• Sam26
    2.6k
    That's different.
  • Richard B
    385
    In that conception I'm speaking only about so-called propositional knowledge, not know-how, knowledge by participation or acquaintance.

    Why would you use that definition? The way I see it it clarifies the difference between knowledge and belief. I'm not sure what you would count as knowledge. Would you say that you know that the big bang theory or the theory of evolution is true? I wouldn't, I'd say rather that I have very good reason to believe they are true, but that I don't know if they are true.

    What do you think I am losing by thinking about it that way?
    Janus

    Interesting question, not sure I can answer that from a personal psychological perspective. Additionally you bring in “truth” which adds an additional complexity. Nevertheless, I will give it a go in some general fashion.

    Since you bring in the mix scientific theories, I will go with that theme. Is Newtonian and Einsteinian physics knowledge? I think it would be difficult to argue with a scientist to say that it was not. I presume you would argue that Einsteinian physics proved Newtonian physics false. But this sounds strange because Newtonian physics works very well in many circumstances. Our knowledge of Newtonian physics allows us to make many predictions that prove useful in going about in our daily lives. But instead of using a word like “false” should we not say “less accurate in prediction of measurable properties in situations at high speeds”?

    Lastly, lets take a look at your definition of belief/knowledge in relation to Newtonian/Einsteinian physics: “if there can be any doubt that it is true, then we don’t know it either”. What is the nature of this doubt? That you could imagine otherwise?, For example, I can imagine something faster than the speed of light therefore Einsteinian physics is only a belief not knowledge. If this is how one sows the seeds of doubt on a scientific theory, thank goodness most scientists would ignore it as a philosophical eccentricity and get on doing science.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    Since you bring in the mix scientific theories, I will go with that theme. Is Newtonian and Einsteinian physics knowledge? I think it would be difficult to argue with a scientist to say that it was not.Richard B

    I would say they are knowledge in the sense of being kinds of know-how.

    I presume you would argue that Einsteinian physics proved Newtonian physics false.Richard B

    No, I wouldn't say that. Aspects may be false, for example Einstein's idea that nothing can travel faster than light may be false. I would agree with saying that Newtonian physics is less accurate or less "fine-grained" than Einsteinian physics.

    For example, I can imagine something faster than the speed of light therefore Einsteinian physics is only a belief not knowledge. If this is how one sows the seeds of doubt on a scientific theory, thank goodness most scientists would ignore it as a philosophical eccentricity and get on doing science.Richard B

    It is believed that nothing can travel faster than light, but if that turned out to be untrue it would not invalidate Einsteinian physics, because the latter demonstrably works to a very high degree of accuracy.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    Since you bring in the mix scientific theories, I will go with that theme. Is Newtonian and Einsteinian physics knowledge? I think it would be difficult to argue with a scientist to say that it was not.Richard B

    I would say they are knowledge in the sense of being kinds of know-how.

    I presume you would argue that Einsteinian physics proved Newtonian physics false.Richard B

    No, I wouldn't say that. Aspects may be false, for example Einstein's idea that nothing can travel faster than light may be false. I would agree with saying that Newtonian physics is less accurate or less "fine-grained" than Einsteinian physics.

    For example, I can imagine something faster than the speed of light therefore Einsteinian physics is only a belief not knowledge. If this is how one sows the seeds of doubt on a scientific theory, thank goodness most scientists would ignore it as a philosophical eccentricity and get on doing science.Richard B

    It is believed that nothing can travel faster than light, we don't know that for sure, but if it turned out to be untrue it would not invalidate Einsteinian physics, because the latter demonstrably works to a very high degree of accuracy.
  • ENOAH
    637
    propositions provide for Moore a proof of the external world,Sam26

    I think it's ironic that Moore might have considered himself a champion of the external world, yet he presumes, as if it's given, that that which is performing the assessment needs no proof. It is only from the internal world's constructions, and in accordance with the laws of its own constructions, that the external world must be subjected to such tests. It is the external world which is certain, and Mind which is dubious.

    And, it is doubly ironic that Moore uses his hands, his body as proof of the external world, when that is precisely and certainly what so called he is. Whether he is those fleeting projections in mind affecting everything is dubious.
  • Richard B
    385
    It is believed that nothing can travel faster than light, we don't know that for sure, but if it turned out to be untrue it would not invalidate Einsteinian physics, because the latter demonstrably works to a very high degree of accuracy.Janus

    I like to explore this idea that "we don't believe(or know) nothing can travel faster than light" or "we don't know that for sure." One reason I have often heard is that you would need an infinite amount of energy to move a mass to the speed of light that makes it impossible, and no one knows where to get an infinite amount of energy. So, we are waiting around to figure it out and that is why "we don't know for sure." But I think when we say "we don't know for sure" and "we don't believe nothing can...", or even "we know nothing can..." may be inappropriate expressions to use in this case. The reason being that this notion of the speed of light is intertwined with our notions of time, space, and change. For instance, if something is traveling at the speed of light, objects from that perspective are not experiencing time (I like to think of a observer moving at the speed of light away from a clock where the light ray hitting the hands of the clock never to reach the observer and so are frozen in time.). So, it is not that no object can move faster than the speed of light, but fundamental notions of time and space lose all meaning pass these limits. So, to say we believe or know nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, is more like saying, we can't give meaning to our notion of time and space beyond this limit. There is nothing to believe, know or even doubt. We may think we are imagining possible hypothetical possibilities, but that is not the case, these theories are limiting not only what can be physically achieve, but even what can be sensible imagined at a conceptual level. Now does this mean we can't redefine speed/time/space is some manner to our liking? Of course not, and maybe we can redefine these ideas in such a way that when we utter the words "faster than the speed of light.", they have a clear meaning. But this does not mean that terms like time/space in this new paradigm will resemble anything from the previous paradigm.

    This is what I think Wittgenstein gets at a little in "On Certainty" when he said:

    167 "It is clear that our empirical propositions do not all have the same status, since one can lay down such a proposition and turn it from an empirical proposition into a norm description. Think of chemical investigations. Lavoisier makes experiments with substances in his laboratory and now he concludes that this and that take place when there is burning. He does not say that it might happen otherwise another time. He has got hold of a definite world picture - not of course one that he invited: he learned it as a child. I say world picture and not hypothesis, because it is the matter-of-course foundation for his research and as such also goes unmentioned."
  • Janus
    15.8k
    I like to explore this idea that "we don't believe(or know) nothing can travel faster than light" or "we don't know that for sure." One reason I have often heard is that you would need an infinite amount of energy to move a mass to the speed of light that makes it impossible, and no one knows where to get an infinite amount of energyRichard B

    That we would need an infinite amount of energy is a central plank of the theory, but the theory might turn out to be wrong. Or there might be things we are not aware of that travel faster than light. The rest of what you say also consists of a number of corollaries of the theory, and this begs the question.

    I'm not saying the theory is likely to turn out to be wrong, and I would agree that we have very little reason to believe it is wrong. On account of having little reason to believe it is wrong we believe it is right, but I don't count that as knowledge, but would rather call it belief.

    In another sense, as per the quote from Wittgenstein, the scientific paradigms within which scientists work are not questioned, and are the background against which questions are asked and answered, and I think this qualifies them, insofar as they are methodologies or ways of working, as being knowledge in the sense of know-how.
  • Banno
    23.5k
    A few points.

    Foremost, OC is not a coherent argument for a specific point of view. It would be an error then to attempt to interpret it in a way that is both complete and consistent. The work is incomplete, and so need not be consistent.

    As part of W.'s notes from the last few months of his life, it is instead a window into the progress of this thinking. It shows us his approach in practice. The method of OC is far more important and interesting than any conclusions that it might be thought to draw.

    OC hangs on a grand tension W. sees in Moore's "here is a hand".
    It seems to me that, so far from its being true, as Kant declares to be his opinion, that there is only one possible proof of the existence of things outside of us, namely the one which he has given, I can now give a large number of different proofs, each of which is a perfectly rigorous proof; and that at many other times I have been in a position to give many others. I can prove now, for instance, that two human hands exist. How? By holding up my two hands, and saying, as I make a certain gesture with the right hand, ‘Here is one hand’, and adding, as I make a certain gesture with the left, ‘and here is another’. And if, by doing this, I have proved ipso facto the existence of external things, you will all see that I can also do it now in numbers of other ways: there is no need to multiply examples.Proof of an External World by G. E. Moore
    Moore is replying to Kant, as is clear, and presumably the objection is to the argument that we never have access to the thing-in-itself. Moore's reply is to shake the thing in Kant's face.

    Wittgenstein had great sympathy for Moore's view. Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must remain silent; one can say nothing about the thing-in-itself; therefore leave it out of our conversation.

    Yet W. was unsatisfied with Moore's response. OC is Wittgenstein working through the issues raised by that dissatisfaction.

    Of course silence is only a small part of the tale. There is also the world - all that is the case; and as well, there is what we might do about it. We evict questions of meaning, looking instead to questions of use, and so trade silence for action.

    Hence the appeal of hand waving.

    In so far as Moore shows that there are hands, W. is on side. In so far as Moore knows that there are hands, W. remains perplexed.

    While he shows that Moore's use of "know" in "I know this is my hand" is problematic, Wittgenstein pretty much agreed with the argument Moore presents against idealism and scepticism. "Here is a hand" shows that there is stuff around us to be dealt with, providing a foundation, a setting for certainty. There have to be slabs in order to engage in the builder's game, hands for there to be had shakes, and certainty within which to express doubt.

    "Here is a hand" - we behave in this way, we set up a way of doing things that takes "This is a hand" as granted, as enacted in the way we do things.

    And notice that it's "we" and not "I" - the confidence that this is a hand comes from communal agreement, not from the perception of a homunculus or solipsistic conviction. It is inherently a public activity.

    The special place of some propositions is that bringing them into question is bringing in to question the game in which they are played - how do you recognise that this card is an ace, or that the standard Metre is a metre long, or that a dollar coin is worth one dollar.

    In the Investigations Wittgenstein sets out two ways of "following a rule"; the first is seen in setting out the rule, interpreting it, translating it and so on; the second,
    ...there is a way of grasping a rule which is not an interpretation, but which is exhibited in what we call "obeying the rule" and "going against it" in actual cases. — PI §201
    The rule is enacted, not stated.

    This focus on enacting a rule is the engine behind treating use rather than meaning, and behind the private language argument. A rule may well be stated, perhaps in order to pass it on to others, or for purposes of regulation. It is not that the rule is unstatable, although any statement might well be incomplete - hence family resemblance. Following and going against a rule is recognisable by a community, and forms the way in which a community functions - their "form of life". To state a rule is to set out its propositional content, what following or going against the rule consists in.

    This informs the parts of PI now often referred to as W's philosophy of psychology. Following or going against a rule allows us to implement practices, ways of doing things, that have a social role despite in a sense not having an empirical grounding. So you cannot feel my pain, nor tell if I see red where you see blue, nor infer my beliefs indubitably from my actions, but despite this we have a functional - usable - language around pain, sensation, belief and so on.

    One of the marvellous things about PI is the number of philosophical tools with which it presents us - beetles, family resemblances, private language, and so on. These are the tools used in On Certainty

    For Wittgenstein, Moore's paper touches on many of the issues raised in PI. In On Certainty W. is taking the ideas of PI and applying them to notions of knowledge and certainty, exploring how a consistent account might be formulated.

    But On Certainty does not present us with a "Third Wittgenstein".

    Recent work in these forums has tended to focus on either the Tractatus or on On Certainty. The Investigations has dropped somewhat from view. The Tractatus was unsatisfactory, obliging Wittgenstein to reenter philosophy, and giving us the Investigations. Reading the Tractatus without referring to the Investigations will lead one to misunderstand the progress and errors in W's work. One must read each in the light of the other.

    If the Tractatus had been complete and consistent, there would have been no need for the Investigations. It is a mistake therefore to treat the Tractatus as complete and consistent. This error is apparent in some threads hereabouts.

    It is also a mistake to try to understand On Certainty apart from the philosophical tools presented in PI. Doing so has led some recent scholarship to supposing that because a rule is sometimes unstated, it must thereby be unstatable; that a rule may have no propositional content. In contrast, the considerations of the PI show that an unstatable rule can have no claim to being thought of as a rule. It is instead perhaps a sentiment or a habit.

    The remedy for this misunderstanding of On Certainty lie in Philosophical Investigations.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    Moore is replying to Kant, as is clear, and presumably the objection is to the argument that we never have access to the thing-in-itself. Moore's reply is to shake the thing in Kant's face.

    Wittgenstein had great sympathy for Moore's view. Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must remain silent; one can say nothing about the thing-in-itself; therefore leave it out of our conversation.

    Yet W. was unsatisfied with Moore's response. OC is Wittgenstein working through the issues raised by that dissatisfaction.
    Banno

    I still think Moore and Wittgenstein did not sufficiently provide an alternative to Kant's project. Moore simply resorts back to what is sensory, but Kant's whole point was to refute Hume, and posit that there was a mechanism whereby the mind must interpret the immediate sensory experience into something intelligible. By doing this, it is always "the hand as it appears to us" and not simply "hand as it is in-itself". Moore didn't refute that with this famous "Here is a hand. Here is another."

    Wittgenstein, in turn, seemed to just sideline the question as to social practice rather than how it is that the mind can turn raw sensory information into coherent thoughts. Cognitive science and anthropology already go a step beyond Wittgenstein by reincorporating the learning aspects with cognitive structures in the brain and evolutionary biology. So I am not sure either of these two attempts provide much of a response to Kant. If anything, it highlights that what Kant's project was about was central to understanding how humans gain knowledge of the world. You cannot just bypass the questions Kant poses by fiat by mere showing (Moore) or by turning it into a completely social phenomenon (later Wittgenstein).
  • Fooloso4
    5.7k


    What is it according to the Tractatus that we must remain silent about? The answer is, the sense (Sinn) of the world, as opposed to the sense of things in the world (6.41). Matters of value, of ethics and aesthetics as opposed to the accidental facts of what happens in the world. Things in the world, both as they are in themselves and as they are for us phenomenally, are not things about which one must remain silent.

    I won't get into the odd notion of one's own hand as an external thing in itself. In any case, I don't think it has anything to do with the problems of On Certainty.

    We evict questions of meaning, looking instead to questions of use, and so trade silence for action.Banno

    Wittgenstein does not evict questions of meaning. 'Meaning' has different senses that in German can correspond to Sinn and Bedeutung. The meaning of a word, how it is used, is not the same as a word being meaningful or having significance or importance. What is meaningful, matters of value, of ethics and aesthetics, are not matters of the use of terms. We might see from someone's actions that something has meaning for them, but the action does not explain the meaning of the action.

    ... the confidence that this is a hand comes from communal agreement, not from the perception of a homunculus or solipsistic conviction. It is inherently a public activity.Banno

    A baby grasps things. It uses its hands to put things in its mouth, including its hands. It does not become confident that its hand is a hand. It becomes confident in the use of its hands. That this is a hand arises when it learns the name of things.

    But On Certainty does not present us with a "Third Wittgenstein".Banno

    I agree, although for reasons that perhaps differ from your own. I see it as a development of such things as the notion of a form of life, as part of the shift away from propositions as foundational.

    From OC:

    In the beginning was the deed.
    (OC 402)

    But that means I want to conceive it as something that lies beyond being justified or
    unjustified; as it were, as something animal.
    (OC 359)

    I want to regard man here as an animal; as a primitive being to which one grants instinct but
    not ratiocination. As a creature in a primitive state. Any logic good enough for a primitive means of
    communication needs no apology from us. Language did not emerge from some kind of
    ratiocination.
    (OC 475)


    Following or going against a rule allows us to implement practices, ways of doing things, that have a social role despite in a sense not having an empirical grounding.Banno

    The rule is determined by the practice rather than the practice being determined by the rule.

    See:

    26. But can it be seen from a rule what circumstances logically exclude a mistake in the
    employment of rules of calculation?
    What use is a rule to us here? Mightn't we (in turn) go wrong in applying it?

    And:

    OC 139. Not only rules, but also examples are needed for establishing a practice. Our rules leave loopholes open, and the practice has to speak for itself.

    OC 140. We do not learn the practice of making empirical judgments by learning rules: we are taught judgments and their connexion with other judgments. A totality of judgments is made plausible to us.


    The remedy for this misunderstanding of On Certainty lie in Philosophical Investigations.Banno

    And what is the remedy for misunderstanding Philosophical Investigations? Certainly not a rule!
  • Constance
    1.2k
    Presupposes as used in this context means there is a justification for believing X, or rather a justification for making the claim that one knows that X is the case.Sam26

    One has to wonder, is it possible for something to stand as its own presupposition, Kierkegaard's way of putting it. I think this question cuts deep into the issue, for it takes one to examine how presuppositional perceptual events (ordinary experiencing the world) can possibly hold within themselves that which both "there" undeniably, yet stands as its own presupposition in its "thereness".
  • frank
    14.7k
    Following and going against a rule is recognisable by a community, and forms the way in which a community functionsBanno

    Kripke gives good reason to doubt that this is what's really happening. It certainly sounds plausible, but falls apart in the details. Maybe the missing piece is empathy... emotional bonds.
  • Constance
    1.2k
    What are the grounds for doubt? What are the grounds for knowing? Maybe part of the confusion lies in the fact that we can imagine situations were we can doubt such propositions. However, can we doubt the propositions Moore is using, and can we doubt them in Moore's contexts?Sam26

    Language games end where pure phenomena begin. But this can be doubted as well: for how is it "pure phenomenon," escapes being a contextual "game" constituent itself? It doesn't, and Derrida was right about the "trace" which puts all that lies outside of the trace under erasure, under metaphysical erasure. So close to the Tractatus here, no? The world is mystical and ethics transcendental and Wittgenstein is sounding like the mystic Russell said he was.
    But as I see it, there is no way to reconcile "the world" and language beyond this: it is a pervasive "doubt" that yields an ontology of, if you can stand it, the cloud of unknowing, the mystical underpinning of hermeneutics. The cogito and its object stand in a mystical relation.
    Rorty was said that it has never been shown how anything "out there" (this under erasure) can get in here (the head's brain thing). A fascinating insight, so simply put, even as one is deeply pondering Descartes, missing this obvious fact, that there is nothing epistemic about causality. It is not doubt that rules this thinking, but hermeneutics and contextuality.
  • Banno
    23.5k
    Postulating a "hand as it is in-itself" gets nowhere. Such a hand cannot enter into our discussions, cannot be used to pick things up, and "drops out of consideration as irrelevant."

    There is more to this, though, in that postulating a "hand as it is in-itself" already posits a hand, already separating hands from non-hands, and so is already indulging in interpretation. It suffers a deep circularity.

    But that's more Hegel than Wittgenstein. Hegel and Wittgenstein might find agreement in noticing that Kant's attempt to reach outside of reason to the thing-in-itself, is itself reasoning. We are always, unavoidably, immersed in the Logos.

    Frankly I do not expect some here to agree with this, as there are quite fundamental things going on in Wittgenstein that some folk appear unable, perhaps temporarily, to apprehend. But that they cannot see it should not be taken as reason to shut down discussion of Wittgenstein. There are would-be gatekeepers on either side of the gate.

    Since 'it is always "the hand as it appears to us"', silence is what remains for "the hand as it is in itself". Notice again that it is "the hand as it appears to us", not "the hand as it appears to me".

    Others might agree that there is more to silence than mere inactivity. W's response to the second war was not to theorise, but to take on a menial job in a hospital - to act. Whereof one must be silent, thereof one must nevertheless act, appreciate, mourn, and get on with life. Waving one's hand in Kant's face is a silent act.

    Hopefully in silence, baby sucks its fist, unawares of being a baby , or having a fist . That this is a fist arises as the baby takes its place in its family, in its linguistic community.

    Trouble is, of course, that some things refused to sit neatly as either a thing in the world or a thing outside it. As W. showed in Remarks on Colour, an explanation of colour must take into account the way in which communities manage to get on with purchasing tins of paint despite their philosopher being unable to pin down what it is that is the same about red seen here, and seen there, and for you, and I. We need to ask not just what is it that the Tractatus must remain silent about. We need to go the step further and see why that silence needed to be broken by the Investigations.

    "Here is a hand" is a hinge proposition. It has the structure of a statement and it has a truth value. That it is true need not be justified by other facts, need not be seen as a consequence of ratiocination; but, like something's being red or beautiful, this being a hand involves both how the world is and how we employ language.

    The move from the Tractatus to the investigations is from removing complexity to accepting it as part of being human.
  • Banno
    23.5k
    If there is a third Wittgenstein, it is the one Kripke invented.

    I'd suggest that the social aspect of rule following provides the answer to Kripke's sceptic, along the lines of Davidson's notion of triangulation. And I would throw in Austin's "The meaning of a word".

    It is a shame you left so much out of your post. It's an ongoing discussion.
  • frank
    14.7k
    Yep, it's interesting. Maybe off topic for this thread.
  • Fooloso4
    5.7k
    Others might agree that there is more to silence than mere inactivity.Banno

    Of course there is more:

    There must indeed be some kind of ethical reward and ethical punishment, but they must reside in the action itself.
    (6.422)


    Hopefully in silence, baby sucks its fist, unawares of being a baby , or having a fist . That this is a fist arises as the baby takes its place in its family, in its linguistic community.Banno

    In the builder's language there is no word for 'hand' but surely they are aware they have hands. They use them skillfully. The baby becomes aware that it has hands as it learns to use them, not as it takes its place in a linguistic community. It learns to use them skillfully. To touch things, to feel things, to hold things. That they are called hands comes later.

    We need to go the step further and see why that silence needed to be broken by the Investigations.Banno

    He came to see that the way he thought about language is not the way it works. Language is a social practice. It is not determined by an a priori transcendental logic. Is there anything he says in the Investigations that refutes the insight in the Tractatus that ethics and aesthetics are not matters to be resolved by linguistic analysis?
  • Banno
    23.5k
    In the builder's language there is no word for 'hand' but surely they are aware they have hands.Fooloso4
    Aware?

    There is some unpacking to do here. They use their hand, perhaps; but is that all there is to being aware of one's hands? The game takes place without mention of hands, as you say - so are the players aware of their hands? If the block falls on the apprentice's hand, they might become aware; perhaps in doing first aid. Again they become aware of the hand as it enters into their interactions.

    Nice example, though. The baby and the builder are not unaware of their hands, any more than aware of their hands. "A dog cannot lie. Neither can he be sincere. A dog may be expecting his master to come. Why can't he be expecting him to come next Wednesday? Is it because he doesn't have language?"

    Puts me in mind of this:
    ...on Wittgenstein’s view, while chess is essentially a game for two players, this does not exclude the possibility of playing it against oneself provided such solitary games are not regarded as paradigm instances of chess. Similarly, he can claim that language is essentially social, but still allow the possibility of exceptions provided these are peripheral cases. — https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/private-language/#ComVieRev

    We can take this further, though, if we leave exegesis and look at the broader context. Which comes first, meaning or mental content? Will we follow Sellers in taking mental content as deriving from linguistic meaning? Or Grice in taking linguistic meaning as deriving from mental content? Until there is more by way of evidence, it might be better to follow Davidson, and presume that mental content and linguistic meaning are interdependent.

    Which of these three Wittgenstein might have accepted must now remain conjectural. His role was to show that rules have a place here, but are of themselves insufficient.


    Is there anything he says in the Investigations that refutes the insight in the Tractatus that ethics and aesthetics are not matters to be resolved by linguistic analysis?Fooloso4
    There are deep differences between the aesthetics of the Tractatus and the Investigations:
    For now, at this stage of Wittgenstein's development, where the complexity-accepting stance of the later Philosophical Investigations (1958) and other work is unearthing and uprooting the philosophical presuppositions of the simplification-seeking earlier work, examples themselves have priority as indispensable instruments in the struggle to free ourselves of misconception in the aesthetic realm. . And these examples, given due and detailed attention, will exhibit a context-sensitive particularity that makes generalized pronouncements hovering high above the ground of that detail look otiose, inattentive, or, more bluntly, just a plain falsification of experience. What remains is not, then—and this is an idea Wittgenstein's auditors must themselves have struggled with in those rooms in Cambridge, as many still do today—another theory built upon now stronger foundations, but rather a clear view of our multiform aesthetic practices. Wittgenstein, in his mature, later work, did not generate a theory of language, of mind, or of mathematics. He generated, rather, a vast body of work perhaps united only in its therapeutic and intricately labored search for conceptual clarification. One sees the same philosophical aspiration driving his foray into aesthetics.Wittgenstein's Aesthetics (SEP)

    So again, it is perhaps a mistake to see any of Wittgenstein's writings as complete, and hence an exegetical error to attempt to set out a coherent and complete picture.
  • Sam26
    2.6k
    It seems that language games are only possible if we don’t question certain facts, and whether these facts are true or false. Here I’m referring to hinge propositions (or hinge beliefs). Moreover, I don’t believe that our grammar is conditioned by certain empirical facts. This is not to say that facts don’t play a role in our grammar, it just means that whatever the relationship is, it plays a lesser role. I say lesser role given the autonomous nature of language. There seems to be no doubt that there is some relationship between empirical facts and our grammar (Wittgensteinian grammar). Saying that facts condition our grammar, as per Moyal-Sharrock, seems to diminish the autonomous nature of grammar, especially since it’s grammar that determines what we mean by fact, object, and reality. So, our grammar presupposes these concepts, but it’s not independent of reality.

    It seems clear that certain facts of reality, those that we don’t normally doubt, create the surface that allows language games to be played. Similar to a chess board providing the surface area for a chess game. So, the language game of asserting and denying, viz., being true or false rests on Wittgenstein’s hinge propositions (or hinge beliefs), and thus, any talk of epistemology (justification and truth) rests on hinges. Another way to say it is that our methodology of evaluating propositions rests on hinges.

    Part of the problem concerns the conflation of hinge beliefs with our normal beliefs (or you could say hinge propositions with normal propositions), they are quite different and have different functions. So, the language game of epistemology is only possible if we never question certain facts. Just as playing a game of chess involves never questioning the rules of chess. The logical role of hinges is that of being beyond doubt and therefore beyond truth and falsity. To bring in the idea that hinge beliefs are true and false is to miss one of the core points of On Certainty. It’s like trying to shove a square peg into a round hole.
  • Fooloso4
    5.7k
    The baby and the builder are not unaware of their hands, any more than aware of their hands.Banno

    I won't get into early child development and body awareness, but researchers do not agree. Having spent a great deal of time with my own children I cannot agree either.

    Which comes first, meaning or mental content? Will we follow Sellers in taking mental content as deriving from linguistic meaning? Or Grice in taking linguistic meaning as deriving from mental content?Banno

    This is a different issue. Awareness of having hands, confidence that one has hands, knowledge that one has hands is first and primarily physical not conceptual.

    There are deep differences between the aesthetics of the Tractatus and the InvestigationsBanno

    From the article you cited:

    By “entirely misunderstood”, it emerges that he means both (1) that aesthetic questions are of a conceptual type very distinct from empirical questions ... and (2) that the philosophically traditional method of essentialistic definition – determining the essence that all members of the class “works of art” exhibit and by virtue of which they are so classified – will conceal from our view more than it reveals.

    This speaks directly to my question:

    Is there anything he says in the Investigations that refutes the insight in the Tractatus that ethics and aesthetics are not matters to be resolved by linguistic analysis?Fooloso4

    and indicates continuity from the Tractatus to the later works. By silence he does not mean not saying anything at all about aesthetics. It is not a prohibition against expressing appreciation or what one experiences when seeing or hearing something beautiful. It is, rather, not to speak of such things as if they are the same as the propositions of natural science.

    So again, it is perhaps a mistake to see any of Wittgenstein's writings as complete, and hence an exegetical error to attempt to set out a coherent and complete picture.Banno

    Has anyone claimed that they are?
  • Fooloso4
    5.7k
    Saying that facts condition our grammar, as per Moyal-Sharrock, seems to diminish the autonomous nature of grammar, especially since it’s grammar that determines what we mean by fact, object, and reality. So, our grammar presupposes these concepts, but it’s not independent of reality.Sam26

    How are we to understand the following?

    PI 497. The rules of grammar may be called “arbitrary”, if that is to mean that the purpose of grammar is nothing but that of language.
    If someone says, “If our language had not this grammar, it could not
    express these facts” - it should be asked what “could” means here.

    It is not that grammar determines facts:

    Do I want to say, then, that certain facts are favorable to the formation of certain concepts; or again unfavorable? And does experience teach us this? It is a fact of experience that human beings alter their concepts, exchange them for others when they learn new facts; when in this way what was formerly important to them becomes unimportant, and vice versa. (It is discovered e.g. that what formerly counted as a difference in kind, is really only a difference in degree.
    (Zettel 352)

    The logical role of hinges is that of being beyond doubt and therefore beyond truth and falsity. To bring in the idea that hinge beliefs are true and false is to miss one of the core points of On Certainty. It’s like trying to shove a square peg into a round hole.Sam26

    It is not that they are beyond doubt and truth or falsity, it is that their truth is not doubted. But this is not eternal and immutable. At one time it was accepted that the sun revolves around the earth and that no one has been on the moon.
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