• Janus
    9.7k
    No... I ignored that locution; I thought it odd. Art has a use, it does not show a use...Banno

    Oh, yeah, all that. Except "The content of what is said is what it shows" - "content" is wrong, as shown in PI - use replaces content.Banno

    You say here that the content of what is said is not what it shows, and you said that use replaces content, which seems to suggest that what is said shows use.

    Sometimes the art shows something. Rarely is what it shows simply what it says.Banno

    I'd say that good art always shows something. In the case of music (absent lyrics) and painting, nothing is said in the literal sense of 'said' that applies to sentences. In the case of poetry I agree that what is literally said rarely, if ever, exhausts its meaning. But in the case of poetry meaning is not use at all, but association.
  • Banno
    10.5k
    You say here that the content of what is said is not what it shows, and you said that use replaces content, which seems to suggest that what is said shows use.Janus

    No; What is said is use.

    I'd say that good art always shows something.Janus

    As does any Good Scott; although I take your point, good art is simply art that shows something...
  • javra
    1.2k
    I'd say that good art always shows something. In the case of music (absent lyrics) and painting, nothing is said in the literal sense of 'said' that applies to sentences. In the case of poetry I agree that what is literally said rarely, if ever, exhausts its meaning. But in the case of poetry meaning is not use at all, but association.Janus

    Maybe I'm naive in asking:

    Why always the metaphor of "shows" and never that of "tells"? As one example: a good poem tells of things it does not directly say. Or, in the case of lyric-less music, the melody doesn't show you emotions but instead tells you of emotions. Or, a pointing dog doesn't show you where the given is but tells you of where to look so as to discern the given.

    "Showings" imply visualized images, which could be construed to be meaningless in the absence of a tale that they invoke. "Tellings" are always telling, bear significance and, hence, meaning, by their very nature.

    This question goes out to @Banno as well.
  • Janus
    9.7k
    I haven't thought about the distinction between showing and telling much; but to give a quick answer i would say that they are more or less synonymous in this context.

    No; What is said is use.Banno

    Perhaps in some cases, but not in the case of poetry though. Looking at these issues from different angles would produce different answers it seems to me. I see meaning as consisting in associative content, and I have never liked the idea of 'meaning as use"; I think reference as use is more apt; which just means that words are conventionally used to refer to this or that. In the case of non-ostensive words it is more a case of 'indication as use'. The words in a command indicate that I want you to do something or notice, for example.
  • javra
    1.2k
    I haven't thought about the distinction between showing and telling much; but to give a quick answer i would say that they are more or less synonymous in this context.Janus

    Yea, I'm thinking it through myself. To use an example, if the pointing dog is not showing but telling, then its pointing is itself propositional - could be a true or false telling (which doesn't seem to fit for "showing") - and this sans the use of language. And if its pointing is propositional, then it is indicative of (language-less) belief. Something along these lines. (I know from at least anecdotal evidence that dogs can deceive - and are thereby endowed with a rudimentary theory of mind.)

    Haven't read through most of the tread, so I don't know if I'm addressing things already addressed.
  • Banno
    10.5k


    i would say that they are more or less synonymous in this context...Janus

    ...whereas I, following Wittgenstein, make a distinction based on the way we follow a rule.

    Consider how someone might demonstrate to you that they understood what to do at a traffic light.

    They might say that they know to stop on red, go on green and dither on yellow.

    Or they might take you for a drive, through sets of traffic lights, and show you that they can do as expected.

    There's more to this than meets the eye; but that might do for a start, or at least to show(!) that Janus and I are not quite on the same page.
  • Janus
    9.7k
    Sure, but the "traffic lights" scenario is a different context, no?

    In any case as an interesting aside to introduce another wrinkle in the fabric, and demonstrate the polysemy of some terms, you could say "I can tell from the way you drive that you understand how to respond correctly to traffic lights". That said even "The way you drive tells me that you understand how to respond correctly to traffic lights" would not be a particularly unusual usage
  • Banno
    10.5k
    Yeah, sure, there are other ways of using the words say, talk, show and so on. That does nothing to diminish or blur the distinction at hand. I will not use "talk" here because of that ambiguity.

    As for context, what is salient is that there are ways of stating beliefs and ways of showing beliefs. Which is the right hand side of a T-sentence? A showing or a saying? I say both.
  • javra
    1.2k
    Consider how someone might demonstrate to you that they understood what to do at a traffic light.

    They might say that they know to stop on red, go on green and dither on yellow.

    Or they might take you for a drive, through sets of traffic lights, and show you that they can do as expected.
    Banno

    In still trying to think this through:

    It strikes me that the showing can occur even if not intended. For instance, in this quoted example they might intend to show you their understanding but inadvertently show you the opposite via their actions. Whereas a telling would always be an intended conveyance - an intended showing (?) - and, hence, maybe, always propositional.

    In other words, I'm currently assuming that what is show may or may not be propositional. But that what is told (via language or otherwise) is always propositional.

    As to one possible significance of this: In terms of at least art, since art is an intentionally produced expression, it would then consist of tellings (which might be construed as intended showings). If so, does that then imply all art to be in some abstract way propositional? Haven't thought that far out yet. But the notion of fake rather then genuine art does have some sway ... as in, for example, art that is a sell-out. Might the emotions of some songs, for example, be false rather than true due to the intentions behind their expression? This such that the beliefs via which the songs are produced are, in some highly abstract way, false beliefs? Thereby somehow making the song a propositional expression?

    I'll apologize in advance if I need to. I'm freely thinking out loud here, without any discernible conclusions, in what's likely a very idiosyncratic take regarding what propositions can be constituted of ... And I know these thoughts are in a serious muddle.

    But I'm posting this anyway, just in case it might be of interest. Still, may the post be overlooked if its train of thought derails the thread's subject matter.
  • javra
    1.2k
    As for context, what is salient is that there are ways of stating beliefs and ways of showing beliefs. Which is the right hand side of a T-sentence? A showing or a saying? I say both.Banno

    Long story short, I agree with this.
  • Banno
    10.5k
    In other words, I'm currently assuming that what is show may or may not be propositional. But that what is told (via language or otherwise) is always propositional.javra

    Interesting. I don't disagree.

    What a painting shows may not be anything like what was intended. Consider:

    _105329504_hi051871586.jpg

    It's a painting of little merit. The artist was a try-hard.

    Reveal
    What happens to your view of what this painting shows when you learn it is by Hitler? Consider that the Final Solution was planned in a location with a not dissimilar outlook.
  • Constance
    75
    And you arguing that belief content is a broader semantic category - I don't know what kind of things you throw in it, other than that it can be "pre-linguistic" - and so since not all of that content is even "linguistic" (presumably not all words or symbols, I don't know where you come from on this), not all of that content can be propositional; since propositions must be linguistic.fdrake

    I found this point about belief being a broader semantic category to be closer to the truth. Just make an observation of one's own, if you will, ready-to-hand "belief" that the cup is on the table. The semantics, that is, the meaning, of spontaneous, unreflected passive affirmation is not explicit at all. It is in the fluid affair of grabbing the cup while reading, adjusting the light, checking the time and so forth. One can hardly call this propositional, only dispositionally propositional; and even when attention turns towards the cup which, say, spills, the "the cup is on the table and it spilled" proposition is certainly not entertained at all. The entire event is a seamless, propositionless doing. I do think we are in a cat's world of prereflective engagement.

    As to the content: mostly pragmatic, like walking down the street, each step assumes a secure landing, and the implicit "belief" that is dispositionally "behind" this, stands at the ready if one is called upon to speak, or if one commences to think things out. Language and its propositions stands apart from the execution.

    Prelinguistic? Pragmatics is this, and most of our engagements in the world are like this.

    Beliefs as mental states/dispositions with content vs beliefs as holding some statement to be true. Issues there might be: is a disposition towards a state of affairs the same as an attitude towards a statement?fdrake

    A disposition towards some state of affairs: this disposition presents itself as a conditional "if...then.." which is a pragmatic construction. Dispositions are anticipatory and language and logic merely formalizes this.
  • Banno
    10.5k
    I found this point about belief being a broader semantic category to be closer to the truth. Just make an observation of one's own, if you will, ready-to-hand "belief" that the cup is on the table. The semantics, that is, the meaning, of spontaneous, unreflected passive affirmation is not explicit at all. It is in the fluid affair of grabbing the cup while reading, adjusting the light, checking the time and so forth. One can hardly call this propositional, only dispositionally propositional; and even when attention turns towards the cup which, say, spills, the "the cup is on the table and it spilled" proposition is certainly not entertained at all. The entire event is a seamless, propositionless doing. I do think we are in a cat's world of prereflective engagement.Constance

    This is an excellent account.

    I'd just add that each step of the process can be put into the form "Constance believes P" where P is some proposition.
  • Andrew M
    1.2k
    If the purported event is representable in language and it meets the public usage criteria for an event, then it is an event.
    — Andrew M

    It strikes me that if there are a class of things that are "purported events", that must be "representable in language" and "meet public usage criteria" to count as events, it would then follow that those purported events do not fall under DPC despite being occurrent:
    fdrake

    Purported is a qualifier on an event, not another kind of event. Whether or not a purported event is an event depends just on whether it meets the specified criteria for an event.

    For example, that there is a purported earthquake does not imply that there is an earthquake. There may be no earthquake at all. If not, then nothing occurred.
  • Andrew M
    1.2k
    Creative is left with the absurdity that
    (1) The mouse ran behind the tree.
    — Andrew M
    is not a proposition.
    Banno

    I think he agrees that my statement of the event is a proposition. He just disagrees that the event itself is a proposition. But I think you would agree with @creativesoul about that as well.

    Anyway, if that helps...
  • fdrake
    4.5k
    Prelinguistic? Pragmatics is this, and most of our engagements in the world are like this.Constance

    I'd just add that each step of the process can be put into the form "Constance believes P" where P is some proposition.Banno

    Do either of you see a tension between "most of our engagements with the world are (prelinguistic)" and "I agree, and those engagements target statements"?
  • Harry Hindu
    3.9k
    Any event can be characterized by a statement. Whether or not it ever is, is a separate matter.Andrew M
    A contradiction. If you dont know whether or not a event is characterized by a statement, then you can't say for sure that any event is characterized by a statement.

    It is more accurate to say that any belief can be characterized by a statement however, whether or not the belief ever characterizes events that are not other beliefs, is a seperate matter.
  • fdrake
    4.5k
    A disposition towards some state of affairs: this disposition presents itself as a conditional "if...then.." which is a pragmatic construction. Dispositions are anticipatory and language and logic merely formalizes this.Constance

    I'd like to say that I generally agree with your pragmatic account of dispositions, and I think we have similar inspirations for holding similar accounts; exposure to Heidegger, going by your reference to "ready-to-hand". I think where we may lose agreement (though I dunno), is whether the act of putting something into words acts as a transformation of semantic content. If we admit that pragmatic engagements have their own broader flavour of semantic content than the semantic content of declarative sentences, and we take a pragmatic (speech-act centric) view on the use of language, it would seem that the broader flavour of semantic content is generic in the use of language, not simply the kind of content which we use declarative sentences to express through their connection to truthmakers/truth conditions.

    I don't mean to suggest that "for every event E possibly there exists a sentence S(E) such that E is the truth maker for S(E)" is strictly false; I think it describes one way of using language rather than a property of nature. If we attempt to describe any phenomenon, it will tend to be cashed out in part using declarative sentences; but it will also contain allusions, metaphors, narrative and rhetorical devices, which function more by cajoling (performativity; illucutionary force and the expectation of perlocutionary effect) than by matching up with a truth maker. This second cajoling kind of content I take as corresponding to a part of the broader conceptualisation of semantic content above. It isn't spelled out in what makes an utterance true, it can only be spelled out in terms of its expected effects and motivations.

    To be sure, those expected effects and motivations can in principle be stated as occurrent afterwards, but that switches from a kind of semantic content that is fleshed out by truth conditions to one which is fleshed out by pragmatic considerations.
  • bongo fury
    822
    That's plausible, but it doesn't mean we need to recognise any mysteriously non-actual facts ("possible states of affairs" if they can't be just plain old alternative statements).bongo fury

    No mysteries here, just possibilities.Banno

    Qua plain old alternative statements? Cool.

    The deluded cat believed the mouse went behind the tree.Banno

    Was disposed to assent (upon being gifted language) to a pointing of "mouse running behind tree" at the inappropriate choice of space-time region? Cool. Apart maybe from the bit about language. So: was disposed to respond to the event as to a mouse-running-behind-tree event?





    To me, that's too close to referent, to there being something that the sentence [must be about as a whole denotes], to reified meaning.Banno

    :ok:

    Or is a statement not about (at least) what its subject term refers to and (at most) what its predicate term is true or false of?

    Or were you just talking about sentences that aren't statements?
  • Banno
    10.5k
    "I agree, and those engagements target statements"?fdrake

    Where's that from? What's it mean?
  • Banno
    10.5k
    Was disposed to assent (upon being gifted language) to a pointing of "mouse running behind tree" at the inappropriate choice of space-time region? Cool. Apart maybe from the bit about language. So: was disposed to respond to the event as to a mouse-running-behind-tree event?bongo fury

    Convolute. The mouse ran up the tree. The cat did not look up the tree, but behind it, and then around the base, not having seen the mouse run up the tree. The cat believed the mouse went behind the tree.

    I'n not convinced that talk of dispositions is helpful.

    Or is a statement not about (at least) what its subject term refers to and (at most) what its predicate term is true or false of?bongo fury

    ...about...

    Janus was talking about poetry; in a poem, reference need not work as it usually does in a statement.
  • fdrake
    4.5k
    Where's that from? What's it mean?Banno

    Belief as a propositional attitude, with proposition substituted for statement. The substitution being justified by truth functional equivalence/substitution salva-veritae/disquotation. This goes back to the start of our dispute.
  • Sam26
    1.6k
    The discussion of pre-linguistic beliefs (with you and others) goes back to my thread on Wittgenstein in the prior forum. I'm wondering if your position has changed much?
  • Banno
    10.5k
    Ok.

    "engagements..."; "target..."?

    ...had me puzzled.
  • Banno
    10.5k
    I don't think so.
  • bongo fury
    822
    Convolute.Banno

    Not the second one: not the (debatably) "languageless" one. To say that the cat,

    was disposed to respond to the event as to a mouse-running-behind-tree eventbongo fury

    seems to me a fairly credible rough and ready behavioural analysis: a reasonable translation of "the cat believed the mouse went behind the tree" into a form less obviously open to the objection of anthropomorphism, to say nothing of theoretical doubts about beliefs altogether. I don't doubt that it presents problems, but it's fairly straight-forward. You seem to be hoping to exhibit the superiority of the natural idiom here,

    The mouse ran up the tree. The cat did not look up the tree, but behind it, and then around the base, not having seen the mouse run up the tree. The cat believed the mouse went behind the tree.Banno

    Point not taken. All I'm seeing is a dogmatic attachment.

    I'm not convinced that talk of dispositions is helpful.Banno

    Me neither. But likewise talk of beliefs. I'm just trying to understand how people are understanding this talk. Preferably without having to be uncharitable and conclude mysticism.

    Janus was talking about poetry;Banno

    Fine. But I thought this,

    To me, that's too close to referent, to there being something that the sentence must be about as a whole denotes, to reified meaning.
    — Banno
    bongo fury

    might be also about eschewing propositions as meanings of statements.
  • Banno
    10.5k
    I'm not sure what's going one here.

    I've been at some pains not to use the word "meaning" except as a generic term, and certainly not as the thing the proposition stands for or refers to.

    The notion to be avoided is that different statements can say the same thing, and that hence there is a thing called the proposition, which is what the statement means. It's customary here to write "snow is white" in several different languages and then claim these various statements all share the same proposition. There's an odd circularity there that Wittgenstein rids us of: the meaning of the statements is given by the proposition, and yet the proposition is no more than, or exactly, the meaning of the statements. Nothing is explained here.
  • bongo fury
    822


    Yes. Exactly. I thought you were talking about that. Not only about poetry.
  • Constance
    75
    It isn't spelled out in what makes an utterance true, it can only be spelled out in terms of its expected effects and motivations.fdrake

    Expected effects is what truth "really" is about? I think if you map out the lived landscape, insert that all that is there is a kind of, well, "thereING" rather than simply "there" then whatever you think about truth, knowledge, reality, ethics, aesthetics, mind is going to have to be reconstrued, for there is now a new foundational term in play: time. The pragmatists talked like this long ago (see Dewey, Peirce, James). Meaning is bound to doing, concepts are dynamic events, truth is, as you say, the expected effect.
    So to say, "the contents of belief is propositional" puts the question to the basic assumptions about what a proposition is, and if a proposition is understood in terms of "consummatory events" (Dewey), i.e., the completion of a problem solving affair (See his Art As Experience: the organism approaches the obstacle, feels its way around, searching for a resolution, finds passage; then onward through, having the solution's details now incorporated into future possibilities) then herein lies the understanding! Of course, the content is full, rich, powerful: this goes to value, for value is the essence of caring about this. What is value? This is about metavalue, which I wont' go into unless you want to, but I say it moves the discussion to value because the content is, of course, not discussable. Presence qua presence cannot be spoken, and if the understanding is all about pragmatics, what we call reality, truth and the rest is really ready-to-hand instrumentality of Being in the world.
    I read Rorty, Dewey and Heidegger as talking about essentially the same kind of analysis of knowledge, though Heidegger is much more interesting.
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