.

    Consider this Luke. You agree that a token of sensation has a temporal extension.
    I will grant you this one point. It is possible for someone to have the same pain for several days in a row, and we might consider this to be a single token or instance of pain. Admittedly, I had assumed that the sensation 'S' was fleeting and was presumed to last less than a day.Luke
    Why do you think that it's not possible for the person not to be consciously aware of that token of pain during some period of its existence? So that particular token of pain could be existing somewhere in the subconscious, while the conscious mind is not at that time aware of it. Isn't this what we say about memories? The memory is 'stored' somewhere so that it is not always present to the conscious mind throughout the entirety of its temporal existence. Yet it must exist somewhere as that particular memory, or else the conscious mind would not be able to access it.

    However, it may actually be the case, that each time a person remembers, or accesses the memory of the same event, the mind recreates the so-called token of memory. If this is the case, then it is not really truthful to say that it is the same memory, because it's really a new scenario created each time. Likewise with ideas, the idea of 'two' for example. If the mind must recreate the idea of two, instead of pulling that token of idea from a stored memory bank, then it is not really the same particular idea. Nevertheless, our language is such that we speak as if these tokens of idea and memory are the very same tokens, and this is the type of language use which Wittgenstein is bringing to our attention as something which renders "what a mathematician is inclined to say about the objectivity and reality of mathematical facts" in need of philosophical treatment, as the treatment of an illness.

    I don't see why you say this is incorrect. As I said in my last post, it could be considered to be the same "particular" or token of the sensation both before and after one has slept or been unconscious. The problem is in remembering it correctly after waking up or regaining consciousness. Therefore, the problem can equally apply to tokens. That is, if you prefer to define a token, or a particular instance of a sensation, such that it includes a discontinuity in your awareness of it. We commonly refer to some pains in this way.Luke

    It is incorrect for the reasons I explained. If the person wants to say that it is the very same particular, a criterion as to what qualifies as "the same" is required in order that such naming can be correct. But if the person wants to name two distinct things as the same type, simply naming them as "the same type" is sufficient criteria for them to actually be the same type (270). That is because "type" is an artificial classification, we make the type and we name the tokens of the type, but particularity is not something we create.

    The diarist can make up any criteria whatsoever as to what constitutes it being the same token both before and after the discontinuity.Luke

    But just like the chair, there is a reality, or truth to whether or not it is the same token, therefore a correctness to the matter. The point being that there is a valid question, is it the same chair or is it not the same chair, and we believe that there is a true answer. The true answer is establish by some criteria like temporal continuity, and the fact that someone could point to the whereabouts of that particular chair for the entire time period, to confirm that it is the same. If the diarist "can make up any criteria whatsoever", then the truth or falsity is circumvented, and as Wittgenstein says, " we can't talk about
    'right'."(258)

    On the other hand, if the diarist is naming distinct tokens of a type, he cannot ne wrong because he is creating the type: and it can be as he wants: "the hypothesis that I make a mistake is mere show."(270)
  • Janus
    11k
    For me, probably not Banno, there is a kind of mystical experience in poetry, music, art, and even prayer, that transcends language to a point, not completely. So, the mystical can be seen in, for example, an act of prayer, and it's not about being true or false, it's about what the experience shows us. Wittgenstein admired some of the writings Kierkegaard (I don't put that much value in Kiekegaard), but I think it had to do with admiring the transcendent reach, right or wrong. The mire I'm referring to is confusion, but I don't think poetry escapes this - depending on what you mean by the mire. As long as we use language, in whatever venue, we are in the mire. Don't think I'm saying something against clarity, because I'm not, I'm just saying that language is a muddled approach to reality. I do think that Wittgenstein's thinking helps to bring us one step closer to clarity, if clarity is the objective.

    I'm not sure I communicated my point well, but there you have it.
    Sam26

    I agree with you about the mystical element in the arts and religion. I also like what I have read of Kierkegaard's work. As I understand him he's more about the immanent than the transcendent; in other words he's more about the existential leap of faith than he is about advocating the idea of any transcendent realm. Of course as with any thinker whose writings are dense and allusive, various interpretations are possible.

    I think poetry escapes confusion because it is not trying to arrive at clarity, or at least any definite propositional kind of clarity, lacking any ambiguity. Perhaps by "confusion" you mean more uncertainty, and if this is the case I would agree with you because I see (at least much of the best) poetry as a celebration of uncertainty. Would you include the other arts in this judgement as well?

    I'm not sure what you mean when you say language is a muddled approach to reality. And again I'd ask whether you would include the language of music and the language of the visual arts in this. Perhaps you mean that what we say about reality is never reality itself? But then the very idea of reality would seem to be impossible without language.
  • Luke
    1.6k
    I didn't say anything about a "private meaning". I don't know what you're talking about here,Metaphysician Undercover

    You asked for proof regarding the type/token distinction. I can only refer you to the definition, otherwise I don't know what sort of proof you mean.

    I fully understand the type/token distinction.Metaphysician Undercover

    Then you should understand, per the article, that "The type–token distinction separates types (abstract descriptive concepts) from tokens (objects that instantiate concepts)."

    I don't understand the basis of your claim that a single token of a sensation cannot be experienced (since you do not like "encountered") by a person more than one different time. Isn't any duration of time "more than one different time"?Metaphysician Undercover

    Yes, a duration of time is "more than one different time"; it is a period of time. A single token of a sensation also lasts for a period of time. What I am saying is that you cannot have the same token of a sensation twice (unless you can time travel and relive some period of time over again).

    Obviously we experience the same token of chair many different times, and as I described the other day, it appears like we must experience the same token of memory, and the same token of idea, many different times. I do not understand why you think a token of sensation is different.Metaphysician Undercover

    Instantiations of sensations necessarily depend on our experience; instantitations of chairs do not. There are many chairs that exist without you ever encountering them, but there are no sensations that you can have without sensing them. This is why a token of a sensation is different. The instantiation of a chair does not require you to "encounter" or "experience" it. However, as I noted before, what they have in common is that chairs and sensations both have particular life spans of their existence/instantiation.

    If a sensation is an inner experience, just like memories and ideas are inner experiences, how is it that we appear to experience the same token of a memory many different times, and the same token of an idea many different times, yet you still insist that we cannot experience the same token of sensation a multitude of times.Metaphysician Undercover

    We don't experience the same token of an "inner experience" many times. A token of an experience can be timestamped. You cannot have the same timestamped token of an experience twice. You clearly do not understand the type/token distinction if you think this. You can only have the same type of experience twice.

    Why do you think that it's not possible for the person not to be consciously aware of that token of pain during some period of its existence?Metaphysician Undercover

    If the person is not consciously aware of the pain during some time, then they are not having any pain (not in pain), so there is no pain during that time.

    So that particular token of pain could be existing somewhere in the subconscious, while the conscious mind is not at that time aware of it. Isn't this what we say about memories? The memory is 'stored' somewhere so that it is not always present to the conscious mind throughout the entirety of its temporal existence. Yet it must exist somewhere as that particular memory, or else the conscious mind would not be able to access it.Metaphysician Undercover

    I suppose, but now you are no longer talking about "inner experiences" (and their instantiations) like we are with sensations.

    However, it may actually be the case, that each time a person remembers, or accesses the memory of the same event, the mind recreates the so-called token of memory. If this is the case, then it is not really truthful to say that it is the same memory, because it's really a new scenario created each time.Metaphysician Undercover

    That's right, this is what tokens are about. Tokens of "inner experiences" are each unique instantiations that can be timestamped. This is why you are wrong to speak of there being more than one of "the same token".

    Likewise with ideas, the idea of 'two' for example. If the mind must recreate the idea of two, instead of pulling that token of idea from a stored memory bank, then it is not really the same particular idea.Metaphysician Undercover

    I don't know what you mean by "recreate the idea of two". The type/token distinction distinguishes between abstract classes - which are themselves ideas - and real instantiations, so applying the type/token distinction to ideas might be confusing (are you talking about the type of an idea or the token of an idea?). Let's stick with sensations.

    It is incorrect for the reasons I explained. If the person wants to say that it is the very same particular, a criterion as to what qualifies as "the same" is required in order that such naming can be correct. But if the person wants to name two distinct things as the same type, simply naming them as "the same type" is sufficient criteria for them to actually be the same type (270).Metaphysician Undercover

    But a person can simply name them as "the same token", too, and that is also sufficient criteria. We can agree to define the criteria for types and tokens however we like. Moreover, an instantiation of a chair depends on what counts as a chair. So we could equally say that criteria are required for what qualifies as being of "the same type".
  • sime
    622
    We don't experience the same token of an "inner experience" many times. A token of an experience can be timestamped. You cannot have the same timestamped token of an experience twice. You clearly do not understand the type/token distinction if you think this. You can only have the same type of experience twice.Luke

    Doesn't your timestamp proposal amount to fitting experience to theory, rather than vice versa?

    I used to have similar thoughts when contemplating McTaggart's "Unreality of Time". The idea being to regard the terms of the A -Series (i.e. Past, present, future) as being indexicals into a B series of "time-stamps", in an attempt to deflate the A series into the B series, in order to establish the unreality of change.

    So for example, the potentially perplexing A-series observation "now is no longer now" becomes after substitution "08:53 is no longer 08:54" which is immediately seen to be nonsensical. Here a time-stamp is meant to refer to a sensation under the assumption that one's set of sensations are unique and ordered -which amounts to the assumption that the B series is phenemenologically real.

    I've since come to realise that the middle Wittgenstein had a somewhat similar but arguably better conception expressed in terms of his cinema analogy. With it he identified the A-series of consciousness with an image shown on a cinema screen, and the B-series with the ordered-frames of the movie encoded in the photographic film that was projected onto the screen.

    Unlike my proposal, Wittgenstein's proposal (to my understanding) is much weaker, in making no assumptions as to the phenomenological reality of the B series. If I understand him correctly, all that can be talked about, to use his analogy, are case-specific use-cases in which the image on the screen happens to be relatable to the frames on the film-reel. In other words, there aren't always criteria available by which to say that an experience is unique or different from another experience.
  • Luke
    1.6k
    Doesn't your timestamp proposal amount to fitting experience to theory, rather than vice versa?sime

    I don't know; I'm only applying the type/token distinction to sensations in order to clarify what could be meant by "the same sensation", by noting the difference between the "same type" of sensation and the "same token" of a sensation.

    In other words, there aren't always criteria available by which to say that an experience is unique or different from another experience.sime

    It may have been sloppy of me to talk about experiences here instead of sensations. Anyhow, couldn't we use the timestamps of sensations as the criteria in order to differentiate two tokens?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    9.1k
    You asked for proof regarding the type/token distinction. I can only refer you to the definition, otherwise I don't know what sort of proof you mean.Luke

    I didn't ask for proof regarding the type/token distinction, I asked for proof of your assumption that a person cannot experience the same token of a sensation on numerous different occasions, like we do with tokens of other types.

    Yes, a duration of time is "more than one different time"; it is a period of time. A single token of a sensation also lasts for a period of time. What I am saying is that you cannot have the same token of a sensation twice (unless you can time travel and relive some period of time over again).Luke

    As I explained this is a problematic assumption. If a token of a sensation has temporal extension, and an inner experience can come and go from the conscious mind like a memory does, then why can't the the token of a sensation recur to the conscious mind numerous times, just like a memory does?

    Since this claim of yours is so clearly problematic, I asked for justification. But you just kept reasserting it over and over again. Now you appear to have offered an attempt at justification, so I'll get on toward analyzing that.

    Instantiations of sensations necessarily depend on our experience; instantitations of chairs do not. There are many chairs that exist without you ever encountering them, but there are no sensations that you can have without sensing them. This is why a token of a sensation is different. The instantiation of a chair does not require you to "encounter" or "experience" it. However, as I noted before, what they have in common is that chairs and sensations both have particular life spans of their existence/instantiation.Luke

    I think this expresses an ontological misunderstanding inherent in direct realism. A token of a chair is not a token of a chair without being encountered and classed as such. It was your choice to bring us away from Wittgenstein's words of particular things, to use the type/token terminology, now you cannot simply slip back without suffering the consequences. If both, the particular chair, and the particular sensation have been judged to be of a specific type, making them "tokens", then it's nonsensical to say that one of them might not have been encountered.

    In case the preceding didn't make sense to you, here is the inverted argument, which may make more sense to you. For any occurrence of a "sensation" there is a thing sensed by the conscious mind, or else there would be nothing to qualify as "the token". The sensation itself cannot be the token because sensation is a type, and if we allow that there is variance in sensation, differences in sensation, then there must be an object of sensation at each different instance of sensation, to account for the differences, and this object is what we can call the token.

    Now, your claim is that the objects of sensation, the tokens, cannot exist without being apprehended by the conscious mind (what you call sensing them). But if this is true, then the objects, or tokens, only have existence if they are being apprehended by the conscious mind, and this implies that the conscious mind itself, and only the conscious mind, creates these object, or tokens. They only exist because they are being sensed. This negates the characteristics of "a token", as the representative of a class or type, by allowing it to be any type. So you now propose a token "the sensation", which represents no specific type, because the conscious mind creates it every time that the mind encounters it, (as it is not really something found or encountered, it is something only existing when present to the mind, produced by the mind's presence), therefore the mind can make it of any type whatsoever. it is not a token of any type.

    Such a thing, the object which can represent any type whatsoever, is not a token at all. And when you say "This is why a token of a sensation is different." , it is because you have described the "token of a sensation" as something other than a token. Are you ready to leave this type/token distinction as inapplicable to Wittgenstein's example of the private language, and proceed without it, or are you still insistent on using it as a crutch, which misleads you?

    If the person is not consciously aware of the pain during some time, then they are not having any pain (not in pain), so there is no pain during that time.Luke

    Right, because "pain" here refers to what occurs to the conscious mind, having classed the object of sensation (the token) as that type, pain. But just because the mind is not actively classifying the object as a type, "pain" (i.e. the pain is present to the mind as pain), this does not mean that the token, the object itself, which gets classed as pain, is nonexistent. If the object (token) were nonexistent at this time, then that object would be completely created by the mind, as imaginary, or fictional, when present to the mind, and it could not be a real object, or a token at all, not having the necessity of representing a type, as explained above.

    I suppose, but now you are no longer talking about "inner experiences" (and their instantiations) like we are with sensations.Luke

    What? You are going backward here. If anything, a memory is more properly an "inner experience" than a sensation is. Remembering something requires nothing external, it is a completely internal process, pulling something from the internal memory banks, and recollecting. It is as much purely internal as is possible. The "sensation" always involves something external to the conscious experience, the object of sensation, and this is why the act of sensation is so difficult to grasp, or understand. It straddles the supposed internal/external divide, Wittgenstein specifically, and intentionally, choose "sensation" as his example because it elicits that difficulty, through the ambiguity displayed by our disagreement. The object of recollection, memory, is clearly and unequivocally, something internal, when we remember something, we pull a token from the internal memory banks. But the object of sensation may be of the external type, as I've been arguing, or it may be of the internal type, as you've been arguing.

    That's right, this is what tokens are about. Tokens of "inner experiences" are each unique instantiations that can be timestamped. This is why you are wrong to speak of there being more than one of "the same token".Luke

    I don't ever speak of there being more than one of the same token. That is your straw man. I speak of encountering, or experiencing the same token more than one time, as in the example of the chair. It seems to me, that since you believe that it is impossible for the same internal tokens to come and go from the conscious mind, each one maintaining its identity as the very same token each time it recurs to the mind, you represent this talk as if it is a case of talking about more than one of the same token.

    But a person can simply name them as "the same token", too, and that is also sufficient criteria.Luke

    No, we cannot do that. Each token, by the fact that it is designated as a "token", is necessarily a token of all the types that it is a token of. So we cannot arbitrarily declare that it is "the same token" because there is correctness (criteria) implied by the fact that you are calling it a token. If we remove this criteria, the type/token distinction which you've been insisting on, we can get to the point Wittgenstein is making in the PLA. There can be no judgement of correctness to the diarist's use of "S". But "S" does not refer to a token, it refers to a particular thing which is judged to be the same thing each time it is encountered or experienced, and thereby named "S".
  • Sam26
    1.8k
    I think poetry escapes confusion because it is not trying to arrive at clarity, or at least any definite propositional kind of clarity, lacking any ambiguity. Perhaps by "confusion" you mean more uncertainty, and if this is the case I would agree with you because I see (at least much of the best) poetry as a celebration of uncertainty. Would you include the other arts in this judgement as well?Janus

    Ya, I think you could include dancing, acting, meditation, etc, - which are outward expressions of the inner self. Of course, even language is an outward expression of the inner self (this would have to be further clarified), but it's governed by rules, without which it would fall apart. Even poetry is still governed by grammatical rules, but it lends itself to more of the subjective. There is a kind of balancing act between the subjective world and the objective world around us.

    I'm not sure what you mean when you say language is a muddled approach to reality. And again I'd ask whether you would include the language of music and the language of the visual arts in this. Perhaps you mean that what we say about reality is never reality itself? But then the very idea of reality would seem to be impossible without language.Janus

    When I say muddled, I mean reality, and talk about reality, it's a bit ambiguous. Even the word reality is a bit ambiguous. Hence, all the discussions about, "What IS reality?" Wittgenstein is certainly ambiguous in certain passages, i.e., it's difficult to get clear on what he's trying to communicate. I'm not saying it's all ambiguous, and I do think there is a correct and incorrect way of interpreting Wittgenstein.
  • Janus
    11k
    I can't find anything to disagree with here, Sam, which is a shame. :wink:
  • Banno
    14.5k
    For me, probably not Banno, there is a kind of mystical experience in poetry, music, art, and even prayer, that transcends language to a point, not completely.Sam26

    I don't disagree, but woudl point out that language transcends language. Poetry is of course just more language; and there is no definite distinction to be made between prose and poetry. Some find the Sermon on the Mount transcendent; some find The Simpsons transcendent.

    Which brings me back again to §201.
  • Luke
    1.6k
    A token of a chair is not a token of a chair without being encountered and classed as such.Metaphysician Undercover

    "Encountering" or "experiencing" is not a requirement of the type/token distinction, nor is it part of the definition of a token. That is nothing but your own mistaken and unnecessary assumption.

    It was your choice to bring us away from Wittgenstein's words of particular things, to use the type/token terminology, now you cannot simply slip back without suffering the consequences.Metaphysician Undercover

    Is this empty posturing necessary? Stop being a moron.

    If both, the particular chair, and the particular sensation have been judged to be of a specific type, making them "tokens", then it's nonsensical to say that one of them might not have been encountered.Metaphysician Undercover

    Who encounters all the chairs in the world? You? Or just anybody? I have no doubt that there are instantiations of stars and moons that nobody has ever encountered or experienced. Regardless, it makes no difference to the type/token distinction.

    The sensation itself cannot be the token because sensation is a typeMetaphysician Undercover

    'S' is the type of sensation. The recurrence of particular instantiations of 'S' had by the diarist are supposed to be the tokens of that type of "certain sensation". That's why the diarist is said to write 'S' every time the sensation recurs.

    if we allow that there is variance in sensation, differences in sensation, then there must be an object of sensation at each different instance of sensationMetaphysician Undercover

    "The sensation" refers to both the type and its tokens. "Each different instance of sensation" is a token (that's what "token" means), despite you just having claimed that "the sensation itself cannot be the token".

    But if this is true, then the objects, or tokens, only have existence if they are being apprehended by the conscious mind, and this implies that the conscious mind itself, and only the conscious mind, creates these object, or tokens.Metaphysician Undercover

    According to that logic, the same must also be true of external objects.

    Your argument is both that all tokens must be encountered and apprehended, but also that encountering and apprehending tokens implies that the mind creates them.

    Sorry, but I can't be bothered trying to explain it to you or to put up with your charades any more.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    9.1k
    That is nothing but your own mistaken and unnecessary assumption.Luke

    The assumption is that a type is a human creation, artificial. And, since only human beings know humanly created types, then to be be a member, token, of a type is a human judgement. Of course it might be a mistaken assumption,


    'S' is the type of sensation. The recurrence of particular instantiations of 'S' had by the diarist are supposed to be the tokens of that type of "certain sensation". That's why the diarist is said to write 'S' every time the sensation recurs.Luke

    Back to square one, Luke demonstrates that he doesn't know how to read. How is "the sensation", as used four times in 258, in Wittgenstein's description of what it might mean to "name" a sensation, supposed to refer to a type, called "sensation", rather than to a particular sensation?

    "The sensation" refers to both the type and its tokens. "Each different instance of sensation" is a token (that's what "token" means), despite you just having claimed that "the sensation itself cannot be the token".Luke

    You're missing the point Luke. If each instance of sensation was actually the token itself, then there would be nothing which differentiates one instance from another, and we'd have no basis for a claim that they are distinct tokens. Imagine if each instance of seeing is itself a token. Then each is an instance of seeing, and nothing more than seeing, and they are all identical, the same, as simply instances of seeing. It is the object, the thing described as seen, which forms the difference between distinct instances of seeing.

    Now imagine if each instance of pain is itself a token. Then each instance of pain is exactly identical to every other instance of pain, as merely "pain", It is the described object, 'pain in my tooth', 'pain in my toe' etc., which provides the basis for a difference. Therefore the pain itself cannot be a token, as pain is a type, which is a judgement of the mind. So if there is a difference between one pain and another, the difference must be attributable to the source of the pain (just like in an instance of seeing), and this is something other than the pain itself. Differences within a type are attributable to distinct tokens. Therefore the token of pain must be something other than the pain itself (which is a type), and this is what is referred to in philosophy as "the object". If pain itself is a token, then there is no type/token distinction.

    According to that logic, the same must also be true of external objects.Luke

    Yes, it's a conclusion which would hold for external objects as well, but it's only the result of the assumption that each encounter with the object, is an encounter with a different object (token), as you assume with sensations. This assumption of yours, implies that the object of the sensation, the token, only exists when it is being sensed. Therefore the object, the token, must be a creation of the act of sensing. (Unless it's due to some extremely improbable coincidence, which gives these objects existence precisely for the time that they are being sensed making it impossible to sense them at two distinct times).

    But we do not commonly make this assumption with external objects. We assume that we encounter the same objects (tokens) multiple times, and they continue to exist while not being encountered. So it's not an issue for most common metaphysics. It only becomes an issue in a metaphysics like a "process" ontology, which sees things as constantly changing, therefore we do not ever encounter the same object twice: Heraclitus: you cannot step into the same river twice. In this type of ontology even the supposed "external object" is something created by the mind each time it is encountered.

    Your argument is both that all tokens must be encountered and apprehended, but also that encountering and apprehending tokens implies that the mind creates them.Luke

    That the mind creates the token is the logical conclusion from your premise that each instance of sensation necessarily involves a distinct token. I have been arguing that the mind may encounter numerous instances of the same token of sensation. Therefore it is not implied from what I am arguing, that the mind creates the tokens. This is a straw man.
  • Luke
    1.6k
    The assumption is that a type is a human creation, artificial. And, since only human beings know humanly created types, then to be be a member, token, of a type is a human judgement. Of course it might be a mistaken assumption,Metaphysician Undercover

    What does this have to do with your false assumption that tokens must be encountered?

    Back to square one, Luke demonstrates that he doesn't know how to read. How is "the sensation", as used four times in 258, in Wittgenstein's description of what it might mean to "name" a sensation, supposed to refer to a type, called "sensation", rather than to a particular sensation?Metaphysician Undercover

    Back to square one, indeed.

    • As I said in my previous post and others, "the sensation" refers to both/either the token and/or the type.
    • You have acknowledged there is no problem with naming a single token of the sensation.
    • The problem is in establishing the name/type of the sensation, 'S'.
    • Your constant repetition that Wittgenstein uses the phrase "the sensation" is no support for your claims.
    • It is not my claim that he refers to a more general type called "sensation", but that he refers to a type of "certain sensation" called 'S'.

    If each instance of sensation was actually the token itself, then there would be nothing which differentiates one instance from another, and we'd have no basis for a claim that they are distinct tokens.Metaphysician Undercover

    If you assume that the sensation occurs continuously, then what distinguishes one instance from another in Wittgenstein's example is every (different) day. Once again, the text states:

    "258. Let’s imagine the following case. I want to keep a diary about the recurrence of a certain sensation. To this end I associate it with the sign “S” and write this sign in a calendar for every day on which I have the sensation."

    However, Wittgenstein's use of the word "recurrence" is indicative that the sensation does not occur continuously, but that it...recurs. "Recur" can be defined as:

    recur
    • occur again periodically or repeatedly.

    Now imagine if each instance of pain is itself a token. Then each instance of pain is exactly identical to every other instance of pain, as merely "pain", It is the described object, 'pain in my tooth', 'pain in my toe' etc., which provides the basis for a difference.Metaphysician Undercover

    "Pain" and "sensation" are both types and have their tokens. "Pain in my tooth" and "pain in my toe" are also both types and have their tokens. What distinguishes different tokens of a type are their different instances/instantiations.

    Yes, it's a conclusion which would hold for external objects as well, but it's only the result of the assumption that each encounter with the object, is an encounter with a different object (token), as you assume with sensations.Metaphysician Undercover

    It's not about "encountering" a different object. Different tokens are different instances. PERIOD. Don't even try to argue that this imples that you encounter different instances when it comes to sensations. Of course it does, as I've already explained, but not all tokens are about "encountering" something. All tokens are simply different instances/instantiations of their type.

    This assumption of yours, implies that the object of the sensation, the token, only exists when it is being sensed. Therefore the object, the token, must be a creation of the act of sensing.Metaphysician Undercover

    How does that follow? It's equivalent to saying that seeing something is a creation of the act of seeing.

    We assume that we encounter the same objects (tokens) multiple times, and they continue to exist while not being encountered.Metaphysician Undercover

    Which part of "it's not about "encountering" something" do you not understand? I'm not going to follow you in your metaphysical nonsense.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    9.1k
    You have acknowledged there is no problem with naming a single token of the sensation.Luke

    This depends on what you call a problem

    If the person is naming a single token, it's as Wittgenstein clearly indicates at the end of 258 "One would like to say: whatever is going to seem right to me is right. And that only means that here we can't talk about 'right'". There is no such things as correct, in naming a single token, because this cannot be judged. The person has no criterion by which to judge whether one occurrence is the very same as another occurrence. In the case of the chair, on the other hand, we might ask someone else who observed the chair in the interim time period. So there is no problem for the person naming, just no sense in talking about the person is correct.

    But the problem arises when the person attempts to justify his use of "S". Since there is no such thing as his correct use of "S", justification of his use is problematic

    If it were as you claim, that he was naming a type, then there would be no such thing as him being wrong . A type is created, so whatever he names, is that type, 270. Since the person writes "S" every time, then the sensation has been placed in that class, signified by S, therefore it is of that type, which the person has called "S". The person cannot be wrong.

    This difference clearly indicates that the person starts the practice by attempting to name a single instance, (what you call a single token), and it's only upon the attempt to justify his use, that he is forced to demonstrate it as a type. That there is a difference between naming a type, and naming a single object, is where the problem lies.

    • The problem is in establishing the name/type of the sensation, 'S'.Luke

    This is not true. There is no problem here, "Sensation" is a term of the public language with a definition, so it is already established, no problem..
    261. What reason have we for calling "S" the sign for a sensation? For "sensation" is a word of our common language, not of one intelligible to me alone. So the use of this word stands in need of a justification which everybody understands.—And it would not help either to say that it need not be a sensation; that when he writes "S", he ha something—and that is all that can be said

    So, the question here is what reason do we have for calling the thing which the diarist has labeled with "S", a sensation.? Why is it a token of "sensation"?

    This is why the type/token distinction is misleading you. It puts the type as prior to the token. A token is necessarily of a type. But here, Wittgenstein puts the thing, what is referred to by "S", as prior to the type. It is not a token at all, but just something being named. It's just a thing, "he has something---and that is all that can be said". So we cannot call it a token, because its classification, as a token of a sensation has not been justified.

    • Your constant repetition that Wittgenstein uses the phrase "the sensation" is no support for your claims.Luke

    I gave you examples of common use, "the chair", "the hammer". Each time we use "the" in common usage it refers to a particular token. You have provided no examples of when we use "the" when referring to a type.

    • It is not my claim that he refers to a more general type called "sensation", but that he refers to a type of "certain sensation" called 'S'.Luke

    Your phrase, "type of certain sensation" doesn't even make sense. It would make sense if you said "certain type of sensation", but of course that would be inconsistent with what Wittgenstein said. The simple fact is that he doesn't mention "type" at all, so your attempt to put it in there is completely out of place.

    If you assume that the sensation occurs continuously, then what distinguishes one instance from another in Wittgenstein's example is every (different) day.Luke

    Clearly, what distinguishes one instance from another is the coming into the conscious mind, coming to the attention of the conscious mind. Just like when you see the very same chair twice, what distinguishes one instance of seeing it from another, is the coming to the attention of your conscious mind. I don't understand why this is a problem for you. He is giving an example of inner experience, and this is how we commonly talk about inner things like memories and ideas, they come and go from our conscious minds many times, as the same thing recurring many times, many different instances of the very same thing coming into your mind.

    . Different tokens are different instances. PERIOD.Luke

    You are refusing to acknowledge that despite the fact that "Different tokens are different instances. PERIOD", we can have different instances of the very same token. PERIOD. Why is this so difficult to you?

    How does that follow? It's equivalent to saying that seeing something is a creation of the act of seeing.Luke

    Why can't you understand this either? If the thing (object, or token) exists only at the precise time when it is being sensed in the act of sensation, then it must be the act of sensation which is creating its existence.

    On the other hand, if the thing which is being sensed in the act of sensation continues to exist when it is not being sensed in the act of sensation, then the very same thing might be sensed numerous times.

    Which part of "it's not about "encountering" something" do you not understand? I'm not going to follow you in your metaphysical nonsense.Luke

    Your refusal to even attempt to grasp some very simple metaphysical principles show me why you have such a difficulty understanding what Wittgenstein said.
  • Luke
    1.6k
    Clearly, what distinguishes one instance from another is the coming into the conscious mind, coming to the attention of the conscious mind. Just like when you see the very same chair twice, what distinguishes one instance of seeing it from another, is the coming to the attention of your conscious mind. I don't understand why this is a problem for you.Metaphysician Undercover

    This is one token of a chair: “the very same chair”. You are not distinguishing two instances of chair here.

    You are refusing to acknowledge that despite the fact that "Different tokens are different instances. PERIOD", we can have different instances of the very same token. PERIOD. Why is this so difficult to you?Metaphysician Undercover

    We cannot have different instances of the very same token, by definition. A token is an instance of a type, not an instance of seeing or encountering something.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    3.1k


    When people talk about medium sized dry goods, it's usually clear enough whether they're talking about two tokens being of the same type, or a single unique individual, though there's sometimes ambiguity. If a friend tries to lend me "the same book" I had loaned them, my name may or may not be on the flyleaf.

    But when people talk about their inner experiences, we tend to assume they are all numerically distinct, that having "the same feeling" at one time that you had at another means only that you have had two quite similar feelings. Why is that? Is it because we are physical beings, subject to time and chance?

    There seems to be no logical barrier to having the same experience or the same sensation twice. But it strikes us as wrong. We believe "I have the exact same feeling I had when ..." is always literally false. What would have to be different for us to consider such a statement, like the unintentional return of the loaned book, literally true?
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