• Fooloso4
    392
    I would appreciate if you could explain how rules can determine use but not meaning.Luke

    Use comes first. Rules are established by use. The rules maintain that use, that is, they determine the common use, how you or I will use that word according to its established use. The rule is the standard, but it is the use not the subsequent rules of use that determine meaning.
  • StreetlightX
    3.5k
    The everyday is far richer and far more interesting than you give it credit for. Witty understood that.
  • Luke
    408
    I give it plenty of credit. Nitpick all you want. I'm not going to precede every instance of "use" with the word "current". Take it as given.
  • Luke
    408
    Use comes first. Rules are established by use.Fooloso4

    Agreed.

    The rules maintain that use, that is, they determine the common use, how you or I will use that word according to its established use.Fooloso4

    And also its established meaning. The rules that determine the use also determine the associated meaning, i.e. the established meaning which accompanies that use (in that way, in that context).

    The rule is the standard, but it is the use not the subsequent rules of use that determine meaning.Fooloso4

    Yes, it is the use that determines the meaning. The subsequent rules are established by, and maintain, both the use and the meaning.
  • Fooloso4
    392
    You seem to be reading 125 as saying that a person's intention has some bearing on the 'proper' meaning of a word,Isaac

    If a child points to a dog and says "cat" we correct him. "Cat" is not the proper name for the animal. That has nothing to do with intention. If I say, "Give the dog a pet", the child might become confused. The dog is a pet, but is to be given its own pet? Here intention plays a role.

    he is no longer describing language. He is talking about the effect of laying down a set of rules (of our own devising) and then, when those rules do not produce the result we expect, we claim "I didn't mean it like that".Isaac

    The entanglement in the rules is not limited to the rules of mathematics. But since different members are in different places in the text I will hold off on saying more.

    So the reference to a personal form of "that's not what I meant" at 125 is not intended to give authority to intention ...Isaac

    If you mean that words do not mean whatever we intend them to mean then I agree. But this does not mean that meaning has nothing to do with intention. If I say: "Meet me at the bank" it matters whether I mean a financial institution or the bank of the river.
  • Sam26
    1.2k
    I didn't claim you did. I said, your exposition is littered with caveats which are not present in the text. 109 says we must do away with all explanations.Isaac

    This is why I said that "some" of what I said pertains to 109,110, and 111. I'm looking at what Wittgenstein says from a wide range of his texts, not just what's in those particular quotes. I try, unsuccessfully or not, to look at his writings from beginning to end. And I'm sure all of you are trying to do the same thing.
  • Fooloso4
    392
    Eh, i don't think either of us are going to particularly budge on this. I'll settle for noting that the idea of 'improper meaning' simply appears nowhere on any page of the PI.StreetlightX

    I just went back over the discussion to find where the phrase 'improper meaning' came from. I used the phrase 'improper use'. Luke took this to mean that since meaning is use improper use means improper meaning. You then claimed that 'improper meaning' is not a thing, that there either is or is not meaning.

    It was not my intention to defend the use of the phrase 'improper meaning', it is not a phrase I would use, but rather to address the larger questions of meaning. It is my contention that meaning is not something that exists on its own. I have no problem jettisoning the phrase improper meaning.
  • Fooloso4
    392
    'Us' being the key word, not me, or you, not the air stewardess or the passenger, but some collective of us.Isaac

    We are in agreement on this. It is because of this that we can say that the passenger did not understand what the instructions meant.

    Intention within a language game, however, is an individual thing, not a collective. The intention of the builder might be to obtain a slab, the intention of the builder's mate might be to pass up the correct object. The intention of the community of language users in that game is to build a wall.Isaac

    What one intends to do does factor into it, but I was referring to the intended meaning. If you were to say that I did not understand what you meant, then whether or not I did understand you depends on your intended meaning. If we are both given a set of instructions and cannot agree on what we are to do, then the disagreement can be resolved by asking the person who issued the orders what it is she intends for us to do. If such a person cannot be consulted then there may be no way to resolve the issue in some cases, but in others it might be resolved by the success or lack of success that follows from what we take it to mean to follow the rule. In the case of the plane example the window either opens or it does not depending on whether one pushes or pulls. In other cases, however, as unenlightened says (quoting Zhuangzi?), "a path is made by walking on it".

    So the intention of the air stewardesses in using the word "pull" gets to play a part in the development of what the word 'means', but it doesn't get an executive role.Isaac

    The meaning of the word "pull" has already been established. There is nothing novel in her use of the word. It is actually not even her use, she is repeating the rules for how to proceed if one needs to exit the plane. Once again, the example was about the passengers understanding or lack of understanding of what he is to do.
  • frank
    2.4k
    The meaning of the word "pull" has already been established. There is nothing novel in her use of the word. It is actually not even her use, she is repeating the rules for how to proceed if one needs to exit the plane.Fooloso4

    An important element of understanding speech is the ability to couple with the speaker's frame of reference. This is what many autistic people lack and it manifests as an inability to understand others. It's not a failure to understand dictionary meanings. It's that there are multiple meanings, shades of meaning, and too many variables in social encounters for there to be a clear set of rules for each one.

    At the end of the day, you have to be able to see the world through the eyes of a speaker. It's then that rules for word usage come into play.
  • Fooloso4
    392
    It's that there are multiple meanings, shades of meaning, and too many variables in social encounters for there to be a clear set of rules for each one.frank

    I agree. I would add to this meaning in the sense of significance, importance, and value.
  • fdrake
    2k


    Street, what do you think is outside of Luke's conception of 'everyday language' that he's not accounted for? And how does this excess relate to how you see your understanding of W. contrasting his?
  • Luke
    408
    To try and clarify my criticism a little more:

    The 'metaphysical use of language' imagines that there is an essence/ideal of language which the actual use of language must/ought/should conform to. By contrast, the everyday use of language is any use of language which does not have this requirement. That's it.StreetlightX

    What is this everyday use, if not the anthropological use of language? Where is this imaginary language ("which does not have this requirement") ever to be used given that Streetlight has excluded its actual use by real people?

    If one excludes the actual anthropological use, then it becomes difficult to make sense of Wittgenstein's advice at §116: "one must always ask oneself: is the word ever actually used in this way in the language in which it is at home?"
  • StreetlightX
    3.5k
    has excluded its actual use by real people?Luke

    But I haven't at all 'excluded' that anthropological use; on the contrary, I see Witty as including that and more. The everyday use that Witty speaks of is more general than anthropological use; anthropological uses are (largely) instances of everyday use, but the equation the two is a complete disaster of reading.

    Street, what do you think is outside of Luke's conception of 'everyday language' that he's not accounted for?fdrake

    Novelty, invention, creativity: basically all the richness of language and our abilities to make use of it. The anthropological reading turns Witty into some shitty conservative of language, a taxidermist who'd like to stuff it and keep its dead remains as is. But as I said previously, it utterly ignores the last hundred pages of the book: it takes the phrase 'everyday use' entirely out of the context of its employment and reads into it a banality that is nowhere prepared for in any remark that comes previous to it.
  • Luke
    408
    All of which is to say, once again, that the 'everyday use' of language has nothing to do with an empirical use of language.StreetlightX
  • StreetlightX
    3.5k
    Yep. Anthropological uses of language largely happen to fall under the rubric of everyday use, but the latter is not at all defined by or in relation to the former at all. Conceptually, the two are entirely distinct.
  • Luke
    408
    Are you using "anthropological use" differently from "empirical use", or are these the same?

    On the one hand you say that everyday use has "nothing to do with" the empirical use, i.e., excludes the empirical use. On the other hand, you say that everyday use includes but is more than the empirical use.

    Have you changed your position, or which is it?
  • StreetlightX
    3.5k
    Are you using "anthropological use" differently from "empirical use", or are these the same?Luke

    The same. After all, Witty consistently and repeatedly stresses that what he has to say has nothing to do with discovering new facts, nothing to do with the empirical, and bears entirely on the understanding. He says this, over and over.

    On the one hand you say that everyday use has "nothing to do with" the empirical use, i.e., excludes the empirical use.Luke

    To say that everyday use has nothing to do with empirical use is not to exclude it. Putting it in the language of set theory might help: latter falls under the extension of the former but has nothing to do with its intension. For reference, in case you're unfamiliar: https://www.britannica.com/topic/intension
  • Luke
    408
    After all, Witty consistently and repeatedly stresses that what he has to say has nothing to do with discovering new facts, nothing to do with the empirical, and bears entirely on the understanding.StreetlightX

    Yes, but this is aimed more at philosophers who have been misguidedly seeking the ideal, than it is at philosophers who he encourages to look at actual language use, which he suggests should be done in detail "from close up".

    To say that everyday use has nothing to do with empirical use is not to exclude it.StreetlightX

    Well, again, this seemed to be what you were clearly indicating in your initial post, with comments such as:

    So - If not this [i.e. empirical use], then what? What is an 'everyday use' if not an empirical use of language in an anthropological setting?StreetlightX

    If your view has now changed, then okay.

    Furthermore, my reference to a dictionary was in no way meant to exclude any new uses of language, It was only to try and moderate your extreme example of the need to conduct a poll. Yes, there are always novel and creative uses - I never denied that - but the bulk of our words can still be found in a dictionary. And these are regularly being updated, including resources such as urbandictionary.com.
  • Isaac
    579


    I understand our disagreement now. You were referring to intention playing a part in the correct selection from a number of already existing possible meanings and I thought you were talking about intention determining one or more of those meanings.

    All clear now, thanks.
  • Isaac
    579
    I'm looking at what Wittgenstein says from a wide range of his texts, not just what's in those particular quotes. I try, unsuccessfully or not, to look at his writings from beginning to end. And I'm sure all of you are trying to do the same thing.Sam26

    No, I don't tend to myself and I think doing so is a mistake. Only a very small proportion of Wittgenstein's writing was published and I think that is the proportion which reveals to us what Wittgenstein thought, particularly the latest. The remainder of his writings, letters, notebooks etc are fascinating historical documents, but they are like travel journals, where what we're interested in philosophically is the destination. Many of the notebooks contain Wittgenstein's 'wrong turns' in his journey to framing an issue and it's not easy to distinguish them from necessary steps on the road. If we trust the man to give us insight we may not ourselves have found, then we should also trust him to discard that which is not so insightful, and yet with his notebooks we have not afforded him that opportunity.

    I fully understand the temptation. He is such a fantastic writer, and I've found much of interest in the non-published works, but it would be extremely naive to claim that the message within them was anything like consistent, nor should we expect it to be. The first half of 'On Certainty', for example, was written during a time when he himself describes his philosophy in very negative terms, and if you remove the first half from the second, the overall conclusion of the work is markedly different.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.5k
    Meaning is in no way predicated on intention in Witty, and this includes when it doesn't conform to intention.StreetlightX

    "Use" implies "for the purpose of", and "serves the purpose" plays an important role in the Philosophical investigations. In everyday usage, to say that something serves the purpose is to say that it does what it was intended to do. Wittgenstein makes no attempt to divorce "intention" from "purpose".
  • Fooloso4
    392
    Only a very small proportion of Wittgenstein's writing was publishedIsaac

    The only work that was published during his lifetime was the Tractatus.

    Many of the notebooks contain Wittgenstein's 'wrong turns'Isaac

    The same could be said of the Tractatus.

    If we trust the man to give us insight we may not ourselves have found, then we should also trust him to discard that which is not so insightful, and yet with his notebooks we have not afforded him that opportunity.Isaac

    The Philosophical Investigations were published posthumously.

    The first half of 'On Certainty', for example, was written during a time when he himself describes his philosophy in very negative terms, and if you remove the first half from the second, the overall conclusion of the work is markedly different.Isaac

    I do not want to get sidetracked with a discussion of OC, but I see no plausible reason to divide the text based on what he said about his frame of mind at the time. I question the idea that there is an overall conclusion. There are a great many books that if you divide them in two the conclusions one draws from them would be different. After all, half the book is missing.
  • Isaac
    579
    The same could be said of the Tractatus.Fooloso4

    Absolutely. I would hesitate also to glean too much from a book the author themselves later rejected some conclusions from.

    The Philosophical Investigations were published posthumously.Fooloso4

    Yes, but the vast majority was ready for publication. Part 1 was completed by 1946, so there's every reason to think it his final draft. Obviously the succeeding remarks are less complete, but he definitely had the opportunity to revise them at some length. It hardly comes into the same category as the notebooks. I get that there is a gradation where I have perhaps given the impression of mutual exclusivity, but I don't think that undermines the point.

    I do not want to get sidetracked with a discussion of OC, but I see no plausible reason to divide the text based on what he said about his frame of mind at the time. I question the idea that there is an overall conclusion. There are a great many books that if you divide them in two the conclusions one draws from them would be different. After all, half the book is missing.Fooloso4

    Well, I reach a very different conclusion about On Certainty, but as you say, that argument would very much be off topic.
  • Fooloso4
    392
    Part 1 was completed by 1946, so there's every reason to think it his final draft.Isaac

    According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

    Part I, consisting of 693 numbered paragraphs, was ready for printing in 1946, but rescinded from the publisher by Wittgenstein.
    It hardly comes into the same category as the notebooks.Isaac

    What about the manuscripts, typescripts, and dictations? Where do the collections entitled Bemerkungen or Remarks stand? Or the slips of paper he collected that was published as "Zettel" (German for notes or slips of paper).?
  • Isaac
    579


    As I said, I wouldn't want to suggest a mutually exclusive boundary between published and unpublished works, nor between earlier and later works, nor between works he was evidently pleased with and those less favoured. But there is without doubt a gradation to be considered and interpreting a finished draft (of sorts) using a notebook entry which we have no reason to believe was anything more than a rejected idea, requires great caution.

    In an impartial investigation, I suppose such care is possible, but attaching the authority of Wittgenstein to any notion is too great a temptation, in my experience, for people not to simply find whatever support they're seeking within the widely varying scope of the unpublished work.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.5k
    Who or what determines the meaning? What is said may mean different things to difference people. If I am the speaker and you take what I said in the wrong way then what you thought what I said meant was an improper meaning, it was not without meaning.Fooloso4

    StreetlightX seems to have an allergic reaction to "intention", breaking out in rash statements any time the word is used. Generally, Streetlight would prefer to change the subject to intension, thereby removing the end from intend. But in the context of this text, "intension" does not serve Wittgenstein's purpose. It's quite clear that the sign-post must be read in the way intended in order that it serve the purpose. The only way we have to judge whether a person followed a rule or not is to judge whether the person behaved as intended.
  • Isaac
    579
    It's quite clear that the sign-post must be read in the way intended in order that it serve the purpose. The only way we have to judge whether a person followed a rule or not is to judge whether the person behaved as intended.Metaphysician Undercover

    Intended by whom? Not the signpost maker, he will have simply presumed, made a sign with a pointy end and pointed it at Dublin, because that's what one does. Not the town planner, he commissioned a sign to be made without even specifying which way the pointy end should point.

    What if a moronically stupid sign maker had decided that the blunt end would point to Dublin, and he expected that one follow that. Who's made the mistake, the person now walking away from Dublin, or the sign maker?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.5k
    Intended by whom? Not the signpost maker, he will have simply presumed, made a sign with a pointy end and pointed it at Dublin, because that's what one does. Not the town planner, he commissioned a sign to be made without even specifying which way the pointy end should point.Isaac

    I suppose it must be the intention of the sign-post maker we're talking about, maybe the intention of the town planner plays a role too, and even others. Is there a common intention? I don't think It's God's intention because the sign-post is artificial. Wittgenstein clearly talks about the sign-post fulfilling its purpose. (87..."The sign-post is in order—if, under normal circumstances, it fulfils
    its purpose.") I don't see any way that there could be a purpose for that sign-post being there unless it was put there with intention. Perhaps someone might just randomly plant the sign, but that's not what Wittgenstein is talking about, he's talking about purpose. It's very simple, "use" implies intent. There is no "using" without intent.

    What if a moronically stupid sign maker had decided that the blunt end would point to Dublin, and he expected that one follow that. Who's made the mistake, the person now walking away from Dublin, or the sign maker?Isaac

    Then the sign-post did not fulfil the purpose. Right?
  • Fooloso4
    392
    What if a moronically stupid sign maker had decided that the blunt end would point to Dublin, and he expected that one follow that. Who's made the mistake, the person now walking away from Dublin, or the sign maker?Isaac

    It is a matter of convention that the blunt end does not point in the direction one is to go. The convention may have been based on the shape of an actual arrow or spear, but in any case its meaning is a matter of convention. Those who know the convention know how to read the sign. The sign maker's intent may be simply to make a functional sign, that is, one that will be read according to the convention. He does not have to intend for the pointed end to point in the direction one is to go. That has already been established by convention.

    But not all signs are meant to be read by everyone. If one intends to lead some in the right direction and others in the wrong direction, he might make a sign with the blunt end pointing toward where he intends those who know how to read this sign will go, but not those who read it according to established convention. He cannot, however, simply intend the sign to be read this way or that, he must either establish or make use of an exclusive convention .
  • Isaac
    579


    The question was rhetorical (I seem to be having an inordinate amount of trouble making my posts understood on this thread), but your answer is pretty much what I was getting at.

    MU seemed to have raised the zombie of personal intent creating the rule again with the ambiguous "The only way we have to judge whether a person followed a rule or not is to judge whether the person behaved as intended.". It is important, I think, to stress (as you have done in your post) that a single person's intent does not make a rule. I realise we haven't yet reached the private language argument, but things have once or twice seemed to be heading down that dead end.
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