• Harry Hindu
    1.4k
    Yes, it is.Terrapin Station
    So you don't make distinctions between the idea of igneous rocks and actual igneous rocks. Got it.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.3k
    So you don't make distinctions between the idea of igneous rocks and actual igneous rocks. Got it.Harry Hindu

    Not re aboutness, and if you do, you have no comprehension of aboutness.

    I can just imagine you taking the SATs, there being a reading comprehension section that presents "Igneous rocks are always polka-dotted . . . " and then you're asked "What was that passage about?" And you answer "Nothing."

    That would help you get into a good school.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.3k
    You'd have to say that fictions are never about anything. lol

    "Say, Harry--I've never seen Star Wars. I was wondering if I'd like it. What's it about?"

    Harry: "Nothing."
  • Harry Hindu
    1.4k
    Not re aboutness, and if you do, you have no comprehension of aboutness.Terrapin Station
    Again, there is a distinction between words about some idea and words about some state-of-affairs.

    Statements of what Star Wars is about is about ideas, not about some state-of-affairs.

    If you were to tell a person about Star Wars, should they believe that Wookies actually exist and Star Wars is about real Wookies, or is it an idea about Wookies?

    When you talk about state of affairs, are you referring to the ideas in your head, or the state of affairs? If you say that you are referring to your ideas, then do your ideas refer to some state of affairs? If so, then aren't you indirectly taking about states of affairs as opposed to beliefs that they refer to? Isn't the fact that you can make that distinction indicative of something? If you aren't making that distinction then are you an anti-realist? Aren't you using a shortcut in language and context to imply that you are taking about states of affairs instead of your beliefs? If I were to admit that I was talking about my beliefs as opposed to some state of affairs would you be more or less inclined to believe what I said?

    It seems to me that is realism is the case then we make statements about states of affairs external to our minds. If realism isn't the case then there is no distinction between ideas and states of affairs independent of the mind.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.3k
    Again, there is a distinction between words about some idea and words about some state-of-affairs.Harry Hindu

    Again, there isn't when we're talking of aboutness. Aboutness is simply the subject of the statement.
  • Harry Hindu
    1.4k
    Right. So aboutness would be some state of affairs (the relationship between words and what they refer to) and in talking about aboutness you would be talking about a state of affairs as opposed to a belief.
  • Harry Hindu
    1.4k
    No, but you are cherry-picking. You are the one that said you can only make statements of belief. If you can't back it up then calling people names isn't going to help your position. How about answering the questions I asked you above?
  • Terrapin Station
    4.3k
    You are the one that said you can only make statements of belief.Harry Hindu

    No I did not. I didn't say that statements are only of beliefs.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.3k
    And I wasn't name calling. I was honestly asking you whether you were trolling.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.5k
    This is just not true. Think of how a child learns to use the word cup. The child has no idea what a rule is, but by learning to use the word in social settings they implicitly learn to follow rules. The two go hand-in-hand.Sam26

    No, you have just made an invalid inference. You claim that if the child has learned how to use the word "cup", this implies that the child has learned how to follow rules. That is begging the question. It's only true if using language requires following rules. But that's what you need to prove, not assume. You will never prove it though, because the converse is obviously what is true.

    In reality, rules exist, and are dictated as words, and the person must know words in order to understand any rules. Therefore learning language is necessarily prior to learning rules, and it is impossible that learning how to use a word implies that one has learned a rule. One must learn words in order to understand rules. That is why we must look to something other than rule-following for the true nature of language. The existence of rules is something which requires language, and follows from language. Rules cannot exist without language. Therefore language itself is necessarily prior to rules, and must be based in something other than rule-following, because language produces rule-following.
  • Sam26
    1.1k
    No, you have just made an invalid inference. You claim that if the child has learned how to use the word "cup", this implies that the child has learned how to follow rules. That is begging the question. It's only true if using language requires following rules. But that's what you need to prove, not assume. You will never prove it though, because the converse is obviously what is true.Metaphysician Undercover

    No, I have not made an invalid inference. Your understanding of this point is just confused. When you learn to use a word, then you have also learned how to follow a rule. There is an implicit rule involved in using the word correctly, it goes hand-in-hand with language. So, to learn to use a word, as in my e.g., is to learn a rule about how to use the word. One knows that the child has learned to follow a rule by observing how they use the word. Just as we know that someone knows the rules of chess by observing their moves. This is not rocket science.

    To say that you need to prove that using language requires following rules, is akin to saying that you need to prove that chess moves involves following rules. By definition a language involves rule-following, its an essential property of language, just as the rules of chess are essential to the game of chess.

    I could give the following proof, which is not begging-the-question. This is also a valid inference.

    Premise (1): If all languages are rule-governed, then necessarily, learning to use a word is a rule-governed activity.
    Premise (2): All languages are rule governed.
    Conclusion: Therefore, necessarily, learning to use a word is a rule-governed activity.
  • Sam26
    1.1k
    Some, sure. But it makes little sense to say philosophy belongs, or ought to belong to that subclass. The rules of chess are more or less utterly contingent and utterly arbitrary after all (constrained only by the - already contingent - choice of an 8x8 grid, our physionomy, and our intelligence and history). Insofar as philosophy asks after how things in reality hang together in the broad sense, the constraints which govern its discourse ought to be far more significant that than those which govern a frivolity like chess.StreetlightX

    Of course the discourse of philosophy has broader ramifications than a chess game, but the analogy, as far as it goes, still holds. How we talk about facts, truth, real, exist, etc, is not only contingent on how the world is, but the concepts of language hang together based on how we use the concepts to describe the world.

    It's true that there is a kind of arbitrariness to our concepts, but that arbitrariness is only in the choice of the letters and words used (among other things) within language. We could choose what we want to mean by the words car or book, just as we could choose whatever rule we want when setting up the game of chess, or a game of baseball. However, once the rules are set, then we follow them to play the game, or to talk about philosophy. This is what Wittgenstein meant by the logic of use, at least partially. We can see the logic behind the use of words by observing how we use the words in social settings. For example, did the person properly respond to the word slab as given in Wittgenstein's language-game.

    Once the rules, say, of syntax are arbitrarily decided, then whether we use such rules correctly or not can be seen objectively. You either followed the rules or not. In baseball, the rules are arbitrary, but whether you follow the rules correctly is not arbitrary. We can observe whether the hit was a home run or not, it's objective. It's not always clear whether someone correctly followed a rule, but generally we know. This is true of our concepts, if it wasn't we wouldn't be able to communicate, which is somewhat what happened at the beginning of this thread.
  • StreetlightX
    3.1k
    Once the rules, say, of syntax are arbitrarily decided, then whether we use such rules correctly or not can be seen objectively.Sam26

    But what would be the point of that? I mean, in the case of chess, sure, you set up a bunch of more or less arbitrary rules with the goal to make a fun, competitive past-time. And from there, you can see if someone has or has not followed those rules correctly. But philosophy is not - or rather, ought not to be - a merely a fun, competitive past-time. Philosophy ought to shed light on the nature of things (in a broad sense). That's the productive constraint on its discourse, in the same way that 'developing a fun game' is roughly the productive constraint on the rules on chess.

    Mere 'agreement' however, would be useless and trivial in both cases. We don't just settle on some arbitrarily agreed upon rules for no particular reason. Communication is not the point of philosophy. It ought to be a minimal condition of philosophy, sure, but that is nothing but a necessary but not yet sufficient condition of its practice. You seem to be mistaking the means for the ends: I'm not just trying to have a conversation with you when doing philosophy - I'm trying to hopefully say something meaningful about the world around us, with my use of language reflecting that. The man who yells 'slab!' isn't doing it just because he wants to communicate (although that's part of it) - he does it in order to, presumably, build something at the end of the day.

    The focus on 'objectivity' is, in this sense, totally banal. I couldn't care less if people can or can't agree upon some arbitrarily decided rules and then look to see if those rules are being objectively followed. Communication is nothing but a bare minimum; all meaningful talk takes place in a language-game, yes, but a language game also includes practices which define the context by which that 'game' becomes meaningful and significant. We don't just play 'language-games' for 'language-games' sake, and then look to police those rules to see if one is playing rightly or wrongly. If you don't have some kind of motivation - having a fun game, building a structure - then even the most pristine and elegant rules ever devised are worthless.
  • leo
    27
    Language is a limited tool to communicate, to show others what we experience, and to experience what others experience. How do I know whether the word 'car' elicits the same experience in you and in me? It probably doesn't. The same word makes different people feel different things, think about different things.

    The ability to agree with each other tells us there is some consistency between our realities, but in some aspects our realities may be widely different, I may experience things that you don't and vice versa, so how do we communicate about it then?

    There are things we seem to be able to communicate through looking into someone's eyes, through some behavior, that we can't communicate with words.

    The way we use language rests on a bunch of implicit assumptions, yet we feel as if we can talk about the whole of reality by using words, but we're just fooling ourselves.
  • macrosoft
    381
    The ability to agree with each other tells us there is some consistency between our realities, but in some aspects our realities may be widely different, I may experience things that you don't and vice versa, so how do we communicate about it then?

    There are things we seem to be able to communicate through looking into someone's eyes, through some behavior, that we can't communicate with words.

    The way we use language rests on a bunch of implicit assumptions, yet we feel as if we can talk about the whole of reality by using words, but we're just fooling ourselves.
    leo

    Well said.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.5k
    When you learn to use a word, then you have also learned how to follow a rule.Sam26

    This is your premise. Now you must prove that it is true, justify it, or else you are just making an unsupported assumption which supports your conclusion (begging the question).

    There is an implicit rule involved in using the word correctly, it goes hand-in-hand with language.Sam26

    Now you have made an unwarranted qualification, with the word "correctly". We learn how to use language, before we learn how to use language "correctly", (and if there even is such a thing as "using language correctly" is highly doubtful). It is evident that children use language, when learning, in a way which cannot be called "correct", but it can still be called "using language". So we must dismiss this qualification of "correctly", as unnecessary to "using language". Therefore "using words", or "using language" does not require that one do so "correctly".

    So, to learn to use a word, as in my e.g., is to learn a rule about how to use the word.Sam26

    According to the above, this conclusion is invalid. To use a word "correctly" requires that one learn a rule, but to use a word, does not require that one learn any rules. Word use, and therefore language use itself, does not require that anyone learns any rules. Only "correct" word use, or language use, requires the learning of rules. But whether there is such a thing as "correct word use" is highly doubtful, because we have no set of rules to refer to, by which we could confirm whether a particular instance of usage is correct or not.

    Premise (1): If all languages are rule-governed, then necessarily, learning to use a word is a rule-governed activity.
    Premise (2): All languages are rule governed.
    Conclusion: Therefore, necessarily, learning to use a word is a rule-governed activity.
    Sam26

    Premise (2) is obviously false, and manufactured to support the conclusion (begging the question).
  • Terrapin Station
    4.3k
    There is an implicit rule involved in using the word correctly, it goes hand-in-hand with languageSam26

    I don't agree that "correct" and "incorrect" are appropriate here. Only "conventional" and "unconventional" are. It's not incorrect to be unconventional.
  • Sam26
    1.1k
    Sorry guys, but I'm no longer going to be posting in Philosophy Forums. I'm going to concentrate on Quora, epistemology, and my book on NDEs. I may stop in from time-to-time, but only occasionally.

    Take care all - Sam
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