• Sam26
    2.1k
    Ya, I lost it about 10 pages ago. :grin:
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    10.2k
    Where does it say at 258 that he does not or cannot know what "S" refers to? What is it that "S" refers to that he does not or cannot know?Luke

    He doesn't explicitly say he cannot "know", but if you think 'whatever seems right to me is right', is a description of knowing what "S" refers to. then I suppose that the "private language" described at 243, where the person knows what the words refer to, appears coherent to you. Notice I use the word "appears" here.

    Thinking he understands’ is not acting as if he understandsLuke

    This is clearly wrong. When a person believes oneself to understand something, the person will proceed to act under the assumption that the thing is understood. This means the person will act in a way which appears like he understands when he does not understand.

    Now, when we take into account the context, that we are talking about a private language, there cannot be a third person judgement as to whether the person actually understands or not. Your statement assumes such a judgement. The person is thinking himself to understand, and acts accordingly, and is judged to be misunderstanding, according to your statement. But because no one else knows the meaning of the words such a judgement cannot be made.
    "In the second case one might speak of a subjective understanding. And sounds which no one else understands but which I 'appear to understand'' might be called a "private language".
    Notice here, "no one else understands". This indicates that he cannot be judged to be misunderstanding, as you assume in your statement. He appears to understand because he acts as if the words have meaning to him, but he cannot be judged as to whether he actually understands or not.

    You claim that 'thinking he understands' means acting as if he does understand, but at 269 Wittgenstein distinguishes between the criteria in a man's behaviour for 'thinking he understands' and for 'understanding the word correctly'. It is only the latter where the man shows that he understands.

    Wittgenstein tells us that the man does not understand because he attaches a meaning to the word which is not the right one. That is, he misunderstands the meaning of the word. Here we might speak of a "subjective understanding", but Wittgenstein distinguishes this from the criteria in a man's behaviour for understanding the word correctly (i.e. right).
    Luke

    There are three possibilities outlined 1) does not understand at all, 2) misunderstands, 3) understands the word right. The second lends itself to the private language. However, in the case of the private language, no one knows the meaning of the words, so the person misunderstands but cannot be judged as misunderstanding. Therefore the person thinks he understands, and he acts as if he understands (a sort of pretense because he doesn't really understand), and so he "appears" to understand. However, he cannot be judged to be acting according to 2) (acting as if he misunderstands), because no one knows the meaning of the words which he "appears" to be understanding. Therefore "thinking he understands", in the case of the private language cannot be judged as misunderstanding, it can only be judged as "appears to understand".

    If he understood the meaning of the word, then the criteria in his behaviour would be that he attaches the right meaning to the word and understands the word correctly. Alas, he does not.Luke

    You are neglecting the conditions of the context, the "private language". No one knows the meaning of the words. Therefore no one can judge whether his actions indicate that he attaches the right meaning or not. All we can say is that his actions are consistent with 'understanding the words', because he acts as if he attaches some meaning to the words, but we cannot judge whether it is "the right meaning". Therefore all we can say is that he appears to understand, he acts as if he understands.
  • Jamal
    4.7k
    @Banno is right.

    @Metaphysician Undercover @Luke Can you please use PM or email for these discussions instead of hijacking threads. It's basically a private conversation that you're having, spread out over numerous discussion threads. I'm pretty confident that nobody else is interested, and you're spoiling things for everyone else.
  • Luke
    2k
    No one knows the meaning of the words. Therefore no one can judge whether his actions indicate that he attaches the right meaning or not.Metaphysician Undercover

    We are told that his actions indicate that he attaches a meaning to the word, but not the right one. This is why only the last sentence of 269 is about private language.


    I’ve stayed on topic and tried to correct MU in his reading of the PLA because I’m passionate about Wittgenstein. I also engaged with other posters earlier in the discussion. I don’t want to have a private discussion with MU, so thanks for having me.
  • Jamal
    4.7k
    Sorry Luke, but trying for years to persuade MU looks a bit like insanity to me. I'd prefer if you conducted that effort privately.
  • Sam26
    2.1k
    I've been writing in other places, including my Facebook page, and I thought that some of what I wrote would be appropriate here.
    _____________________
    "There are numerous interpretations of precisely what Wittgenstein's Private Language argument is, where it begins and ends in Philosophical Investigations, what its target is, and whether it is successful...so it was nice to discover Stewart Candlish's one sentence summary of it in Edward Craig (ed.) The Shorter Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy:"

    ' ...a language in principle [is] unintelligible to anyone but its user would necessarily be unintelligible to the user also, because no meanings could be established for its signs'

    The above was take from the following link:

    https://virtualphilosopher.com/2006/10/the_private_lan.html
    _____________________

    How does Wittgenstein demonstrate that a private language is unintelligible? In order to be clear about what Wittgenstein is doing, you must be clear about what is meant by a private language. It is a language that is only understood by the person inventing it. This means, obviously, that the meanings of the words or signs are also generated by the person creating the language, and herein lies the rub.

    Wittgenstein wants us to imagine, in PI 258, trying to give meaning to a sign “S” (Think of a sign as any written designation used to refer to something, be it a sensation, as in this example, or some other object.) by associating “S” with a private sensation, and this we do by keeping a diary. So, every time I have a sensation, I mark it in my diary. The only kind of definition I can give is a kind of ostensive definition, that is, it is a kind of pointing to the sensation, but “[n]ot in the ordinary sense.” What I am doing is focusing my attention on the sensation, “…and so, as it were, point to it inwardly.” Thus, the meaning is supposedly established by my focus on the sensation, where the “impression” is made between the sign and the object of the sign, namely, the sign’s designation. However, Wittgenstein points out that the impression can only serve as a future reminder, namely, that I have made the correct association between the sign and the object. “But in the present case [forget about remembering in the future] I have no criterion of correctness (PI 258).” Therefore, it is not about our memory, as some might interpret this passage, but about how we could establish any correct use of sign “S.” And, if there is no correct use of the sign, then how could any remembrance of its use have anything to do with future uses in terms of meaning?
  • Sam26
    2.1k
    Much has been said in these posts about using words to refer to some inner experience; not that we cannot use words in this way, but that when we attach the meaning of a word exclusively to the private experience, to which no one else has access, then the use of the word becomes problematic. It is not an easy error to grasp. In fact, this is difficult to understand, and it is difficult to explain. However, understanding what Wittgenstein is saying does produce some enlightenment.

    Another example Wittgenstein used to explain the problematic nature of associating meaning with the private inner thing, is the beetle in the box example (PI 293). It shows how associating meaning with the private inner thing, which is based on a misunderstanding of the “grammar of the expression,” in terms of “object and designation (PI 293)”, cannot gain a foothold.

    “Now someone tells me that knows what pain is only from his own case!—Suppose everyone had a box with something in it: we call it a ‘beetle’. No one can look into anyone else’s box, and everyone says he knows what a beetle is only by looking at beetle.—Here it would be quite possible for everyone to have something different in his box. One might even imagine such a thing constantly changing.—But suppose the word ‘beetle’ had a use in these people’s language?—If so it would not be used as the name of a thing. The thing in the box has no place in the language-game at all; not even as a : for the box might even be empty.—No, one can ‘divide through’ by the thing in the box; it cancels out, whatever it is.

    “That is to say: if we construe the grammar of the expression of sensation on the model of ‘object and designation’ the object drops out of consideration as irrelevant (PI 293).”

    Again, keep in mind that the purpose of these paragraphs is to say something about the meaning of a word in relation to the “object and designation” model. And, what stands out about what Wittgenstein is saying, is that the object could literally be anything, any internal thing we could imagine. This thought experiment demonstrates that the language-game used in such a context would not be dependent, especially in terms of meaning, on the thing in the box. Thus, it would be irrelevant, again, irrelevant in terms of the “object and designation” model of meaning.

    Let us continue with Wittgenstein’s thinking: “If you say he sees a private picture before him, which he is describing, you have still made an assumption about what he has before him. And that means that you can describe it or do describe it more closely. If you admit that you haven’t any notion what kind of thing it might be that he has before him—then what leads you into saying, in spite of that, that he has something before him? Isn’t it as if I were to say of someone: ‘He something. But I don’t know whether it is money, or debts, or an empty till (PI 294).’”

    Even if you say that the inner thing is a kind of picture, you are still making an assumption with no content. There is no way to describe it, you cannot see inside the other person’s box, so it is an empty assumption. And, of course, if you admit, Wittgenstein says, that you have no notion of the thing in the box, then how is it that you want to say there is something there? Maybe you could respond, “Because I have these kinds of inner things.” Yes, there are these internal experiences going on, but none of us can observe these internal happenings, it is like the beetle in the box example. Does it then follow from this that we cannot talk about our internal experiences of pain, hope, joy, sadness, etc? Obviously we can talk about these things, we do it all the time. This then brings us back to the notion of how meaning does get a foothold.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    10.2k
    Let us continue with Wittgenstein’s thinking: “If you say he sees a private picture before him, which he is describing, you have still made an assumption about what he has before him. And that means that you can describe it or do describe it more closely. If you admit that you haven’t any notion what kind of thing it might be that he has before him—then what leads you into saying, in spite of that, that he has something before him? Isn’t it as if I were to say of someone: ‘He something. But I don’t know whether it is money, or debts, or an empty till (PI 294).’”

    Even if you say that the inner thing is a kind of picture, you are still making an assumption with no content. There is no way to describe it, you cannot see inside the other person’s box, so it is an empty assumption. And, of course, if you admit, Wittgenstein says, that you have no notion of the thing in the box, then how is it that you want to say there is something there? Maybe you could respond, “Because I have these kinds of inner things.” Yes, there are these internal experiences going on, but none of us can observe these internal happenings, it is like the beetle in the box example. Does it then follow from this that we cannot talk about our internal experiences of pain, hope, joy, sadness, etc? Obviously we can talk about these things, we do it all the time. This then brings us back to the notion of how meaning does get a foothold.
    Sam26

    Notice how you've moved from "object and designation" here, toward "description". These two are fundamentally different types of language use which cannot be conflated without the creation of misunderstanding and confusion.

    An object can be named without the requirement of any description, there is simply some form of pointing it out. On the other hand, a description can be made without the requirement of a thing being described. In the case of an "inner experience" there is no possibility of pointing out the particular object, just some general sort of "feeling", therefore there is no possibility of object designation. So we produce a description without a thing being described.

    Therefore we must bear in mind that descriptions do not require any object designation. In fact, they are based in general feelings where there is no object being described. And, the inclination to request the object being described (point it out for me), is a mistaken adventure. There is no "thing in the box", and descriptive terms are derived from something other than 'the properties of a thing'. They are derived from general feelings.

    In logical language use we employ both types of language use together. We point to a thing, giving it a name, and we utilize descriptive terms for that thing. What we need to respect is that the descriptive terms are not justified by the features of any particular things, they are justified by consistency in general feelings.
  • Sam26
    2.1k
    Notice how you've moved from "object and designation" here, toward "description". These two are fundamentally different types of language use which cannot be conflated without the creation of misunderstanding and confusion.Metaphysician Undercover

    The point here, is that if someone says (not me or W.), that the inner thing is a kind of picture of some thing (which it's not, i.e., it can't be construed in this way), then this use of the word picture is a bit weird in terms of W.'s beetle example. Why? Wittgenstein answers, "If you [who do you think the "If you..." refers to?] admit that you haven’t any notion what kind of thing it might be that he has before him [referring to the beetle] —then what leads you into saying, in spite of that, that he has something before him? Isn’t it as if I were to say of someone: ‘He has something. But I don’t know whether it is money, or debts, or an empty till (PI 294).’”[/quote]

    The only misunderstanding, is if someone wants to talk about the thing in the box in this way (again it's not me or W.). It would be the interlocutor responding to Wittgenstein's beetle example, i.e., they would be trying to describe the thing in the box as a kind of picture. So, the only confusion here, is you not understanding the point of W.'s remarks.

    I don't know what to tell you MU, you do this all the time, and no matter how many times people try to explain it to you, you seem stuck in a place that no one can free you from. And, this is why I generally don't respond to your posts. @Luke spent a long time with you trying to explain your misunderstandings, but to no avail. All I can tell you is that your interpretations of W. are so far from the norm, that I wonder if we're both speaking English.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    10.2k
    The only misunderstanding, is if someone wants to talk about the thing in the box in this way (again it's not me or W.). It would be the interlocutor responding to Wittgenstein's beetle example, i.e., they would be trying to describe the thing in the box as a kind of picture. So, the only confusion here, is you not understanding the point of W.'s remarks.Sam26

    Clearly it is indicated by Wittgenstein that it is not necessary that there is something which the description refers to. So you seem to ignore this part: "then what leads you into saying, in spite of that, that he has something before him?", to support your claim that I misunderstand.

    What you are missing (misunderstanding), is, as Wittgenstein says, that it is not necessary that there is anything in the box. So it is you who demonstrates misunderstanding when you talk about "the thing in the box". If it is not necessary that there is something in the box, then you display misunderstanding by referring to "the thing in the box".

    And as I explained, that's why naming is completely different from describing. Naming ("beetle", for example) requires that there is an object which is named, otherwise it is not an act of "naming". "Describing" does not require that there is an object which fulfills the stated description.

    And that is why we can describe our inner feelings, but we cannot name them, because there is no "thing" there to be named. To say "I have a pain", is not to name something that I have (like naming it 'beetle" for instance), it is to describe a feeling.

    I don't know what to tell you MU, you do this all the time, and no matter how many times people try to explain it to you, you seem stuck in a place that no one can free you from. And, this is why I generally don't respond to your posts. Luke spent a long time with you trying to explain your misunderstandings, but to no avail. All I can tell you is that your interpretations of W. are so far from the norm, that I wonder if we're both speaking English.Sam26

    Oh, so here we go with the ad hominem fallacy. You thought that I misunderstood something in the past, therefore everything I say ought to be dismissed as misunderstanding.
  • Sam26
    2.1k
    Oh, so here we go with the ad hominem fallacy. You thought that I misunderstood something in the past, therefore everything I say ought to be dismissed as misunderstanding.Metaphysician Undercover

    Did I say anything close to, "...therefore everything [you] say ought to be dismissed as a misunderstanding[?]" No! Again, another misinterpretation of what's being said. I'm just going to move on MU. I can't talk philosophy with you, it's pointless.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    10.2k


    It's no wonder you can't discuss philosophy with me, you refuse to accept the points that Wittgenstein makes, which I point out to you, insisting that I misunderstand. If you wouldn't be so encapsulated by your own interpretation you'd see that there is much more to his writing than could possibly be grasped by any particular individual, and you'd approach interpretations which are radically different from your own interpretation with more of an open mind.

    So the fact remains, that you are denying, or ignoring the importance of the phrase "what leads you into saying, in spite of that, that he has something before him?". If you would accept this, you would see that it is not necessary that there is anything in the box, "...for the box might even be empty". Then the word "beetle" cannot be the name of a thing. The possibility that the use for the word "beetle" is to name a thing , has been ruled out by the fact that the box might be completely empty.

    Instead, you state "the object could literally be anything". But this is a misrepresentation. What Wittgenstein has actually said is that there might not be an object. This misrepresentation appears to cause you to be stumped in your understanding because you end your passage with:

    ,
    Does it then follow from this that we cannot talk about our internal experiences of pain, hope, joy, sadness, etc? Obviously we can talk about these things, we do it all the time. This then brings us back to the notion of how meaning does get a foothold.Sam26

    But if you would simply recognize the difference between naming, and describing, which I explained to you, and the fact that a description does not require a thing which is described, as it might be totally fictional, then you would have no problem with understanding how "the thing in the box has no place in the language-game at all". This "game" being referred to is a game of description, where descriptive terms like "pain" are being employed not to describe "things", but to describe inner feelings, which are decidedly not things. The proposed "thing in the box" is actually not a thing at all, and we ought not assume that one could assign a name to it as if it were thing.

    Now there is no issue, or problem, of how meaning gets a foot hold, because it is demonstrated by Wittgenstein as a matter of describing inner feelings, which is distinctly not a matter of naming things. A problem only arises when we assume the inner feelings to be things. Then we have the incompatibility demonstrated by Wittgenstein, between what it means to be a thing which can bear a name, and what it means to be an inner feeling which can only be described.
  • sime
    775
    In an attempt to crystallise the differences of opinion in this thread, what is everyone's view regarding the relevance of the Private Language Argument (if any) to the "The hard problem"?

    In your opinion, does Wittgenstein's strategy of semantic reduction (as you understand it) successfully solve or dissolve the hard-problem? (to recall his earlier logical behaviourism)
  • Sam26
    2.1k
    Part of what I see happening with Wittgenstein's ideas of meaning, is that it's used almost as a denial of internal experiences, or if you will, the denial of the self (not everyone, but some). As if you can't talk about your internal experiences without saying something senseless or meaningless. We wouldn't even have language if it wasn't for what's happening internally, i.e., the mind. So, the point here is that you can go to far in either direction. For example, saying things like the self or consciousness is an illusion, or associating what we mean by consciousness as a kind of inward pointing. Like looking inward and thinking, there it is, that's consciousness.

    If you want to know what consciousness is from a conceptual view, or how we think about consciousness in our everyday lives, then you have to understand how it is that we acquire, or attach meaning to our words. Moreover, it must be said over and over again, our concepts don't necessarily equate to reality, which also means, that what we mean by this or that, doesn't necessarily equate to reality. This is the difference between language about reality, and reality itself.

    Wittgenstein linguistic analysis doesn't answer the "hard problem," it's still there. However, understanding Wittgenstein helps with how we talk about consciousness, which inevitably will influence one's theories of the self, and what can be sensibly said. Part of the problem with understanding consciousness is that we lack the advanced conceptual framework to discuss it (viz., its composition or source). It would be like the ancient Romans trying to understand the physics of today, they lack the concepts, so there's no foundation to work with. I don't think we're even close to understanding what consciousness is. I wonder if we even know how to frame the questions. That's my take.

    (I had to re-write this post to clarify what I was thinking.)
  • Joshs
    3.7k
    In your opinion, does Wittgenstein's strategy of semantic reduction (as you understand it) successfully solve or dissolve the hard-problem? (to recall his earlier logical behaviourism)sime

    I can’t help but think that in his alter work he did dissolve the hard problem.
  • Sam26
    2.1k
    How in the world did Wittgenstein do that?
  • Joshs
    3.7k
    ↪Joshs How in the world did Wittgenstein do that?Sam26

    His later work is a form of phenomenology, which dissolves the hard problem by showing the incoherence nod splitting apart what things are ( the factual) from how
    things matter( their valuative sense).
  • Sam26
    2.1k
    The incoherence or lack of sense of the uses of certain concepts is one thing, but that's separate from reality itself. For example, I may use a concept correctly within a particular language-game, but that doesn't mean that that meaning actually lines up with the facts of reality. The two are quite often different things. I think sometimes we confuse talk of reality, with reality itself, or the facts of reality. Our talk may line up with the facts, but our talk may not. My point would be that our talk of consciousness is in its infancy, and probably is far from the facts of reality.
  • Joshs
    3.7k
    I may use a concept correctly within a particular language-game, but that doesn't mean that that meaning actually lines up with the facts of reality.Sam26

    Yeah, I think the concept of ‘facts of reality’ is highly problematic for both Wittgenstein and phenomenology.
  • Sam26
    2.1k
    Yeah, I think the concept of ‘facts of reality’ is highly problematic for both Wittgenstein and phenomenology.Joshs

    I would not say that Wittgenstein is a phenomenologist or even close to a phenomenologist, and I don't think that "facts of reality" is problematic, nor is it problematic for Wittgenstein.
  • Joshs
    3.7k


    I would not say that Wittgenstein is a phenomenologist or even close to a phenomenologist, and I don't think that "facts of reality" is problematic, nor is it problematic for Wittgenstein.Sam26

    There are those who disagree with you.

    “…if we look at what Wittgenstein actually does in the Philosophical Investigations and in his many manuscripts on the philosophy of psychology, we will be presented with a perspective remarkably similar to that of the phenomenologists.First of all, one should note that Wittgenstein tries to re-describe subjectivity or the mind along basically the same lines as the phenomenologists”

    (The problem of other minds: Wittgenstein’s Phenomenological perspective , SØREN OVERGAARD )
  • Sam26
    2.1k
    There are those who disagree with you.Joshs

    Ya, there are always those who disagree, that's part of the philosophical world. But, I don't want to turn this thread into an argument about Wittgenstein and phenomenology. But there is a connection between the PLA and consciousness.
  • Sam26
    2.1k
    In what follows I've tried to condense some of what's been said in this thread and elsewhere.

    Wittgenstein has an important point, namely, that the meaning of our words or concepts is primarily a function of a norm of use within a given language-game. These norms are mostly governed by the rules of the language-game (the logic of the language-game), which take place socially as a cultural practice, in what Wittgenstein calls the activity of a “form of life (e.g., PI 23).” And, it is in this social activity (non-linguistic and linguistic activity woven together) that words or concepts get their sense. Just as the pieces in chess get their sense from how they are used in a chess game, which is also a form of life. Outside the social practice of playing a game of chess, the pieces lose their sense. In other words, how would we talk about chess pieces without referencing their place of origin, that place where chess pieces get their life? The same would be true if we wanted to talk of cellular function apart from the language-game of biology. The word cell, as a biological concept, would lose its sense apart from biology. This is why we say words have a home in which they reside, that is, they have a function, and get their life within their respective language-games.

    The meaning of our words or concepts is established necessarily within a social construct, and it necessarily follows that meaning is not a function of an individual’s privately derived sense of meaning; assuming that a privately derived sense of meaning is even linguistically possible, as Wittgenstein’s private language comments seem to suggest.
  • sime
    775
    The meaning of our words or concepts is established necessarily within a social construct, and it necessarily follows that meaning is not a function of an individual’s privately derived sense of meaning; assuming that a privately derived sense of meaning is even linguistically possible, as Wittgenstein’s private language comments seem to suggest.Sam26

    Any interpretation of a social convention is subjective. Wittgenstein was especially clear about this (e.g how can I know the intended direction of an arrow? how I am supposed to interpret a look-up table? ) . So there is no escape from purely private meaning, at least for Wittgenstein, even if such meaning cannot be linguistically translated.

    Of course, he did understand that there is no logical room for an intermediate "private language" mediating between one's percepts and one's use of public language, recalling his attack on the Is/Seems distinction with regards to perceptual judgements.
  • Harry Hindu
    4.9k
    Wittgenstein has an important point, namely, that the meaning of our words or concepts is primarily a function of a norm of use within a given language-game.Sam26
    Used for what? To accomplish what goal? To win the game? Or to communicate? How does one communicate without the understanding of representation -that something (scribbles and sounds) can mean something else (that isn't scribbles and sounds, like apples and trees)? Unless Witt is saying that individuals don't exist, then it would logically follow that individuals will have varying experiences with the rules of any language which will lead to varying degrees of understanding the rules of some language, which is to say that they have a subjective view of any language.
  • Sam26
    2.1k
    Any interpretation of a social convention is subjective. Wittgenstein was especially clear about this (e.g how can I know the intended direction of an arrow? how I am supposed to interpret a look-up table? ) . So there is no escape from purely private meaning, at least for Wittgenstein, even if such meaning cannot be linguistically translated.sime

    Sime, you're wrong about the arrow example, and about a "look up table." Let's see if I can make this clear. Wittgenstein asks in (PI 454), "How does it come about that this arrow -----------> points?" Any sign, be it a word or an arrow, only has an application, a use, that we together as a people, i.e., in socially given situations, give to it. "This pointing is not a hocus pocus which can be performed only by the soul [the soul, as used here, should be understood as the inner thing, the subjective]. So, it seems to me, and not only me, but many other interpreters, that Wittgenstein is saying the exact opposite of your point. This is clear throughout the PI, starting at the beginning when he talks about language-games.

    Moreover, much of the point of the PI is to escape from the idea of a purely private meaning. I don't understand where you're getting this interpretation from, but I'd run from it. It can't be further from the truth. Anyway, that's my take.
  • Sam26
    2.1k
    Used for what? To accomplish what goal? To win the game? Or to communicate? How does one communicate without the understanding of representation -that something (scribbles and sounds) can mean something else (that isn't scribbles and sounds, like apples and trees)? Unless Witt is saying that individuals don't exist, then it would logically follow that individuals will have varying experiences with the rules of any language which will lead to varying degrees of understanding the rules of some language, which is to say that they have a subjective view of any language.Harry Hindu

    Oh, I get it Harry, you're joking, right? You're trying to be funny, because I can't make any sense of this apart from a joke. If I say a word has a use, then I'm saying that it has a use within a particular language-game or a particular social context. There may be many uses of a word, so your question, "Used for what?" isn't taking into account that there may not be any one use, but many uses. And yes, we do use words/concepts, and sentences to communicate. However, the sense of a word is never the result of your subjective view. We can use words to communicate a subjective view, but we learn to use the words, and the meanings of words, in social contexts apart from the subjective. Not only is this the case, but as far as I can tell, it's necessarily the case.
  • Harry Hindu
    4.9k
    If I say a word has a use, then I'm saying that it has a use within a particular language-game or a particular social context. There may be many uses of a word, so your question, "Used for what?" isn't taking into account that there may not be any one use, but many uses.Sam26
    Ok, but what other uses? That is what I'm asking. Strange that you can't even provide any examples of what it is that you are trying to say.

    However, the sense of a word is never the result of your subjective view. We can use words to communicate a subjective view, but we learn to use the words, and the meanings of words, in social contexts apart from the subjective. Not only is this the case, but as far as I can tell, it's necessarily the case.Sam26
    So you've never heard of mass delusions, or ideas that propagate within a group that are just wrong - like the Earth being flat?

    Oh, I get it Harry, you're joking, right? You're trying to be funny, because I can't make any sense of this apart from a joke.Sam26
    If words have meaning apart from the subjective and is necessarily the case, then how did you misconstrue my intent as being funny when that wasn't my intent?
  • Sam26
    2.1k
    Ok, but what other uses? That is what I'm asking. Strange that you can't even provide any examples of what it is that you are trying to say.Harry Hindu

    I haven't given any examples because I've assumed that most people know, that any use of a word in a sentence, is an example of how it's used. So, if I'm talking about epistemology for example, and I say, "I know John is guilty of murder," then the sense of the word know, (namely, how it's used in this sentence), is that I'm justified in some appropriate way. Another use or sense of the word know that is common, is to use it as a kind of emphasis. The emphasis on know would reflect a conviction, i.e., how one feels about the belief their expressing. Wittgenstein pointed this out in OC, where he says this kind of use can express itself in tone of voice. These are two specific examples of different uses of the same word. An epistemological use, and a use that expresses my subjective conviction. However, don't confuse a use that expresses the subjective, as a use that gives the word meaning.

    So you've never heard of mass delusions, or ideas that propagate within a group that are just wrong - like the Earth being flat?Harry Hindu

    First, I don't think that because people believe in something that's false, that that necessarily means that they are deluded; and I don't believe this is an argument against my point. And, even if you're under the spell of a mass delusion, it doesn't follow that your words have lost their sense. It just means that you're convinced of something that's false, among other things.

    The idea that it's you (emphasis on the subjective) that's convinced, gives people the false idea that it's you that gives meaning to the word. Again, the difference between understanding an expression of the subjective, and understanding how meaning comes about within a social context.

    If words have meaning apart from the subjective and is necessarily the case, then how did you misconstrue my intent as being funny when that wasn't my intent?Harry Hindu

    I was being facetious Harry.
  • Agent Smith
    6.2k
    I was posting on another thread on asceticism and this just popped into my head: A master rationalist would know, via plain deduction alone (pure thought), what an orgasm feels like without ever actually having one. Likewise, I could deduce what the private experiences of another person is like. In other words for logic, there's no such thing as an exclusively private experience. Everything (all our experiences) are in the public domain - deduction is the key.
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