• creativesoul
    3.4k
    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

    Yes. Thinking doesn't have a definitive spatiotemporal location. It owes it's existence to a plethora of simpler things. One is physiological sensory perception. Another is an external world. Another is some innate instinctual state of mind... Fear and Hunger suffice.
  • Marchesk
    2.2k
    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.Banno

    A potential problem here is that there are disorders in which people believe parts of their body don't belong to them. There are also disorders in which they completely ignore the left or right side of their body.

    That means the belief is separable from the having a hand under special circumstances, and this is due to a brain injury or disorder, which places the belief in the brain.
  • Marchesk
    2.2k
    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?creativesoul

    Someone after watching the Matrix or Inception movies. We can agree that in an everyday sense it's foolish, but philosophical doubt raises the possibility that we could be wrong. Thus the simulation, BIV, demon arguments.

    Also, I can dream about my hands, but those might not be my external hands. Moore's proof isn't a proof, it's an appeal to common sense.
  • Marchesk
    2.2k
    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

    Yes, if your neuromuscular system is capable of doing so. All you need to demonstrate it is to have you ear infection cured. Do you doubt it's in principle possible for a medical examination to reveal the capacity?

    It must be the case that you store that capability somehow, or you would not be able to ride again, without going through a relearning process?
  • creativesoul
    3.4k
    ...philosophical doubt raises the possibility that we could be wrong. Thus the simulation, BIV, demon arguments.Marchesk

    What you've called "philosophical" I would call "radical". It is borne of failing to draw the distinction between thought and belief and thinking about thought and belief.

    Such doubt is belief based. All belief consists of meaningful correlations drawn between different things.
  • Marchesk
    2.2k
    Such doubt is belief based. All belief consists of meaningful correlations drawn between different things.creativesoul

    Right, and there's your argument in the other thread which I said I agreed with. But, what the dream argument shows is that it's possible to have an experience of my hands without them being external. We can differentiate between dreaming and being awake, but that possibility of having non-external hand experience still remains. Which means there could be radical scenarios in which it's actually the case.

    As such, Moore waving his hands about doesn't defeat the skeptic, it just reinforces that such doubt is radical. But the skeptic can just reply, "Yeah and so what? I already knew that skepticism was radical to common, everyday sense."
  • creativesoul
    3.4k
    what the dream argument shows is that it's possible to have an experience of my hands without them being external.Marchesk

    What reason is there to believe that one can dream of hands prior to thinking about them?
  • Marchesk
    2.2k
    What reason is there to believe that one can dream of hands prior to thinking about them?creativesoul

    None, but it opens to door to having experiences of hands that are not external in other scenarios that could possibly be the case, as far as we know.

    As such, Moore's argument isn't an argument to trot out against Bostrom's ancestor simulation argument, or a Boltzman brain.
  • Sam26
    1k
    Post #6 Continuing with the re-writing of 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
    3.4k
    What reason is there to believe that one can dream of hands prior to thinking about them?
    — creativesoul

    None...
    Marchesk

    And if thinking of hands is existentially dependent upon and external world?
  • Marchesk
    2.2k
    And if thinking of hands is existentially dependent upon and external world?creativesoul

    Then there has to be an external world. But that leaves several radical skeptical scenarios as possibilities.
  • Sam26
    1k
    Post #7 Continuing with the re-writing of my analysis of On Certainty

    If we look back at what Wittgenstein said earlier (OC, 2), namely, because it seems to be the case, it does not follow that it is the case. The important question is, “…whether it can make sense to doubt it.” This will be reiterated again and again because of the importance of Wittgenstein’s comments in understanding these kinds of (Moorean) propositions.

    The use of the phrase “I know…” in our language refers to beliefs of a certain kind, beliefs that have the force of justification behind them, which leads us to believe our claim is correct. Hence, “I can’t be wrong about this or that,” based on my justification. The phrase, “I thought I knew,” points out that if shown the proper counter-evidence, one can change one’s mind. However, the one doubting the claim can also have their doubts satisfied, that is, if presented with convincing evidence or reasons. It works both ways, “…satisfying oneself is part of the language-game. Is one of its essential features (OC, 3).”

    If we look at Moorean propositions, for example “I know this is a hand,” how does one satisfy oneself of its truth, and how would one doubt such a proposition, as presented in Moore’s context? Again, these beliefs seem to be of a special kind, not subject to the normal mechanistic avenues of knowing or doubting. Wittgenstein asks, “Now do I, in the course of my life, make sure I know that here is a hand – my own hand, that is (OC, 9)?” So, there seems to be something foundational, rooted in reality itself, that is, reality provides the backdrop that allows beliefs, language, and epistemology to take root. This can be understood by comparing it to a game of chess. How does one play the game of chess without the board and pieces, they are foundational to the game? How could the game of chess be played if one was constantly doubting the board and pieces; and if one played the game while expressing their doubts, what would the doubts amount to? This is also true of someone making knowledge claims about the board and pieces, for example, “I know this is a bishop.”

    Doubting and knowing play off each other in ways that offer resolution. If we are not sure of the board and pieces, how can we be sure of the questions and answers, and how can we be sure of our words (a later Wittgensteinian observation). The knowledge claims and the corresponding doubts are senseless when seen in the correct juxtaposition.

    As one considers the above paragraph remember that the context is important, there are always contexts where it would make sense to know or doubt, but the point here is that Wittgenstein is referring to Moore’s context - normal everyday contexts, not unusual contexts.

    As my understanding of Wittgenstein emerges from these posts, you will begin to see a theory of epistemology emerge. A theory based on Wittgenstein’s ideas of hinge-propositions, and what I believe follows from his thoughts.
  • Sam26
    1k
    Post #8 Continuing with the re-writing of my analysis of On Certainty

    “Now do I, in the course of my life, make sure I know that here is a hand—my own hand, that is (OC, 9).”

    This particular statement of Wittgenstein’s tells us something important about certain kinds of beliefs. It tells us how we act in relation to these beliefs, namely, that there are certain beliefs that we accept without justification, without doubting. We open doors, we get out of bed, we sit down, we pick things up, and we put them down; we do these things, and we accept these things as part of the background in which we live. It is the reality in which we live, breathe, act, and talk. The background reality (the world) provides the soil that gives life to our actions, and to our linguistic culture (language-games). To doubt this background, is to doubt the very thing that gives life to the language of doubt; and to that which gives life to the assertion “I know…” in our language.

    “I know that a sick man is lying here? Nonsense! I am sitting at his bedside, I am looking attentively into his face.—So I don’t know, then, that there is a sick man lying here? Neither the question nor the assertion makes sense. Any more than the assertion “I am here,” which I might yet use at any moment, if suitable occasion presented itself (OC, 10).”

    Again, the doubt points to the senselessness of the assertion. Allow the use of the word know and the skeptic is legitimately in the door. What Moore misses, is that the use of the word know validates the skeptic’s use of the word doubt. If knowledge is not applicable, neither is the doubt. It is not, just, a matter of letting the skeptic in the door, but, it is a matter of following the rules of the game. Therefore, Moore unknowingly gives life to the skeptics argument.

    “We just don’t see how very specialized the use of “I know” is (OC, 11).”

    Wittgenstein’s point about the use of the phrase “I know” is a point of clarity, more importantly, it is a point of clarity for the epistemologist. These beliefs not only clarify how the word is used, but also tells us something important about the substructure of epistemology, namely, where justification ends.
  • Banno
    3.4k
    All you need to demonstrate it is to have you ear infection cured.Marchesk

    That misses the point. Do you know how to ride despite not being able to ride? That is, while suffering the inner ear infection.

    I humbly suggest that there is no right answer here - or if you prefer, we can say either that: they do know how to ride, but cannot demonstrate it; or that they do not know how to ride, because they cannot demonstrate it; and that there is no reason to prefer one answer over the other.
  • Banno
    3.4k
    That means the belief is separable from the having a hand under special circumstances, and this is due to a brain injury or disorder, which places the belief in the brain.Marchesk

    Sure; but belief and truth are not private. What makes this case interesting is exactly the extraordinary split between belief and the world: that in this case having a hand and believing one has a hand are erroneously separated.
  • Banno
    3.4k
    To doubt this background, is to doubt the very thing that gives life to the language of doubt; and to that which gives life to the assertion “I know…” in our language.Sam26

    Excellent phrasing.
  • Sam26
    1k
    Excellent phrasing.Banno

    Thanks.
  • Sam26
    1k
    Post #9 Continuing with the re-writing of my analysis of On Certainty

    “But can’t it be seen from a rule what circumstances logically exclude a mistake in the employment of rules of calculation?

    “What use is a rule to us here? Mightn’t we (in turn) go wrong in applying it (OC, 26)?”

    “If, however, one wanted to give something like a rule here, then it would contain the expression ‘in normal circumstances’. And we recognize normal circumstances but cannot precisely describe them. At most, we can describe a range of abnormal ones (OC, 27).”

    “What is ‘learning a rule’?—This. What is ‘making a mistake in applying it’?—This. And what is pointed to here is something indeterminate (OC, 28).”

    If you are looking for something definitive here, you will not find it, at least in terms of a rule or rules that would apply across the board to Moorean propositions. For example, Wittgenstein points out that Moore’s use of “I know I have hands,” in normal circumstances is not in line with how we use the phrase generally. In other words, Moorean propositions are not propositions that normally require justification. However, one can find uses of Moore’s claims, but they tend to be uses that are unusual or abnormal, that is, where a doubt would make sense. Moore’s use is not such a case, at least in Moore’s context.

    An essential ingredient to a rule-following, is to point out what is correct or incorrect in the employment of the rule, otherwise, why would we need a rule? It is difficult to imagine, in the employment of a rule, what contexts would rule out a mistake. In fact, if a mistake is not possible, is a rule even required? Rules give us a consistency of action, and help to ensure linguistic consistency (in grammar or language-games).

    The best way to understand Wittgenstein’s ideas is to examine how it is that we learn to use the words know and doubt. Examining the use of words gives us a clearer picture of what the rules are, and how they are applied.

    There seem to be beliefs that are not subject to rules, prelinguistic beliefs, that is, states-of-mind that form the backdrop of rules, language, and epistemology. Wittgenstein’s hinge-propositions are not propositions in the traditional sense, they are beliefs of a particular kind, namely, bedrock, basic, or foundational beliefs.
  • Sam26
    1k
    As has been mentioned before in past remarks, use is not the the be all and end all of understanding how a word gets its meaning. There are no clear lines between correct use and incorrect use in all cases. Much of what we are trying to understand is very blurred. For example, we know the use of words changes over time, but when change starts happening one might argue that it is an incorrect use of the word. So sometimes the use of a word may appear to be incorrect, but the bed of the river may just be shifting ever so slightly, indicating a different path for the word, or an expanded use of the word.

    The point is not to think of use as some absolute criteria which governs correct use, and thus correct meaning. We should think of use as the main governing criteria behind meaning, but do not think of it as - meaning = use - in an absolute way, or in a way that use necessitates meaning. Think of it as an idea that generally holds. Meaning as use is something that helps clarification, a tool in philosophy that can be added to the tool box of clarification.
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