• Antony Nickles
    237

    there's a lot to learn about how & what we value by looking at how we talk. & There's also something fun (even creatively joyful) in sussing out our implicit criteria.csalisbury

    Austin is entertaining in his ability to play with our concepts and yet in a way that resonates and satisfies the desire to actually get down to brass tacks and be able to sort the wheat from the chaff. I would add that looking and describing the grammar of a concept is only the first step; that creating examples to make claims about our ordinary criteria provides the discussion point for our philosophical issues (Cavell will call the examples "philosophical data").

    Going back one generation, Walter Benjamin's Arcade Project is in the same spirit. In pop culture, I think there was a move in this direction with Carlin & his heirs. Or, to be fair, Lenny Bruce -->Carlin-->Next generation. Obviously it's a little looser, but there's something OLP-y about Seinfeld, for example, at least if you squint.csalisbury

    Cavell has a high opinion of Benjamin, but I have yet to try anything. Cavell uses culture as examples for philosophy, but I had not thought about the fact that actual stand-up comedy does unearth our unreflected shared lives, a very interesting point. And maybe the satisfaction of comedy is the feeling of community in realizing something we had not considered is common to others, and that the humor comes in part from the surprise of the unrealized. Cavell (and Nietszche) will examine the tragedy of missing, dismissing, or overlooking this insight into ourselves.
  • Snakes Alive
    675
    I honestly haven't read as much of either as I'd like to have. I have been trying to make an effort, though, especially with history as regards my home state (California), and it has been a fairly eye-opening, disturbing experience (the history of California is a bizarre, violent, tumultuous, and sad one). It gives me a bit of vertigo, to learn about real things – but I think once you get the taste for it, the fantasies just don't satisfy anymore. The explanations for why the way the world is often have a clear genealogy, and history undermines philosophy to the extent that the former often explains the latter, but rarely if ever vice-versa (philosophy is unseated as being a primary, or deep, form of inquiry).

    I'm coming at this from a different angle, but I don't want to push it either. As a student of anthropology and sociology, you're familiar with the dynamic of landed vs aspirational classes ( the way in which the landed color the aspirational.) I'm talking about something like that.csalisbury

    Hmm, I'm not sure what you're getting at. Are you saying that philosophy comes from the 'landed' esoteric tradition, and it's not possible to shake it off?
  • Antony Nickles
    237

    My view of philosophy is a bit more prosaic. It's just a bad method of inquiry, based on misconceptions that we have no reason to bind ourselves to anymore. It's like entrail-reading to try to see the future, say. We just don't really have a reason to do it anymore.Snakes Alive

    By "method of inquiry" are we not taking OLP as such a thing? that we investigate to learn knowledge of ourselves that we had not realized before that provides insight into what we inquire about? And this wouldn't be trying to see or ensure the future so much as remember our past, uncover what we are agreeing to when we say something so we may consent to our future rather than be determined by it. Should it lead to a different outcome? or be held to a different standard? or be concerned with things other then when we don't know what to do; how to live a better life; how we might come to agreement about art and politics? And isn't part of philosophy its internal criticism to root out misconceptions? And what would be better equipped to do that?
  • csalisbury
    2.7k
    Hmm, I'm not sure what you're getting at. Are you saying that philosophy comes from the 'landed' esoteric tradition, and it's not possible to shake it off?Snakes Alive

    Yeah, i was being a little oblique. I should probably check myself here, recall the thread I'm on, and remember I don't know all that much about OLP. Ok, this is my best stab in broad terms at what I've been hinting at:

    The element I was thinking of, drawing on landed vs aspirational, is that (today, anyway) landed classes tend to downplay the things they've got. Someone (secure psychologically) who's coming from old money probably isn't going to boast about their wealth. But they will definitely notice when someone else, who doesn't have it, is acting like they do. How they express disapproval is often subtle, in a rarefied register. I think a disavowal of philosophy often works in similar ways. You might not overtly champion Hegel or Quine or whomever, per se, but you're still going to register when someone is making a philosophical faux pas.

    Ok, easing into the concrete. So you can imagine witnessing regular people debating the meaning of words, while also thinking that they're not quite getting at the shit Austin, say, is getting at. The conversation isn't reaching that level. I believe you have a background in linguistics, so this is tricky. Clearly there are things about language that a professional can see, that a typical language user won't. I think for the point of my post, that can be bracketed (though I welcome a correction here.) But the idea is this:

    You can talk to a fisherman about life shit and they will have a lot to say, right? (& yeah, this is classic liberal wisdom-of-the-working-man pap that has been around since at least Wordsworth. Nevertheless it's true, I spend a lot of time talking to fishermen & fisherman get heady if you give them the space to) A lot of what they're saying is going to, occasionally, take a philosophical flavor; the tuned-in philosophy brain will take this stuff into a mental vestibule, without letting it into the main room. You understand what they're saying, but you see the mistakes they're making.

    So what's happening? Here you can take the historical or anthropological perspective and kind of break down what's going on. They are doing an anthropologically known activity that you are not, or are no longer, doing. Ok. But fold it back on itself. A martian anthropologist, or whatever. What's happening when you're recognizing, from your post-philosophy anthropological perspective, what they're doing? You listen and nod, but for a canny observer, who knows how you act in other situations, it's clear you're not expressing real agreement. For the martian anthropologist, this looks a lot like someone who, idk, is familar with olympic-level athletics, tolerantly observing a sub-olympic performance. Advanced biometrics and the deal's sealed - this is someone simply tolerating a performance they know is lacking.

    Anthropologically, that's all you've got. This isn't as good as that, and these value judgments are part and parcel of sociological differentiation. The only way out* is to introduce some normative idea of why an Austin is doing something different. I want to really focus on this - because even the fact of meta-cognitive illusion etc only matters from a normative perspective. It doesn't necessarily have to be a philosophically normative perspective, but it is going to be normative. There's no reason why being confused on an object level is worse than having a clear meta-perspective, unless you bring in a normative dimension. The 'puzzle' in my earlier post is to explain why OLP is a better approach than, say, german idealism (or, more to the point, the fisherman going off on his thoughts) without using philosophical resources. I think this is actually very hard.

    ---
    * well not quite. another way is to just say: yes, I judge others for the sake of differentiating myself from them, and that's the only reason I'm doing it. But that seems unappealing.
  • Snakes Alive
    675
    You can talk to a fisherman about life shit and they will have a lot to say, right? (& yeah, this is classic liberal wisdom-of-the-working-man pap that has been around since at least Wordsworth. Nevertheless it's true, I spend a lot of time talking to fishermen) A lot of what they're saying is going to, occasionally, take a philosophical flavor; the tuned-in philosophy brain will take this stuff into a mental vestibule, without letting it into the main room. You understand what they're saying, but you see the mistakes they're making.csalisbury

    I'm not sure people who are educated in philosophy are doing better than fisherman, so that they have any special insights into 'mistakes' they're making. There are a couple very basic things of informal logic, sure. But other than that, I genuinely am not sure that philosophy really grants you a skillset – sure, it allows you internally to see what someone is doing wrong 'from the point of view of philosophy,' so you can be a snickering grad student on Twitter laughing when someone claims not to give a shit about the is-ought gap (but Hume is so important! You've never read him! etc.) or says no one should give a shit about Quine or whatever (but you don't understand!), but I honestly think those grad students don't really know anything. They are privy to a certain bunch of books and rituals for talking about them, but do they know anything more than the fishermen? Are they able to think better, avoid mistakes they make? I think, no. And further, I think philosophy actually makes you capable of making mistakes the likes of which you'd never dream of if you didn't get into it – I really do think that to a large extent it makes you think worse, because it introduces you to malformed thoughts and gives them prestige. Reading Heidegger literally makes you dumber (I've witnessed it). Just like, say gorging yourself on New Age books (and taking them seriously) makes you dumber.

    So what's happening? Here you can take the historical or anthropological perspective and kind of break down what's going on. They are doing an anthropologically known activity that you are not, or are no longer, doing. Ok. But fold it back on itself. A martian anthropologist, or whatever. What's happening when you're recognizing, from your post-philosophy anthropological perspective, what they're doing? You listen and nod, but for a canny observer, who knows how you act in other situations, it's clear you're not expressing real agreement. For the martian anthropologist, this looks a lot like someone who, idk, is familar with olympic-level athletics, tolerantly observing a sub-olympic performance. Advanced biometrics and the deal's sealed - this is someone simply tolerating a performance they know is lacking.csalisbury

    I think if you can see through it you do have a sort of skill, but I don't think it's like being a great athlete, or being smart, or something. I think it's a kind of fluke. The comments of the late Wittgenstein were essentially due to a troubled mind, and not indicative of the wider stream of philosophy (this is why today he is more of a saint than a 'researcher'), and a few people picked up on them, along with the English common sense, and came to some realizations. It really happened by accident – the insights weren't assimilated by the broader public or academia, and they won't be in the future. Same for people who for whatever reason happen on this stuff later and are cognitively primed to see it. I really think it's happenstance, much like the skeptic who achieves ataraxia by accident according to Sextus.

    So basically it's like being the weirdo in Rome who thinks that reading the bird guts is all a bunch of hokum – there are people who knew it was nonsense, but they could never gain much social currency, and the reason they knew was probably accidental (smart people believed it, educated people believed it, etc.). Now, it may be that in the future, it becomes obvious to everyone that philosophy is all a bunch of hokum (which it is), in the same way as it's obvious that bird augury is a bunch of hokum. But that would come as the result of changes made elsewhere – better competing paradigms for explaining and manipulating the things philosophy is 'supposed' to answer for. Maybe that will happen, maybe not. But there is a reason we are susceptible to philosophy, just as there's a reason we're susceptible to augury.
  • csalisbury
    2.7k
    True story, I knew a fisherman who had just gotten into the Hume is/ought gap. He would keep bringing it up, in the wrong contexts. It's a funny story (maybe) but it gets at the heart of what I'm saying. Being post-philosophy means having-already-gone through philosophy. It's very easy when everyone around you is highly-educated to realize tweets about the supposed importance of a philosopher are dumb (they are) and to think that fisherman are rightfully free from it, or whatever, with fisherman wisdom. The truth is that, if you're a fisherman, all that really means is that you're good at fishing. Outside of that, you're a dude like you and me, and sometimes you think of stuff but don't know how to make sense of it. There's an important perspective shift. A real life fisherman isn't someone who lives his life as an inversion of stultified academy stuff. He's someone who lives his life and is aware of the academy., and takes a stance toward it. Often that stance is - man, they're talking about some stuff that intrigues me. and every now and then I'l take a stab at it.

    Is this similar to Bird Augury? Yes, in some ways. But is there an OLP of bird augury? Brass tacks, if we drop any pretense, if someone who comes to you with hume stuff, you're going to recognize someone who is at an early stage of a path of thought you've gone down, and is confused. Imagine: 'no man, this is just some superstition shit, you don't need to get into that'. Ok, maybe. But really think about that. Imagine someone told you back in the day that the stuff you were getting into was bogus. Imagine you didn't work through this stuff, but were nudged away from it. Good anthropologically, maybe. But would you feel as confident saying its hokum? I think it's important to be clear here - think about it - you can say its hokum confidently - can the fisherman? What's the difference?

    The point is that many fisherman really do take a step down that path. This is what I mean by landed vs aspirational.
  • Snakes Alive
    675
    The truth is that, if you're a fisherman, all that really means is that you're good at fishingcsalisbury

    Of course. But I think being good at fishing is a real and useful skill, whereas being 'good at philosophy' doesn't really entail being good at anything, unless you're on the job market in philosophy.

    But is there an OLP of bird augury?csalisbury

    Sort of. History always adduces random skeptics of prevailing doctrines. The point is that they're ad hoc, and have no special gift – things just 'click' for them. I actually do think philosophy is losing its popular prestige, and while philosophers are smug about this in a weird way, I think part of them knows that they don't know how to justify their existence, and the people who make 'crude' criticisms of it can't be kept at bay forever, because they are, at their kernel, correct.

    Ok, maybe. But really think about that. Imagine someone told you back in the day that the stuff you were getting into was bogus. Imagine you didn't work through this stuff, but were nudged away from it. Good anthropologically, maybe. But would you feel as confident saying its hokum?csalisbury

    It depends on the social context. One reason I don't have to be nudged away from, say, flat-earth theory, is because I grew up in a context in which the reasons it was inadequate were obvious enough that trying to adopt it would be a huge affront to my ability to make it through the day (I would need to make sense of how my plane trips worked). You could imagine a world in which we just know enough about the way our own language and cognitive faculties work, and this was such an ambient part of an ordinary person's knowledge, that the idea of adopting philosophy would look as silly as adopting flat-earthism or bird augury.
  • csalisbury
    2.7k
    Of course. But I think being good at fishing is a real and useful skill, whereas being 'good at philosophy' doesn't really entail being good at anything, unless you're on the job market in philosophy.Snakes Alive

    True, but orthogonal. I'm not saying philosophy is more useful than being good at fishing, I don't think it is. I'm saying that fishermen often get philosophical, naturally, in a way that philosophers don't tend to get naturally fish-y (pace Izaak Walton.) Midnight, a few beers down, smoke break on the porch. The philosopher isn't going to talk about fishing unless he's already into it accidentally. The fisherman is likely to wax philosophical.


    I actually do think philosophy is losing its popular prestigeSnakes Alive

    I don't think this is actually true. I don't have data, but anecdotally there is a proliferation of Secret Wisdom Through The Ages books and videos with Plato and so forth that people are super into these days. People are definitely skeptical of like, academic philosophers, as part of a broader distrust of elites, but that's another beast.

    It depends on the social context. One reason I don't have to be nudged away from, say, flat-earth theory, is because I grew up in a context in which the reasons it was inadequate were obvious enough that trying to adopt it would be a huge affront to my ability to make it through the day (I would need to make sense of how my plane trips worked). You could imagine a world in which we just know enough about the way our own language and cognitive faculties work, and this was such an ambient part of an ordinary person's knowledge, that the idea of adopting philosophy would look as silly as adopting flat-earthism or bird augury.Snakes Alive

    Yeah, maybe. Not compelling to me, but there's not much more I can say besides that.
  • Antony Nickles
    237

    I think the chief achievements of OLP are at a meta-level: it was the site of the invention of not only of metaphilosophy (including the journal of that name, which is still going to this day and quite good), but also of metasemantics, that is, the search for the conditions under which expressions become meaningful, and what it is for something to be meaningful.Snakes Alive

    I would say a part of all philosophy is about philosophy--in critique of its past aims or means or other philosophers. And "the search for the conditions under which expressions become meaningful, and what it is for something to be meaningful" seems a pretty good description of OLP's method of uncovering the conditions of our expressions which are how "it is for something to be meaningful" but it seems dismissive to say this is "meta" or "semantic" as if we don't learn anything about our world and ourselves in explicating the conditions and possibilities of what we say about them.

    The OLPers had a view of the foundations of meaning, where the foundational conditions were not coherently deniable from within, as you made use of those very conditions ('ordinary language is correct language,') but which themselves were multiform and contingent (something like the the shifting riverbed).Snakes Alive

    The idea that we are talking about "ordinary language" is one of the misconceptions that I have tried to dispell about OLP. Moore's insistence on solving skepticism with "common sense" is basically the cliche that OLP is associated with from then on. But when Wittgenstein moved from the Tractatus to PI he was trying to investigate why people had this desire for "foundations of meaning".

    And I have an insight into how it appears that a concept's "conditions [are] not coherently deniable". If I make a claim about the "conditions" (the criteria) for what entails an apology, and you agree that those are accurate, then it can be said we agree that if one doesn't meet those conditions, they have not performed an apology. Now, as I have said elsewhere, this is not a claim that ordinary "language" is correct, but that our ordinary criteria of apologizing are just what it is to apologize--our path to forgiveness from the other--made explicit (not usually considered). An apology is either done correctly or not (with felicity or aptly Austin will say), but this is not to secure a foundation for apologies, but we simply use our insight of these drawn-out ordinary criteria to learn about ourselves, our world, and our lives together (this is not "semantics", nor simply "pragmatics"). To deny the conditions of a concept is simply to rationally disagree with my claim to the terms of our ordinary criteria for it, through the imagined examples and contexts of OLP, about what constitutes an apology.
  • csalisbury
    2.7k
    Parting thought (which implicates me as much as anyone)- Imagine there was a fishing forum and there was a fisherman who would get on and his general thing was like: fishing actually isn't all that important.

    What's the ingenuous reaction to a guy doing that? It's funny to think about.
  • Antony Nickles
    237

    The only way out is to introduce some normative idea of why an Austin is doing something different. I want to really focus on this - because even the fact of meta-cognitive illusion etc only matters from a normative perspective. It doesn't necessarily have to be a philosophically normative perspective, but it is going to be normative. The 'puzzle' in my earlier post is to explain why OLP is a better approach (than say german idealism) without using philosophical resources.csalisbury

    I have said this in another post about "ought", but any force of "normativity" does not come from OLP's claims to descriptions of our ordinary criteria for apologizing; it comes from apologizing itself.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    8.3k
    I would add that looking and describing the grammar of a concept is only the first step; that creating examples to make claims about our ordinary criteria provides the discussion point for our philosophical issues (Cavell will call the examples "philosophical data").Antony Nickles

    You still have not justified the validity of. or done anything to disambiguated, this proposed concept "ordinary criteria". If "ordinary criteria" refers to the criteria which an individual person applies in ordinary situations, in one's day to day life, and in use of natural language, then it refers to something which is specific and particular to the individual. But if "ordinary criteria" refers to rules of logic which are taught to us, like the rules of mathematics and geometry, then it refers to what Wittgenstein calls the "normal" picture at PI 141.

    The problem is the inconsistency between these two, what is taught, and what is actually applied in the circumstances. And, as Wittgenstein indicates at PI 140, in natural language use the context of the particular application takes precedent as what is important to the meaning, thereby rendering the normal (what has been taught) as not necessarily relevant. This means that if "ordinary criteria" refers to what Wittgenstein calls "normal" (the concept as taught), we cannot rely on ordinary criteria for determining meaning.

    But if you insist that "ordinary criteria" is the means by which we determine meaning, then you must allow that it refers to criteria which is specific to the particular individual, being applied according to the circumstances present. That is because what is normal (the concept as taught) is unreliable in common situations of natural language use, due to the presence of the abnormal.
  • Snakes Alive
    675
    I wouldn't think it was that weird, if he just did it once in a while, and maybe to try to get someone to stop fishing. I don't really discuss philosophy anymore except in threads like this about this very topic (and even then, I think I haven't commented here in like half a year), and I don't really read it anymore or talk about it anywhere else.
  • Mww
    2.1k
    this type of change in perspective is not reached through argument but in you being able to see for yourself what I am (and Witt is) describing.Antony Nickles

    I do see it; I find it, the description, insufficient. It is like describing the construction of a house, but beginning from the second floor.

    The word "concept" here is used as a "term" by Witt with a specific use, not anything like a conception or an idea.Antony Nickles

    Which is the same as re-defining a term. As we all know.....one can make anything stick by simply changing extant definitions to fit what’s being said. If Witt has something new to say, he should use terms specific to the novelty.
    ————-

    you still feel the need to hang on to the feeling that we "all know the same stuff differently".Antony Nickles

    It isn’t a feeling, it’s an empirical reality. One may know an iceberg as a floating chunk of ice, another may know an iceberg as a broken piece of glacier.

    we can't be said to "know" our phone number in different waysAntony Nickles

    Correct, only insofar as the knowledge acquisition system is consistent across the species in general. That does nothing to prohibit the validity of me coming to know my phone number under different conditions within the system, from you coming to know yours within the same kind of system. Rote memorization vs. intrinsic pattern recognition. Extrinsic similarity. Hell.....why not mere hypnosis? For PIN’s or license plates....sheer invention.

    However, OLP is addressing the issues that are skipped over that only philosophy can still bring to light--self-knowledge through understanding our responsibilities and the implications we are subject to......Antony Nickles

    Subject to implies empirical psychology or social/linguistic anthropology. Fancy words for “group-think”. Speculative epistemological metaphysics is the doctrine used to bring to light....not skip over.....understanding the implications of that which we are each the subject of.

    House description...second story start; house description...foundation start.
    ————-

    Part of what Witt is trying to show in unearthing our desire for certainty is to turn us around to see our real needs and desires.Antony Nickles

    Our desire for certainty is contained in reason itself; no need to unearth it, for it is manifest as a predicate of an intrinsic human condition.

    To turn us around to see our real needs and desires presupposes we don’t already see them. Being both presumptuous, insofar as that which belongs to me necessarily, cannot but be apprehended by me, and self-contradictory, insofar as my intrinsic “desire for certainty” must already contain them. Furthermore, as “real” needs and desires, herein taken to indicate fundamental or characteristically personal as opposed to empirically determinable, they are not susceptible to experiential incursion, for they are derived from purely subjective causality. Which ultimately reduces to some form of moral philosophy anyway, which I wouldn’t think has anything whatsoever to do with OLP.
    ————

    If anything is individual, our interests are, and there is no argument to change that if someone just doesn't careAntony Nickles

    True enough, with the caveat that interest is predicated on, hence determinable by, sufficient reason, while care is merely some degree of relative quality an interest may invoke. I am interested enough in OLP, and by association, what you have to say about it, in accordance with the reasons claimed to be sufficient for it, without having any care whatsoever in adopting it or them.

    There’s a French cooking show on tv I watched, that explained how to do this fancy-assed duck recipe that involves pressing out blood....yes, there’s a mechanical press designed specifically for that purpose.... to make the accompanying sauce. Interesting, even if only that it would take a Frenchman to dream up something so bizarre, probably to satisfy a bizarre French king, but trust me when I tell you I wouldn’t care to partake of it.

    All in the name of nothing better to do.......
  • csalisbury
    2.7k
    I wouldn't think it was that weird, if he just did it once in a while, and maybe to try to get someone to stop fishing. I don't really discuss philosophy anymore except in threads like this about this very topic (and even then, I think I haven't commented here in like half a year), and I don't really read it anymore or talk about it anywhere else.Snakes Alive

    Yeah, that's fair. I tend to get on here for the sake of arguing. I think there is something to the idea: 'leaving philosophy' is a canonical move in the anthropologicaly observable practice called philosophy.' You see that happen all the time. But you see that in every field, too. Part of what I was drawing attention to is that there is something different in kind from posting on a philosophy forum about the worthlessness of philosophy, and posting on a fishing forum about why fishing is bogus.
  • csalisbury
    2.7k
    I have said this in another post about "ought", but any force of "normativity" does not come from OLP's claims to descriptions of our ordinary criteria for apologizing; it comes from apologizing itself.Antony Nickles

    For sure, I get that. The 'normativity' in my post is about, like : The implicit criterion according to which one selects good approaches to philosophical conversation.
  • Snakes Alive
    675
    I think philosophy is weird in a way fishing isn't, in that fishing doesn't have a professed aim it manifestly fails at, and has for thousands of years. This is maybe the most salient feature of philosophy, and periodically gets noticed and lamented even by philosophers themselves (who have professional and cognitive incentives not to notice).

    It's also clear why one would think that fishing catches you fish. It's not clear why one would think that the methods of philosophy can unlock general features of the universe – on reflection the idea seems somewhat insane. That's why it's interesting to think about why people might have been led to believe in the methods.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    8.3k
    It's not clear why one would think that the methods of philosophy can unlock general features of the universe – on reflection the idea seems somewhat insane.Snakes Alive

    Why portray philosophy in the way you do? Take Socrates for example. Socrates used philosophy to show that what people commonly believed about the general features of the universe, was wrong. That developed into the method of skepticism. When commonly held beliefs are false, do you not see a value in proving them as such?
  • csalisbury
    2.7k
    I think philosophy is weird in a way fishing isn't, in that fishing doesn't have a professed aim it manifestly fails at, and has for thousands of years. This is maybe the most salient feature of philosophy, and periodically gets noticed and lamented even by philosophers themselves (who have professional and cognitive incentives not to notice).

    It's also clear why one would think that fishing catches you fish. It's not clear why one would think that the methods of philosophy can unlock general features of the universe – on reflection the idea seems somewhat insane. That's why it's interesting to think about why people might have been led to believe in the methods.
    Snakes Alive

    I think part of what makes this tricky is that philosophy is much closer to conversation than fishing. What we're doing here, talking about philosophy's place, could plausibly be talked about as philosophy-like, philosophy-ish. More concretely, getting at intuitions: I think if you showed a regular person this conversation, and told them this was a 'philosophical conversation' they'd go 'yeah, seems like it.' It may be something totally different than philosophy, but it's harder to draw that line. On the other hand, a fisherman talking about why fishing is bad is, in talking about it, manifestly not doing fishing.

    I think the only way to coherently describe philosophy as a certain practice in the way you're suggesting would be to pinpoint an essence - some cluster of certain sufficiently identifying characteristics - in order that one can identify it when it presents itself irl. The only other option would be to do it historically, by lineage - say, what Plato did was philosophy, and anything deriving from that is philosophy is well. You can then use historical documents, textual analysis etc to say whether or not a particular thing is philosophy (that is, traces back to Plato.)

    It seems possible that there's a weaker stance to take here - at certain thresholds of development, most civilizations secrete philosophical-type talk. It's part of the general culture, like a million other things (humor, dance, religion, flirtation, ritual, exchange, feasts etc) and that, as with all those things, there grow over time specialized, eventually rigidifying, ways of channeling and structuring that thing.

    Part of the throughline of what I was talking about with the fishermen is that this stuff seems to crop up pretty organically. A fisherman, like anyone is likely to have spontaenous philosophy-ish questions (as I did before I studied any formal philosophy)

    Now, the guy who got into Hume's thing that I was talking about, got into it because a guy he went to high school with became a philosophy phd. To go back to your point, it *is* likely that if our society valued bird augury more, he'd have been more likely to know someone who became a recognized bird augurist, and to bring snippets of bird augury he'd learn back into the general shared-conversational space you could call 'shooting the shit.'

    I think that is a fair point.

    But I also think that people talking about stuff, the way we are, is philosophical-ish. And that this is just part of what we do, in a way that can't be neatly separated from other aspects of what we do. It's a hazy thing that also veers into other areas - aesthetics, general meta-discussion of anything (since, of course, fisherman can 'pop out' of the complex, hyper-internally-differentiated practice fishing, to then talk, from a meta-perspective, about a unified thing called fishing, without that being philosophy), formal argumentation, mythic/narrative framing etc. I think philosophy is probably a loose, baggy thing that sits loosely with those things, as those other things might loosely include philosophy as a partial ingredient.

    In that regard OLP, from what I understand, sees first and foremost a reaction to a particular formation of a practice that could be understood anthropologically, and that brought together a bunch of different currents.

    On another anthropological, or sociological, or just general human note, I think there is a tendency to devalue one's own stepping stones. Part of growing older is looking back at what you thought was super important, perhaps embarrassingly valorized, and downplay it, now that you're a little more stable, a little wiser. You can imagine an old trader talking to a wild-eyed 20 year old who just got into bitcoin or pennystocks.
  • Janus
    9.9k
    It's not clear why one would think that the methods of philosophy can unlock general features of the universe – on reflection the idea seems somewhat insane.Snakes Alive

    This seems like a mere projection of your own disaffection with philosophy. Perhaps some of the pre-Kantian metaphysicians might have imagined that philosophy (specifically metaphysics) could show us "general features of the universe"; if they thought that intellectual intuition is a thing. The idea that intellectual or rational intuition can yield real knowledge has mostly fallen out of favour.

    The problem is that we cannot demonstrate whether it can or whether it cannot produce real knowledge; unlike empirical sources which can be tested and confirmed or falsified, there is no way to confirm or disconfirm the deliverances of rational intuition.
  • Snakes Alive
    675
    The Kantian is no better, in thinking that the nature of the mind, or whatever it might be, can be unlocked in the same way. The object of inquiry is different, but the method is equally ludicrous (and like the pre-Kantian, the Kantian never yields any results, proves anything, etc.).
  • Mww
    2.1k
    Kantian never yields any results, proves anything,Snakes Alive

    Under the assumption a Kantian follows Kant text closely, and given that there are 16 uses of “proves” in CPR, of which three are negative and the rest affirmative, it would seem quite the case that the Kantian does in fact prove something. Perhaps you mean to say, the Kantian never proves anything to your satisfaction. Which is fine, you’re far from alone in that regard. Outnumbered, I might say, but not alone.

    The Kantian is no better, in thinking that the nature of the mind, or whatever it might be, can be unlocked in the same way.Snakes Alive

    The Kantian knows nature of the mind certainly cannot be unlocked in the same way as the nature of the world, so who is the Kantian no better than, by granting that division?

    It's not clear why one would think that the methods of philosophy can unlock general features of the universeSnakes Alive

    It is clear enough to he who thinks there is a necessary commonality between the methods and the unlocking. Perhaps it is that the methods of philosophy are not themselves sufficient for unlocking the features of the universe, but they are necessary for a human to determine how to unlock them. Method informs how to think; thinking informs how too unlock.

    It wouldn’t be clear for those who don’t examine their own thinking, which becomes evident in the clarity of fishing catches fish, insofar as the average hook-wetter never stops to think that its absolutely necessary to go fishing in order to catch fish, resolutely confident in the ends, without considering the means. We are reminded of this principle by lottery purveyors when they say, “you can win if you don’t play”.
  • Antony Nickles
    237

    The word "concept" here is used as a "term" by Witt with a specific use, not anything like a conception or an idea.
    — Antony Nickles

    Which is the same as re-defining a term. As we all know.....one can make anything stick by simply changing extant definitions to fit what’s being said. If Witt has something new to say, he should use terms specific to the novelty.
    Mww

    Well it's not anything new (like, say, the "thing-in-itself"), it is just for referring to a grouping. And he didn't choose the word; it's translated from the German, Begriff, or "term" (ironically) as I understand it, instead of Idee or Konzept. The index includes things like the concept of: experience, a game, a material object, mathematical certainty, noticing an aspect, a number, order, pain, propositions, saying something inwardly, seeing, sensation, and understanding.

    you still feel the need to hang on to the feeling that we "all know the same stuff differently".
    — Antony Nickles

    It isn’t a feeling, it’s an empirical reality.
    Mww

    And here is the "conviction" in the "picture" that Witt is talking about prior to his quote about understanding lions (PI p. 252 3rd Ed.). When we talk about "reality" there are things we contrast it with like fantasy, or delusion, avoidance, etc. And when we talk about what is "real" we are discussing whether it is a fake, or not a prop. etc. But these examples are skipped over by the fixation with the need for certainty, which projects the quality of "reality" onto the world (I'll take this up in another thread).

    Now you might be conflating knowledge with experience; but even then, most times it won't matter to say yours and mine are not the same (we both ate horrible food, we would both say our experience was terrible), though we could make a point of being particular about our experience, to say there was something special about it--but, where not necessary or applicable, this would be self-aggrandizing; "entitled" to our own standard, above our judgement. And, as I said, with somethings our experience is always different (movies, sunsets, private moments). But Witt gives many examples to show that knowing, as well as meaning, intending, and understanding, are not experiences.

    One may know an iceberg as a floating chunk of ice, another may know an iceberg as a broken piece of glacier.Mww

    Wittgenstein will see this not as either of you "knowing" an iceberg your own way, but just that you are focusing on different aspects (noticing a use of the word), both of which are options in our relation to icebergs (as with the prism and cube earlier). There is the "use" of the concept iceberg that points out that it is a floating chunk of ice, "Look out! There's an iceberg ahead of the boat!" And there is the use of it in its relation to a glacier, "Wow! That huge iceberg over there just calved off the glacier." And these are contexts in which these uses are meaningful (there may be others).

    However, OLP is addressing the issues that are skipped over that only philosophy can still bring to light--self-knowledge through understanding our responsibilities and the implications we are subject to......
    — Antony Nickles

    Subject to implies empirical psychology or social/linguistic anthropology. Fancy words for “group-think”.
    Mww

    I'm not sure if this is just meant to be cheeky, but, when I said "subject to", I meant that we are answerable to the implications of our expressions. We are subject to (on the hook for) someone asking, "Was that supposed to be an apology? Because you didn't even say you're sorry!" We can avoid or ignore our responsibility for our expressions and their implications, but their may be consequences, one of which may be rejection from the polis; that we are dismissed as incompetent, ignorant, insane, which, of course, may not be justified. But uncovering our ordinary criteria is not an anthropology, nor a popularity contest, nor just about language (and not the lives we lead in so many ways). And, again, they are not our "ordinary" expressions and actions, they are the unspoken implications and criteria of those (and our philosophical ones too).

    Part of what Witt is trying to show in unearthing our desire for certainty is to turn us around to see our real needs and desires.
    — Antony Nickles

    Our desire for certainty is contained in reason itself; no need to unearth it, for it is manifest as a predicate of an intrinsic human condition.
    Mww

    Well, very self-aware; some may not see the lengths it compels us to, say, even to set aside our humanity and define our condition as less than perfectly rational, mired in doubt and belief.

    To turn us around to see our real needs and desires presupposes we don’t already see them. Being both presumptuous, insofar as that which belongs to me necessarily, cannot but be apprehended by me, and self-contradictory, insofar as my intrinsic “desire for certainty” must already contain them.Mww

    The idea of everything being "seen" and readily apparrent is a fantasy of philosophy. If you are human; you are, even in a philosophical way, blind to yourself (apart from psychology's insights). To avoid our fear; to have a sense of complete control over our expressions, we internalize the possession of meaning; so it is entirely "apprehended" by me. But when we speek, we are open to being called out by our words, held to their implications apart from our wishes, more than what we may have apprehended.

    And to the extent we are not explicitly aware of the criteria and conditions and possibiities of the use of our concepts in the context we find ourselves in, we do not consent to them freely, but are determined by them unwittingly.

    We know how to walk, but do we thus know ("apprehend") the conditions of walking, the criteria that differentiates it from hopping, running; what about for: requesting, thanking, cursing, greeting, praying, ordering, obeying, guessing, etc., not to mention: thinking, intending, meaning, appearing, etc. We do not "already see them"--their grammar--though we can ask ourselves and others about how they work (or don't) and what constitutes their being what they are (and not something else).

    And my "intrinsic desire for certainty" does not "contain them". It skips over their vague rationality and partiality because they do not meet the created and imposed criteria of certainty and universality demanded by knowledge capable of facing skepticism. And they contain our desires and needs because what makes an apology an apology (the criteria, conditions, possibiities, and process), is what we value about it, what counts for us in it--the forgiveness of ourselves and others, the qualification of moral action gone wrong--these are the place it holds in our lives, why it has come to be what it is over thousands of years; what is essential about it--why we need and desire it to be the way it is.

    Furthermore, as “real” needs and desires, herein taken to indicate fundamental or characteristically personal as opposed to empirically determinable, they are not susceptible to experiential incursion, for they are derived from purely subjective causality. Which ultimately reduces to some form of moral philosophy anyway, which I wouldn’t think has anything whatsoever to do with OLP.Mww

    Well, this is not a knowledge of new facts or scientific "incursion" or reason to "determine" something with certainty (there are empiricism's problems, and there are philosophy's issues), but something that we seem to know already, but have to remind ourselves of to give an account, though it is open to plain view to everyone (and subject to claims by everyone). And to say it is uncertain, not "determinate", personal, caused by the "subjective", is to dismiss OLP's knowledge because it does not reach that standard, without investigating its own (varied) rationality and criteria, some of which do not lead to certainty or agreement or universality, but nevertheless fulfill what we need from them. Being condescended to with derogatory words thrown from an ivory tower of "reason's" own creation is simply dogmatism, prejudice, and judgement without any understanding (See a new thread I've posted). And to say it "reduces to some form of moral philosophy" is the same old division that what is not certain etc., is characterized as a morass of unresolvable relativism. And OLP is the direct showing against this dismissal of our vague, fallible lives as emotivism, etc.; that our everyday criteria do show us what is essential, how our world is determinable in different (partial) ways--and that we have a part in our actions and expressions beyond knowledge. This is not personal or "caused" by some idea that each person creates the world all on their own, but in the lives all of us have lived together (yet even including the personal, the adverse, and the new in that vision).
  • Janus
    9.9k
    What good philosophy shows and continues to show is the various ways in which things can be thought about. It's more art than science. I don't believe many philosophers have thought it can yield any final answers to anything; to expect that shows naivete. If you've lost interest in philosophy, good for you, you're probably better off without it and it without you.
  • Snakes Alive
    675
    This is the old 'I was pretending to be retarded!' defense. It's news to me that philosophy's not supposed to actually teach anyone anything! But of course, that's just a defensive position, pulled out when cornered. Motte and bailey.
  • Janus
    9.9k
    Are you sure you were pretending? I didn't say philosophy doesn't teach anything, I said it teaches how to think about things in different ways. If philosophy were never done, then those ways would never be discovered and explored.
  • Snakes Alive
    675
    Not me, it's the person using the defense. I was just pretending to be retarded = I never meant to find out anything anyway!

    So philosophy 'teaches how to think about things in different ways.' Someone ought to tell philosophers that's what their subject is about – it seems they haven't gotten the memo! They talk about, for example, the nature of mind, the world, language, and so on.

    But of course, this isn't a serious position – people only (predictably) roll out the old 'philosophy's not supposed to do what it claims to do or spends its time doing' when challenged directly.
  • Janus
    9.9k
    .
    Someone ought to tell philosophers that's what their subject is about – it seems they haven't gotten the memo! They talk about, for example, the nature of mind, the world, language, and so on.Snakes Alive

    To talk about "the nature of the mind, the world, language, and so on" would be to talk about the different ways in which we can think about those things, or what are the most plausible or most productive ways to think about those things. When we talk about what would be the most plausible ways or productive ways to think about those things, then the questions arise as to whether we should be informed by science in considering various questions and to what varying extent in which areas science has things to tell us.

    You speak as though philosophers all maintain the same monolithic attitude as to what they understand the purpose of philosophy to be. That's a simplistic view as I see it. If you're critically examining different ways of thinking about the nature of mind, the world, language and so on, then you'd be trying to identify inconsistencies and incoherencies in the views being examined, no?
  • Snakes Alive
    675
    To talk about "the nature of the mind, the world, language, and so on" would be to talk about the different ways in which we can think about those things, or what are the most plausible or most productive ways to think about those things.Janus

    So talk talk about X is not to talk about X, but to talk about how we think about X?

    Even if this were so, philosophers aren't any good at the latter either.
  • Janus
    9.9k
    No, talking about X in various ways just is exploring the different ways we are able to think about X. As I see it that is exactly what has constituted philosophy. It seems absurd to say that philosophers aren't any good at it. Compared to who? There is simply no other group of people to compare them with. It seems you have an unreasonable expectation of what philosophy should be able to deliver.
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