• Dagny
    15
    Thanks Wallows, will do!
  • Luke
    127
    What do you think of Terrapin Station's reply to me?Sam26

    Terrapin appears to want to have it both ways, appearing to say that meaning can be private even if it's also public. I'm not convinced.

    Terrapin speaks of meaning as being "the result of one's private mental happenings". Clearly, there have been individuals who have coined words which are now common in our language, but more is required than just one person making up a word in order for it to gain acceptance and usage in a linguistic community. For example, there is also the linguistic community and whether they adopt the word's usage. Furthermore, there is nothing which compels a linguistic community to preserve the original meaning of a word and use it the same way as the coiner.

    On Terrapin's last comment, 'writing' is also a common word of our language which is usually defined more narrowly than simply applying ink to paper. Otherwise, da Vinci's Vitruvian Man would also be considered as writing rather than a drawing.

    This is an interesting development. You have used the word "judged' here, and Witty makes no such mention. You seem to be anticipating what will follow in the text. However, do you think that understanding a definition requires being judged as understanding?Metaphysician Undercover

    Yes. Also, I believe that Wittgenstein alludes to judging in section 35 that follows, when he says that it depends "on the circumstances — that is, on what happened before and after the pointing — whether we should say "He pointed to the shape and not to the colour"." [my bolding]

    Couldn't one understand the definition, and go away with that understanding, without ever being judged as having understood?Metaphysician Undercover

    Perhaps, but how does one know that one has actually understood unless one tests/demonstrates that understanding? For example, I believe that I have some understanding of the current text, but we'll see...

    §35. Wittgenstein continues to discuss what he calls "characteristic experiences" or what I have called "accompanying experiences", which are had in conjunction with pointing or 'attending to' (e.g.) the shape. Wittgenstein offers the example of "following the outline with one's finger or with one's eyes as one points." However, he notes that characteristic experiences do not accompany pointing in every case, but even if they did, it would still depend on what happens before and after the pointing for "whether we should say "He pointed to the shape and not to the colour"."

    Wittgenstein notes that characteristic experiences are characteristic "because they recur often (but not always) when shape or number are 'meant'." Wittgenstein notes that there is no characteristic experience which accompanies pointing to a piece in a game as a game piece. Nonetheless, one can still mean that this game piece is called the king, rather than (e.g.) this piece of wood is called the king.

    Wittgenstein ends the section with "(Recognizing, wishing, remembering, etc. .)", possibly indicating that characteristic experiences are similarly associated with these activities but, again, not necessarily.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.7k
    Terrapin appears to want to have it both ways, appearing to say that meaning can be private even if it's also public. I'm not convinced.Luke

    Just to remind you, at this point in the text there is nothing to indicate that meaning could be private, or "public" (whatever "public" might mean in this context). These terms do not seem to relate. We have the giver in ostensive definition, and the hearer (W appears hesitant to even use "interpret"). There is a gap between these two, and not a sufficient degree of consistency in the relationship between them, such that we could describe this relationship with "rules", though he does describe it with "games".

    Yes. Also, I believe that Wittgenstein alludes to judging in section 35 that follows, when he says that it depends "on the circumstances — that is, on what happened before and after the pointing — whether we should say "He pointed to the shape and not to the colour"." [my bolding]Luke

    There clearly is judgement referred to, on the part of the hearer. The hearer must judge the act of the giver, "he pointed to the shape", or "he pointed to the colour", which transposes into "he meant the shape", or "he meant the colour". However, what I was referring to was the need to expose the reciprocal judgement from the giver, "you judged my pointing correctly", "you judged my pointing incorrectly". This reciprocal judgement is not brought out by Wittgenstein, at this point, though you referred to it "...understanding a definition is usually judged by how the hearer goes on to use the word...".

    Wittgenstein notes that characteristic experiences are characteristic "because they recur often (but not always) when shape or number are 'meant'." Wittgenstein notes that there is no characteristic experience which accompanies pointing to a piece in a game as a game piece. Nonetheless, one can still mean that this game piece is called the king, rather than (e.g.) this piece of wood is called the king.Luke

    What I interpret as important with this discussion of "characteristic experiences", is the qualification of "not always". The "not always" implies that this understanding is created without rules, referring to the example at #31. This is how Witty is developing his conception of how we understand "types". The way that we understand types, without reference to definite rules, means that a type is a morphological thing not necessarily restricted by rules, like a form of life.
  • Terrapin Station
    5.2k
    Terrapin appears to want to have it both ways, appearing to say that meaning can be private even if it's also public.Luke

    I don't at all believe that meaning is public. It's not at all possible to make meaning public in my view. Meaning isn't the same thing as a definition.

    Re the writing thing, I wasn't proposing a definition.
  • Luke
    127
    Just to remind you, at this point in the text there is nothing to indicate that meaning could be private, or "public" (whatever "public" might mean in this context). These terms do not seem to relate.Metaphysician Undercover

    I don't have much time, but I was asked for my opinion of Terrapin's Station's previous post, so I was not speaking to the text there

    There clearly is judgement referred to, on the part of the hearer. The hearer must judge the act of the giver, "he pointed to the shape", or "he pointed to the colour", which transposes into "he meant the shape", or "he meant the colour". However, what I was referring to was the need to expose the reciprocal judgement from the giver, "you judged my pointing correctly", "you judged my pointing incorrectly". This reciprocal judgement is not brought out by Wittgenstein, at this point, though you referred to it "...understanding a definition is usually judged by how the hearer goes on to use the word...".Metaphysician Undercover

    Right, I broadly agree with this.

    What I interpret as important with this discussion of "characteristic experiences", is the qualification of "not always".Metaphysician Undercover

    Yes, I agree. I should maybe have put more emphasis on this. However, I see 35 and 36 as being a continuation of 33 and 34 and that I mostly covered what's there in my remarks on 33 and 34.

    I don't at all believe that meaning is public. It's not at all possible to make meaning public in my view. Meaning isn't the same thing as a definition.

    Re the writing thing, I wasn't proposing a definition.
    Terrapin Station

    Okay.
  • Sam26
    1.2k
    Okay.Luke

    I didn't think you would let him off the hook so easily Luke. Now I'm am forced, in my own inimitable way, to say that not only is Terrapin incorrect, but what he's saying is logically impossible, or at the very least linguistically impossible. Moreover, no argument you give will save you from this error. What error? This error, Terrapin says, "I don't believe that meaning is public. It's not at all possible to make meaning public..." This is akin to saying, "I don't believe triangles have three sides." It's the nature of rule-following to be public, just as it's the nature of triangles to have three sides. Period! And no response you can give will change that. If you can't see this, then your ability to think through this stuff is called into question. In other words, what I'm saying is that you can't be more confused than this when reading the PI. In fact, I wonder what you will get out of reading the PI if you don't understand this central point.

    Now, you can come back and tell me how wrong I am, but any response you give will dig the hole much deeper.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.7k

    As I mentioned above, we have no indication in the text so far, as to what "public" would mean in this context. We have people playing games, "language-games", givers and receivers in what you might call "the act" of ostensive definition. The problem being that this "act" is divided such that it is really two distinct acts, the act of the giver, and the act of the hearer. There is no premise whereby we might conclude that they are involved in one activity, thus playing one game. Therefore there is no basis for the assumption of anything "public".
  • Luke
    127
    I would prefer to focus on discussing the text together rather than spend time responding to barely-supported naysaying. But I admire your passion!

    §36. As there is no single characteristic behaviour or "bodily action" associated with pointing to a feature (e.g. to shape or to colour), "we say that a spiritual [mental, intellectal] activity corresponds to these words". He returns to comment on this 'queer connexion' or 'occult process' at §38.

    §37. Wittgenstein asks us to try and identify "the relation between name and thing named". W says that "you can see the sort of thing this relation consists in" when we look at language games including his 'block-slab-pillar-beam' language-game at §2. W states that the relation "may also consist, among many other things" in the mental picture that is produced when we hear the name, or "in the name's being written on the thing named or being pronounced when that thing is pointed at".

    §38. W notes that the words "this" and "that" are not names, and have a different function to names. W states that names are defined "by means of the demonstrative expression"; for example "That is N". However, he notes that the words "this" and "that" are not similarly defined [e.g. by saying "This is called 'this'".]

    W states that this is connected with a view of naming which he likens to "an occult process", in which the relation between name and thing named is considered to be a "queer connexion". He states that according to this view "we may indeed fancy naming to be some remarkable act of mind, as it were a baptism of an object". However, he considers this view of naming to be erroneous, as evidenced by his famous phrase from this section that "philosophical problems arise when language goes on holiday". W suggests that attempts to use the demonstrative pronouns "this" and "that" as names is the result of a specifically philosophical confusion and "doubtless only occurs in doing philosophy".

    §39. W states that "one is tempted to make an objection against what is ordinarily called a name" and to insist that "a name ought really to signify a simple". This is reminiscent of the logical atomism of his Tractatus. W offers putative reasoning in support of this 'tempting' view, using the example of the sword "Excalibur". He states that the sentence "Excalibur has a sharp blade" makes sense whether or not the sword is whole or broken into parts, but that if the sword is broken into parts then the name "Excalibur" has no referent. Since the sentence about its sharp blade makes sense, then "there must always be something corresponding to the words of which it consists". W says that therefore "the word "Excalibur" must disappear when the sense is analysed and its place be taken by words which name simples".
  • Banno
    3.7k
    Oh, Sam. It's not worth the effort.


    Edit: I guess it's possible some here might come to see what is going on in the PI, although I'm not too hopeful.
  • John Doe
    187
    In fact, I wonder what you will get out of reading the PI if you don't understand this central point.Sam26

    Isn't one of the chief aims of the PI to get this point across to people like Terrapin? It seems a little weird - with respect to the aims of the PI - to get frustrated with Terrapin for not understanding this point before engaging seriously with the PI. (Not that his refusal to engage with the point isn't frustrating. But it's frustrating because he refuses to take the point seriously and attempt to undergo the work required to fully grasp its significance -- not because he can't get anything out of the book if he hasn't already accepted this view.)

    I tend to agree with Conant/Diamond here insofar as I take it that this is what Witty understands therapy to consist in and why the notion is so central to his meta-philosophy. You can't shout Terrapin into understanding this point, as you seem to be doing in your post. Nor can you force him to engage in the sort of philosophical therapy he needs to understand it so long as he refuses to work with L.W. qua therapist in order to fully realize the point through a sort of anerkennen (i.e. if he reads Wittgenstein as his buddy rather than as a philosophical diagnostician who needs to be allowed some pathos of distance in order to show the reader what he wants him to see).
  • Valentinus
    146

    I appreciate your remarks upon remarks 36 to 39 as they look at how "corresponding" is assumed so often while not looking at how it is done.
  • Banno
    3.7k
    So perhaps the remedy is to try to find out what @Terrapin Station means...

    in particular,
    Meaning isn't the same thing as a definition.Terrapin Station

    Why would this be worthy of mention here?
  • Banno
    3.7k
    §37. Wittgenstein asks us to try and identify "the relation between name and thing named".Luke

    A part of the book that can be overlooked is the way Wittgenstein is teaching a method for doing philosophy. §37 is a case in point. He does not go off theorising about names and the named, but rather draws our attention to a few examples. He want us to look to what is being done here.
  • Banno
    3.7k
    And here, at ❡38, we find alink to the thread on Kripke. What is the relation between name and thing named? Wittgenstein's italics. Why on earth should we assume that there is only one such relation?

    "And here we may fancy naming to be some remarkable act of the mind..." So speak those who would avoid Kripke's critique of reference by baptism.
  • Banno
    3.7k
    ❡39. A name, that most simple part of the rejected theory of meaning, has a use even in cases where the referent is no more. "Excalibur" means Excalibur even without there being an Excalibur. Simples are invented merely to maintain the defunct theory that the name must refer, after all, to something.
  • Banno
    3.7k
    ❡40.N.N is dead - yet his name lives on. It does not become meaningless because there is no longer a referent. N.N is not the meaning of "N.N."
  • StreetlightX
    3.2k
    §37-§38

    The discussion from §37 marks a new line in the progression of argument so far. Having, in §36, begun to broach the issue of being mislead by language (i.e. issues of ‘spirit’ and ‘superstition’), Witty will begin to flesh this out by comparing what we might call the logic of names with the logic of demonstratives (‘this’ and ‘that’). The issue once again hinges upon the different kinds of words that names and demonstratives are:

    §38: "the word “name” serves to characterize many different, variously related, kinds of use of a word a but the kind of use that the word “this” has is not among them”.

    This confusion between different kinds of words, when one kind is mistaken for another, is what happens, Witty famously says, when “language goes on holiday". Philosophical problems in particular, Witty avers, arise from just these kinds of confusions between kinds of (uses of) words. Here he speaks specifically on demonstratives mistaken for names:

    §38: "For philosophical problems arise when language goes on holiday. And then we may indeed imagine naming to be some remarkable mental act, as it were the baptism of an object. And we can also say the word “this” to the object, as it were address the object as “this” - a strange use of this word, which perhaps occurs only when philosophizing”.

    §39-§45

    §39 till about §44 fleshes this out further, by trying to distinguish all the more rigorously between names and demonstratives. This happens by way of a discussion of how names don’t actually need a referent - or ‘bearer’, as Witty calls it - to be of use, that is, to have sense (italicised by Witty in §39). This is fairly straightforward so I won’t go into it, but the pay-off is in §45, where Witty definitively distinguishes names and demonstratives by noting that unlike names, demonstratives “can never be without a bearer”. The point of all of this is, again, to distinguish between different kinds of uses of words, which has been the common thread running through the entire book so far.

    §43

    §43 is easily one of the most famous and widely cited passages in the PI, so worth backtracking a little and devoting a remark to it. First, the passage itself:

    §43: “For a large class of cases of the employment of the word “meaning” - though not for all - this word can be explained in this way: the meaning of a word is its use in the language. And the meaning of a name is sometimes explained by pointing to its bearer.

    One thing that jumps out at me is the context in which this passage appears: although often taken to be some kind of stand-alone mission statement about Witty’s overall views on language, in the context of the discussion, it actually serves to set-off the specificity of naming from language in general: naming is just one species of language use among others. This statement then, is inseparable from a consideration, again, of kinds of uses of words: to speak of a ‘use in the language’ (curious and significant employment of the definite article), is to speak of languages which employ different kinds of uses of words.
  • StreetlightX
    3.2k
    General remark: For me personally, probably the most powerful import of the PI is its provision of a critical apparatus from which one can evaluate mistaken uses of language. I’ve always maintained that the PI ought to be read as a ‘Critique of Pure Language’, which, similar to Kant’s project, is attuned to ‘legitimate’ and ‘illegitimate’ employment of language, with illegitimate employment - the confusion of kinds of uses of words - leading to all sorts of what Kant calls ‘transcendental illusions’, and what Witty refers here to instances of language on holiday. The importance of the PI cannot be truly appreciated without an understanding of its critical-evaluative import: how it allows one to identify, or become far more sensitive to, problems of language use that might otherwise go unnoticed.

    If I have one gripe, it is that Witty characterises philosophy as a whole as being nothing but the outcome of these processes of linguistic confusion. Contrary to Witty, I think that all philosophy worthy of the name has never been subject to this problem - in fact that philosophy has always been attentive to such issues in an implicit manner - and that his diagnosis of philosophy as suffering from such maladies is simply a misdiagnosis. Which doesn’t, of course, mean that the disease itself is misidentified - only misattributed. This doesn’t, I think, substantially impact the main results of the PI.
  • Πετροκότσυφας
    966


    I don't follow the thread, but one quick comment on what you wrote. You write that W.'s treatment of all philosophical problems as language problems does not substantially impact the main result of the PI, but I think that it kind of excludes seeing his project as a "Critique of Pure Language". In a way, it's the opposite; language all the way down, a sort of linguistic idealism.
  • StreetlightX
    3.2k
    In a way, it's the opposite; language all the way down, a sort of linguistic idealismΠετροκότσυφας

    As in, that's the view you see Witty holding?
  • Πετροκότσυφας
    966


    Ultimately, probably not. In the sense that I take him to hold that our concepts are derived from empirical reality and forms-of-life. But he doesn't seem to have much to say about it or to be able to in principle. Instead he says a lot about how language structures our experience. Kinda similar to how Kant can't say much about things in themselves but has a lot to say about the categories and how they make our experience possible. Furthermore, even when he seems to be getting close to linguistic idealism, he's certainly not explicit, which is not surprising as he insisted that he didn't want to engage in theorising. But, then, the question begged is if, under his view, theory (as in ontology) is possible at all. And if it is, what sort of thing ontology is? As with Kant, it often feels like an ontological position is assumed and then ontology is reduced to epistemology.
  • StreetlightX
    3.2k
    Instead he says a lot about how language structures our experience.Πετροκότσυφας

    Hmm, I can't say I really recognize this in Witty - how language structures meaning (which is in turn structured by our forms-of-life), yes, but experience? That doesn't really accord to my reading. But with respect to the question: 'what sort of thing is ontology'? - I agree that Witty enables a really interesting re-framing of this question, in much the same way Kant does. But the devil's in the details, and without going too much into it, I've already read Witty as a linguistic materalist par excellence. Maybe this will come out in the reading more as we go along.
  • Banno
    3.7k
    @StreetlightX Nice work.

    I'd like to point to the arch that stands over the text so far.

    ❡1 gives an all-to-common example of a theory of language - that the meaning of a word is the object it stands for.

    There follows a series of examples of, increasingly unconvincing, uses of language in which this is played out; slabs and apples and so on.

    And now it is shown that even a name does not always stand for an object.

    The quest to find an object for every word has failed, even for names. And yet language succeeds.

    The method here has been to really look at the way we use words.

    So, firstly the grammatical point is that words are not the names of things; and secondly the methodological point is to look at what we actually can do with words.
  • Πετροκότσυφας
    966


    Experience might not be the right term, it's probably too broad. What I mean is how it makes possible different ways of seeing and acting within the world.

    But the devil's in the details, and without going too much into it, I've already read Witty as a linguistic materalist par excellence. Maybe this will come out in the reading more as we go along.StreetlightX

    Cool, I'll be checking back from time to time.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.7k
    Earlier in the book, Wittgenstein suggested that for philosophical purposes, a name is like a label which is attached to an object. Now, he demonstrates that this is not an accurate description of what a name is, by showing how a name still has "meaning" when the object does not exist. First, at 38, he dismisses "this" and "that" as not really names, and this dismissal is necessary because these words seem to require an object to have meaning. He appears to be claiming that "this" is only a name in philosophy, as if philosophers use "this" as a name, to prove some point, but since 'this" is not really a name, the point is not really proven.
    And we can also say the word "this" to the object, as it were address the object as "this"—a queer use of this word, which doubtless only occurs in doing philosophy.

    Here are the examples he provides, cases where the name has meaning when the object doesn't exist:


    39. "Excalibur has a sharp blade" is a phrase which makes sense even if the parts to the sword are broken up such that Excalibur does not exist. if there needs to be something always corresponding to the word in order for it to have meaning, "Excalibur" would have to be replaced by names for all the distinct parts.

    40. When Mr. N. N dies, the "bearer" of the name dies, but the name still has meaning. So he distinguishes here between the meaning of the name, and the bearer of the name.

    41. When the tool named "N" is broken, the name "N" can still have meaning in the language-game which it is used.

    42. The name "X" might signify nothing at all, and still have meaning in the game, as a kind of joke.

    43. The conclusion:
    For a large class of cases—though not for all—in which we employ the word "meaning" it can be defined thus: the meaning of a word is its use in the language.

    The argument demonstrates that meaning is not a direct relation of correspondence between a name and the object named, it is something other than this. Witty assumes that this "other" thing is "its use in the language". We ought to be careful to notice that if this is meant to be a logical conclusion (as I have represented it), the logic is invalid. The demonstration is that meaning is other than correspondence, and this does not necessitate that meaning is "use", which is a particular instance of something other than correspondence.

    So at 44, 45, Wittgenstein proceeds onward to exemplify this premise, that meaning is use.
  • Terrapin Station
    5.2k
    in particular,
    Meaning isn't the same thing as a definition.
    — Terrapin Station

    Why would this be worthy of mention here?
    Banno

    Because people often conflate the two.
  • John Doe
    187
    Hmm, I can't say I really recognize this in Witty - how language structures meaning (which is in turn structured by our forms-of-life), yes, [...] I've already read Witty as a linguistic materalist par excellence. Maybe this will come out in the reading more as we go along.StreetlightX

    Whoa, that looks at first glance like an aggressively Kantian reading of Wittgenstein. You seem to be (as many do) simply replacing (1) transcendental unity of apperception = condition of the possibility of experience with (2) lebensform = condition of the possibility of experience (or meaning or whatever).

    Not sure if you're writing quickly or have a genuine philosophical picture you want to defend by lebensform structures language structures meaning because this seems to be expressing precisely the sort of meaning is grounded in x picture L.W.'s project strikes me as - if nothing else - trying to teach us to avoid.

    The post is, consequently, extra-weird because you're arguing against someone talking about how "language structures experience", i.e. invoking a particular sort of Kantian reading which you don't like because its content - not form - goes against your sort of Kantian reading. (i.e. Lebensform grounds linguistic structure grounds meaning rather than grounds "experience".)

    I just flag this here because it's such a huge point and I'm not sure what you want to defend as your substantive commitments and how you find them expressed in L.W.

    Experience might not be the right term, it's probably too broad. What I mean is how it makes possible different ways of seeing and acting within the world.Πετροκότσυφας

    Well experience enables language enables experience; action enables language enables action. I don't see how we're going to get a clean split here. We're obviously jumping the gun before we get to discussions of rule-following and forms of life but I think that there's no clean distinction to be made between language, action, meaning, experience, rationality, practical know-how, familiarity, intelligibility, etc. etc. (I think what you're doing here - slowly refining your views as L.W. forces them out of you - "It's experience...wait no, that's too broad, it's ways of seeing and acting, what no..." is what the book is aiming to get us to do as readers.)
  • StreetlightX
    3.2k
    Whoa, that looks at first glance like an aggressively Kantian reading of Wittgenstein.John Doe

    Hah, well, considering I read the PI as a Critique of Pure Language, I'm not exactly concealing my 'Kantian aggression' here. But it's important not to get too caught up in things here - I simply meant a paraphrase of this:

    §24: "The word “language-game” is used here to emphasize the fact that the speaking of language is part of an activity, or of a form of life."

    Which one can roughly read as: the meaning of words (or meaning in general) is determined/structured/conditioned/'grounded' (pick your poison) by the use to which it is put as part of an activity. Whether this in turn can be read as a question of 'conditions of possibility' is neither here nor there, and isn't really what I had in mind when invoking Kant (although I will say that, in line with Deleuze's reworking of the transcendental, if pushed, I'd say something like: Wittgenstein attends to the conditions of actuality of meaning, not to their possibility; this is why I've drawn connections, in a previous remark here, to the similarity of Wittgenstein's approach to the question of sufficient reason: why this meaning rather than that).

    That aside, what I did have in mind when I made my Kant comment was their similarities with respect to their treatment of illusions. For Kant, it's the nature of reason itself which engenders 'transcendental illusions', illusions internal to the functioning of reason which are brought about by the 'illegitimate employment' of the faculties. For Wittgenstein, there are similarly illusions generated by the illegitimate employment of language itself, the confusion of kinds when 'language goes on holiday' and attention is not paid to the language-games or grammar to which uses of words belong.

    A last comment: I make no bones about reading Wittgenstein as a fully-fledged philosopher with a strong and systematic understanding of meaning and language. I simply don't buy his self-characterisation as some kind of para-philosophical flâneur, flitting about making local points here and there. He has 'theories' like any other philosopher, and I think one needs to offer 'strong' readings of Wittgenstein in order to make sense of his work. My 'side-comments' linking issues in Wittgenstein to Kant, to Sellars, to questions of sufficient reason and so on are meant to place Witty directly in the fray of philosophy, situating him on eminently philosophical terrain which he probably wouldn't have liked, but then, I reckon his own writing betrays his self-image, in the best possible way,
  • Πετροκότσυφας
    966
    I think what you're doing here - slowly refining your views as L.W. forces them out of you - "It's experience...wait no, that's too broad, it's ways of seeing and acting, what no..." is what the book is aiming to get us to do as readers.John Doe

    This might be what he's aiming to do, but I'm not currently reading along with you guys. I'm working with material gathered from past readings and I wasn't trying to be super-precise in my use of terminology. I'm rather informal. I just took the opportunity to compare different readings of W. against SX's reading. Having said that, I believe, as SX seems to believe, that activity, practice, our engagement with the world we inhabit, is primary in W., as this phrase from my previous post might show: "I take him to hold that our concepts are derived from empirical reality and forms-of-life". Once the first step has been taken, this back and forth between action and language might obtain. I think this echoes what I wrote earlier: "As with Kant, it often feels like an ontological position is assumed and then ontology is reduced to epistemology". Anyway, sorry for derailing the course of the reading, I'll now let you continue with it without intervening further.
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