• Fooloso4

    I have provided evidence in support of my claim that you got him wrong. But you just skip over that as if it is just a game you don't want to play.

    This is why I said that it is very much like a programmer writing a language setting out how the language will operate so that it doesn't run into errors.schopenhauer1

    He is not writing a language. He is using the German language.

    In fact, all the propositions of our everyday language, just as they stand, are in perfect logical order.

    Sure, but imagine if any other thinker said that he doesn't have to explain themselves any further..schopenhauer1

    Since you believe so strongly in comparing styles and content you should know that we don't have to imagine it. Other thinkers, both ancient and contemporary, have based their explanations on reality being granular. It seems likely that Wittgenstein was influenced by Plato's account in Theaetetus. (201d)

    It just seems like a strange thing to NOT demand from a thinker trying to give you such a comprehensive take on the world.schopenhauer1

    It just seems strange to believe than any thinker could provide a comprehensive take on the world. In the preface to the Tractatus Wittgenstein says:

    ... the second thing in which the value of this work consists is that it shows how little is achieved when these problems are solved.

    and toward the end he says:

    We feel that even when all possible scientific questions have been answered, the problems of
    life remain completely untouched.

    The problems of life are not scientific problems. They are not problems that can be solved scientifically. Or by propositional analysis. The focus of Wittgenstein's concern is not ontological or epistemological. He points to the limits of logic in order to safeguard ethics and aesthetics which lie outside its domain. To put it differently, his concern is not with what is on the table, but what we bring to it.

    With the purpose of obtaining a one-substance cosmology ... — Process and Reality- A.N. Whitehead

    Why should that be our purpose? Why one substance and not two or two million or no substance?

    But it does start with a generalization of Locke's account of mental operations. — Process and Reality- A.N. Whitehead

    Why should we start with Locke's account of mental operations? Why not start with whatever it is that makes mental operations possible?

    Of time we cannot have any external intuition, any more than we can have an internal intuition of space. — Kant- Critique of Pure Reason

    Why? Because Kant says so?

    we shall first give an exposition of the conception of space.schopenhauer1

    Why should we begin with an exposition of the conception of space?

    the representation of space must already exist as a foundation.schopenhauer1

    Why should a representation of space be the foundation of anything?

    ... this external experience is itself only possible through the said antecedent representation.schopenhauer1

    The luggage will either fit in the trunk of the car or it won't. It won't fit in this space because you can represent it as fitting.

    We just accept that these statements must be true without why, how, what for, etc.schopenhauer1

    The same should be asked of a Whitehead and Kant fanboy.
  • 013zen
    Any philosopher writing on some topic has a different degree of assumptions, taken as starting points without need for explication. These are the bedrock of the discussion and represent the general positions of some tradition...in Witt’s case, its the assumption that one could, in theory, develop a logical notation capable of syntactically only admitting of true statements, with which you could then use to calculate what must be true, necessarily, without appealing back to ordinary language.

    Leibniz first postulated the idea, calling is the “characteristica universalis”. This is chiefly what influenced Frege, and why he developed his concept-script which postulated simple objects in functional relations as underlying and furnishing the logic of our general language.

    I called attention earlier, to a commonality I see between the two positions in this thread, namely that Witt seems to want to ultimately criticize the project, despite still seeing some utility in its development. The analysis of language can never furnish us with anything new – we cannot, for example, discover what’s true after the fact, so to speak. There are no surprises in logic. If we understand the premises, the conclusion is always obvious. We do not, therefore, discover what is true from analysis.

    I get the sense that the work is set up sort of like an argument from contradiction. He starts by assuming the general framework of the analytic project, simply stating some common assumptions that school of thought takes, before showing that this line of reasoning admits of a contradiction, namely that:

    1. analysis should tell us what's true, by culling any signs which don’t represent aspects of reality
    2. analysis does not tell us what's true, rather, it tells us what’s possible. Truth seems to come before analysis.

    Truth is presupposed, not proven by logical analysis. That some propositions are true, and others false, must be determined outside of logic.

    Why does this matter?

    Again, the entire tradition was geared towards trying to guarantee what we can know. Can we know whats true of the world? Hume said, only insofar as we can experience it, and there’s no guarantee. Kant said we could know whats true, even beyond experience, and there could be some guarantee. But, we don’t directly experience reality, like Hume thought.

    Witt seems to want to say that “truth” is nothing more than a manner of situating things in the world based on what we perceive as logically possible. Not only do we not experience reality directly, but we are also incapable of knowing whether our picture is true or not, because its exactly that, just one picture of reality.

    This is why Witt seems to make comments regarding solipsism, and the individual being a microcosm. We are each, individually, limited by how we can logically situate things...this is why some things “make sense” to some people, and are utterly nonsensical to others. It’s not that some additional facts are needed on one side or the other, rather a way of seeing the facts and situating them.

    The development of a new theory, like evolution, didn’t discover, for example, the differences and similarities between species – that was always apparent. Rather, it considered as possible a relation between them that wasn’t considered possible before.
  • Fooloso4
    Witt seems to want to say that “truth” is nothing more than a manner of situating things in the world based on what we perceive as logically possible.013zen

    What is true is what is the case. There are things that are logically possible but not true.

    we are also incapable of knowing whether our picture is true or not013zen

    What leads you to say this? He does say:

    It is impossible to tell from the picture alone whether it is true or false.

    But this does not mean we are incapable of knowing whether it is true or false. In order to determine if it is we must compare it to reality-.

    A picture agrees with reality or fails to agree; it is correct or incorrect, true or false.

    In order to tell whether a picture is true or false we must compare it with reality.

    Reality is compared with propositions.

    A proposition can be true or false only in virtue of being a picture of reality.

    Rather, it considered as possible a relation between them that wasn’t considered possible before.013zen

    More specifically, differences are not differences in kind but differences in degree.
  • 013zen
    What leads you to say this? He does say:

    It is impossible to tell from the picture alone whether it is true or false.

    This is what I'm trying to get at. He's doesn't seem to be putting forth a correspondence theory. At least not in the traditional manner. He seems to want to say that while we might measure a proposition against reality in order to determine whether or not it's "true", we don't ever get, say capital T "truth" insofar as the picture tells you nothing about the reality it presents.

    I can, for example, refer to electromagnetic "waves" as waves, and it seems true to refer to them as such. It seems obvious, in fact. But, calling them waves is just a way we conceptualize what's going on, and it seems to in some sense get at what's occurring, but we can be almost certain that they aren't behaving like traditional waves.

    Perhaps this is a bad example, but hopefully you can understand what I'm trying to get at. Or I'm not making sense... I'm tired, I was out late last night lol
  • Paine

    Leibniz did present a 'universal character' suitable for a principle of sufficient reason to be up to the task of sorting out what things are. Or at least provide a ground for talking about the fundamental elements in a coherent way.

    The challenge of the Tractatus begins with separating 'facts' from 'things'. That seems like a clear withdrawal from a "correspondence theory". In that regard, Wittgenstein is taking a step backwards. Regrouping after failed attempts.
  • 013zen
    Sorry, I've been busy with work lately.

    Leibniz did present a 'universal character' suitable for a principle of sufficient reason to be up to the task of sorting out what things are. Or at least provide a ground for talking about the fundamental elements in a coherent way.Paine

    To my understanding, Leibniz did at least provide the coherent framework for what he envisioned. So, in that sense, I agree. He tried to express what he imagined as being possible. Thinkers definitely tried to develop this, with Frege being one of them; other thinkers, like Mach, might have even been influenced by this, because I know that he, like Leibniz, thought this "possible language" should be something like differential equations.

    Wittgenstein is taking a step backwards. Regrouping after failed attempts.Paine

    I get the sense that Witt might be trying to challenge the idea a bit. He seems to follow after Frege's and Russell's attempt, but ultimately seems to conclude that the idea is actually incoherent. It seems, at face value, that the idea has merit, but if you try and develop something of the sort, you're left with nothing more than a framework for parsing language syntactically, but you don't learn anything new, like Leiniz envisioned. I can only show you, for example, that an argument is valid - that it has the proper truth preserving form - but, I cannot determine its soundness; I only fancy it sound if already presuppose its truth.

    Anyways, interesting post :)
  • 013zen
    Again, I want to emphasize that I do think that Witt saw value in the project, but maybe had his doubts regarding it being possible in the sense that Leibniz and perhaps Frege envisioned such a language. They thought it could do more work perhaps?

    I think Witt def shows us certain things - the isomorphism between thought, language, and reality.

    Language can be analyzed into atomic statements featuring simple objects that are indefinable, and to these can correspond simple parts of thoughts - logically simple thoughts. But, knowing this doesn't teach us anything new or helpful...except, perhaps, for clarification purposes.
  • schopenhauer1

    What's the point of "objects" for Wittgenstein, if he already has "atomic facts" as the primary constituents of his language?

    "Objects" indicates a metaphysics beyond the linguistic. Since there is a distinction between objects and atomic facts, there must be a reason why it is important to note. And if it is important, why is more not said about objects (entities, things, as he "clarifies")? It seems like a metaphysics shoe-horned into something that is intended to be completely about how language describes the world...

    And if we want to go around the merry-go-round again we can discuss how objects don't have to be physical. Right.. but then later he distinguishes between concepts proper (things of the world), and formal objects (their signs in formal language), and pseudo-objects, (abstracted objects that are neither true or false).
  • Paine

    Thank you for the considered response. I agree that there is a departure from Russell and Frege in the work but see it from a different angle.

    I, too, am working, so will elaborate when free.
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.