• Agustino
    11.3k
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________

    Wittgenstein made the factual (or empirical) - conceptual (or grammatical) distinction in his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. He doubled down on this distinction with his later philosophy of the Philosophical Investigations and On Certainty, where he cemented the difference between philosophy and science, where the former was solely grammatical, and the latter was empirical.

    But I think something is missing from this dichotomy. For example, religion, poetry, art, music, etc. are neither empirical nor grammatical - they cannot be tackled either by philosophy or by science. These are necessarily questions of value.

    There are problems I never get anywhere near ... Problems of the intellectual world of the West that beethoven (and perhaps Goethe to a certain extent) tackled and wrestled with, but which no philosopher has ever confronted (perhaps Nietzsche passed them by). And perhaps they are lost as far as western philosophy is concerned, i.e. no one will be there capable of experiencing, and hence describing, the progress of this culture as an epic. Or more precisely, it just no longer is an epic, or is so only for someone looking at it from outside, which is perhaps what Beethoven did with prevision (as Spengler hints somewhere). It might be that civilization can only have its epic poets in advance. Just as a man cannot report his own death when it happens, but only foresee it and describe it as something lying in the future. So it might be said: If you want to see an epic description of a whole culture, you will have to look at the works of its greatest figures, hence at works composed when the end of this culture could only be foreseen, because later on there will be nobody left to describe it. So it's not to be wondered at that it should be only written in the obscure language of prophesy, comprehensible to few indeed. — Wittgenstein in Culture and Value

    Questions of value cannot be tackled by analyzing our experience and looking for causes. Neither can they be tackled by analyzing our concepts. Everything that concerns life and the living is neither empirical nor conceptual.
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________
  • Marchesk
    2.4k
    Interesting idea. Where does the value stem from, then? Internal experience? Social interaction?
  • TimeLine
    2.7k
    I instantly thought of Pierce regarding signs and semiotics. Our values are really just symbols that remain dependent on either, but we have given them properties that separate it and ultimately translate this separation by giving it meaning as something representative of other than what it actually is. It doesn't mean that everything is neither empirical nor conceptual. His picture-theory is a 'correspondence' and while he doesn't really offer a solution, I like this: "[a] pictorial view on the connection between the word (or sign) and the world (or object) partakes of indexicality (or secondness) in addition to iconicity. If the word is supposed to refer immediately outside itself to its alter ego, the object signified, this pointing function renders the representation clearly indexical. This is also implied in Wittgenstein's "ostensive definition" (eg PI:1:38),"
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    I instantly thought of Pierce regarding signs and semiotics. Our values are really just symbols that remain dependent on either, but we have given them properties that separate it and ultimately translate this separation by giving it meaning as something representative of other than what it actually is. It doesn't mean that everything is neither empirical nor conceptual. His picture-theory is a 'correspondence' and while he doesn't really offer a solution, I like this: "[a] pictorial view on the connection between the word (or sign) and the world (or object) partakes of indexicality (or secondness) in addition to iconicity. If the word is supposed to refer immediately outside itself to its alter ego, the object signified, this pointing function renders the representation clearly indexical. This is also implied in Wittgenstein's "ostensive definition" (eg PI:1:38),"TimeLine
    I think Wittgenstein proved quite definitely that the idea of an isomorphism between language and reality, or that language can act as a picture for reality is nonsensical, and one of the prime sources for metaphysical confusion. There always is some non-discursive element of practice to the use of language. If I point you to a red apple trying to teach you what red is, I might say "This is red". But how will you know if by that I refer to the color, the shape, the fruit, etc.? Language never refers outside of itself, it is a tool, like a computer desktop, that makes the practical navigation of the world easier. There's nothing particularly interesting about it.

    Pierce... the fly trapped in the bottle :P

    Interesting idea. Where does the value stem from, then? Internal experience? Social interaction?Marchesk
    Value has to do with one's whole being it seems. It does not stem from experience, for it lies in the very attitude we have towards experience. And it does not stem from conceptual analysis since that cannot yield anything new, anything beyond itself. So experience tells us about the world, and conceptual analysis tells us about our language and thought. But neither can tell us about value.

    "In the world, everything is as it is, and everything happens as it does happen: in it no value exists - and if it did, it would have no value"
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    No, nihilism results in those who demand that life must have a ready-made meaning and who are no longer able to believe the master narratives that supplied that ready-made meaning.

    Nietzsche was not himself a nihilist, but saw nihilism as being inherent in the Christianity of his day.

    As I said earlier nihilism is not a claim, but a disposition.
    Janus

    Pretty well as per what Nietzsche said, although he was part of the problem rather than part of the solution.Wayfarer
    And Nietzsche was right. It was Christianity that first brought the scientific attitude into the world and justified it as understanding God's laws. It was Christianity that extolled reason and its supremacy over the passions - man the rational animal, most like God, who is rational. Christianity was responsible for the eradication of superstition, sacrifices, violence, and the whole plethora of means of keeping the world enchanted. Violence played a foundational role in human societies, and Christianity rendered this foundational mechanism impossible or worse - ineffective. Nihilism is now the unavoidable conclusion for those who reject the Kingdom of God that Jesus offered.

    Violence allowed meaning to be injected into the world from the outside. When one slayed one's enemies and founded a kingdom upon their corpses, it was meaningful - meaningful for everyone else. Now such meaning is impossible - the only meaning can come from inside now, not from outside. God is no longer out there, throwing lightning bolts and slaying our enemies, completely external of us. Such has been revealed to be a superstition - by Christianity itself.

    Convinced that Nietzsche's analysis was accurate, for example, Oswald Spengler in The Decline of the West (1926) studied several cultures to confirm that patterns of nihilism were indeed a conspicuous feature of collapsing civilizations.
    And he was correct too.
  • Marchesk
    2.4k
    If I point you to a red apple trying to teach you what red is, I might say "This is red". But how will you know if by that I refer to the color, the shape, the fruit, etc.?Agustino

    But then how do anthropologists go about learning an unknown language from some tribe in New Guinea upon first contact? Wouldn't the equivalent of pointing out objects and saying "red" occur? You can point to apple and say "apple", then point to something red and say "red", then back to apple and say "red". Given a few examples, the person will probably catch on that you're talking about the color versus the name of the object.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    But then how do anthropologists go about learning an unknown language from some tribe in New Guinea upon first contact?Marchesk
    They already know the grammar of (any) language. Not grammar in the common understanding - I was actually talking to someone about this last night - but grammar in Wittgenstein's understanding - ie the possibilities and rules governing the sense of the particular concept or class of concepts.

    You can point to apple and say "apple", then point to something red and say "red", then back to apple and say "red".Marchesk
    That wouldn't work because red could again mean a thousand and one things. For example, red could refer to the group of things made by apple and whatever else you point to. It could refer to any object. For example, how would you teach the concept of "object" compared to the concept of "red"? If you tried to teach them both concepts and you only had red objects around, what would you do?

    So it would take a lot of experiments to learn. And the person who is trying to learn would be punished for failures to use the word adequately. And those failures would inform future use, until it molded into the use that corresponds to what the concept actually means. Hence why Wittgenstein argues that no private language is possible, since this practical and social correction in use needs to be possible for words to have meaning.
  • Marchesk
    2.4k
    There are many times in history when humans have encountered groups they had no previous contact with, with individuals from both learning each other's languages.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    There are many times in history when humans have encountered groups they had no previous contact with, with individuals from both learning each other's languages.Marchesk
    Yes, why does that surprise you? Did I ever suggest it wouldn't be possible?
  • Marchesk
    2.4k
    Wouldn't you start out by pointing out objects and saying the word for them, after maybe giving your name?
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    I think you are misunderstanding what grammar means.

    "red" in English is the same as "rouge" in French. The grammar of the two concepts is virtually identical, even though the languages are different. For example, you can't have "red jealousy" or "jalousie rouge" in French. That's part of the grammar of the words.

    So once I understand the grammar of - say - English, it's much easier to learn French by pointing me to stuff.
  • Marchesk
    2.4k
    So once I understand the grammar of - say - English, it's much easier to learn French by pointing me to stuff.Agustino

    Yeah, but you're not going to know the grammar for an unknown language.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Yeah, but you're not going to know the grammar for an unknown language.Marchesk
    No, you misunderstand what grammar means. Grammar doesn't mean what you've been taught it means in school in this case. It has nothing to do with linguistic grammar. We're talking about conceptual grammar here. Conceptual grammar can be the same even though linguistic grammar is different.

    after maybe giving your name?Marchesk
    So take this one. The grammar of the concept of "name". For you to easily understand that when I point at myself and say "Agustino" and then point at you I mean that "My name is Agustino, what is yours?" you must already have understood the grammar of name (ie how names are used, what kind of things they refer to, etc.). You must already have understood that name - whatever you call it in your language - is used in such and such a way.
  • Agustino
    11.3k

    So languages even if they are different often have the same concepts. The concept of red is the same as the concept of rouge in French. The language, however, is different. So in other words, the language is irrelevant, whether it's known or it's unknown. What is relevant is whether I have learned to use the concept, not the word. Concepts are across languages. Both English and French have the same concepts (by and large). The words, of course, differ. What we're talking about here is learning the conceptual grammar - which you learn only once, when you learn your very first language. All other future languages don't involve you learning conceptual grammar at all, since you already know it from the first language you learned.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    And in fact Wittgenstein is right - feral children and similar cases who have NOT learned conceptual grammar, struggle mightily to learn any language whatsoever.

    So that's why most of the Anglo world misunderstands Wittgenstein, as if Wittgenstein was talking about some petty linguistic things that are actually of no interest to philosophers at all.
  • Marchesk
    2.4k
    And in fact Wittgenstein is right - feral children and similar cases who have NOT learned conceptual grammar, struggle mightily to learn any language whatsoever.Agustino

    But we weren't talking about feral children. I brought up anthropologists and different language speakers meeting for the first time, like the Europeans in the new world.

    Somehow they still manage to learn to speak each other's languages. I'm guessing the don't start off with grammar.
  • Marchesk
    2.4k
    For you to easily understand that when I point at myself and say "Agustino" and then point at you I mean that "My name is Agustino, what is yours?" you must already have understood the grammar of name (ie how names are used, what kind of things they refer to, etc.).Agustino

    Sure, I'm going to understand that all human beings have names (unless they're feral), and when they point to themselves and say something, odds are they're saying their name. That or a pronoun.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    But we weren't talking about feral children. I brought up anthropologists and different language speakers meeting for the first time, like the Europeans in the new world.

    Somehow they still manage to learn to speak each other's languages. I'm guessing the don't start off with grammar.
    Marchesk
    Do they both speak one different language before meeting? Yes or no?
  • Marchesk
    2.4k
    Do they both speak one different language before meeting? Yes or no?Agustino

    Like Hopi and English?
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Like Hopi and English?Marchesk
    Sure. So that means they have both already learned conceptual grammar. When they learn each other's language, they merely learn new words that will be assigned to the concepts that they already know.
  • sime
    265
    The "Truth" of all of Wittgenstein's philosophical works was in terms of their aesthetic or therapeutic value. This is why the Tractatus's self-refuting epistemology was ultimately unimportant.

    And since none of our concepts can be adequately explained in terms of rules divorced from their contextual use, our employment of them is intrinsically tied to our aesthetic intuition. Grammar, empirical fact and value aren't three independent things. The later Wittgenstein had long since abandoned the mirror-of-nature view of science and philosophy.
  • bahman
    530

    Empirical is the domain of experience, feeling, thought, belief, idea, etc. We use concept to share experience. In this regards, art and religion are also Empirical. Religion deals with a belief you experience for example. We use painting/concept to convey an idea for example.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Grammar, empirical fact and value aren't three independent things.sime
    What does this mean?

    It was true to say that our considerations could not be scientific ones. It was not of any possible interest to us to find out empirically that, contrary to our preconceived ideas, it is possible to think such-and-such -- whatever that may mean. (The conception of thought as a gaseous medium.) And we may not advance any kind of theory. There must not be anything hypothetical in our considerations. We must do away with all explanation, 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, they are solved, rather, by looking into the workings of our language, and that in such a way as to make us recognize those workings: in despite of an urge to misunderstand them. The problems are solved, not by giving new information, but by arranging what we have always known. Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language. — PI §109
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    tied to our aesthetic intuition.sime
    This is false, since language is social and collective, not individual.
  • Marchesk
    2.4k
    Empirical is the domain of experience, feeling, thought, belief, idea, etc.bahman

    Empirical is perception only.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Empirical is perception only.Marchesk
    Yeah, empirical is anything that can be scientifically perceived to be even more accurate.
  • Marchesk
    2.4k
    eah, empirical is anything that can be scientifically perceived to be even more accurate.Agustino

    Is there perception that can't be scientifically perceived? What does that mean?
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Is there perception that can't be scientifically perceived? What does that mean?Marchesk
    No. But I said that to clarify a possible objection from people who would take emotions, feelings, etc. to be perceived for example.
  • Marty
    160
    I think Wittgenstein proved quite definitely that the idea of an isomorphism between language and reality, or that language can act as a picture for reality is nonsensical, and one of the prime sources for metaphysical confusion. There always is some non-discursive element of practice to the use of language.

    I'm not sure why this is the case? I'm not sure what our language is doing other than, at least in some sense, accurately depicting the world around us. It might be the case that there are certain expressions in language that are not just mere ostensive definitions, but the fact that language has meaning, seems to indicate to me its meaningful in virute of something about our experiences -- and these experiences are given content by the world (considering they are not in a vacuum).

    Everything that concerns life and the living is neither empirical nor conceptual.

    I'm perplexed by an idea that takes there to be anything outside of the "empirical, conceptual"
    (which I take to be taken together: experience.)
  • sime
    265
    Grammar, empirical fact and value aren't three independent things.
    — sime
    What does this mean?
    Agustino

    I am saying that they are not dichotomous domains, but inseparable aspects of a single cognition or application of language, for Wittgenstein did not accept the analytic-synthetic distinction, and he drew attention to grammar, i.e. his personal thinking process, only by way of empirical examples, and stressed how the meaning of empirical propositions depends upon regularities in acts of measurement, agreements in human judgement and normative principles pertaining to human behaviour within a custom.

    This is false, since language is social and collective, not individual.Agustino

    You can define language that way if you wish, but you miss Wittgenstein's aim of philosophical investigations, which was to demolish Cartesian phenomenology and dissolve mind-body problems, as opposed to giving any supposed 'factual content' pertaining to linguistics, or even indeed to philosophy. His remarks are logical remarks pertaining to his definitions, not factual remarks.

    Wittgenstein's remarks concerning language were just a special case of more general considerations of what it means to say that one is "following a rule", which for Wittgenstein boil down to external criteria of assertion such that it only makes logical sense to speak of "following a "rule" when there are independent means of checking whether or not one is following the rule independent of one's definition of it within an appropriately normative context where talk of obeying or breaking rules is motivated. Hence Wittgenstein preempts Searle's Chinese Room Argument attack on functionalist metaphysical approaches to AI that presume it is meaningful to speak of following rules in an Cartesian and cultural-independent context.

    In the supposed "private language argument" passages Wittgenstein did not say that "one cannot invent a private terminology for expressing one's immediate sensations and use it meaningfully without public guidance" for that would contradict PI $109 you just quoted and constitute a substantial philosophical thesis, and not to mention fly in the face of what we intuitively do ubiquitously in our aesthetic lives, when we express ourselves.

    Rather Wittgenstein merely implied that a speaker's utterances cannot be understood as "following a rule", "conveying a message" and so forth, until the speaker's utterances are correlated to external states of affairs within a normative context that motivates talk of "obeying and disobeying rules".

    In the "sensation diary" passages Wittgenstein's chief preoccupation was to understand
    what it means to "name" particulars by acquaintance, to which he concludes that it is meaningless to speak of someone as referring to or representing a particular by way of a universal , unless it is meaningful to speak of correct and incorrect application of one's 'naming rule', which in turn demands that criteria for correct naming is independent of the intuition of the person defining the naming rule.

    See for example his manometer passage, where the "private-linguist" believes he is 'naming' a novel private sensation with the letter 'S' , and then later discovers that his use of 'S' predicts whether his blood pressure is rising. So 'S' can now be said to mean that "his blood pressure is rising", and we can now understand what the private-linguist is saying by 'S', i.e. he can now be said to infer something public.

    Hence Wittgenstein had nothing against what "private linguists" i.e. philosophers, express when they colloquially speak of inventing and using language in reference to their own sensations, rather Wittgenstein's point is that one cannot speak of inferring anything from or conveying anything with verbal expressions precipitated by immediate sensations, unless that is to say, a correlation of verbal behaviour to external matters of fact can be established and confirmed independently of the immediate mental contents in the minds of the speakers.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    I am saying that they are not dichotomous domains, but inseparable aspects of a single cognition or application of language, for Wittgenstein did not accept the analytic-synthetic distinction, and he drew attention to grammar,sime
    So... what does this have to do with anything? :s And why are you bringing the analytic-synthetic distinction in discussion? This has nothing to do with it.

    Wittgenstein would disagree that the empirical - conceptual is not a real distinction. He, at length, including in §109 which I've quoted, stresses that philosophy, unlike science, is NOT an empirical investigation (ie trying to find the causes of real things which happen in the world) but rather a conceptual undertaking (ie understanding the grammar of our concepts). This distinction is so important that it's probably the absolute cornerstone of Wittgenstein's late philosophy.

    Wittgenstein's remarks concerning language were just a special case of more general considerations of what it means to say that one is "following a rule", which for Wittgenstein boil down to external criteria of assertion such that it only makes logical sense to speak of "following a "rule" when there are independent means of checking whether or not one is following the rule independent of one's definition of it within an appropriately normative context where talk of obeying or breaking rules is motivated.sime
    Right, so you're agreeing with me that there is no private language based on aesthetic intuitions or whatever of that kind. The "independent means of checking" are by nature social.

    So 'S' can now be said to mean that "his blood pressure is rising", and we can now understand what the private-linguist is saying by 'S', i.e. he can now be said to infer something public.sime
    This means that the private linguist is actually not a private linguist at all, since he's using a public sign to convey the meaning of his utterance (blood pressure rising).
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