• Sam26
    782
    I'm going to post some ideas from the PI as it relates to what's been talked about in this thread. However, before posting from the PI, I'm going to post some of my latest thoughts that I'm trying to work through.

    I believe Wittgenstein is correct in saying that use is the key to understanding meaning. This can be observed in the way children are taught how to use words, i.e., we observe how they use the word to know whether or not they are using it correctly. We certainly don't teach them definitions first, they learn definitions later as guides.

    If we think about the use of the word know we observe that it's used in a variety of contexts. Here I'm talking about everyday use, not how philosophers use the term. Many philosophers are looking for some definitive definition that describes knowledge precisely, and my reading of Wittgenstein is that this cannot be done. All we can do is look at what it means to have knowledge as it pertains to a particular use, context, or language-game. My take on this is that what it means to know is much broader than we might think. This of course is seen in Wittgenstein's example of trying to define the word game, i.e., if we define games as the moving of pieces on a board, then we are primarily thinking of board games, but as we know there are many different kinds of games that don't fit this definition. In fact, there are games that have no defined rules at all (mainly thinking of children's games). The interesting thing about this is that we can set up a definition of knowledge that is X, Y, and Z, and in doing this we then claim that anything outside our definition or theory is not knowledge. This is also seen in the discussion we've been having about the nature of a belief, again we're probably looking for something that doesn't exist, i.e., a precise definition that will fulfill our philosophical need or desire for precision. The problem is that there are no clear boundaries to much of what we talk about.

    Consider Wittgenstein's remarks in the following:

    "And if we carry this comparison still further it is clear that the degree to which the sharp picture can resemble the blurred one depends on the latter's degree of vagueness. For imagine having to sketch a sharply defined picture 'corresponding' to a blurred one. In the latter there is a blurred red rectangle: for it you put down a sharply defined one. Of course - several such sharply defined rectangles can be drawn to correspond with the indefinite one. - But if the colours in the original merge without a hint of any outline won't it become a hopeless task to draw a sharp picture corresponding to the blurred one? Won't you then have to say: "Here I might just as well draw a circle or heart as a rectangle, for all the colours merge. Anything - and nothing - is right." --- And this is the position you are in if you look for definitions corresponding to our concepts in aesthetics and ethics (PI 77)."

    This is interesting even apart from aesthetics and ethics, for it applies to many other areas of areas of thought in terms of how we want to define certain concepts. I don't think Wittgenstein is saying that it only applies to aesthetics and ethics. I think this is only one example, i.e., he is saying that it applies to many other areas of study, and the concepts used.

    The point of course is that many of our concepts are like blurred pictures with no defined boundaries, i.e. no sharp boundaries. As we look at the picture we can say for sure that it has a boundary, just not a sharp boundary. It's like saying stand here, we are only giving an approximation, there may not be an exact spot that we're referring to. This vagueness has a tendency to produce an unsettling feeling within us, especially if we want an exact response to, for example, what knowledge is. That said, it's still the case that there are definite areas that are outside the boundary, and definite areas that are within the boundary, so there is some clarity, but not the clarity that we may be hoping for. The confusion lies within the blurred boundary, i.e., we will disagree about this area because it's so vague, so unclear by its very nature. So there are only degrees of clarity.

    Here's one problem that arises, as I see it, one can have a definition/use of knowledge as X, Y, and Z, and that may be correct given some uses of the word, but there may also be a definition/use that takes into account more actual uses (correct uses), so it may include not only X, Y, and Z, but also A, B, and C. Thus, given one's particular use, one may make claims to knowledge that other people see as absurd, or at the very least questionable. This again is not to say that there are not clear cut correct uses, it only means that given the broad scope of use of this particular concept, it can be very difficult to make a definitive claim to knowledge of certain ideas or beliefs, i.e., the boundary between what is known or not known can be very blurred. So much of the philosophical disagreement happens in these blurred areas.
  • Sam26
    782
    My conclusions about understanding what knowledge is, is to say that we must fight against dogmatism or absolutism. This is not to say that we can't be dogmatic about some things, but that we must be careful about what we're dogmatic about. For example, I don't think we can be dogmatic about whether God exists or not, so this is an area where both religious and non-religious people, it seems to me, are wrong-headed. Now I don't want to turn this into a religious argument, this is not the point, so don't start arguing with me about whether the concept God has an instance in reality.

    The point is that what we know, in terms of how we use the word knowledge expands and contracts as time goes on, i.e., we learn new things that change the rules of use. Remember that language is used to describe reality, language isn't reality, but is used to describe many of our sensory experiences. Very few of our descriptions turn out to be absolute, most of our descriptions work for a time, but then change over time. So that what we correctly say today, in terms of what we know, will not be correct tomorrow. Fdrake pointed out that this is true in terms of the very long view, but it's also true in the short view, viz., just a few decades, let alone a few thousand years, and things that you claimed to know with such a dogmatic view of reality, will have been shown to be false. If not false, then a very incomplete picture of what reality is, this happens within science all the time.

    Language can be a very precise tool (mathematics for example), but it can be very imprecise in terms of developing a world view that you want to force on others. Our tendency is to be very tribal in our world views, and this causes so many of the worlds problems. For example, why would we want to be so dogmatic about our world views that we shut out others, or even go so far as to want to obliterate those who do not agree with us?

    I think to have the correct view about what we claim to know, and in fact do know, given how we use the term in the present, is to have the long view. This I believe should reduce the amount of dogmatism, at least theoretically.
  • Sam26
    782
    Wittgenstein talks about words having a family of meanings, and he gives the example of how we learn the word good. We learn it from a multitude of examples and language-games. So it becomes clear that the word good has a multitude of uses that cannot be fixed with an exact definition. So what does this mean in terms of doing philosophy? How do we incorporate these ideas into our practice? Moreover, how important is it to the practice of philosophy to understand these ideas?

    I think the following quote sheds some light on the use of certain words and their expansive nature in terms of their use. It also shows how difficult it can be to nail down what we me by certain concepts/words, unless we are willing to look at the wide variety of uses.

    "Doesn't the analogy between language and games throw light here? We can easily imagine people amusing themselves in a field by playing with a ball so as to start various existing games, but playing many without finishing them and in between throwing the ball aimlessly into the air, chasing one another with the ball and bombarding one another for a joke and so on. And now someone says: The whole time they are playing a ball-game and following definite rules at every throw.

    "And is there not also the case where we play and--make up rules as we go along? And there is even one where we alter them --as we go along (PI 83)."

    What strikes me here is that the use of the word game is clear in this situation, so there is clarity. Most of us wouldn't dare say that it's not a game simple because there aren't clearly defined rules. However, we tend to do this in philosophical debates, i.e., we look at the way someone uses a particular word, and we ask for a definition that will somehow encapsulate that particular use. We understand what we mean by game in Wittgenstein's example without a clear definition, so use tells us something more about the word than we might find in a definition. There are innumerable examples like this, so how is it that we know the right use in this situation if there aren't clear definitions of the word game? And yet there is clarity of a sort, but it's not the clarity that is encapsulated in one definition or theory.

    Is there an analogy here between the use of words and how we use numbers? This maybe a stretch, I'm not sure. So, there are a range of numbers that we use everyday, and there are some numbers that I rarely use, and still other numbers that I'm not acquainted with, and yet I can still identify the numbers I'm not acquainted with as numbers. Isn't this similar to how we use certain words, there are a range of normal uses that we see everyday, and there are a range of uses that I rarely see, and then there are a range of uses that I'm not aware of, and yet I can still understand what is meant by the word in these areas that I'm not familiar with.
  • Sam26
    782
    I'm going to continue my analysis of parts of the Philosophical Investigations, especially as I see this investigation having an impact on what Wittgenstein said in On Certainty. On Certainty must be seen in the light of the PI, i.e., to get a grip on what Wittgenstein is saying in OC, one must understand what Wittgenstein was doing in the PI. They are inseparable.

    According to Wittgenstein, "What is a word really?" is analogous to "What is a piece in chess? (PI 108)" Pieces in chess must be seen in the light of the whole game, i.e., how that piece works with other pieces; how that piece is used in conjunction with the rules of the game; how that piece is used to capture other pieces; how that piece is used to checkmate the king, etc. This is also true of words, the meaning of a word is defined, constituted, determined, or fixed by the grammatical rules of the language the word is associated with. In the same way, "...a move in chess doesn't consist simply in moving a piece in such-and-such a way on the board - nor yet in one's thoughts and feelings as one makes the move: but in the circumstances that we call "playing a game of chess", "solving a chess problem", and so on (PI 33)."

    The understanding of what a word is, is to not only understand its use in language, and the rules that govern use, but, to understand a word is also to understand the social nature of language. The social nature of language is logically connected with the idea of following a rule, i.e., the practice of following a rule. Rule following is not something done in isolation (e.g., having a private language), but is done as we master a technique, so "[to] obey a rule, to make a report, to give an order, to play a game of chess, are customs (uses, institutions) (PI 199)."
  • Sam26
    782
    What is the main thrust of the Philosophical Investigations? First, the PI arose as Wittgenstein began to see that learning a language is NOT how we thought it was, and not how he thought it was in the Tractatus. "[W]ords, it seems to me, give us a particular picture of the essence of human language. It is this: the individual words in language name objects - sentences are combinations of such names. -- In this picture of language we find the roots of the following idea: Every word has a meaning. This meaning is correlated with the word. It is the object for which the word stands (PI, p. 2)." The main thrust of the PI is to fight against this idea. The significance of seeing language in this way has implications for how philosophy has been done for centuries, and the particular problems that arise in philosophy and in other areas of thought, which are related to this long held view of language and meaning.

    Second, Wittgenstein points to language-games as a way for us to come to see how it is that we learn language. His first example of a language-game demonstrates three main ideas that we should take with us through the whole of the PI. One is that Augustine's idea of language is a very primitive one, but one that nevertheless is applicable to certain words, but not all words. Augustine's idea of language is put forth in Wittgenstein's example of a primitive language-game, but there are many other kinds of language-games that show language is much more complex than this simple idea of Augustine's. The other idea that is essential to understanding how meaning arises is the idea of rule-following, and how rule-following is logically inseparable from making a mistake. Coupling these two ideas together we see that language-games have rules, and these rules have their being in a social setting (language-games are social), and this gives rise to how we use words, and how use plays an essential role in meaning.

    Third, understanding the idea that rules develop in social settings, not privately, which bring us to the so-called private language argument. The essence of the private language argument is that language does not arise in a private setting. Why? Because of the nature of language, viz., that it is a rule-governed activity; and all rule-governed activities are logically connected to our interactions with others. We come to know what it means to follow a rule, and not follow a rule, by our interactions with others, not privately. How do I know if I am using a word correctly? Do I do it in isolation, or do I use it in concert with others who either confirm or disconfirm the correct use? Justification of correct usage takes place in social settings, and it is here that correct usage is seen.
  • Sam26
    782
    The problems that arise from not understanding Wittgenstein's methods of analysis are seen in how we use words like consciousness, soul, intent, sensations, knowledge, pain, belief, and many other words. Our tendency is to want to look for the thing associated with these words, i.e., the object associated with the word. Keep in mind that Wittgenstein does not deny the inner experience, he denies that the meaning of the word is derived by pointing at the inner experience, or associating the meaning of the word with something private.

    How does a child learn how to use the word pain? Does the child learn what pain means by having a pain? And if the child did learn the word pain from their private sensation, how would we know that they were associating the word with the correct sensation? The way the child learns the correct use of the word is in a social setting, where we can observe how the sensation is reflected in reality, and how the child uses the word in relation to how others use it. Note that the meaning is there for all to see. We see others in pain and we learn to use the word in connection with the rules of the language-game.

    "Now, what about the language which describes my inner experiences and which only I myself can understand? How do I use words to stand for my sensations?--As we ordinarily do? Then are my words for sensations tied up with my natural expressions of sensation? In that case my language is not a 'private' one. Someone else might understand it as well as I.--But suppose I didn't have any natural expression for the sensation, but only had the sensation? And now I simply associate names with sensations and use these names in descriptions.--(PI 256)"

    If we did not have natural expressions for our sensations, then we would be back to Wittgenstein's beetle-in-a-box example in PI 293.
  • Sam26
    782
    Many Christians fall into the mistake of associating meaning with private sensation or private experiences. For example, many will often associate some inner experience with that of the Holy Spirit, or the idea of the soul as something private to each of us. Each of these examples are very similar to the beetle-in-the-box.
  • Sam26
    782
    How do marks on a page (the marks used in language) convey meaning? Our tendency is to think that there is something that accompanies the handling of these marks, viz., things like thought, meaning, and understanding. For example, there are those who think that the word belief derives its meaning by what is going on in the mind/brain. Thus, they believe that what gives life to the word belief is the inner process, or what gives life to the word consciousness is the inner process.

    Wittgenstein tries to dispose of the notion that one's inner life gives life to words by replacing the image in the mind of a flower with the holding of a picture of a flower. One might even imagine having a chart that we carry that displays various colors, and thus the word red would get its meaning based on matching it with the correct color in the chart. However, Wittgenstein asks, "[W]hy should the written sign plus this painted image be alive if the written sign alone was dead?--In fact, as soon as you think of replacing the mental image by, say, a painted one, and as soon as the image thereby loses its occult character, it ceases to seem to impart any life to the sentence at all.

    "The mistake we are liable to make could be expressed thus: We are looking for the use of a sign, but we look for it as though it were an object co-existing with the sign. (One of the reasons for this mistake is again that we are looking for a 'thing corresponding to a substantive.') (BB p. 5)."

    If we want to say that there is something that gives life to a sign, it's the use of the sign in a language. Signs get their life from a system of signs within a linguistic environment. Our tendency is to look for that thing that gives meaning to a word or sentence, and it is here that we go astray.
  • sime
    198
    Many Christians fall into the mistake of associating meaning with private sensation or private experiences. For example, many will often associate some inner experience with that of the Holy Spirit, or the idea of the soul as something private to each of us. Each of these examples are very similar to the beetle-in-the-box.Sam26

    Supposing a Christian, Bob, associates some ineffable inner experience with the Holy Spirit, is perfectly happy, and never complains of experiencing confusion. Why would Wittgenstein, the philosophical therapist who hated substantial philosophical theses, think Bob is nevertheless making a mistake? what should be the criterion of correctness here? the opinions of the priesthood? or Bob's happiness?

    Supposing Bob compares his religious experiences with fellow Christian Alice, who also says that she identifies the Holy Spirit with her ineffable private sensations.

    Given that Neither Bob nor Alice can point to anything public playing the role of the "holy spirit", can Bob and Alice be said to be in agreement here about their ineffable experiences? or is there at most merely a delusion of agreement?

    Well from each of their perspectives, experiential agreement might mean "The other appears to perform similar rituals to me and expresses similar sentiments as I do, and that is my criteria for them having the same ineffable experiences of the Holy-Spirit as I do".

    In which case Bob and Alice's agreement isn't an illusion relative to their chosen criteria.

    The Beetle-in-the Box analogy therefore isn't applicable.

    Even I feel I understand what Bob is saying, and I'm an atheist who never practices religion. So am I under a delusion of understanding Bob? According to Alice's opinion and her criteria, the answer is probably yes. Relative to my own criteria? no.

    Wittgenstein's private language metaphors seem to provoke their own misunderstanding, namely that to understand a language is to have absolute criteria of correctness.

    Assertions must only be judged relative to independent criteria if they are to be interpreted as conveying truth-by-correspondence. That is all. And in my opinion, this is all Wittgenstein was pointing out.
  • Sam26
    782
    Supposing a Christian, Bob, associates some ineffable inner experience with the Holy Spirit, is perfectly happy, and never complains of experiencing confusion. Why would Wittgenstein, the philosophical therapist who hated substantial philosophical theses, think Bob is nevertheless making a mistake? what should be the criterion of correctness here? the opinions of the priesthood? or Bob's happiness?sime

    While happiness may be important in our overall well-being, it has nothing to do with whether Bob is making sense when he associates the Holy Spirit with some inner experience. Your question, "What should be the criterion of correctness here?" is important, and that is the issue. There are lot's of people who are perfectly happy while making statements that are senseless, but this is not the issue.

    I will try to answer the question of criteria later in the post.

    Supposing Bob compares his religious experiences with fellow Christian Alice, who also says that she identifies the Holy Spirit with her ineffable private sensations.sime

    Yes, this example is what actually goes on in many churches, often Christians associate an ineffable experience with that of the Holy Spirit, and herein lies the problem of senselessness. This is not only true of Christians, but it happens in many other areas of life.

    Given that Neither Bob nor Alice can point to anything public playing the role of the "holy spirit", can Bob and Alice be said to be in agreement here about their ineffable experiences? or is there at most merely a delusion of agreement?sime

    I don't think they can be in agreement, since there is no way to know if my experience is the same as yours, or Bob's is the same as Alice's. How could we know that the experience is the same? This is why I believe it's the same as the beetle-in-the-box, because there is no way to confirm that what we're looking at is the same thing. Sure we're using the same words, either Holy Spirit in the Christians case, or Beetle in Wittgenstein's example.

    I probably wouldn't use the word deluded, I would just say that the words have no meaning. It's like comparing "patent nonsense with disguised nonsense," as Wittgenstein noted. The confusion lies in thinking that because the grammar of the sentence is the same, i.e., the grammar is similar to, "I'm experiencing pain." So we think that the same sentence "I'm experiencing the Holy Spirit," is also referencing my inner experience in the same way. However, the difference is that pain has something that is crucial to learning how to use the word, viz., pain behavior. Imagine trying to teach a child how to use the word pain without the outward signs of pain (crying, moaning, complaining, etc.). We don't teach a child pain behavior by pointing to some inner experience apart from the outward signs. The outward signs are crucial to learning how the word is used, without which there would be no correct or incorrect use of the word.

    We could ask ourselves what would be the incorrect use of the statement "I'm experiencing the Holy Spirit," especially if there were no outward signs that we could associate with correct usage, or incorrect usage. In other words, whatever you think is an experience of the Holy Spirit would be an experience of the Holy Spirit.

    Well from each of their perspectives, experiential agreement might mean "The other appears to perform similar rituals to me and expresses similar sentiments as I do, and that is my criteria for them having the same ineffable experiences of the Holy-Spirit as I do".sime

    Yes, they might suppose that, but the question is, is that correct? For example, suppose that a group of people believed that their inner experiences were from aliens. They all had similar rituals and sentiments, and they all talked in similar ways, pointing to their inner experiences as a way of confirming that aliens talk to them. We could also imagine these people developing complex beliefs regarding their beliefs just as Christians do. Wouldn't we think something was amiss in these kinds of beliefs?

    Even I feel I understand what Bob is saying, and I'm an atheist who never practices religion. So am I under a delusion of understanding Bob? According to Alice's opinion and her criteria, the answer is probably yes. Relative to my own criteria? no.sime

    Yes, I think many people feel they understand what Bob is saying. The reason that you feel you understand is that we all have inner experiences, and we experience private experiences, at least we think we do. But even the words inner experience wouldn't make sense apart from shared outward signs. If it was true that nothing outward was required, then we could suppose that rocks have inner experiences too. There has to be some outward manifestation that connects up with language and the use of words that are associated with such behavior in particular contexts. In other words, language has to have a social context where rules of use are observed, and where right and wrong can be delineated.

    Note that private experiences that are described using language, that have no way of determining whether one is using the words (Holy Spirit or Beetle) correctly, is the same as trying to devise your own private language. The problem of course, is that there is no way to know if you are following your own rules correctly. As Wittgenstein pointed out, whatever will seem right to you, will be right. Rules of usage don't happen privately. They happen as language develops within social settings where rules of use can be observed.

    Wittgenstein's private language metaphors seem to provoke their own misunderstanding, namely that to understand a language is to have absolute criteria of correctness.sime

    Wittgenstein would never say that there is some absolute criteria of correctness. In fact, just the opposite. Consider his example of the use of the word game, there is no absolute criteria of correctness, there are just a variety of uses in a variety of contexts. There is nothing absolute about it.

    Assertions must only be judged relative to independent criteria if they are to be interpreted as conveying truth-by-correspondence. That is all. And in my opinion, this is all Wittgenstein was pointing out.sime

    Actually this is closer to Wittgenstein's Tractatus, and is not something that Wittgenstein would have said in his later analysis of language.

    I would suggest reading PI 243-326.
  • Sam26
    782
    I've been thinking about what Wittgenstein might mean by ordinary use or everyday use. The tendency is for people to think that Wittgenstein means that we need to listen to the man on the street if we really want to know what it means to have knowledge for example. Ordinary use I believe refers to the ordinary way in which a word was developed. It doesn't mean that the man on the street is using the word correctly and someone who has studied epistemology is using it incorrectly, although this can be the case.

    For example, getting back to religious examples, if I say in ordinary speech, "I know that God speaks to me," is this a correct use of what it means to know? If someone responds with, "How do you know?" and you say, "I just know," is this a proper use of the word know? Isn't it just the case that the person is really talking about their feelings, or their subjective feelings of certainty, which they're expressing in the use of the words I know. What would it mean after all to simply say that you know that something is the case, without any demonstration of how it is that you DO know?

    If one claims to know, then it seems that there should be a some objective way to demonstrate that one knows. I'm not saying it's necessarily incorrect to make a claim to knowledge without demonstrating that you know, but it would seem strange if your claim to know was never demonstrated.
  • Sam26
    782
    "What is it like to say something to oneself; what happens here? How am I to explain it? Well, only as you might teach someone the meaning of the expression 'to say something to oneself'. And certainly we learn the meaning of that as children.--Only no one is going to say that the person who teaches it to us tells us 'what takes place' (PI 361).

    "Rather it seems to us as though in this case the instructor imparted the meaning to the pupil--without telling him directly; but in the end the pupil is brought to the point of giving himself the correct ostensive definition. And this is where out illusion is (PI 362)."

    Is the meaning of the words saying something to myself defined by pointing at the goings on in the head? That something happens in the brain is not the question. The question is, "How do we learn to use the words?" And to this the answer is NOT to point to what's happening in the mind/brain.

    "'But when I imagine something, something certainly happens!' Well, something happens--and then I make a noise. What for? Presumably in order to tell what happens.--But how is telling done? When are we said to tell anything?--What is the language-game of telling (PI 363)."

    The answer here is to understand this, viz., "[H]ow is telling done?" To look at the language-game of telling. How is it that we learn to tell someone something? The learning of this is done in the open, not by pointing or focusing one's attention on the mental phenomena.

    Someone might say that when the doctor asks if I'm in pain, and I say yes, am I not giving the words meaning by associating these words with the inner experience of pain? How else would the words "I am in pain," get meaning apart from me imparting to the doctor that I am in pain? Isn't my experience essential to the meaning? The natural inclination is to say yes, the inner process is essential, and again this is a confusion, a confusion based on a misunderstanding. The reason is, we don't learn to use the word pain based on this example, i.e., before we can get to understanding what's taking place between the doctor and patient, we must understand how we learn the words, and how we then go about using the words.

    Thus, there is a lot of background information that's learnt before we can get to the discussion between doctor and patient. If we isolate this conversation, then it seems as though the words, "I am in pain," gets their meaning from the inner experience. However, we forget about how a child learns to use the word. The child wouldn't know how to answer the doctor, if the child had not learnt the proper use of the word, and that is done in social settings where rules of use are learnt. How did the child learn to differentiate one experience from another? How are we able to say that the child is learning to use the word pain correctly.
  • Sam26
    782
    "'When I say 'I am in pain' I am at any rate justified before myself.' - What does that mean? Does it mean: 'If someone else could know what I am calling 'pain', he would admit that I was using the word correctly'?

    "To use a word without justification does not mean to use it without right (PI 289)."

    The point of asking "am I at any rate justified before myself," is to point out, or to make us think of how one would be justified "before oneself." Wittgenstein talks about this is On Certainty, i.e., the correct way of expressing this is not "I know I'm in pain," but "I am in pain." It's not a matter of knowledge, or of knowing. One doesn't justify to oneself, one justifies to others in a particular language-game. We learn the use of the word pain in association with others, combined with the rules of the language-game. It's not just social, after all people use words incorrectly all the time in social settings.

    The last sentence seems to point to the idea that one doesn't need a justification for every use of a word. Justification by it's very nature has an end, or else, what would it mean to justify something?
  • Sam26
    782
    "What I do is not, of course, to identify my sensation by criteria: but to repeat an expression. But this is not the end of the language-game: it is the beginning.

    "But isn't the beginning the sensation-which I describe?-Perhaps this word 'describe' tricks us here. I say 'I describe my state of mind' and 'I describe my room'. You need to call to mind the differences between the language-game (PI 290)."

    It seems as though Wittgenstein is pointing out that inner sensations, pain for example, are identified by criteria (the rules of the language-game). However, much of the time we are simply repeating and expression that seems to have meaning. For example, an unconscious thought, or an unconscious bias, we repeat these kinds of expressions as though they have meaning, when they don't.

    One might be tempted to think that the beginning of the language-game is the description of my sensation. Wittgenstein invites us to examine how we look at the use of the word describe, comparing it to a description of a state of mind, as opposed to a description of one's room. We understand the meaning of the words used to describe one's room, chairs, desks, bed, blanket, etc., but how do we describe those things in the mind (the beetle in the box). How does that thing in the mind get described, what is the rule that allows us to create the language-game of description in this case? How do we even share these private sensations, unless of course there is some outward thing that shows itself. For example, we share the cries or moans of pain, but that's not completely private, note the outward sign (crying and moaning). If the sensation is completely private like the beetle in the box, the word is senseless. The grammar fools us, i.e., it seems as though we are saying something that makes sense, but upon closer examination, there is nothing there, viz., no something for the word to latch onto.
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