• Fooloso4
    3.3k
    They are our ordinary criteria ...Antony Nickles

    It is not by such ordinary criteria that "a Copernicus or a Darwin really achieved a fertile point of view". The ordinary criteria at the time of Copernicus had the earth at the center. The ordinary criteria at the time of Darwin was to regard species were "kinds", and that order of life was the top down design of the creator.

    ... but the sense of wonder you are thinking of ...Antony Nickles

    I think you do not know what the sense of wonder I am thinking of is.
  • Antony Nickles
    548
    It is not by such ordinary criteria that "a Copernicus or a Darwin really achieved a fertile point of view".Fooloso4

    But this is science and empiricism (repeatability by anyone allowing for stability and certainty). This is the “explanation” that Philosophy for Witt is not involved with. Thomas Kuhn does a grammar of scientific revolution, and this would be something Wittgenstein could have done as well.

    Ordinary criteria are not like beliefs or agreements, like a prevailing opinion. “Ordinary” in this sense is like a technical term defined in contrast to the singular criteria of crystalline purity, logic, certainty, that Witt is widening after the Tractatus and which was the standard of Plato’s forms or Kant’s thing-in-itself. It is the multitude of grammar which are different for every thing. Our lives embody our judgments, these limits, identity, distinction, etc.

    I think you do not know what the sense of wonder I am thinking of is.Fooloso4

    Is this to remain mysterious? or just to end the discussion? I don’t mind someone attempting a take on what I have said, but if that is unwanted I apologize.
  • Fooloso4
    3.3k
    But this is science and empiricism (repeatability by anyone allowing for stability and certainty).Antony Nickles

    It is Wittgenstein's example. The full quote:

    What a Copernicus or a Darwin really achieved was not the discovery of a new true theory but a fertile point of view. (CV 18)Fooloso4

    He is talking about ways of seeing things.

    “Ordinary” in this sense is like a technical termAntony Nickles

    I don't think he is using the term "ordinary" in a way that is not ordinary.

    Is this to remain mysterious?Antony Nickles

    To some extent it must. Wittgenstein connected wonder and awe with the mysterious and unknown. But if we ask what these things are I have no answer.

    ...or just to end the discussion?Antony Nickles

    Not at all. I enjoy discussing Wittgenstein.

    if that is unwanted I apologize.Antony Nickles

    What I was trying to say is that you were making incorrect assumptions. It was said in jest.
  • Antony Nickles
    548
    "What a Copernicus or a Darwin really achieved was not the discovery of a new true theory but a fertile point of view." (CV 18)

    He is talking about ways of seeing things.Fooloso4

    The point of view that Witt is claiming is that the method and tools of philosophy are in plain sight. My point was only that philosophy does not achieve this through empiricism but through understanding how and why we desire and create the picture that anything is hidden. This is not "ways" of seeing things, but a singular way that is different than traditional philosophy. I will grant that it is "fertile" as well, but because it is not hoping for the perfect conditions to be met before it begins. Other than that, I do not understand your interpretation of this quote nor how you believe it is relevant, and there is no effort to provide evidence of any view except the quote itself (as if it were self-explanatory). I could try to unpack it for you to argue or agree, but I leave that responsibility to you.

    I don't think he is using the term "ordinary" in a way that is not ordinary.Fooloso4

    In #108 he is contrasting the voice of "ordinary life" with the speech of "the philosophy of logic", the context of our world against the "non-spatial, non-temporal". In #402 he is contrasting the "expression of ordinary language" with the "disputes between Idealists, Solipsists and Realists". In saying that "ordinary" is used in a technical sense, I am saying it is different than its usual senses because it is always meant in comparison. Witt's ordinary is not naturally understood or easily grasped. The ordinary is special and distinct because it is seeing our everyday world as unusual and extraordinary, without escaping to another or claiming it is hidden from us. Another word he uses is "everyday", which, in #116, is a place philosophy returns to from the "metaphysical". Ordinary is a descriptor of our language and expressions and their senses (uses), which is only truly understood against the expressions of traditional philosophy and the senses of our words that it manufactures.

    To some extent [your sense of wonder] must [remain mysterious to me] ["I think you do not know what the sense of wonder I am thinking of is."]. Wittgenstein connected wonder and awe with the mysterious and unknown. But if we ask what these things are I have no answer.Fooloso4

    But I am not asking what wonder is; asking that you answer its mystery--make explicit your experience of it. I was guessing at what use of wonder you were speaking of ("sense" in Witt's way of the options a concept has, which one of its possibilities).

    Both Plato and Aristotle say that philosophy begins in wonder. It is, however, the pursuit of philosophy that led to modern science:Fooloso4

    An example of the use of wonder as curiosity would be one wondering about how something came to be, the answer of its (hidden) cause. Wonder as awe is surprise and amazement, as if an answer is impossible or unnecessary. Science and philosophy may both start in wonder, but science seeks an answer, to explain that which is hidden (in mystery), and the philosophy that Witt is doing merely lays the ordinary before us, to be struck by it (#129 @Luke), as in awe.

    If philosophy is what is possible only before science's curiosity (#126), then the "complete clarity" (#133) at the end of philosophy (each time) is not the answers of science, but making aware our lives right before us.
  • Fooloso4
    3.3k
    The point of view that Witt is claiming is that the method and tools of philosophy are in plain sight.Antony Nickles

    The point of view of Copernicus or Darwin is that the method and tools of philosophy are in plain sight?

    My point was only that philosophy does not achieve this through empiricism but through understanding how and why we desire and create the picture that anything is hidden. This is not "ways" of seeing things, but a singular way that is different than traditional philosophy.Antony Nickles

    I don't think so. The rejection of something hidden should not be made into the whole of the problem of seeing.

    Ordinary is a descriptor of our language and expressions and their senses (uses), which is only truly understood against the expressions of traditional philosophy and the senses of our words that it manufactures.Antony Nickles

    That is not the way I read it. It is not as if the ordinary has to be "truly understood" with the aid of philosophy. From #402:

    When as in this case, we disapprove of the expressions of ordinary language (which are after all performing their office), we have got a picture in our heads which conflicts with the picture of our ordinary way of speaking.

    The expressions of ordinary language are performing their office. The problem arises when philosophy regards this as inadequate. It is not that ordinary language has to be understood against the expressions of traditional philosophy, but that traditional philosophy fails to understand ordinary language. Philosophy, when done right, simply puts everything before us.

    An example of the use of wonder as curiosity would be one wondering about how something came to be, the answer of its (hidden) cause.Antony Nickles

    Tractatus 6.44 It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists.

    It is not about how it is but that it is.

    the "complete clarity" (#133) at the end of philosophy (each time) is not the answers of science, but making aware our lives right before us.Antony Nickles

    I agree with the first part of this, but complete clarity is freedom from the entanglement in language that philosophy can lead us into. As I quoted previously (PI 122) it is about having an übersichtliche Darstellung:

    A main source of our failure to understand is that we don’t have an overview of the use of our words. - Our grammar is deficient in surveyability. A surveyable representation produces precisely that kind of understanding which consists in ‘seeing connections’. Hence the importance of finding and inventing intermediate links.

    The concept of a surveyable representation is of fundamental significance for us. It characterizes the way we represent things, how we look at matters. (Is this a ‘Weltanschauung’?)
  • Antony Nickles
    548
    The point of view of Copernicus or Darwin is that the method and tools of philosophy are in plain sight?Fooloso4

    No, I was revisiting Witt's claim we are discussing in the PI. I would think science's shifts in paradigms (to reconcile new facts, etc.) offer it the means to continue more productively, but it is not doing philosophy in getting there nor benefitting from philosophy's clarity. Ultimately, I think that is off topic unless you can explain.

    It is not that ordinary language has to be understood against the expressions of traditional philosophy, but that traditional philosophy fails to understand ordinary language.Fooloso4

    We fail to understand what the ordinary is until we understand why philosophy wants more. Just because the ordinary normally works (although we still come to a loss) does not mean we understand how it works or see its part in connection with why philosophy normally wants to flee from it. That philosophy claims that everything is before us does not mean it is already understood. Our ordinary expressions are right there, but philosophy still has work to do.

    I'm not sure I can respond further, as you have't explained enough about all of your other claims or shown their relevance to the matter at hand nor provided any context or evidence for me to get your interpretations of the quotes you’ve given. I've tried to piece it together myself but I'm at a loss--there is some belief about mystery and science and maybe philosophy's role, but I don't followed. And it's not clear to me your fundamental disagreement or misunderstanding with what I am saying.
  • Joshs
    3.7k


    I agree with the first part of this, but complete clarity is freedom from the entanglement in language that philosophy can lead us into. As I quoted previously (PI 122) it is about having an übersichtliche Darstellung:

    A main source of our failure to understand is that we don’t have an overview of the use of our words. - Our grammar is deficient in surveyability. A surveyable representation produces precisely that kind of understanding which consists in ‘seeing connections’. Hence the importance of finding and inventing intermediate links.

    The concept of a surveyable representation is of fundamental significance for us. It characterizes the way we represent things, how we look at matters. (Is this a ‘Weltanschauung’?)
    Fooloso4

    This seems to be Peter Hacker’s translation. Careful
    you don’t mistake Hacker’s reading of Wittgenstein for the correct reading.
  • Fooloso4
    3.3k
    Ultimately, I think that is off topic unless you can explain.Antony Nickles

    Copernicus reoriented man's place in the world. It goes to the heart of how we see ourselves and our place in the world. Darwinian evolution did much the same. We are not the pinnacle or culmination of the fixed order of life. In both cases we are freed from a picture that held us captive. A point of view given to us and protected by Christianity. A point of view that was regarded as not only ordinary but true.

    We fail to understand what the ordinary is until we understand why philosophy wants more.Antony Nickles

    I think it is the other way around - part of the problem is because of what philosophy wants that we fail to see the ordinary. For example, as you keep pointing to, looking for something hidden. More generally, the return to the ordinary is a rejection of metaphysics. On the other hand, science gives us a false sense that nothing is extraordinary. It can all be explained by science.

    That philosophy claims that everything is before us does not mean it is already understood.Antony Nickles

    But this is not what philosophy claims. It cannot maintain both that something is hidden and that everything is before us. What Wittgenstein says is that philosophy, as he thinks it should be practiced, puts everything before us.

    I've tried to piece it together myself but I'm at a lossAntony Nickles

    Wittgenstein gives us, what he calls "reminders". His style is often aphoristic. More a constellation then a line of or progression of argument. He leaves it up to the reader to interpret, to piecing it together
  • Fooloso4
    3.3k
    This seems to be Peter Hacker’s translation.Joshs

    I did not want to get into the problem of translating übersichtliche Darstellung.At this point I think it would just muddy the waters.

    In any case, the quote is from Anscombe's translation.

    Careful
    you don’t mistake Hacker’s reading of Wittgenstein for the correct reading.
    Joshs

    Thanks for the warning, but not necessary, I do not know or care how Hacker reads Wittgenstein.

    As to the "correct reading", I don't mistake any reading for the correct reading.
  • Joshs
    3.7k
    Copernicus reoriented man's place in the world. It goes to the heart of how we see ourselves and our place in the world. Darwinian evolution did much the same. We are not the pinnacle or culmination of the fixed order of life. In both cases we are freed from a picture that held us captive. A point of view given to us and protected by Christianity. A point of view that was regarded as not only ordinary but true.Fooloso4

    We are freed from one picture only to get stuck in a new picture. That is the case if we look at paradigms as maps or representations of a world. If we look at the participants in a paradigmatic community not as scientists applying a normative framework but as engaging in partially shared interactive practices that constantly determine and redetermine what is at stake and at issue in their practices, then we can see how the terms of a paradigm can be subtly put into question even as it continues to guide the participants. By the same token, paradigm shifts and Copernican revolutions continue to be indebted to the paradigm they overthrow. Even what is revolutionary is embedded in the ordinary. As Heidegger said, the world is always already familiar to us at some level.
  • Joshs
    3.7k



    A main source of our failure to understand is that we don’t have an overview of the use of our words. - Our grammar is deficient in surveyability. A surveyable representation produces precisely that kind of understanding which consists in ‘seeing connections’. Hence the importance of finding and inventing intermediate links.

    The concept of a surveyable representation is of fundamental significance for us. It characterizes the way we represent things, how we look at matters. (Is this a ‘Weltanschauung’?)

    I did not want to get into the problem of translating übersichtliche Darstellung.At this point I think it would just muddy the waters.

    In any case, the quote is from Anscombe's translation
    Fooloso4

    Ok. Don’t mean to nitpick , but this is Anscombe’s
    quote:


    “A main source of our failure to understand is that we do not command a clear view of the use of our words. -- Our grammar is acking in this sort of perspicuity. A perspicuous representation produces just that understanding which consists in ‘seeing connexions’. Hence the importance of finding and inventing intermediate cases.

    The concept of a perspicuous representation is of fundamental significance for us. It earmarks the form of account we give, the way we look at things. (Is this a Weltanschauung?)”

    This is Hacker’s:

    “A main source of our failure to understand is that we don’t have an overview of the use of our words. -- Our grammar is deficient in surveyability. A surveyable representation produces precisely that kind of understanding which consists in ‘seeing connections’. Hence the importance of finding and inventing intermediate links.

    The concept of a surveyable representation is of fundamental significance for us. It characterizes the way we represent things, how we look at matters. (Is this a Weltanschauung?)”
  • Luke
    2k
    But the Pi does not only morally implore us to take certain actions, but to do so in the name of our betterment, not only in thinking, understanding, teaching; in being rigorous, clear, deliberate, honest, fair; but in learning about our responses to our human condition (our separateness), our fears, our desires, our blindness. But the Pi also uncovers our ethical obligation in the groundlessness of our world and the limitations of knowledge.Antony Nickles

    Where does the PI "morally implore us" to do anything at all; any of this? Do you want to say that any advocation/teaching of the right way to do something, such as change a car tyre, is a moral imploration? That seems like a tenuous association with morality. Even if there is a sense of morality in Wittgenstein's telling us the "right" way, or a better way, to do philosophy, morality is still not the subject of his philosophy in PI, nor his focus in the text.

    The main focus of the Philosophical Investigations is language. Wittgenstein advances a picture theory of language in the Tractatus and advances a use theory of language in PI. He states in the preface to the PI:

    The thoughts that I publish in what follows are the precipitate of philosophical investigations which have occupied me for the last sixteen years. They concern many subjects: the concepts of meaning, of understanding, of a proposition and sentence, of logic, the foundations of mathematics, states of consciousness, and other things. — PI, preface

    There is no mention of ethics or morality here.

    The Stanford Encyclopedia article on Wittgenstein tells us:

    PI begins with a quote from Augustine’s Confessions which “give us a particular picture of the essence of human language,” based on the idea that “the words in language name objects,” and that “sentences are combinations of such names” (PI 1). This picture of language cannot be relied on as a basis for metaphysical, epistemic or linguistic speculation. Despite its plausibility, this reduction of language to representation cannot do justice to the whole of human language; and even if it is to be considered a picture of only the representative function of human language, it is, as such, a poor picture. Furthermore, this picture of language is at the base of the whole of traditional philosophy, but, for Wittgenstein, it is to be shunned in favor of a new way of looking at both language and philosophy. The Philosophical Investigations proceeds to offer the new way of looking at language, which will yield the view of philosophy as therapy.SEP article on Ludwig Wittgenstein

    There is no mention of ethics or morality here.

    To treat someone as if they have a soul; that it is not our knowledge of another’s pain, but our response to it that matters.Antony Nickles

    I assume you are referring specificially here to Part II aka Philosophy of Psychology - A Fragment. SEP says about this second part:

    Philosophical Investigations...published posthumously in 1953...comprised two parts. Part I, consisting of 693 numbered paragraphs, was ready for printing in 1946, but rescinded from the publisher by Wittgenstein. Part II was added on by the editors, trustees of his Nachlass. In 2009 a new edited translation, by P. M. S. Hacker and Joachim Schulte, was published; Part II of the earlier translation, now recognized as an essentially separate entity, was here labeled “Philosophy of Psychology – A Fragment” (PPF).SEP article on Ludwig Wittgenstein

    Despite that, PPF is not about ethics or morality either, but about the philosophy of psychology. For Wittgenstein, philosophical problems are linguistic problems which are resolved by "an insight into the workings of our language":

    109. It was correct that our considerations must not be scientific ones. The feeling ‘that it is possible, contrary to our preconceived ideas, to think this or that’ — whatever that may mean — could be of no interest to us. (The pneumatic conception of thinking.) And we may not advance any kind of theory. There must not be anything hypothetical in our considerations. All explanation must disappear, and description alone must take its place. And this description gets its light — that is to say, its purpose — from the philosophical problems. These are, of course, not empirical problems; but they are solved through an insight into the workings of our language, and that in such a way that these workings are recognized — despite an urge to misunderstand them. The problems are solved, not by coming up with new discoveries, but by assembling what we have long been familiar with. Philosophy is a struggle against the bewitchment of our understanding by the resources of our language. — Philosophical Investigations


    This is not a traditional moral philosophical theory or just a set of ethical principles because it subsumes the is and ought, the in and out, etc. What I would think is relevant here is that the discussion of explanation vs description and hidden vs plain-view shows our part in ontology, or desires for epistemology, and thus our moral part in philosophy, to be better people, do better.Antony Nickles

    That's a very circuitous way of finding Wittgenstein to be commenting on, or focussed on, ethics or morality in the text.
  • Fooloso4
    3.3k


    You are right. That was from the Hacker translation. I pulled the quote from an earlier discussion (3 years ago). https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/270361

    For that discussion I was using a PDF of the 4th edition. I am currently using a PDF of the 2nd. I think others in that discussion might have been using the 4th.

    From earlier in the present discussion:
    A surveyable representation, an übersichtlichen Darstellung , (alternatively translated as perspicuous representation), a representative overview is said to be of fundamental importance.Fooloso4

    As I said to you before:

    I did not want to get into the problem of translating übersichtliche Darstellung.At this point I think it would just muddy the waters.Fooloso4

    What is it about Hacker's translation that led you to caution me?
  • Joshs
    3.7k


    PPF is not about ethics or morality either, but about the philosophy of psychology.Luke


    I have tended to read Antony’s interpretation of the later Wittgenstein as consonant with that of the ‘new school’.

    Rupert Read’s new book ‘Wittgenstein’s Liberatory Philosophy:Thinking Through His Philosophical Investigations’ exemplifies this approach:

    “In this book, Rupert Read offers the first outline of a resolute reading, following the highly influential New Wittgenstein ‘school’, of the Philosophical Investigations. He argues that the key to understanding Wittgenstein’s later philosophy is to understand its liberatory purport.

    Read contends that a resolute reading coincides in its fundaments with what, building on ideas in the later Gordon Baker, he calls a liberatory reading. Liberatory philosophy is philosophy that can liberate the user from compulsive (and destructive) patterns of thought, freeing one for possibilities that were previously obscured. Such liberation is our prime goal in philosophy….Read claims that this liberatory conception is simultaneously an ethical conception. The PI should be considered a work of ethics in that its central concern becomes our relation with others.”(Routledge blurb)

    We can see a similar line of thinking in Wisnewski’s
    ‘Wittgenstein and Ethical Inquiry: A Defense of Ethics as Clarification’:

    “Wisnewski correctly understands ethical inquiry, from a Wittgensteinian point of view, as aiming at clarification, particularly, conceptual clarification, and not at constructing an ethical theory. … Wittgenstein is not a quietist. In fact, he wants us to speak morally as long as we do not attach something else to our moral judgments, for example, what is constitutive of our empirical propositions, of our descriptive language-games.

    To clarify what morality is really all about is a worthy task for philosophy. More importantly, it can show us how we can live better by, for example, showing how to reach peace of mind when all metaphysical pseudo-problems are explained away. Conceptual clarification has intrinsic value and may accomplish something (pace 'critical theorists'' such as Marcuse's misunderstandings of Wittgenstein's work): it must change the way we live and such changes are Wittgenstein's main philosophical goal.”
  • Joshs
    3.7k
    What is it about Hacker's translation that led you to caution me?Fooloso4

    Hacker’s reading of Witt( which influences his translations) has been strongly critiqued
    by certain quarters.

    With regard to the Übersichtliche Darstellung quote, for example , Beth Savickey argues that, contra Hacker’s implication,

    “Nowhere does Wittgenstein suggest that he is
    mapping (or even attempting to map) the landscape, nor that a map (understood as an overview or surveyable representation) might address or resolve philosophical problems.”

    Here’s the full essay:

    https://www.nordicwittgensteinreview.com/article/download/2300/pdf/
  • Fooloso4
    3.3k


    I took a quick look. The question of map making does not appear in his translation of the passage. Nor do I see anything about "tabulating grammar". Reading on I find support for what I said above:

    I do not know or care how Hacker reads Wittgenstein.Fooloso4

    In general, I am wary of taking secondary sources as being of primary concern. My interest in Wittgenstein was sparked in part by the fact that interpretations varied so widely. Rather than rely on secondary sources I set out to interpret his texts for myself.

    I do not regard interpretation as merely a way of determining what someone else is thinking but as a way of thinking. As Wittgenstein says in the preface to PI:

    I should not like my writing to spare other people the trouble of thinking.

    And in Culture and Value:

    No one can think a thought for me in the way that no one can don my hat for me.

    I am not against secondary sources. They can be helpful, but also harmful. Above all else, they should not spare me the trouble of thinking.



    .
  • Luke
    2k
    From what I have read - which is not insubstantial - about the resolute reading of the Tractatus, I find that it raises more questions than it answers. I was unaware that there was also a resolute reading of the PI, but I guess this is fairly new. As I mentioned earlier, and as anybody with a passing knowledge of the private-language argument and the use theory of meaning, etc., would know - the PI advocates a very social view of language use and meaning. This social emphasis could be read equally as being an emphasis on ethics, I suppose. But Wittgenstein does not explicitly tell us that PI has an ethical focus - why not? As I also mentioned earlier, the word "ethics" appears only once in the text (at 77), in a manner that is consistent with the views on ethics he expounded in the Tractatus. Does he show it instead of say it in the PI? The resolute reading of the Tractatus would have us believe that his remarks on the saying/showing distinction are plain nonsense! Therefore, the resolute reader cannot give any credence to the saying/showing distinction. And who would believe that the younger, hubristic Wittgenstein - who famously told his mentors Russell and Moore that they would never understand the Tractatus, who believed he had solved all the problems of philosophy, and who later encouraged several of his university students to leave philosophy and take up menial work because he believed them not up to the task - would take the all-inclusive position to liberate everyone from their philosophical torments in the PI? Perhaps. There is some value to the resolute reading - it continues the discussion on Wittgenstein's work, at least, and may help to delineate some valuable insights from some dead ends. But, overall, I don't consider it to be the "correct" reading. The resolute reading seems to be trying to find something mystical and hidden "behind" or "between the lines" of Wittgenstein's words, when Wittgenstein explicitly urges us in the opposite direction in the PI; telling us that the real philosophical insights are to be found on the surface, in the mundane and obvious uses of language. His own should not be any exception.
  • Antony Nickles
    548
    "What a Copernicus or a Darwin really achieved was not the discovery of a new true theory but a fertile point of view. " CV 18. ...In both cases [of changes to our theoretical paradigm] we are freed from a picture that held us captive. A point of view given to us and protected by Christianity. A point of view that was regarded as not only ordinary but true.Fooloso4

    So science can change our picture of the world, even our vision of ourselves. It finds the anomalous, the contradictory, and we are certain it is not a mistake because it is repeatable, so the theory must bend, expand to include it (it is not so much true as reconcilable). So, yes, the shift in our story of facts allows for the fertile growth of more knowledge, the discovery and verification of new information. But science's success is not philosophy's (much as we would like it to be)--we do not have its power, its certainty--but neither can science do the work that is philosophy's. The place of peace (the understanding of our desires) that philosophy provides, is not one of knowledge. It is not a story of mystery and discovery, but of awakening what is already there, expanding ourselves; learning about our real need, as our desires are embodied in the criteria found in our ordinary expressions, say, for example, the fear that makes us want to skip over our flawed criteria (for, say, knowing, thinking, intending, etc.). Behind the idea of theories that are true to a reality (that theory/picture, which is the subject of the investigation) is our obsession with science's certainty. Witt's "ordinary" is not popular opinion, established or imposed. We may be ignorant of how the world works (empirically, scientifically, factually) but everyone can provide the kinds of examples of expressions that Witt does.

    P.S. -

    "That philosophy claims that everything is before us does not mean it is already understood." — Antony Nickles

    But this is not what philosophy claims.
    Fooloso4

    What I should have said was "Even though Witt claims that everything is before us..."

    "I've tried to piece it together myself but I'm at a loss."
    — Antony Nickles
    Fooloso4

    What I was referring to was not Wittgenstein's work, but that I could not figure out what you are getting at.
  • Antony Nickles
    548
    Where does the PI "morally implore us" to do anything at all; any of this? Do you want to say that any advocation/teaching of the right way to do something, such as change a car tyre, is a moral imploration? That seems like a tenuous association with morality. Even if there is a sense of morality in Wittgenstein's telling us the "right" way, or a better way, to do philosophy, morality is still not the subject of his philosophy in PI, nor his focus in the text.Luke

    You're assuming what ethics and moral philosophy looks like. Aren't the subjects of thoughtfulness, understanding, teaching, treating people as more than objects of knowledge, etc. what ethics is about? And what Witt would call "morality" is when we enter an unknown situation--not the everyday stuff like changing a tire, but when we come to the end of our justifications, we're at a loss as to what to say to each other (say, a student), our regular courses of action amount to contradiction (stunning us he and Plato say), etc.

    The main focus of the Philosophical Investigations is language... "Philosophy is a struggle against the bewitchment of our understanding by the resources of our language." - PILuke

    Th subject is language because it is the means by which we struggle against the bewitchment of our understanding--it is the "resource", not the cause. The interlocutor is given to say things, but they are things which we could agree could be said in such a situation. They are our expressions. Examining those expressions ("our 'ordinary' language") shows us the grammar (criteria) of the practices like chess, rule-following, thinking to ourselves, being in pain, see a thing as a thing (or in another way), etc. And these examples of practices show that we have a multitude of criteria rather than just crystalline purity, but also that this is not an alternative or rejection, but the opportunity to ask: why do we do that? Is it right, good?

    There is no mention of ethics or morality here.Luke

    Maybe we've gotten so used to science telling us things that we read everything as a statement, every philosopher has a philosophy. But if I tell you something, do you learn better than if I ask a question and force you to come to it yourself? Witt comes in second after Nietschze for cryptic, half-finished thoughts and just flat-out question marks. If it were easy to change, he could just tell you how. Knowledge would equal wisdom. It is not explicit because it is imbedded in going through it (with him), but I would say it comes down to the simple lesson that our need for some tidy and certain knowledge makes us flee from ourselves and others. See, it's already wrong, dead, misstated, arguable...
  • Fooloso4
    3.3k
    ...morality is still not the subject of his philosophy in PI, nor his focus in the text.Luke

    I have not looked into the question of ethics in the PI, but suggest, in a tentative way, that although ethics is not explicitly discussed in the PI, this does not represent a break from his earlier concerns with ethics and aesthetics. It is, rather, consistent with it.

    As I also mentioned earlier, the word "ethics" appears only once in the text (at 77), in a manner that is consistent with the views on ethics he expounded in the Tractatus. Does he show it instead of say it in the PI?Luke

    The "saying/showing" distinction is not limited to what can be shown as opposed to what can be said, but, rather, includes what can seen or experienced as opposed to being said. Ethics/aesthetics is experiential.

    Two uses of the word "see" [PI ii,xl, PPF 111]

    Consider how the cube is seen at T 5.5423 and such things as the duck-rabbit and seeing aspects.

    Despite that, PPF is not about ethics or morality either, but about the philosophy of psychology.Luke

    From the Tractatus:

    5.641 Thus there really is a sense in which philosophy can talk about the self in a non-psychological way.
    What brings the self into philosophy is the fact that ‘the world is my world’.
    The philosophical self is not the human being, not the human body, or the human soul, with which psychology deals, but rather the metaphysical subject, the limit of the world— not a part of it.

    One does not see an aspect simply because the world is the way it is but because that is how we see it. Although he does not discuss the metaphysical self in PI, he maintains the distinction between how things are in the world and how they are or might be for us. The possibilities of phenomena.

    It is no longer a question of the world as a whole but of aspects of the world that can be seen or experienced. Rather than what can be seen from outside the limit of the world, he turns to our experience in the world. The ways in which we see things

    4.112 Without philosophy thoughts are, as it were, cloudy and indistinct: its task is to make them clear and to give them sharp boundaries

    On the face of it, the passage from PI 77 seems to be a rejection of this. We cannot draw sharp boundaries for the ethical/aesthetic. But, consistent with the Tractatus, this is because the ethical/aesthetic is not something that philosophy deals with. It is, rather, the philosophical attempt to give clarity to them that entangles us.

    There is in the PI no explicit statement such as this from the Tractatus:

    6.43 If good or bad willing changes the world, it can only change the limits of the world, not the
    facts; not the things that can be expressed in language.
    In brief, the world must thereby become quite another, it must so to speak wax or wane as a whole.
    The world of the happy is quite another than that of the unhappy.

    But there is a connection here with what he says in PPF about aspect blindness:

    258 ...The ‘aspect-blind’ will have an altogether different attitude to pictures from ours.

    259. (Anomalies of this kind are easy for us to imagine.)

    260. Aspect-blindness will be akin to the lack of a ‘musical ear’.

    Someone who lacks a musical ear will hear and regard music differently than someone who has a musical ear. There will be much more that is heard by the latter and it will be more meaningful and important. The aspect blind will have a different attitude toward life.

    The connection with ethics in the Tractatus might more easily be seen here:

    256. Seeing an aspect and imagining are subject to the will.

    The happy person sees aspects of the world that those of bad will are blind to.

    254. The concept of an aspect is related to the concept of imagination.
    In other words, the concept ‘Now I see it as . . .’ is related to ‘Now I am imagining that’.
  • Fooloso4
    3.3k
    What I was referring to was not Wittgenstein's work, but that I could not figure out what you are getting at.Antony Nickles

    Understood, but much of what I have been doing is trying to draw some of the connections in his work.
  • Pie
    553
    I do not regard interpretation as merely a way of determining what someone else is thinking but as a way of thinking.Fooloso4

    :up:
  • Fooloso4
    3.3k
    The resolute reading seems to be trying to find something mystical and hidden "behind" or "between the lines" of Wittgenstein's words, when Wittgenstein explicitly urges us in the opposite direction in the PI; telling us that the real philosophical insights are to be found on the surface, in the mundane and obvious uses of language. His own should not be any exception.Luke

    In an early draft of the foreword to Philosophical Remarks:

    The danger in a long foreword is that the spirit of a book has to be evident in the book itself and cannot be described. For if a book has been written for just a few readers that will be clear just from the fact that only a few people understand it. The book must automatically separate those who understand it from those who do not. Even the foreword is written just for those who understand the book.

    Telling someone something he does not understand is pointless, even if you add that he will not be able to understand it. (That so often happens with someone you love.)

    If you have a room which you do not want certain people to get into, put a lock on it for which they do not have the key. But there is no point in talking to them about it, unless of course you want them to admire the room from outside!

    The honorable thing to do is to put a lock on the door which will be noticed only
    by those who can open it, not by the rest. [Culture and Value 7-8]
  • Antony Nickles
    548
    Understood, but much of what I have been doing is trying to draw some of the connections in his work.Fooloso4

    I get that and it’s appreciated, but I’m only left to speculate where you’re going without a claim to a certain interpretation of the quotations and the reasoning to tie them to this discussion. None of what Witt is doing is self-evident.
  • Pie
    553
    Where does the PI "morally implore us" to do anything at all; any of this?Luke
    :up:
    I also don't see it, not in the text. I don't object to texts being wove in to new projects, but it's more agreeable when this is done boldly. Claim it.
  • Fooloso4
    3.3k
    Follow-up on my post above https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/727090

    It might be helpful to distinguish between the idea that a) something is hidden in language or the world and b) Wittgenstein hiding something in his writing.

    As is always the case, there is the problem of finding something in a text only because you put it there. One way in which we might guard against this is to see what we find in the text that would be excluded by a questionable inclusion.

    It does not follow from the denial of something hidden that we can thereby see what is there. Aspect blindness, like not having a musical ear, means that something is not seen or heard even though it is there and not hidden.

    If Wittgenstein's work is understood only by a few it is not because he hides something from us. It is, rather, because the reader will not understand, that things are hidden. But, of course, the words are there for anyone to see. If something is hidden, and he has given us good reason to think something is, then our failure to see it is a kind of aspect blindness.

    But blindness to an aspect need not be a permanent condition.

    PI 144 I wanted to put that picture before him, and his acceptance of the picture consists in his now being inclined to regard a given case differently: that is, to compare it with this sequence of pictures. I have changed his way of looking at things. (Indian mathematicians: “Look at this!”)

    The parenthetical remark is explained in Zettel:

    461. ... (I once read somewhere that a geometrical figure, with the words "Look at this", serves as a proof for certain Indian mathematicians. This looking too effects an alteration in one's way of seeing.)

    My suggestion is that there are things that Wittgenstein does not state but that can be seen if one looks at this or that:

    PI 66 To repeat: don’t think, but look!
  • Luke
    2k
    You're assuming what ethics and moral philosophy looks like.Antony Nickles

    Of course. So are you. We each have an understanding of the (linguistic) terms "ethics" and/or "moral philosophy".

    Aren't the subjects of thoughtfulness, understanding, teaching, treating people as more than objects of knowledge, etc. what ethics is about?Antony Nickles

    Sure, maybe.

    And what Witt would call "morality" is when we enter an unknown situation--not the everyday stuff like changing a tire, but when we come to the end of our justifications, we're at a loss as to what to say to each other (say, a student), our regular courses of action amount to contradiction (stunning us he and Plato say), etc.Antony Nickles

    Do you have any textual support for this?

    Th subject is language because it is the means by which we struggle against the bewitchment of our understanding--it is the "resource", not the cause.Antony Nickles

    I don't follow. Language is the means by which we struggle, but language is not the cause of our struggle?

    The interlocutor is given to say things, but they are things which we could agree could be said in such a situation. They are our expressions.Antony Nickles

    Sure, it's our language, and Wittgenstein's focus is on language use.

    Examining those expressions ("our 'ordinary' language") shows us the grammar (criteria) of the practices like chess, rule-following, thinking to ourselves, being in pain, see a thing as a thing (or in another way), etc.Antony Nickles

    Grammar is found in language use, and relates to our linguistic rules and practices. If you are saying that these practices themselves have grammar, then I disagree. It is not thinking to ourselves or being in pain that have grammar, but the uses of the words "thinking" and "pain". It is not seeing a thing as a thing (or in another way) that has grammar, but the use of the name of the "thing" (whatever the thing is).

    And these examples of practices show that we have a multitude of criteria rather than just crystalline purity,Antony Nickles

    I think you misunderstand the metaphor of crystalline purity.

    107. The more closely we examine actual language, the greater becomes the conflict between it and our requirement. (For the crystalline purity of logic was, of course, not something I had discovered: it was a requirement.)

    97. Thinking is surrounded by a nimbus. — Its essence, logic, presents an order: namely, the a priori order of the world; that is, the order of possibilities, which the world and thinking must have in common. But this order, it seems, must be utterly simple. It is prior to all experience, must run through all experience; no empirical cloudiness or uncertainty may attach to it. —– It must rather be of the purest crystal. But this crystal does not appear as an abstraction, but as something concrete, indeed, as the most concrete, as it were the hardest thing there is (Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus 5.5563).
    We are under the illusion that what is peculiar, profound and essential to us in our investigation resides in its trying to grasp the incomparable essence of language. That is, the order existing between the concepts of proposition, word, inference, truth, experience, and so forth. This order is a super-order between — so to speak — super-concepts. Whereas, in fact, if the words “language”, “experience”, “world” have a use, it must be as humble a one as that of the words “table”, “lamp”, “door”.

    108. We see that what we call “proposition”, “language”, has not the formal unity that I imagined, but is a family of structures more or less akin to one another. —– But what becomes of logic now? Its rigour seems to be giving way here. — But in that case doesn’t logic altogether disappear? — For how can logic lose its rigour? Of course not by our bargaining any of its rigour out of it. — The preconception of crystalline purity can only be removed by turning our whole inquiry around. (One might say: the inquiry must be turned around, but on the pivot of our real need.
    — Philosophical Investigations

    Crystalline purity does not refer to there being only one criterion of language (as if there are many more besides this one); crystalline purity refers to the mistaken presupposition that there is a non-empirical "essence of language" that it is the philosopher's task to discover.

    but also that this is not an alternative or rejection, but the opportunity to ask: why do we do that? Is it right, good?Antony Nickles

    Do you have any textual support for this?

    Witt comes in second after Nietschze for cryptic, half-finished thoughts and just flat-out question marks. If it were easy to change, he could just tell you how.Antony Nickles

    I don't see that he is recommending that we should change, except for the way that we do philosophy and think about philosophical problems. Again, if this makes it about ethics, then every philosophical work is about ethics.
  • Luke
    2k
    I have not looked into the question of ethics in the PI, but suggest, in a tentative way, that although ethics is not explicitly discussed in the PI, this does not represent a break from his earlier concerns with ethics and aesthetics. It is, rather, consistent with it.
    — Fooloso4

    As I also mentioned earlier, the word "ethics" appears only once in the text (at 77), in a manner that is consistent with the views on ethics he expounded in the Tractatus. Does he show it instead of say it in the PI?
    — Luke
    Fooloso4

    I said that his use of "ethics" at PI 77 was in a manner consistent with the views he presented in the Tractatus, which you quoted in your post just after you made this comment (see above).

    The "saying/showing" distinction is not limited to what can be shown as opposed to what can be said, but, rather, includes what can seen or experienced as opposed to being said.Fooloso4

    You appear to be making a distinction between "what can be shown" and "what can be seen or experienced". I consider these to be the same.

    ...consistent with the Tractatus, this is because the ethical/aesthetic is not something that philosophy deals with.Fooloso4

    Then I am unsure why you appear to be arguing against my position that ethics is not the subject of the Philosophical Investigations. Since they are philosophical investigations, it follows that the ethical/aesthetic is not something that Wittgenstein "deals with" in the text.
  • Luke
    2k
    :up:
    I also don't see it, not in the text. I don't object to texts being wove in to new projects, but it's more agreeable when this is done boldly. Claim it.
    Pie

    You may already be aware, but there is a new project into which these claims are "being wove", which is sometimes referred to as the "New Wittgenstein", or the "resolute reading" of the Tractatus. I just happen to disagree with it.
  • Antony Nickles
    548
    What does our ordinary means of judgment mean?Fooloso4

    I think it will help to show the differentiation I'm trying to make about "the ordinary" to point out that we are not talking about the obvious, surface, or, i.e., "common sense" of our words, like there is a different, regular "point of view" or approach to them that is just not based on (is a rejection or refutation of) our desire for certainty, explanation--e.g., something hidden (metaphysically, personally)--and that this is self-evident, grasped fully and immediately, as if it does not need any "explanation" which, in this sense (not in Witt's use), turns out to be: further thought, investigation, going by "side roads" (#426).

    This difference in the sense of "the ordinary" (its place as a term of Witt's) is evidenced by the fact that Witt creates his own fantasy worlds/situations in order to place an expression in a context that attempts to give the interlocutor/skeptic what they want (say, knowledge of the other). Thinking of our ordinary language as straightforward misses the point that making up these crazy situations is done to highlight that there are contexts in which these expressions normally live, and this varied, endless context is the ordinariness of our expressions, which Witt's method attempts to have you see for yourself, accept--in each situation, each time (when the need arises). Realizing this, we can move to simply describing the parameters (criteria) for our practices through our associated expressions in various contexts: for example, what breaks the practice of promising so that it is no longer even a promise? what makes it (say, "I promise to love you")? my knowing it? maybe only feeling it? "meaning" it? what does this tell us about identity, character, duty, moral responsibility?

    The discussion of the availability of Witt's text is well-put by @Fooloso4 above in linking it to our being blind to an aspect of something. If you open any page of PI, it is clear that Witt is opening a question , posturing/hypothesizing, maybe something in contrast, and then leaving it at our feet to complete or see for ourselves. Yet those open-ended claims are taken as statements rather than see them as posed for our acceptance. Instead of proving them to ourselves, we cheat and take the followthrough to be given already, in those words, simply, without our participation, as if this investigation has nothing to do with the reader, our journey (the interlocutor in us--the skeptic), to change us, as the writer of the Tractatus is changing before us. I am only trying to point out that the work is to see why we blind ourselves to the sufficiency of the ordinary? stepping over describing the contextual criteria of our expressions to look for something hidden that meets our necessity for it to be certain, universal, predetermined, etc., in other words, explainable by knowledge; how and why?
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