• Jackson
    1.8k
    126. Philosophy simply puts everything before us, and neither
    explains nor deduces anything.—Since everything lies open to view
    there is nothing to explain.

    https://static1.squarespace.com/static/54889e73e4b0a2c1f9891289/t/564b61a4e4b04eca59c4d232/1447780772744/Ludwig.Wittgenstein.-.Philosophical.Investigations.pdf

    Philosophy does not explain anything according to Wittgenstein. Provocative. Anyone agree, disagree?
  • Janus
    13k
    I think this is a good question. For me philosophy is descriptive, not explanatory, but explicatory, so I'm more drawn to phenomenology than to metaphysics. On the other hand, the idea that everything lies open to view doesn't seem right;philosophy can elucidate, disclose what had been concealed from view, but this is more a matter of investigating what is there than of attempting to explain it
  • Jackson
    1.8k
    the idea that everything lies open to view doesn't seem right;Janus

    A bit paradoxical, but I think Wittgenstein is on to something. I don't think this means we understand things simply by looking at them. I think he is alluding to what was called ordinary language philosophy.
  • Janus
    13k
    A bit paradoxical, but I think Wittgenstein is on to something. I don't think this means we understand things simply by looking at them. I think he is alluding to what was called ordinary language philosophy.Jackson

    I was thinking more along the lines of, via philosophical (phenomenological) investigation of and reflection on experience, finding things which were previously not seen. I think this is quite a different kind of investigation than ordinary language philosophy, although the latter is arguably a kind of phenomenology, just much more limited in scope.
  • Jackson
    1.8k
    I think this is quite a different kind of investigation than ordinary language philosophy, although the latter is arguably a kind of phenomenology, just much more limited in scope.Janus

    Yes, a small "p" phenomenology. No presumption about consciousness or subjectivity.
  • Banno
    19.2k
    The equation of philosophy with phenomenology here would be an error. It is clear from the context that he is talking about rules, meaning and logic, and not just about perceptions.
  • Janus
    13k
    I have looked into OLP much, but from my limited familiarity with it, it seems to be an investigation into what we mean when we say this or that, and the ways in which language can lead to (metaphysical) reification when it "goes on holiday".
  • Tom Storm
    5.3k
    Would you mind briefly explaining how to read W's statement:

    Since everything lies open to view
    there is nothing to explain.
  • Banno
    19.2k


    I encourage folk to read the surrounding pages.

    Philosophy sets out explicitly the rules, logic, grammar of the issue before us - so that it "lies open to view". In doing so it untangles the knots in our expression of the issue, leaving nothing more to explain.
  • Janus
    13k
    The equation of philosophy with phenomenology here would be an error. It is clear from the context that he is talking about rules, meaning and logic, and not just about perceptions.Banno

    Rules, meanings and logic are practices and as therefore investigating them is a kind of phenomenology. The TLP would probably not be considered as such, but I know that many scholars regard the PI as a phenomenological investigation of human life. I haven't read much of it myself, though it's on the list.

    Also, I haven't equated philosophy with phenomenology; there are obviously other branches.
  • Banno
    19.2k
    Yep, that's one garden path folk go down.
  • Jackson
    1.8k
    many scholars regard the PI as a phenomenological investigation of human life.Janus

    Who are those scholars? I never heard of that.
  • Banno
    19.2k
    ...not the ones who worked beside Wittgenstein.

    To be sure, there are psychological discussions in the PI. But they are not in the vicinity of §126.
  • Jackson
    1.8k
    The point was that investigating human practices, human phenomena, is by definition a kind of phenomenology.Janus

    Wittgenstein is talking about meaning and reference.
    For example, an argument against private language.
  • Banno
    19.2k
    So what is it you think he is getting at in §126?

    Philosophy sets things out but doesn't explain them...?

    (An interesting point to begin a discussion, by the way.)
  • Jackson
    1.8k
    Philosophy sets things out but doesn't explain them...?Banno

    Already said it.
  • Banno
    19.2k
    So, what things?
  • Janus
    13k
    Wittgenstein is talking about meaning and reference.
    For example, an argument against private language.
    Jackson

    My understanding of the PLA is that a private language is impossible because in order to determine the meaning of the words it would be composed of (except perhaps for purely ostensive words, i.e.. some nouns) one would need to translate them into a public language one was already conversant in, and this would mean it would not really be a private language. How do we arrive at this understanding? By reflecting on the way things are for us; i.e. phenomenologically.
  • Jackson
    1.8k
    phenomenologically.Janus

    ok
  • Agent Smith
    8.1k
    Explanations, from a scientific point of view, aren't truth-apt. For any observed pattern, there are n number of explanations. Ergo, suss out the patterns in nature, mathematically formalize 'em and then use 'em. Explanations? Boys and their toys! Bah humbug! :snicker:
  • Fooloso4
    3.7k
    The additional statements from 126 should be examined:

    For what is hidden, for example, is of no interest to us.

    One might also give the name "philosophy" to what is possible before all new discoveries and inventions.

    The first refers to what he calls the "subliming of logic", that is, to certain assumptions about language, the acceptance of which makes it seem as though an explanation for the connection between thought and reality is required.

    101. We want to say that there can't be any vagueness in logic. The idea now absorbs us, that the ideal 'must' be found in reality. Meanwhile we do not as yet see how it occurs there, nor do we understand the nature of this "must". We think it must be in reality: for we think we already see it there.

    102. The strict and clear rules of the logical structure of propositions appear to us as something in the background -- hidden in the medium of the understanding. I already see them (even though through a medium): for I understand the propositional sign, I use it to say something.

    103. The ideal, as we think of it, is unshakable. You can never get outside it; you must always turn back. There is no outside; outside you cannot breathe. -- Where does this idea come from? It is like a pair of glasses on our nose through which we see whatever we look at. It never occurs to us to take them off.

    107.The more narrowly we examine actual language, the sharper becomes the conflict between it and our requirement. (For the crystalline purity of logic was, of course, not a result of investigation: it was a requirement.) The conflict becomes intolerable; the requirement is now in danger of becoming empty. -- We have got on to slippery ice where there is no friction and so in a certain sense the conditions are ideal, but also, just because of that, we are unable to walk. We want to walk: so we need friction. Back to the rough ground!

    108. We see that what we call "sentence" and "language" has not the formal unity that I imagined, but is the family of structures more or less related to one another. -- But what becomes of logic now? Its rigor seems to be giving way here. -- But in that case doesn't logic altogether disappear? -- For how can it lose its rigor? Of course not by our bargaining any of its rigor out of it. -- The preconceived idea of crystalline purity can only be removed by turning our whole examination around. (One might say: the axis of reference of our examination must be rotated, but about the fixed point of our real need.)

    The second, philosophy as what is possible before all new discoveries and inventions, is a matter of taking the glasses off, of dispelling the preconceived idea of the crystalline purity of logic.

    119. The results of philosophy are the uncovering of one or another piece of plain nonsense and of bumps that the understanding has got by running its head up against the limits of language. These bumps make us see the value of the discovery.

    120. When I talk about language (words, sentences, etc.) I must speak the language of every day. Is this language somehow too coarse and material for what we want to say? Then how is another one to be constructed?—And how strange that we should be able to do anything at all with the one we have!

    In giving explanations I already have to use language full-blown (not some sort of preparatory, provisional one); this by itself shews that I can adduce only exterior facts about language.

    Yes, but then how can these explanations satisfy us?—Well, your very questions were framed in this language; they had to be expressed in this language, if there was anything to ask!

    And your scruples are misunderstandings.

    Your questions refer to words; so I have to talk about words.

    You say: the point isn't the word, but its meaning, and you think of the meaning as a thing of the same kind as the word, though also different from the word. Here the word, there the meaning. The
    money, and the cow that you can buy with it. (But contrast: money, and its use.)
  • Joshs
    4k


    many scholars regard the PI as a phenomenological investigation of human life.
    — Janus

    Who are those scholars? I never heard of that.
    Jackson

    Ray Monk, Wittgenstein’s biographer, wrote:

    “The properties of space, time and matter that he was concerned with were not the subject of a physical investigation, but, as Wittgenstein was inclined to put it at this time, a phenomenological analysis. 'Physics', he said, 'does not yield a descrip­tion of the structure of phenomenological states of affairs. In phenomenology it is always a matter of possibility, i. e. of sense, not of truth and falsity. '
  • Jackson
    1.8k

    Good to know somebody wrote something.
  • Joshs
    4k
    ↪Joshs
    Good to know somebody wrote something
    Jackson

    Especially if that someone is Wittgenstein, and they directly state that they are doing phenomenology.
  • Jackson
    1.8k
    Especially if that someone is Wittgenstein, and they directly state that they are doing phenomenology.Joshs

    Post what Wittgenstein said about phenomenology. You cited Monk.
  • Joshs
    4k

    Post what Wittgenstein said about phenomenology. You cited Monk.Jackson

    And Monk cited Wittgenstein. That’s a direct quote from
    him.
    'Physics', he said, 'does not yield a descrip­tion of the structure of phenomenological states of affairs. In phenomenology it is always a matter of possibility, i. e. of sense, not of truth and falsity. '
  • Jackson
    1.8k


    Where? Just saying "Monk" is not telling me anything.
  • Joshs
    4k


    'Physics does not yield a descrip­tion of the structure of phenomenological states of affairs. In phenomenology it is always a matter of possibility, i. e. of sense, not of truth and falsity. '(WVC, p.63)
  • Jackson
    1.8k

    what is wvc ?
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