• StreetlightX
    3.7k
    I never disputed that language-games are not real in their own context and way of being. I only posited that the science language-game has a quality of cashing out certain outcomes, and this indicates patterns of nature are real.schopenhauer1

    Meaningless.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.8k
    Meaningless.StreetlightX

    So this has to do with what I said about epistemology and ontology. Speculating about ontology beyond human interaction with it. If that is meaningless fine, but then please indicate that. Saying meaningless is meaningless otherwise.

    If you would like to assume the "everything is for-us" position, and that science is simply "for-us" always, that is fine too. I am open to dialogue.
  • StreetlightX
    3.7k
    No, I mean none of these. You don't have a handle on what you're talking about. The distinctions you draw are wrong. The questions you ask are ill formed. Enough. You're not worth dialogue.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.8k
    No, I mean none of these. You don't have a handle on what you're talking about. The distinctions you draw are wrong. The questions you ask are ill formed. Enough. You're not worth dialogue.StreetlightX

    That is not so. It's the same stinking distinctions that are being made, just in different terms. It's all the same at the end of the day, whether you analyze every word of Philosophical Investigations or not. The implications and conclusions will lead to these distinctions. I'm more interested in what PI implies and how it fits with other views in the philosophy world here.

    You want to keep it to grammar and context distinctions.. that's fine, but I am moving it to a meta-view of that. You say we cannot get out of that talk when talking of Wittgenstein.
  • fdrake
    2.3k
    That is not so. It's the same stinking distinctions that are being made, just in different terms. It's all the same at the end of the day, whether you analyze every word of Philosophical Investigations or not. The implications and conclusions will lead to these distinctions. I'm more interested in what PI implies and how it fits with other views in the philosophy world here.schopenhauer1

    While I'm not as dismissive of your concerns as @StreetlightX was here, you need to do a lot more work to link the concepts given exegesis in the thread to the much more general philosophical viewpoint you're trying to take. Precisely when one of the major thrusts of the currently discussed part is that finding seeds of universal generality in contextually dependent notions of sense ('philosophical grammars' to link it to previous discussion here) is a fool's errand!
  • schopenhauer1
    2.8k
    This is in contrast to the philosophical impulse to generalise (in the blue books, Witty famously laments philosophy’s “craving for generality”) and take examples as merely standing for tokens of universilizablity; to make a philosophical problem ‘disappear’, in this sense, is to make note of the local specificity of a language-game; to note where it can, and cannot be applicable, and where and when it starts to stray too far from the form-of-life which gives it it’s sense.

    This is why one can “break off philosophising” when one wants to: insofar as ‘philosophical problems’ are always those of an inappropriate generalization, merely noting that inappropriateness simply 'returns words to their everyday use’ (§116), from which philosophy is always a deviation. And having done this, one no longer, as it were, needs to philosophise: the philosophical problems ‘completely disappear’. All this also accounts for why Witty here insists on the plurality of problems (“problems are solved (difficulties eliminated), not a single problem"): insofar as problems are always local, they are also always specific: there are no ‘eternal’ philosophical problems, just philosophical problems brought about by the inappropriate extension or extrapolation of a language-game beyond its bounds of applicability. And this is always a case-by-case issue.
    StreetlightX

    @fdrake This was the start of this particular sub-discussion. I'll refrain from making comments regarding the context of Witty in the broader philosophy of ideas in this thread. I think it is relevant, but I see that we want to keep it close to the reading. Would it be appropriate to start another thread then?
  • fdrake
    2.3k
    Would it be appropriate to start another thread then?schopenhauer1

    It'd probably be for the best. It's not exegetical or easily related to the exegesis here. I'm fairly sure that a general thread won't get the kind of responses you want, though. You'll have to do most of the work in the OP.
  • StreetlightX
    3.7k
    Back to regular programming after a bunch of senseless bullshit -

    §135

    If §134 casts doubt on the idea of a 'general form' of the proposition, §135 essentially asks: well, does that mean that we cannot have a concept of a proposition at all? And it answers: well of course we can, in the exact same way we can have a concept of a "game", previously defined in terms of 'family resemblances'. Worth recalling here a few of Witty's remarks on games and boundaries from before; For fun, and comparison's sake, I'll substitute the word 'proposition' for 'game' in §68:

    §69: "We can draw a boundary a for a special purpose. Does it take this to make the concept usable? Not at all! Except perhaps for that special purpose."

    §68: "What still counts as a proposition, and what no longer does? Can you say where the boundaries are? No. You can draw some, for there aren’t any drawn yet. (But this never bothered you before when you used the word “proposition”.) “But then the use of the word is unregulated” —– It is not everywhere bounded by rules."

    Anyway, back to §135, where he says one can say what a proposition is by way of examples: which is nothing other than Witty's procedure for showing family resemblances. At the end of §135 he asks that one compare the concept of a proposition to that of a number. Well, here is Witty on numbers, for comparison:

    §69: And likewise the kinds of number, for example, form a family. Why do we call something a “number”? Well, perhaps because it has a - direct - affinity with several things that have hitherto been called “number”; and this can be said to give it an indirect affinity with other things that we also call “numbers”. And we extend our concept of number, as in spinning a thread we twist fibre on fibre".
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.7k
    Wittgenstein seems to be fascinated by mathematics and numbers. It appears like he sees that numbers work, but he doesn't understand how numbers work, so he's trying to get to the bottom of this. His approach to understanding numbers is to assume that they are a form of language, and address them as such.

    He has exposed a gap between common, every day concepts like "game", which are vague and essentially without boundary, and the more precise logical concepts of logic and mathematics. So at 81 the question of what it means to be "operating a calculus according to definite rules" is posed. But this question puts us on the brink of misunderstanding, that is if we proceed with the wrong answer we fall into misunderstanding. After some background information is laid out the "difficulty" with mathematics is broached again at 125:
    125. It is the business of philosophy, not to resolve a contradiction
    by means of a mathematical or logico-mathematical discovery, but
    to make it possible for us to get a clear view of the state of mathematics
    that troubles us: the state of affairs before the contradiction is resolved.
    (And this does not mean that one is sidestepping a difficulty.)...

    Now we can see clearly, at 135, that the meaning of a proposition is being compared to the meaning of numbers, a mathematical statement or equation for example. In the section which follows, we will see that Wittgenstein extends the vague, boundlessness of common language, through logical propositions, right into mathematics. This is expressed in the possibility of following the rule in a different way. There is an analogy of a machine. It always operates in the same way, just like people following the rules of mathematics, but the possibility is still there, that something could break or go wrong (a person could follow the rule in a different way).

    The misunderstanding, mentioned at 81, which we were on the brink of, and must be avoided is if we proceed to understand rule following in the opposite way. This would be an attempt to extend the "definite rules" which appear to underlie mathematics, into logical propositions, and language use in general, to conclude that language use must consist of following definite rules. The underlying thing in language is the vague boundlessness, and this must be understood from its existence in common language, to underlie logical propositions, and even mathematics itself, which appears to consist only of definite rules. To proceed the other way, to understand the definite rules which mathematics appears to be composed of, as underlying all language use, is to misunderstand. The rules come into existence only for specific purposes.
  • Fooloso4
    595
    135: ... Asked what a proposition is a whether it is another person or ourselves that we have to answer a we’ll give examples ... So, it is in this way that we have a concept of a proposition.

    This is exactly the kind of answer Socrates rejects in response to his "what is" questions. He does not want examples of justice, for example, but what justice itself is. And, of course, such inquiries end in aporia. Instead of definitions Wittgenstein says:

    133: ... a method is now demonstrated by examples, and the series of examples can be broken off. —– Problems are solved (difficulties eliminated), not a single problem.
  • StreetlightX
    3.7k
    This is exactly the kind of answer Socrates rejects in response to his "what is" questions.Fooloso4

    :up: Yes, great point. There's an anti-Platonism here right at the level of questions asked, which is just where it ought to be.
  • Fooloso4
    595
    If I remember correctly, (it has been twenty years), Cavell sees in Wittgenstein's method of examples, something akin to Pyrrhonian skepticism.

    [Edited to add:]

    It is not just a matter of method. He regards Wittgenstein as a kind of skeptic, but not the radical skeptic he argues against. I agree.
  • Luke
    486
    136. Fitting vs Belonging

    We do not discover whether something is a proposition by asking whether we can apply a truth value to it; by whether we can say that it is true or false. That is, 'true' and 'false' do not exist as independent criteria by which we determine whether something is a proposition. In other words (to use Wittgenstein's terminology), 'true' and 'false' do not fit the concept of a proposition. Rather, the concepts of 'true', 'false' and 'proposition' all constitute or belong to the same game.

    Similarly, we do not discover which chess piece is the king by asking which piece can be put in check. Only the king can be put in check, as per the rules of the game. In other words, the concept of 'check' does not fit the king. Rather, 'check' and 'king' both belong to the same game.
  • StreetlightX
    3.7k
    §136

    @Luke is exactly right to say that the distinction between fitting and belonging is what organises this section, and I'll only add that the thought that came to my head was the distinction between analytic and synthetic: that a proposition is a truth-apt statement just is what a proposition is, analytically so. It is not that there are propositions on the one hand, and truth-apt statements on the other, which are then brought together in some act of synthesis. Rather, there cannot be propositions which are not truth-apt, in the same way that there cannot be bachelors who are not unmarried.

    This way of putting things may or may not be confusing issues since the analytic-synthetic distinction usually involves questions of experience and its role in knowledge, but I find it helpful regardless.
  • StreetlightX
    3.7k
    Yeah, Cavell finds Witty attentive to the threat of scepticism, as something that always looms and that sometimes comes to the fore; but he sees scepticism more as something lived through rather than something thought, something that bears on our existential situation (our lived relation with others and the various 'worlds' we live among) moreso than our (mere?) knowledge of things. It's a very interesting take on scepticism, and brings out the 'lived' aspect of Witty's thought in a way few other commentators do.
  • Fooloso4
    595
    Cavell finds Witty attentive to the threat of scepticism, as something that always looms and that sometimes comes to the foreStreetlightX

    Wittgenstein clearly rejects modern or radical skepticism, but his attitude and practice is in line with Socratic zetetic skepticism, that is to say, skepticism as inquiry and an acknowledgement of the limits of human knowledge. In addition, Wittgenstein was consistent in his view of the contingency of existence. There is no logical necessity or metaphysical order that determines that things be as they are.

    Skepticism in this sense is not the claim that we cannot know, but that there are limits to what we do know. Our knowledge is not grounded on absolute certainty or indubitability, it is not that we cannot doubt but that we do not doubt. In this sense skepticism is not a threat. It is philosophical practice - philosophical inquiry, philosophical investigations.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.8k
    'proposition' all constitute or belong to the same game.Luke

    Is this a fact of some law of human thought processes, or a fact of convention?
  • schopenhauer1
    2.8k

    It sounds like it is some emerging that arises from humans interacting in a world of objects. It just happens that way. I wonder what Chomsky's idea of innate generation of syntax bears on the more social/world/language game use view of things. Are humans always going to play the same language games with the world, more-or-less with cultural variations, or do they arise independently and ad hoc? The conditions of the world, move the language games to form a certain way, or do human brains do this, or both? Of course, this requires tons of empirical research more or less. Incidentally, here is this week's comic, featuring Wittgenstein:

    https://existentialcomics.com/
  • Fooloso4
    595
    It sounds like it is some emerging that arises from humans interacting in a world of objects. It just happens that way.schopenhauer1

    'It'?
  • lyfeizntt
    1
    One paragraph can be one single sentence if you put everything into relative clauses within relative clauses within relative clauses ..
  • StreetlightX
    3.7k
    §137

    This one's a bit oblique, but as I can make out, it tries to address an objection posed to §136. The objection works by trying to draw an analogy between ascertaining the subject of a sentence (what a sentence is about), and determining if a proposition is truth-apt. The idea is that a subject of a sentence might always be otherwise: in the sentence, "Bob is funny", Bob is the subject of the sentence. But in the sentence, "Alice is funny", Alice is the subject. The subject then is not (what I called) analytically related to the sentence in the way that truth-aptness is related to propositions. So might it not be the case the the truth-aptness of propositions are related together in the same way as the subject of sentences?

    Witty's response to this is the comparison is valid only if it is recognized that it works when trying to distinguish propositions from non-propositions (what Witty calls 'other expressions'), and not 'truth-apt propositions' from 'non-truth-apt propositions' (the distinction is not internal to types of propositions, but 'external' between propositions and not-propositions). It's only in this sense, says Witty, that one can talk of truth-aptness 'fitting' a proposition.
  • StreetlightX
    3.7k
    Also, as an aside, I've been reading Sara Ellenbogen's Wittgenstein's Account of Truth, and there's a passage in there I really like, and though it relates more to the sections we already finished covering (§88-§133, on 'theories' and philosophy), we're close enough to thsoe sections that I feel comfortable posting this. It's a passage on why we cannot construct systematic theories of meaning:

    "Wittgenstein ... would have rejected the thought that language should be capable of systematization. Hence, he would have denied that we can give a uniform account of what it means to treat a sentence as assertible which can be applied across the board, in a uniform way, in all the contexts in which we use “is true.” As he argues, the notion that meaning can be explained without reference to anything other than use arises from the fact that “in our discussions, [we] constantly compare language with a calculus proceeding according to exact rules” (B.B., p. 25). And we are inclined to say that the meaning of a word must be fixed and precise in order for it to be intelligible (cf. P.I. #79).

    But we should remember that “in general, we don’t use language according to strict rules—it hasn’t been taught us that way either” (B.B. p. 25). In practice, we do not always use names with a fixed meaning—we may use the name “Moses” without a predetermined sense of which descriptions we are willing to substitute for it. And this does not detract from the usefulness of the name in our language (P.I. #79). Similarly, we may say to someone “Stand roughly there,” and the inexactness of the expression does not make it unusable (P.I. #88). The person we are addressing will know what we mean and what he must do to satisfy the request. Examples such as these should suggest to us that what determinate meaning requires is not conformity to a universal standard or model. Rather, it requires an understanding of what is needed by those concerned in a given context.

    ....When we try to construct a systematic theory of meaning, it appears as though there is something outside of language by reference to which we can explain what meaning is. That is, it appears as though there is something independent of our actual use of words in language which bestows meaning on them—and which does so in a uniform way."
  • Banno
    5.3k
    You're not worth dialogue.
    — StreetlightX

    That is not so.
    schopenhauer1

    Wonderful stuff.
  • Wallows
    8.2k
    More Chimp-Pig content, please.
  • Wallows
    8.2k
    And if there's need for "authority", this is always here for use:

    51GDAHnDOdL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
  • StreetlightX
    3.7k
    §138

    §138 finally brings out, I think, why any of these previous discussons matter at all in the context of the PI. That is: what does it matter whether or not propositions are intrinsically truth-apt or not? Why is Witty discussing this at all? - other than as a critique of his previous position in the TLP? If that critique functions as an 'external' motivation, what is the 'internal', philosophical motivation for engaging in this discussion.

    §138 makes it clear: it's because meaning is use! It's only in the case where meaning might be anything other than use that we can speak of a proposition 'fitting' it's truth-aptness, and not belonging to it; Recall §120:

    "People say: it’s not the word that counts, but its meaning, thinking of the meaning as a thing of the same kind as the word, even though different from the word. Here the word, there the meaning. The money, and the cow one can buy with it. (On the other hand, however: money, and what can be done with it.)"

    Just as, if you can't, for example, buy things with money, it just wouldn't be money, so too that if a proposition were not truth-apt, it wouldn't be a proposition. This is why Witty here speaks of 'grasping meaning at a stroke'; there's no inference that needs to be made from sentence to meaning, for a sentence wouldn't be a sentence did it not have meaning: were it not used in a language-game or another.
  • StreetlightX
    3.7k
    §138, Boxed Note

    Witty's boxed notes are always obscure, and this one is no different, but my sense here is that he's suggesting that while we understand words in this way or that way, we don't, except in exceptional cases, wonder if we understand a understand a word at all. Another way to put this is that we are always in the 'sphere of meaning': even if we misunderstanding a meaning, what we misunderstand is a meaning, and not, say, a mere sound (we neither understand nor misunderstand noises). This once again as to do with our 'grasping meaning at a stroke': this grasping is not a 'two step' process, where we first ask (1) Is there meaning?, and then (2) What could it be?: when it comes to meaning, both steps are condensed into one,: (1) What is meant? (What is the use to which those words are put?).
  • unenlightened
    3.6k
    Another way to put this is that we are always in the 'sphere of meaning': even if we misunderstanding a meaning, what we misunderstand is a meaning, and not, say, a mere sound (we neither understand nor misunderstand noises).StreetlightX

    This reminded me of the following:

    Why is it so effective when gaslighters/narcissists continue their lie, even when there is easily accessed evidence to the contrary? Because it tends to work. First, you get confused as to why someone would blatantly lie. It goes against what you know as normal human behavior. Most people, when caught in a lie, will admit to it and apologize. (Most people also tend to not blatantly lie in the first place.) The more confusion you feel upon hearing the gaslighter/narcissist's blatant lie, the more you start to remember the gaslighter's defense or continued lying, not the actual truth that he is lying about.
    from here.

    That is to say, we are not always in the sphere of meaning, but one cannot help thinking one is, one finds meaning in the utterances of Trump the way one sees faces in the clouds.
  • Luke
    486
    137. We determine the subject of a sentence by asking "Who or what...?" and there is a sense of the subject 'fitting' this question. A similar type of 'fitting' relates to our determination of what letter follows 'K' in the alphabet. Wittgenstein asks:

    In what sense does 'L' fit this series of letters? — In that sense “true” and “false” could be said to fit propositions; and a child might be taught to distinguish propositions from other expressions by being told “Ask yourself if you can say ‘is true’ after it. If these words fit, it’s a proposition”.

    Having just told us that "true" and "false" do not fit propositions at §136, Wittgenstein now tells us at §137 that "true" and "false" do fit propositions. Why is this?

    At §136, "Being true and false are not criteria for being a proposition" (Baker and Hacker). That is, "true" and "false" do not help us to discover propositions in some scientific or metaphysical sense (i.e. outside our language games), so "true" and "false" do not fit, or are not appropriate to determine, a proposition in this sense.

    At §137, however, Wittgenstein is speaking in pedagogical terms within our language games. In this sense we can speak of 'fitting' in our determination of (e.g.) the subject of a sentence, the letter that follows 'K' in the alphabet, or which expression is a proposition. "In that sense, "true" and "false" could be said to fit propositions."
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