• Banno
    3.5k
    @Sam26

    What are we to make of "I know how to ride a bike"?

    The justification here, if there is one, is in riding the bike. The doing makes the knowing so.

    I haven't ridden one for a few years - perhaps I've forgotten how...

    Or I suffer an inner ear infection that makes balance impossible, and so cannot demonstrate my skill; do I still know how to ride?
  • Sam26
    1.1k
    What are we to make of "I know how to ride a bike"?

    The justification here, if there is one, is in riding the bike. The doing makes the knowing so.

    I haven't ridden one for a few years - perhaps I've forgotten how...

    Or I suffer an inner ear infection that makes balance impossible, and so cannot demonstrate my skill; do I still know how to ride?
    Banno

    Well, it's similar to knowing how to count to ten, it's knowledge as a skill. The evidence or the justification is in the doing. If you say you can ride a bike, then get on and fall on your butt, then you don't have the skill. It doesn't matter that you once had the skill. The point is that your claim is no longer true.
  • Sam26
    1.1k
    But despite there not being a something, the game takes place; and has a role. We do things with our talk of pain.Banno

    I don't remember the context of this quote. I believe the point was, that if there was no pain behavior, the word pain would be practically meaningless. The pain behavior in social settings is what gives meaning to the word pain. The pain behavior also reflects a mental state, although the mental state in itself doesn't confer meaning. It's the mental state along with the behavior in social settings. Without the mental phenomena there would be no behavior in social settings. I'm not saying that mental states are objects that the word latches onto. So it goes something like this: mental states - behavior - words in social contexts - meaning - but it doesn't work in reverse, that is, you can't point back to the mental state to give the word meaning. The mental state is not an object that confers meaning. Repeating for emphasis.
  • Banno
    3.5k


    I'm thinking about this in relation to the following from @Snakes Alive:

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/214348
  • Sam26
    1.1k
    I'm thinking about this in relation to the following from Snakes Alive:

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/214348
    Banno

    He's relearning the use of a word, just as a child would learn to use a word. I don't see the connection between what you said above and this video.

    It's not just a matter of doing things in a language-game, it's doing things correctly.
  • Banno
    3.5k
    If you knew how to use "60" but lost the capacity to say the word...

    If you knew how to ride but lost the capacity to balance...

    Do you maintain the concept of "60"? Do you maintain the concept of bike riding?

    I am not as happy as you might be, to admit mental states into
    mental states - behavior - words in social contexts - meaningSam26
    because it is made distinct from behaviour. I suspect a consequence of the approach Wittgenstein takes is to join mental states and behaviour - but that becomes a clumsy wording and leads to my (and his?) being accused of behaviourism.

    It's more that the state of a brain and the performance of some act, or better, group of similar acts, are related.
  • Sam26
    1.1k
    because it is made distinct from behaviour. I suspect a consequence of the approach Wittgenstein takes is to join mental states and behaviour - but that becomes a clumsy wording and leads to my (and his?) being accused of behaviourism.Banno

    Ya, it may lead to people accuse you of behaviorism, but I'm surely not going to let accusations dictate my beliefs. People will always misunderstand things, including myself, but all I'm doing is letting Wittgenstein's thoughts, as I interpret them, lead me to new avenues of thinking.

    People also think that Wittgenstein promoted the idea that meaning is equivalent to use, or that language-games are what determine meaning. These are just misunderstandings.
  • Banno
    3.5k
    Anyway, on with your tale...
  • Sam26
    1.1k
    Post #3 Re-writing my analysis of On Certainty.

    "If for e.g. someone says 'I don't know if there's a hand here' he might be told 'Look closer'.--This possibility of satisfying oneself is part of the language-game. Is one of its essential features (OC, 3)."

    The idea of a language-game was mentioned by Wittgenstein as early as 1933 in the Blue Book, but in the Philosophical Investigations the language-game comes into its own as a major part of his thinking. An example of a simple language-game is given at the beginning of the Philosophical Investigations. Wittgenstein gives no definition of a language-game, which is probably in keeping with the idea that many or most definitions will not satisfy every correct use of a word. Moreover, think of how you learn to use words, you did not learn by going to the dictionary until much later.

    The first example of a language-game in the Philosophical Investigations is very primitive. There is a builder A and an assistant B. The builder is using various building-stones called, blocks, pillars, slabs, and beams. The purpose of the assistant is to pass the stones to builder, so the assistant must come to understand what the builder is asking for when he calls out block, pillar, slab, or beam. Therefore, in order for the assistant to properly understand the builder, he has to know the difference between a call for a block as opposed to a call for a slab. If the assistant is able to distinguish between the calls, then the assistant is able to follow the (implicit) rules of the language-game; and just as there are many different games (football, baseball, chess, checkers, marbles, etc) with varying rules, so too, are there many different types of language-games with various rules.

    Another way of thinking about language-games is that they are a form of life, that is, observing two people building something using simple calls (a basic form of life), as in Wittgenstein's example. However, in their more complex forms you will observe cultures developing various language-games for more complex activities, such as mathematics, physics, philosophy, sports activities, acting, teaching, computers, etc. All of these forms of life are rule-governed, just as the more primitive example given above is rule-governed. Understanding the language-game is important if one wants to understand Wittgenstein's analysis of language. Moreover, it is important if one wants to understand his analysis of knowing and doubting.

    If there are implicit rules of use (also thought of as, the logic of use) in the language-game of doubt, then it follows that there are correct and incorrect uses of the word. However, discovering all correct uses is difficult, and sometimes incorrect uses have a way of becoming cemented into one’s thinking. The use of the words know and doubt are two such examples. In terms of a correct use, it must be said that there is no one correct use, but a host of correct uses in various language-games.

    When trying to present a definition or a theory in reference to a particular use of a word, for example, developing a theory of knowledge, often we can so restrict a word’s use that we rule out correct uses. Sometimes (and sometime not) there is too much to describe using a particular theory. This is not to say there is something inherently wrong with theorizing, only that we must be careful about being too dogmatic.

    In the quote above Wittgenstein mentions one of the key points of knowing, and that is the idea of “satisfying oneself,” it is key to the language-game of knowing. We will see this as Wittgenstein shows the logical connection between knowing and doubting throughout On Certainty. When thinking about “satisfying oneself,” do not only think of it in terms of the one making the claim, although that is part of the equation, but think of it as you might make a claim, and how that claim is received by others participating in the language-game. A natural question that arises when we make claims to knowledge, is, “How do you know?” Hence, the doubt, or the skeptic.
  • Sam26
    1.1k
    Post #4 Re-writing my analysis of On Certainty.

    "'I know that I am a human being.' In order to see how unclear the sense of this proposition is, consider its negation. At most it might be taken to mean "I know I have the organs of a human". (E.g. a brain which, after all, no one has ever yet seen.) But what about such a proposition as "I know I have a brain"? Can I doubt it? Grounds for doubt are lacking! Everything speaks in its favour, nothing against it. Nevertheless it is imaginable that my skull should turn out empty when it is operated on (OC, 4)."

    How unclear the sense of the proposition is, is manifest when we consider its negation. One way, it seems, to understand if a claim to know has a sense, is to look at it from a position in which it makes sense to doubt the claim. It seems clear that knowing and doubting, to state again, logically work hand-in-hand. Knowledge claims do not stand on their own, which would be the case if they could not be challenged. Knowledge claims by their very nature, invite challenge. Hence, the doubt, and the question, “How do you know?”

    However, there seems to be something special about Moore's claims, and Wittgenstein's proposition above, namely, “I know I am a human being.” The usual sense of “I know…” seems undermined because these propositions seem to be immune to doubt, that is, not only does the use of the word know lack sense, but the negation often used to question one’s knowledge also lack sense. We forget that not only should knowledge have a justification, but doubt also warrants justification.

    Because one can imagine a situation in which it makes sense to doubt, it does not follow that that in itself is good reason to doubt. For example, one can imagine situations in which our sensory experiences fail to provide us with a veridical experience, but that is not a good reason to generally doubt our sensory experiences. Part of the confusion is that we can imagine situations where such doubts have sense. However, can we doubt the propositions Moore is using, and more specifically, can we doubt them in Moore's context? Each case must be looked at based on its own merits. This also applies to Moore’s claim of knowledge.

    Moore is playing this language-game with the skeptics, but is Moore playing the language-game according to the rules of the game? It is here that Wittgenstein excels, as he shows us the rules and the logic behind the use of these words. Furthermore, are the skeptics playing the language-game correctly? Many philosophers on both sides of the argument fail to understand the complexity of the language-game of knowing and doubting.

    If a claim to know lacks sense, then it follows that a question of doubt regarding the claim would also lack sense? This is the question before us - before Wittgenstein.
  • Sam26
    1.1k
    Post #5 Re-writing My Analysis of On Certainty

    "Whether a proposition can turn out false after all depends on what I make count as determinants for that proposition (OC, 5).”

    What one counts as support for a proposition in terms of its truth or falsity can be a variety of things, these things may or may not be a justification for the truth or falsity of a proposition. This is the case for all of our beliefs. Some beliefs are based on little to no objective evidence, while other beliefs are based on very good objective evidence. Other times our beliefs are based on purely subjective thinking, not having anything to do with objective reality.

    It is difficult to understand how this quote connects with what Wittgenstein’s been saying. If we were to try to connect this with the flow of his opening remarks, then it would seem that Wittgenstein is suggesting that what Moore or the skeptic claims to know or not know, is determined by what they believe counts as support (determinants) for the propositions in question. This brings us to what Wittgenstein says next:

    "Now, can one enumerate what one knows (like Moore)? Straight off like that, I believe not.--For otherwise the expression "I know" gets misused. And through this misuse a queer and extremely important mental state seems to be revealed (OC, 6)."

    Wittgenstein now begins to demonstrate where it is that Moore has gone wrong. Moore’s “I know…” seems to be centered around Moore’s subjective certainty. However, Moore would dispute this, because Moore has given what he believes to be a very good argument. His conclusion would seem to follow, and it seems that most would agree with Moore.

    However, what Wittgenstein is pointing out seems to be something subtler. First, that Moore is misusing the word know; and Wittgenstein has begun to demonstrate this based in his earlier comments about knowing and doubting. He considers, for example, the negation of these kinds of propositions. The negation tells us something that we do not normally see with respect to Moore’s propositions, or propositions of this type. Second, in this particular quote, Wittgenstein brings up another important point about Moore’s propositions, that is, they reflect an important mental state. Wittgenstein comments on this later in the book (OC, 42), our beliefs reflect our mental states, and we reveal these mental states through our actions.

    There seems, though, to be something much deeper here, namely, how our mental states are connected with these kinds of beliefs (hinge-propositions or bedrock beliefs). The strength of these beliefs does cause us to act from conviction, and they do give us something fundamental to our language-games. The strength of these beliefs (hinge-propositions or bedrock beliefs) are such that we want to say or make the claim that “We know…,” but, again, Wittgenstein attacks this use of the word know. Moore's claim to knowledge seems to be more in line with his subjective state of certainty, than with real knowledge claims.

    Much of Wittgenstein’s final notes in On Certainty is spent exploring the nature of these strange propositions, which he never completes.
  • creativesoul
    3.5k
    It's more that the state of a brain and the performance of some act, or better, group of similar acts, are related.Banno

    Causally, no less...
  • creativesoul
    3.5k


    So Sam...

    With Witt's strict application of the phrase "I know", aren't there things that we can surmise about his thoughts on the matter that perhaps he had not written down, but was still in process, or some such?

    Doesn't Witt claim that knowledge must be dubitable? Wouldn't that condition disqualify Moore's claim all by itself?
  • Banno
    3.5k
    Why think that? Causality in not the only relation.
  • Sam26
    1.1k
    With Witt's strict application of the phrase "I know", aren't there things that we can surmise about his thoughts on the matter that perhaps he had not written down, but was still in process, or some such?creativesoul

    Yes, in fact I've done this with my foundationalist idea's based on Witt's hinge-propositions. I also think there is much more that can be surmised, namely, that there is a causal link between our sensory perceptions and many of these hinge-propositions or bedrock beliefs. Whether or not this causal link will hold up to scrutiny I'm not sure.

    Doesn't Witt claim that knowledge must be dubitable? Wouldn't that condition disqualify Moore's claim all by itself?creativesoul

    Yes, isn't that his point? All knowledge claim are doubtable, and if they're not, like Moore's claims, then there not knowledge claims, they're beliefs of a different sort (bedrock).
  • Sam26
    1.1k
    Yes, the causality link hasn't been clearly established. Although I do think it's certainly something to consider.
  • creativesoul
    3.5k


    I'm a strict determinist...

    :wink:

    You're right though. There are more than one legitimate relation between the brain state and groups of similar activities. The attribution of meaning being one. Showing meaning when there's more than one person involved... "Block!"...

    What do you have in mind though? I'm certain it's different than what I've said...

    :smile:
  • Banno
    3.5k
    I watched a pharmacist sort through shelves as she spoke on the phone, looking at this and that, walking around the room, asking questions and listening as she suggested, remembered, discovered...

    Her thinking was not seperate from this bodily activity; nor from the items on the shelf, or the phone. Thinking is not just something that happens in minds.
  • creativesoul
    3.5k
    Doesn't Witt claim that knowledge must be dubitable? Wouldn't that condition disqualify Moore's claim all by itself?
    — creativesoul

    Yes, isn't that his point? All knowledge claim are doubtable, and if they're not, like Moore's claims, then there not knowledge claims, they're beliefs of a different sort (bedrock).
    Sam26

    Yeah. Sorry, I was more hesitant than was warranted. I wasn't certain about the accuracy of my recollection. It's been a while since I seriously read OC, aside from a bit here and there in order to refresh for discussion with you, Banno, and a few other Witt fans...
  • creativesoul
    3.5k
    I watched a pharmacist sort through shelves as she spoke on the phone, looking at this and that, walking around the room, asking questions and listening as she suggested, remembered, discovered...

    Her thinking was not seperate from this bodily activity; nor from the items on the shelf, or the phone. Thinking is not just something that happens in minds.
    Banno

    I would readily agree. Give me another few years, and I'll have you on board before you know it!

    :wink:
  • creativesoul
    3.5k


    So...

    On what ground would one base such a condition for knowledge?

    Why must all knowledge claims(I'm assuming empirical claims) be able to be doubted?
  • Sam26
    1.1k
    Her thinking was not seperate from this bodily activity; nor from the items on the shelf, or the phone. Thinking is not just something that happens in minds.Banno

    Where else would it happen? In other words, if we're talking about the concept, the concept thinking gets its life from the actions you pointed out, but it's not as if thinking can be generated apart from minds. Minds are necessary. It's as if you want to say the actions in themselves are the thinking, but my disagreement with you, I think, lies in the difference between how a concept gets its life and what's going on in the brain. The two are inseparable.
  • Sam26
    1.1k
    Why must all knowledge claims(I'm assuming empirical claims) be able to be doubted?creativesoul

    If this wasn't so, then one could infer knowledge from a simple claim that one knows. It has to be more than reasonable that in many situations the knowledge claim is something to be demonstrated.
  • creativesoul
    3.5k
    Why must all knowledge claims(I'm assuming empirical claims) be able to be doubted?
    — creativesoul

    If this wasn't so, then one could infer knowledge from a simple claim that one knows. It has to be more than reasonable that in many situations the knowledge claim is something to be demonstrated.
    Sam26

    So, it's about the justification aspect?
  • Sam26
    1.1k
    Yes, by definition, knowledge is something that is justified. As Wittgenstein says, satisfying oneself is part of the language-game of knowledge.

    Many empirical claims are bedrock, i.e., they are outside our epistemological language-games.
  • Banno
    3.5k
    There seems, though, to be something much deeper here, namely, how our mental states are connected with these kinds of beliefs (hinge-propositions or bedrock beliefs). The strength of these beliefs does cause us to act from conviction, and they do give us something fundamental to our language-games. The strength of these beliefs (hinge-propositions or bedrock beliefs) are such that we want to say or make the claim that “We know…,” but, again, Wittgenstein attacks this use of the word know. Moore's claim to knowledge seems to be more in line with his subjective state of certainty, than with real knowledge claims.Sam26

    Now I need to go back to Moore, and have a re-read. Does he mention certainty in his text? I don't recall his doing so. The introduction of certainty into he discussion is I think down to Wittgenstein.

    I know how to ride a bike - and can demonstrate my knowledge by riding a bike. I know I have a hand - and can demonstrate my knowledge by waving my hand. Bikes and hands form the world in which such language takes place.

    ...my disagreement with you, I think, lies in the difference between how a concept gets its life and what's going on in the brain. The two are inseparable.Sam26
    That's close. I don't see how knowing I have a hand could be purely what's going on in the brain; it must, at the least, also involve a hand.

    You have posited that the connection between hinge propositions and the world is somehow causal. I picture this as that somehow having a hand causes the hinge belief that I have a hand. I don't agree with that line of thinking. I think it would be better to think something like, that having a hand and believing one has a hand are much the same thing - "inseparable", as you say. After all, to believe on has a hand, one has to understand ownership in some way, and what hands are in some other.
  • creativesoul
    3.5k
    Yes, by definition, knowledge is something that is justified. As Wittgenstein says, satisfying oneself is part of the language-game of knowledge.Sam26

    Surely everyone knows that self-satisfaction plays no crucial role in being justified...

    I know how to ride a bike - and can demonstrate my knowledge by riding a bike. I know I have a hand - and can demonstrate my knowledge by waving my hand. Bikes and hands form the world in which such language takes place.Banno

    This lets me know what Moore and I have always had in common that I had yet to have ascertained...

    Moore is also getting beneath language in the sense of setting out what language creation and/or acquisition is existentially dependent upon.
  • Sam26
    1.1k
    Now I need to go back to Moore, and have a re-read. Does he mention certainty in his text? I don't recall his doing so. The introduction of certainty into he discussion is I think down to Wittgenstein.Banno

    Wittgenstein points out that Moore's use of the word know is more an expression of subjective certainty (OC, 21 and 42). He says this because Moore's use of the word seems to reflect something indubitable, which if the case, would imply that we can infer from Moore's propositions that we too know.

    Wittgenstein, wants us to consider the proposition's negation, namely, "I don't know this is a hand," which helps us understand how out of place Moore's use of know is.

    That's close. I don't see how knowing I have a hand could be purely what's going on in the brain; it must, at the least, also involve a hand.Banno

    If I believe I have a hand, then yes, the belief involves the hand. I'm not saying otherwise. Only that it's both, the mind and the hand. I'm not stressing one over the other, but you seem to want to stress the hand and the action as somehow superior. They work together. If anything the belief is dependent on the mind, not the other way around. The mind is not dependent on the actions or the belief being expressed. Without the mind there would be no actions or beliefs. No cultural setting for your belief to manifest.

    In order for us to attribute a mind to something, it does require actions of some kind, otherwise how would we know we have minds. However, this is a language point, that is, the concept mind would be senseless apart from the actions of minds. My point is partly linguistic, but also partly non-linguistic.
  • Sam26
    1.1k
    Moore is also getting beneath language in the sense of setting out what language creation and/or acquisition is existentially dependent upon.creativesoul

    I don't think Moore is doing anything like this. His papers, his claims are that certain propositions are so indubitable that the skeptic doesn't have an argument to stand on. He essentially offers a proof.

    Moore’s proof is supposed to show that the conclusion follows necessarily, and if it does, then the skeptic’s doubts are supposed to vanish. The proof would look something like the following:

    1) Moore has knowledge that he has two hands.
    2) Moore makes the inference from the fact that he has two hands, to the conclusion that there exists an external world.
    3) Hence, Moore knows that an external world exists.

    Moore isn't doing some linguistic analysis.
  • creativesoul
    3.5k
    I think that Moore is separating the fools of the audience. Who - in that situation - would deny that Moore's hand is external to them?
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.