• Sam26
    2.5k
    My contention is that Moore's propositions are akin to strong beliefs and/or strong convictions (Wittgenstein seems to say the same thing). The tendency is for us to want to use know when expressing a strongly held belief or conviction, it seems to add some force behind our statement. However, words don't get meaning from some inward feeling or state. The constant contrast between the inner (the subjective), and the outer use of these words (societal or cultural usage) is a contrast one must keep in mind in order to get clear on the problem Wittgenstein is trying to convey. Losing this contrast causes much confusion.

    Not only does Wittgenstein compare the use of know with the use of doubt, as pointed out in previous posts, but he also asks us how a mistake would be possible in Moore's use of know. Moore seems to be saying that a mistake is not possible, as he says, "Here is one hand." And, if Moore would have left it at that, he would have had a stronger case, but he attached "I know..." to the statement, and it's here that problems arise. One problem is the connection between "I know..." and doubting, and the other is the connection between "I know..." and making a mistake. Seeing these connections is important if we don't want the force of "I know.." to be such that one can leap from the utterance of a statement (OC 21) to the truth of a statement. As if I can't be wrong or making a mistake. The possibility of being wrong is logically connected to "I know..." in fundamental ways.

    Wittgenstein pointed out though, earlier (OC 13), that we can infer from our own statement that we know, but not from the statements of others. It must be demonstrated that you know to others. "'I know' often means: I have the proper grounds for my statement," i.e., we want to make sure you're not making a mistake. What are your grounds (the doubt), let's double check this (making sure there is no mistake). This either leads to "Ahh, you are correct," or "There is a mistake here." The question arises, how does Moore's use of "I know..." allow for the correction? It doesn't. Moore's use of "I know.." is supposed to have the force of truth in and of itself, but that would be weird.

    Moore has found something significant though, and Wittgenstein respects Moore's for this. Moore has pointed out something special about these kinds of statements (Moorean statements or facts). They seem to provide a kind of foundational belief that is not only fundamental to epistemology, but fundamental to language. For myself, I have concluded that it leads to non-linguistic beliefs, but I've said enough about that, let's not debate this again. :nerd:
  • Sam26
    2.5k
    The purpose of this analysis is to try to dig deeper into Wittgenstein's thinking. Many of you know that I've done this before. However, in this analysis I'm trying to shed new light on Wittgenstein's thinking (i.e., new for me, not new in general).
  • Sam26
    2.5k
    Even in mathematics we run into the same kinds of problems. Compare, "I know this calculation is correct (some long drawn out calculus calculation)," with "I know 2+2=4." It's easier to imagine the former use of "I know" being incorrect, than the latter. The latter use of "I know..." is akin to Moore's claim. What would a mistake in the latter proposition look like? What form would a doubt take?

    "But can it be seen from a rule what circumstances logically exclude a mistake in the employment of rules of calculation (OC 26)?" However, Wittgenstein asks, "What use is a rule to us here?" After all if we can make mistakes in our calculations, certainly we can make mistakes in applying a rule.

    Is there some rule that can be applied to Moore's propositions? No, there isn't, at best we can give something akin to a rule (OC 27), for e.g., "in normal circumstances." "And we recognize normal circumstances but cannot precisely describe them. At most, we can describe a range of abnormal ones (OC 27)."

    "What is learning a rule?--This. What is 'making a mistake in applying it'?--This. And what is pointed to here is something indeterminate (OC 28)."

    Understanding these points gives us a glimpse into why it's difficult to follow Wittgenstein's points about Moore. It's not clear cut, it's indeterminate. You have to wrestle your way to the finish line.
  • Sam26
    2.5k
    One use of "I know..." that I find particularly problematic in our culture is the tendency to think that only science can give us a firm footing when it comes to epistemology. This tendency limits the use of "I know...," and stifles what it means to have knowledge. No doubt, science is an important tool in gaining knowledge, but obviously it's not the only tool. However, the tendency is for people to use science as a cudgel, as if you don't really know until science investigates it. I don't need science to tell me there is an apple tree in my backyard, at least not generally, I can see it. I don't need science to tell me the orange juice is sweet, I can taste it. Much of our testimonial evidence is not backed up by science. For example, a friend comes back from a trip to England (assuming the friend is trustworthy), and tells me that he saw this and that, I take it as good evidence that what he said is accurate, unless there is a good reason to think otherwise. There are many other examples, but I think you get the point.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    12.6k
    Not all language-games or all uses are correct. If I teach a child how to use the word pencil, and later the child points to a cat, and says, pencil, then their use of the word is incorrect, even if it's used in a particular language-game.Sam26

    I would dispute this "correctness" is determined relative to a language-game. There is nothing to indicate that one language-game would produce a more correct use of a word than another. So the game you play, when teaching your child the word "pencil" is just as correct as the other game which uses "cat" instead.

    If that is the case, then the following is untrue as well. We can arbitrarily make up language-games, and derive meaning from those games.

    However, this is not to say that all language-games have the same force, or that we can arbitrarily make up any language-game and derive meaning from it. The same is true of use, I can't arbitrarily use words the way I want without the loss of meaning.Sam26

    The radical skeptic (I'm referring to a specific kind of skepticism, not all skepticism) is not playing the game correctly. And, this must be viewed from outside our subjective view. It's viewed by looking at the community of language users, not one's personal interpretation. One's personal interpretation may or may not line up with the community, and this corresponds to the correct or incorrect interpretation. When I say correct and incorrect, I'm speaking generally, if it wasn't true generally, language would simply fall apart.Sam26

    This argument is untenable as well. There are no principles to determine what constitutes "playing the game correctly". It is a matter of your judgement, or my judgement, of whatever rules are apprehended as applicable. And this amounts to "one's personal interpretation". To step outside one's own personal interpretation, and get an objective view, or the view from "the community of language users" is impossible. So it really doesn't make any sense to assume such a thing as the correct or incorrect interpretation under these principles.

    To make the judgement of correct interpretation, we would commonly refer to the intent of the speaker. But if dismiss this as a determining factor, and proceed toward a "game" system of modeling, there is no principle to determine the "correct" game, and its applicable rules.
  • RussellA
    1.6k
    The radical skeptic (I'm referring to a specific kind of skepticism, not all skepticism) is not playing the game correctly.Sam26

    The radical sceptic makes a valid point in pointing out that whilst Wittgenstein argues that each language game has its own set of hinge propositions, he did not justify why one set of propositional hinges should be more exempt from doubt than others.

    I agree that in a sense my choice of language game is objective, in that some language games are more useful to me than others, which I why I chose the language game of 21st century western society rather than the language game of the Japanese Imperial Court during the Heian period.

    AC Grayling discusses Wittgenstein in his Wittgenstein On Scepticism and Certainty, and refers to two main themes within OC - which he names OC1 and OC2.
    OC 1 is a foundationalist refutation of scepticism, where beliefs are inherent within a system
    and beliefs rest on foundations, such as passage 248 "I have arrived at the rock bottom of my convictions".
    OC 2 is relativistic, where truth and knowledge are not absolute but vary with viewpoint and time, such as passage 65 "when language-games change, then there is a change in concepts, and with the concepts the meanings of words change."

    I agree with your reply, which I would classify as being within OC 1, where language games resist local scepticism by being founded on propositional hinges, but I would also agree with Grayling that the biggest philsophical problem with On Certainty is OC 2, in that the framework within which propositional hinges operate are themselves relative, and hard to resist against radical scepticism.
  • RussellA
    1.6k
    Did he?Banno

    I agree that in On Certainty Wittgenstein did not use the words "the language game corresponds to a reality", but it seems to me that the inference within his writing is so strong that it would be difficult to argue that for Wittgenstein "the language game does not correspond to a reality"

    Whilst Wittgenstein in his early philosophy did propose an isomorphism between language and reality, in his late philosophy, on the contrary, he was not explicit that language, being made up from language games, was isomorphic with reality.

    I can only read On Certainty with the strong inference that Wittgenstein assumed a reality that language corresponded to.

    Taking one example, passage 411, "If I say "we assume that the earth has existed for many years past" (or something similar), then of course it sounds strange that we should assume such a thing. But in the entire system of our language-games it belongs to the foundations. The assumption, one might say, forms the basis of action, and therefore, naturally, of thought."

    On the one hand, the proposition "we assume that the earth has existed for many years"
    belongs to the foundation of the speaker's language game. On the other hand, the speaker is assuming the reality of an earth existing for many years. It must logically follow that the speaker's language game must correspond with the speaker's reality.

    In On Certainty, whilst Wittgenstein did not specifically say that "the language game corresponds to a reality", I would find it difficult to argue that Wittgenstein believed otherwise.
  • Sam26
    2.5k
    The radical sceptic makes a valid point in pointing out that whilst Wittgenstein argues that each language game has its own set of hinge propositions, he did not justify why one set of propositional hinges should be more exempt from doubt than others.RussellA

    First, hinge-propositions, or what I call basic beliefs or foundational beliefs (foundation carries other baggage though), are outside any of our epistemological considerations (I think this is an accurate interpretation of W.), so they (the hinges) don't require any justification, nor can they be said to be true or false. The only kind of epistemological connection they have is that they're beliefs, but even this falls away when considering non-linguistic beliefs.

    Second, the nature of these basic beliefs, is that they're all exempt from doubt for the reasons he gives throughout OC. One being, if we are referring to Moorean propositions, the doubt lacks sense, or as W. points out "what would such a doubt be like?, and don't understand this straight off (OC 24)." All basic beliefs (or hinges if you will) have this characteristic. If they don't, then they're not basic. Moreover, if it makes sense to doubt "This is a hand," in a particular context, then it also follows that, it's not basic. I think Wittgenstein gives good reasons why all basic beliefs are exempt from doubt.

    but I would also agree with Grayling that the biggest philsophical problem with On Certainty is OC 2, in that the framework within which propositional hinges operate are themselves relative, and hard to resist against radical scepticism.RussellA

    I think Grayling is incorrect about this. While it's true that basic beliefs are relative to the reality we find ourselves in, it's also true that the skeptic finds himself in the same reality, so their use of the word doubt is also dependent on that reality. The use of relative here needs to be clarified.
  • Sam26
    2.5k
    The radical skeptic doesn't seem to understand the limiting use of the language-game of doubt. Both Moore's use of know, and the radical skeptic's use of doubt have limitations, just as all words do. Wittgenstein is pointing out these limitations by showing how the words break down, how they can lose their sense. He shows how the logic behind their use is lost. It's as if I've removed the bishop from the chess board and I'm playing on some other surface. It may look familiar because it seems to be moving diagonally, but it's deceiving because although it looks like a game, it's not. At least it's not a chess game. We've removed the bishop from its natural setting where it functions, into an unnatural setting where it isn't functioning. I'm making moves that lack coherent sense.
  • Banno
    23.5k
    I agree that in On Certainty Wittgenstein did not use the words "the language game corresponds to a reality"RussellA

    Good - I am glad I hadn't missed something so important.

    I'd ask you to consider OC 191. It seems to me he is here directly contradicting the contention that the relation between a language game and reality is one of correspondence. What counts as a fact, what counts as real, is part of the same language game.

    You are close to what I think is a key unsettled issue for such exegesis: are language games incommensurable with each other? There are some texts that seem to support this, but broader considerations seem to count against it. For my part I here remind myself that both PI and OC are incomplete; OC the more so; so it is entirely possible that Wittgenstein hadn't decided the question to his own satisfaction. Further, I think considerations from Davidson and Feyerabend lead to the conclusion that since language games are far from fixed, incommensurability is quite unlikely.

    I think that there is an understanding of Wittgenstein that bypasses the forced dichotomy you attribute to Grayling. But I haven't read the article to which you refer - do you have a link?

    Edit: This: http://www.acgrayling.com/wittgenstein-on-scepticism-and-certainty
  • Banno
    23.5k
    SO if Moore had held up a hand and said "I am certain that this is a hand", rather than "I know...", he would have avoided Wittgenstein's criticism, but not the sceptic. But the sceptic has misunderstood "here is a hand" in order to doubt it.
  • Sam26
    2.5k
    If Moore was using "I am certain..." as a synonym for "I know.." it wouldn't make any difference (see OC 8).
  • Banno
    23.5k
    oh not as a synonym. As an indication of conviction.
  • Sam26
    2.5k
    I can't imagine Moore responding to the skeptic in terms of just his conviction. Obviously he thought it was more than that. However, W. says that this is ultimately what Moore's propositions seem to be, viz., a conviction of sorts. W. probably wouldn't have responded to Moore's papers if they were just expressing a conviction. At least that's my guess. There is something special about Moorean propositions, but not what Moore thinks, and this is what prompts W. response.

    Ya, the skeptic would still get the same treatment as far as I can tell. OC probably wouldn't have been written if Moore expressed his argument in some other way.
  • Marchesk
    4.6k
    ut the sceptic has misunderstood "here is a hand" in order to doubt it.Banno

    The skeptic is responding to Moore’s metaphysical realism. Waving a hand around doesn’t prove anything beyond the experience of having a hand. Moore thinks he can turn that into a metaphysical statement.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    12.6k
    You are close to what I think is a key unsettled issue for such exegesis: are language games incommensurable with each other?Banno

    If they are distinct and different language games then they are incommensurable because commensurability would produce one game. This is why equivocation is a fallacy. The logical relationship between a word's use in one game, and its use in another game, cannot be established.

    However, the inclination is to assume that language, in general, is one game. But this assumption requires commensurability between the various games, to produce the one game of language. It's like the question of what does "3" refer to. Does it refer to three distinct and different objects, or does it refer to one object, the number 3? It depends on how you use it. But how could these two different ways be commensurable?
  • Fooloso4
    5.6k
    First, hinge-propositions, or what I call basic beliefs or foundational beliefs (foundation carries other baggage though), are outside any of our epistemological considerations (I think this is an accurate interpretation of W.), so they (the hinges) don't require any justification, nor can they be said to be true or false.Sam26

    I think this overstates the case. It is not that they can't be said to be true or false. They are accepted as true and further justification is not needed. As hinge propositions they are what justification hinges on.

    But we need to look at his depiction of knowledge via the analogies of the Heraclitian river and relativity, that is, the rejection of some fixed, unmoving point:

    96. It might be imagined that some propositions, of the form of empirical propositions, were
    hardened and functioned as channels for such empirical propositions as were not hardened but fluid;
    and that this relation altered with time, in that fluid propositions hardened, and hard ones became
    fluid.
    97. The mythology may change back into a state of flux, the river-bed of thoughts may shift. But I
    distinguish between the movement of the waters on the river-bed and the shift of the bed itself;
    though there is not a sharp division of the one from the other.
    98. But if someone were to say "So logic too is an empirical science" he would be wrong. Yet this is
    right: the same proposition may get treated at one time as something to test by experience, at
    another as a rule of testing.
    99. And the bank of that river consists partly of hard rock, subject to no alteration or only to an
    imperceptible one, partly of sand, which now in one place now in another gets washed away, or
    deposited.

    152. I do not explicitly learn the propositions that stand fast for me. I can discover them
    subsequently like the axis around which a body rotates. This axis is not fixed in the sense that
    anything holds it fast, but the movement around it determines its immobility.

    305. Here once more there is needed a step like the one taken in relativity theory.

    "The Earth revolves around the Sun" is a hinge proposition. But at one time "the Sun revolves around the Earth" was a hinge proposition. It was not simply a matter of correcting a mistake. The fate of man hinged on it.
  • Sam26
    2.5k
    An important part of Wittgenstein's analysis is how he looks at Moorean propositions. Propositions like "This is a hand," "There are physical objects," and "The Earth has existed for longer than five minutes," these propositions seem to have the form of an empirical proposition. "The wavelength of light is around 700 nanometers," is an example of an empirical proposition, and it is capable of being verified or nullified. However, Wittgenstein points out that a proposition like, "There are physical objects," is nonsense (OC 35). These kinds of statements form the logical structure that supports language, which seems to be why Wittgenstein refers to them as logical concepts. They are a kind of bridge between the world and our thinking, and language itself. They are the logical bedrock from which language gains its foothold, without which the language of knowing and doubting would have no meaning. It would be like playing the game of chess without the rules that govern the game.

    "I know this is a hand," "...is a misfiring attempt to express what can't be expressed like that (OC 37)"
  • Sam26
    2.5k
    "The Earth revolves around the Sun" is a hinge proposition. But at one time "the Sun revolves around the Earth" was a hinge proposition. It was not simply a matter of correcting a mistake. The fate of man hinged on it.Fooloso4

    I think this misses the point of what a hinge-proposition is. What makes something a hinge is not what people accept as true or false, which are epistemological ideas, but they are concepts that lie outside our epistemological concepts of true and false, and what it means to know. This is the whole point of Wittgenstein's challenge. If hinges can be said to be true or false, then it makes sense that we can doubt that the proposition is true or false. This idea allows Moore's problem (the problem as W. sees it) to creep back into our thinking.
  • Fooloso4
    5.6k
    This is the whole point of Wittgenstein's challenge.Sam26

    If you would prefer, we can put this off until you are further along in your analysis.

    As you know, the only example of a hinge proposition is a mathematical proposition. To exclude mathematical propositions from what is true or false is problematic to say the least.

    The statement prior to the first mention of a hinge proposition:

    340. We know, with the same certainty with which we believe any mathematical proposition, how
    the letters A and B are pronounced, what the colour of human blood is called, that other human
    beings have blood and call it "blood".

    Between the two mentions of hinge propositions at 341 and 343 is this:

    342. That is to say, it belongs to the logic of our scientific investigations that certain things are in
    deed not doubted.

    And the statement immediately following the second mention:

    344. My life consists in my being content to accept many things.

    We do not doubt hinge propositions because they are somehow beyond doubt, but rather because of everything that hinges on them. To call them into question would be to call everything that revolves around them into question. It is fundamental to the logic of our investigations that certain propositions stand without question. It is fundamental to our way of life that certain propositions are not called into question. "If I want the door to turn, the hinges must stay put (343)."
  • Sam26
    2.5k
    As you know, the only example of a hinge proposition is a mathematical proposition. To exclude mathematical propositions from what is true or false is problematic to say the least.Fooloso4

    I'm going to make one more comment before moving on, because I don't want any confusion about what I'm saying. It's not true that the only example of a hinge proposition is a mathematical proposition. There are mathematical hinges, such as, 1+1=2 or 2+2=4 and so on. However, I'm not sure why you would say these are the only examples of hinges. The reason the book is written is because Wittgenstein is saying that there is something special about Moore's proposition, viz., "I know this is a hand," which is by definition, given the context, a hinge-proposition. Moreover, there are many other hinge-propositions. For example, the rules of chess are hinge-propositions.

    I didn't exclude mathematical propositions from being true or false, only hinge mathematical propositions. Only propositions that are hinges (mathematical or otherwise) are excluded from truth or falsity.

    We do not doubt hinge propositions because they are somehow beyond doubt, but rather because of everything that hinges on them. To call them into question would be to call everything that revolves around them into question. It is fundamental to the logic of our investigations that certain propositions stand without question. It is fundamental to our way of life that certain propositions are not called into question. "If I want the door to turn, the hinges must stay put (343)."Fooloso4

    I agree with some of this, but not all of it. It's the first sentence of this paragraph that is problematic.

    If a proposition by its very nature is a hinge, then it's not doubtable. The hinge stands in a certain relation to the reality around us (the objects or things that make up the world), and to all the other propositions that connect to hinge-propositions. It's the hinge that stays put (which is why it's not doubtable), just as the reality around us stays put, at least generally, and it's because of this unique status that hinges cannot be doubted. They're bedrock, i.e., they allow the door to swing. The door being all the other propositions that are not hinges.

    Two things must remain solid in order for most of the propositions of language (including mathematical propositions) to function. First, reality itself (the door frame), second, the hinge-proposition (hinge connecting to the door frame), these two remain fixed, which in turn allows the door of our life of language to function. If these things were not fixed, then no linguistic culture, no language-game of epistemology.

    Maybe this clears some things up, but I'm not hopeful.
  • Fooloso4
    5.6k
    I'm not sure why you would say these are the only examples of hinges.Sam26

    This is the only example of a hinge proposition that is given.

    The reason the book is written is because Wittgenstein is saying that there is something special about Moore's proposition,Sam26

    This is what prompted him to put these thoughts down on paper, but he says addresses much more than Moore's proposition.

    ... there are many other hinge-propositions.Sam26

    Yes. What is at issue is what counts as a hinge proposition. You exclude propositions that are either true or false. I think this is incorrect.

    I didn't exclude mathematical propositions from being true or false, only hinge mathematical propositions.Sam26

    "In the first place there is the fact that "12x12 etc." is a mathematical proposition ... (654)

    "The mathematical proposition has, as it were officially, been given the stamp of
    incontestability. I.e.: 'Dispute about other things; this is immovable - it is a hinge on which your
    dispute can turn.'" (655)

    Are you claiming that the mathematical proposition 12x12=144 is neither true nor false?

    If a proposition by its very nature is a hinge, then it's not doubtable.Sam26

    This is the claim that is in question. 12x12=144 is given as an example of a mathematical proposition. The mathematical proposition is said to be a hinge. 12x12=144 is true.

    If these things were not fixed, then no linguistic culture, no language-game of epistemology.Sam26

    That is why I pointed to the river and relativity. Nothing is permanently fixed. These analogies show how it is possible for there to be knowledge without eternal verities.
  • T H E
    147
    96. It might be imagined that some propositions, of the form of empirical propositions, were hardened and functioned as channels for such empirical propositions as were not hardened but fluid; and that this relation altered with time, in that fluid propositions hardened, and hard ones became
    fluid.
    97. The mythology may change back into a state of flux, the river-bed of thoughts may shift. But I
    distinguish between the movement of the waters on the river-bed and the shift of the bed itself;
    though there is not a sharp division of the one from the other.
    98. But if someone were to say "So logic too is an empirical science" he would be wrong. Yet this is
    right: the same proposition may get treated at one time as something to test by experience, at
    another as a rule of testing.
    99. And the bank of that river consists partly of hard rock, subject to no alteration or only to an
    imperceptible one, partly of sand, which now in one place now in another gets washed away, or
    deposited.

    152. I do not explicitly learn the propositions that stand fast for me. I can discover them
    subsequently like the axis around which a body rotates. This axis is not fixed in the sense that
    anything holds it fast, but the movement around it determines its immobility.
    Fooloso4
    :up: :up: :up:

    Amazing selection of Witt quotes. [Emphasis added.]
  • Sam26
    2.5k
    The radical skeptic seems to think that his doubts can take place in a rational argument, but the truth is that this kind of doubting undermines all arguments, especially the ones put forth by the skeptic. When the doubts reach this level, you can't even be sure of the meaning of your words. It's self-defeating. The doubt loses all meaning. There are rational doubts, but these must be distinguished from the doubts of the radical skeptic.

    Is it even possible that the world around us doesn't exist? Is it possible that we've miscalculated in all of our calculations (OC 55)?" The answer is obvious with a little thought.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    12.6k
    If a proposition by its very nature is a hinge, then it's not doubtable.Sam26

    The reason why the hinge is not doubted, is because it is unreasonable to doubt it. It is unreasonable because of what fooloso4 says, so much hinges on it, not because it has a certain relation to reality. I don't think Wittgenstein discussed "reality". What would you even mean by that, other than so much (what we apprehend as reality) hinges on it?
  • RussellA
    1.6k
    language gameBanno

    I think that coherence and correspondence are useful concepts when discussing Wittgenstein's language games, in that it would be relatively easy to invent a language game based on bedrock hinge propositions that was internally logically coherent whilst ignoring the greater problem of ensuring that such a language game corresponded to external reality.

    I am using terminology borrowed from AC Grayling's Wittgenstein on Scepticism and Certainty. That of foundationalism, OC 248 "I have arrived at the rock bottom of my convictions" and relativism, OC 65 "When language-games change, then there is a change in concepts, and with the concepts the meanings of words change". I used the link www.acgrayling.com/wittgenstein-on-scepticism-and-certainty

    As Grayling concluded, "As OC stands, it stands defeated in just this way, for it only deals with scepticism at the lower, less threatening level, and fails to recognise that scepticism in its strongest form is, precisely, relativism"

    Though it may be that Wittgenstein included passages on relativism in order to play devil's advocate whilst allowing him to work out his own foundationalist ideas.

    On Certainty was intended to answer the sceptic. But did Wittgenstein succeed in his ambition ?

    If Wittgenstein's position was that of a foundationalist - OC 88 "It may be for example that all enquiry on our part is set so as to exempt certain propositions from doubt, if they were ever formulated. They lie apart from the route travelled by enquiry" - the sceptic may validly ask why "certain propositions must be excluded from doubt"

    If Wittgenstein's position was that of relativism - OC 256 "On the other hand a language-game does change with time" - the sceptic may also validly ask where is the justification that one language game corresponds more to external reality than another.

    Although On Certainty is an incomplete work, could he have used more persuasive arguments ?

    He could have proposed that "here is one hand" is a performative rather than constative statement, an idea Austin later developed more fully, partly based on Wittgenstein's writings.

    He could have proposed that "here is one hand" is a Kantian synthetic a priori statement, where objects exist not in the world but in the mind of the observer. Wittgenstein was aware of Husserlian phenomenology, of which Kant's synthetic a priori was an important part. But as Wittgenstein seemingly was not a great reader of other philosophers, he tended to reinvent the wheel and seemingly did not take Kant's synthetic a priori as seriously as he should have.

    Truth needs both coherence within a language and correspondence with the external world. On Certainty may be insightful about coherence, but could be more developed as regards correspondence.
  • Sam26
    2.5k
    OC 66 begins the second of four divisions in W. notes.

    "I make assertions about reality, assertions which have different degrees of assurance. How does the degree of assurance come out? What consequences has it (OC 66)?"

    In the language-game of epistemology, which is what OC is concerned with, we make assertions about reality. For example, Moore's statement that "This is a hand," his own hand that is, is just such a statement. However, let's consider other such statements in different contexts. For instance, I'm in a room that isn't well lit, and I think what I see is a hand, I say, "I think that's a hand," as you strain to see what it is you're looking at. Another instance might be seeing what a magician presents as his hand while doing a magicians illusion. You're not sure what it is you're looking at. These kinds of statements give us differing degrees of assurance based on context. Much of what we think we know is based on "degrees of assurance," i.e., it's probability based.

    One way that different degrees of assurance comes out is based on context. Are there good reasons to doubt in both of my examples. Yes. In my first example there is insufficient light, which gives rise to the doubt. In the second example we're watching the performance of a magician, whose is purposely misleading you. Again, good reasons for the doubt. However, in Moore's example one wonders what a doubt would look like. The case for a doubt in Moore's presentation seems lacking, to say the least, which is probably why Moore uses the example. "[A]re we to say that certainty is merely a constructed point to which some things approximate more, some less closely? No. Doubt gradually loses its sense. This language-game just is like that (OC 56)." This is just the way we describe what we mean by hand in English, it's part of the logic of language. It's part of linguistic training. How do you know this is a hand? It's what we mean by hand. When we teach a child how to use the word hand correctly a doubt might arise about whether the child has learned to use the word properly.
  • Fooloso4
    5.6k
    Moore has found something significant though, and Wittgenstein respects Moore's for this. Moore has pointed out something special about these kinds of statements (Moorean statements or facts). They seem to provide a kind of foundational belief that is not only fundamental to epistemology, but fundamental to language.Sam26

    I think that you have grossly inflated the significance of what is nothing more than a statement of the obvious. More importantly, this traditional picture of foundations is rejected by Wittgenstein. He reverses the order:

    248: "And one might almost say that these foundation-walls are carried by the whole house."
  • Sam26
    2.5k
    I think that you have grossly inflated the significance of what is nothing more than a statement of the obvious. More importantly, this traditional picture of foundations is rejected by Wittgenstein. He reverses the order:Fooloso4

    Maybe you should start your own analysis in another thread.
  • Fooloso4
    5.6k


    When you said in your first post:

    ... as we examine On CertaintySam26

    I did not think by "we" you meant you.

    This area of the forum, as the heading indicates, is for philosophical discussion.
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