• Fooloso4
    224
    He gives no meaning to "transcendental", so anyone can explain it how he sees fit.Pussycat

    So in other words you don't know what it means and think you can define it in any way you see fit. Is this an example of your “improvising”? It is nothing more than a dodge, an attempt to sidestep the incompatibility of your interpretation with the text.

    The term has a specific meaning and anyone familiar the term does not need to be given a meaning by Wittgenstein. It means the a priori condition of the possibility of experience through representation (See Critique of Pure Reason, "Transcendental Deduction of the Categories"). Disagreement is not about the meaning of the term itself. Thus logic is transcendental because it allows us to picture the world. Ethics is transcendental because it allows us to experience the moral/aesthetic meaning and value of the world, to see it as mystical.

    It doesn't mean it exists either. Or that the ethical that has been transcended has anything to do with what is obtained at the end of this transcendence, it might be something completely different.Pussycat

    Wittgenstein does not say and it does not follow from anything he does say that the ethical has been transcended. It is just the opposite, the ethical transcends the facts of the world. (6.41)

    So he says that the mystical shows itself, not the ethical.Pussycat

    Wittgenstein connects the mystical and ethical/aesthetic via linked statements about the world, its limits, and what is experienced beyond those limits. The sense of the world and its value is not to be found in the world (6.41) It is because the sense and value of the world cannot be found in the world that there can be no ethical propositions (6.42). The good and bad exercise of the will and the experience of the world as a whole of the happy and unhappy man (6.43) The solution of the riddle of life in space and time lies outside space and time (6.4312). God does not reveal himself in the world (6.432). The facts all contribute only to setting the problem, not to its solution (6.4321) The existence of the world is mystical (6.44). Viewing it sub specie aeterni and feeling it as a limited whole is mystical (6.45)
  • Fooloso4
    224
    In support of my last post regarding the meaning of transcendental as the condition of possibility, from the Notebooks:

    “Ethics does not treat of the world. Ethics must be a condition of the world, like logic.” (NB, 24.7.16)
  • Pussycat
    132
    Wittgenstein does not say and it does not follow from anything he does say that the ethical has been transcended. It is just the opposite, the ethical transcends the facts of the world. (6.41)Fooloso4

    But when he writes that: "he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.) He must surmount these propositions; then he sees the world rightly". This surmount, climb through, on and over these (nonsensical and ethical) propositions, isn't that transcendence?

    I mean, can't we rewrite the above as: "he who understands me finally recognizes the ethical propositions as senseless, when he has transcended them", without changing the meaning?
  • Fooloso4
    224
    But when he writes that: "he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.) He must surmount these propositions; then he sees the world rightly". This surmount, climb through, on and over these (nonsensical and ethical) propositions, isn't that transcendence?Pussycat

    He has made it clear that ethics is not about propositions and so the transcendence of propositions is not the transcendence of ethics. It is only when such propositions are surmounted that one can see the world aright. It is the ethical that is the transcendental condition that makes this experience possible.
  • Pussycat
    132
    So for the man that finally understands Wittgenstein, it wasn't ethics/the ethical that was transcended, but rather propositions about it: the ethical was needed for this experience of transcendence, having been the condition. But what happens to ethics afterwards?
  • Fooloso4
    224
    But what happens to ethics afterwards?Pussycat

    Do you mean ethics in the sense of rules or standards of proper conduct? If so, Wittgenstein says nothing about this. The closest he gets in the comment in the Notebooks about conscience quoted in an earlier post:

    Living in agreement with the world is living in accord with one’s conscience, which is the voice of God.

    I am then, so to speak, in agreement with that alien will on which I appear dependent. That is to say: “I am doing the will of God” (NB 8.7.16)
    — NB
  • Pussycat
    132
    Do you mean ethics in the sense of rules or standards of proper conduct? If so, Wittgenstein says nothing about thisFooloso4

    No, I meant ethics as the transcendental: if it was employed as a means to see the world aright, then what is its use after this?

    The closest he gets in the comment in the Notebooks about conscience quoted in an earlier post:Fooloso4

    I think he uses this as a simile like he says so in the lecture: when someone is happy then he says and feels as if he is with God or in heaven, where being with God and heaven mean something pleasant. The same holds for the ethical rewards - reward must be something acceptable. Equivalently, when someone is unhappy then he says and feels as if he is with the Devil or in hell, where the Devil and hell mean something unpleasant - punishment be something unacceptable. Or doing the will of God, so to speak, he means it also as a simile for when he is happy and in accordance with his own conscience, not that he is actually doing God's will.

    My whole tendency and, I believe, the tendency of all men who ever tried to write or talk Ethics or Religion was to run against the boundaries of language.
  • Fooloso4
    224
    No, I meant ethics as the transcendental: if it was employed as a means to see the world aright, then what is its use after this?Pussycat

    It is not like sightseeing. It is not a once and done experience.

    I think he uses this as a simile like he says so in the lecture: when someone is happy then he says and feels as if he is with God or in heaven, where being with God and heaven mean something pleasant.Pussycat

    It is an attempt to put into words what cannot be put into words. When he says "ultimate value", however, it suggests something much more profound and important than something pleasant. When he says that he is "so to speak" in agreement with the will of God, again I think he means something far more profound and significant than something pleasant. When he says that his conscience is the voice of God, he is not stating a matter of fact. To attempt to ascribe a more specific meaning to it is antithetical to the Tractatus.
  • Pussycat
    132
    It is not like sightseeing. It is not a once and done experience.Fooloso4

    haha, well done Fooloso4, you have a sense of humour after all!

    It is an attempt to put into words what cannot be put into words. When he says "ultimate value", however, it suggests something much more profound and important than something pleasant. When he says that he is "so to speak" in agreement with the will of God, again I think he means something far more profound and significant than something pleasant. When he says that his conscience is the voice of God, he is not stating a matter of fact. To attempt to ascribe a more specific meaning to it is antithetical to the Tractatus.Fooloso4

    The word "meaning" can have different meanings. We use it differently when we say "the meaning of a chair is something that we use to sit on", when we say that "this object has a special meaning for us", and when we inquire into the meaning of life. The word-sign may be the same, but it has a different form, so it means something else in each case. So in the case of "ultimate or absolute value", I think he means the source of all value, the transcedental ethics, or God so to speak, but not the actual value, since no such ultimate value can be ascribed or described, and the source is not the same as what emanates from it.
  • Pussycat
    132
    But anyway Wittgenstein must have had a rather peculiar view of ethics and morality in general. It struck me as odd when I read his lecture where he equates an act of murder to that of a falling of a stone:

    If for instance in our world-book we read the description of a murder with all its details physical and psychological, the mere description of these facts will contain nothing which we could call an ethical proposition. The murder will be on exactly the same level as any other event, for instance the falling of a stone. Certainly the reading of description might cause us pain or rage or any other emotion, or we might read about the pain or rage caused by this murder in other people when they have heard of it, but there will simply be facts, facts, and facts but no Ethics.

    I mean, a normal person I think would have said that the murder was quite unethical and immoral, and denote the murderer as unethical and immoral too. But not Wittgenstein, he only sees facts.

    In any case, I think we can safely say where Wittgenstein places all ethical propositions, somewhere next to the lifeline. :grin:

  • Fooloso4
    224
    I mean, a normal person I think would have said that the murder was quite unethical and immoral, and denote the murderer as unethical and immoral too. But not Wittgenstein, he only sees facts.Pussycat

    It is not that he cannot see the immorality of the act, it is that the immorality does not reside in the facts themselves.
  • Pussycat
    132
    But the fact is certainly related to the act. So if he cannot see the immorality in the facts themselves, then how can he see it in the act? Is it only that we cannot speak of it/say it (that it is immoral), as if we were deaf and mute or something, but everything else is the same as before?
  • Fooloso4
    224


    The act is a fact. Part of the problem is that murder is defined as wrongful killing, but if it were an act that took place in war or in self-defense a factual description of the act would not change. Some might claim that war is immoral so the act of killing would be immoral. Some might even claim that killing in self-defense is immoral. Where in a description of the facts do we find the fact that the act is or is not immoral? If it were a fact shouldn't we be able to agree on that in the same way we agree that one person was hit in the head with a rock by another on a Tuesday afternoon? Propositions with a sense picture or represent what is the case, some state of affairs. Disagreement over the morality of the act is not an agreement or disagreement over the facts but over our assessment of the facts.
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