• A Wittgenstein Commentary

    Wittgenstein and religion

    This might give an idea of the discussions surrounding Wittgenstein and god.
  • A Wittgenstein Commentary
    No need for me to repeat them.schopenhauer1


    But you will.
  • A Wittgenstein Commentary
    Not a metaphor. @schopenhauer1 apparently expects Wittgenstein to comply to the very form his approach undermines. He claims Wittgenstein doesn't address ontological concerns, while the first hundred remarks of PI do exactly that. Meanwhile @RussellA begins yet another loop around his loop of reference. @Sam26 has gone quiet again.

    Of course someone who cannot see the duck for the rabbit will become frustrated when the conversation moves on to other examples of ambiguous figures. But equally, folk who can see the duck rabbit will want to move away from conversations about eyes and bills. This once promising thread is mired in the misunderstanding of a small few.

    But that's how the forums work.

    As for seeing Wittgenstein in different ways, there's a long overdue thread on Moyal-Sharrock's Understanding Wittgenstein’s On Certainty that should be started. Have you read it?
  • A Wittgenstein Commentary
    Wittgenstein didn’t provide a recipient for fruitcake, either. Presumable some think this a problem with his philosophy.
  • Kripke's skeptical challenge
    Cheers. The literature on this topic is vast.
  • A Wittgenstein Commentary
    perhaps I should be moving away from Wittgenstein and towards Sartre.RussellA

    I think that is a very good idea. Wittgenstein is not for you.
  • Let’s play ‘Spot the Fallacy’! (share examples of bad logic in action)
    What's fun here is how few folk on a philosophy forum understand what a fallacy is.
  • A Wittgenstein Commentary
    That is barely discussed in PI.schopenhauer1

  • Essence and Modality: Kit Fine

    Yeah, fixed. The link should be to your first post on this thread. Point being that the topic here is essence, and the other thread is about belief. Moot.

    But modal logic does not have a copyright on the word "necessary."Leontiskos
    Hmm. Any account of necessity that as incompatible with modal theory would need a pretty substantial defence. Fine's is certainly in line with modal theory, but at one stage you seem'd to reject Kripke, which would be very brave in this context.

    So where now?
  • Essence and Modality: Kit Fine
    I think he wants to blow open a hole and pour a different flavour of essence in.fdrake
    Well, he did that, in that I had more or less taken Essence as a dead end, but what we have here gives it a bit of freshness. It harks back to some of the stuff I did on Individuation in my Honours year.

    I would have said that our discussion of essences commenced here: ; before moving over to the other thread, where it sat uncomfortably under the heading of "belief". I don't think one can read Fine as rejecting modal accounts of essence, so much as refining them. Otherwise one would be rejecting the conception of essence as necessary and sufficient... do you want to go there, too?
  • A Wittgenstein Commentary
    He does not deny that some words refer to objects. What he rejects is that EVERY word functions in this way.Fooloso4


    I think it worth adding that he also shows that pointing, referring, and indeed ostension of any form are already aspects of some language game. They cannot therefore serve as a foundation from which language games are to be built. Reference does not ground language.
  • An Analysis of "On Certainty"
    And yet one can be deceived about one's own hand.,the%20participant%27s%20own%20occluded%20hand.unenlightened

    I can't decide if this shows hands to be illusions or reinforces their corporeality...
  • Essence and Modality: Kit Fine
    I think your cynical self is asserting fundamental presuppositions which the article is challenging, rather than engaging with them on their own terms.fdrake
    Maybe. I don't see much by way of an argument in favour of essences, a reason that we need take them into account. I agree, of course, that our language games are constrained by the way things are, although that way of expressing it lacks a certain symmetry that I take as central – it's not just that we are constrained by the world, but also that we also constrain how things are by our speech acts. Here, I'm not thinking of Sapir-Whorf, so much as of money and boarders and social status, the paraphernalia of our social lives. So I usually prefer to talk of our language being embedded in the world, something akin to a form of life or confirmation holism.

    I'll also here make note of FIne's own argument against names having a sense, the novelty of which is what drew me to reading more of his work. I started a thread on the Bruces, but it garnered little attention.

    The SEP article on reference gives four approaches, but I think there are good arguments against all. Descriptions we have talked about here. The causal theory remains incomplete; rules in language are more post-hoc rather than proscriptive, leaving intent as a strong contender mostly by default. Reference seems to function despite, rather than because, of each. And we should keep in mind that often referring expressions fail to refer. So I find myself again in rough agreement with Davidson, that reference has a function only within broader theories of truth (or meaning), and there can be no coherent theory of reference per se.

    And i continue to think this leaves essence orphaned.
  • Essence and Modality: Kit Fine
    My cynical self says that, having been unable to provide a suitable account of essences in ontological terms using modal language, Fine moved essentialists over to epistemology and now seek to give an account of essences as how we know (understand, conceive, etc.) that something is what it is. It pictures essence as a lost soul looking for a home; or as a misguided picture of how things are, looking for a way to fit in.

    My prejudices come from the discussion of simples in PI, from around §46 on. What we take as a simple depends on the task at hand - on what we are doing. I read PI as a rejection of the Augustinian essentialism expressed in §1, and might roughly be expressed as a rejection of real essences.

    It is not obvious that such a view is at odds with Kit FIne's essentialism.

    So I am happy to talk of staying on it's own colour to be an 'essential' property of Bishops in Chess games. But doing so is not to suppose something profound about Bishops; it's just to set out what we do with Bishops.
  • Essence and Modality: Kit Fine
    Thank you.

    So reflecting this back, Fine shows that there are necessary truths (the singleton) that are not true of the essence of Socrates, and so that the set of necessary truths is not identical to, or constitutive of, the essences. A dictionary definition might set out the characteristics that serve to differentiate an individual from other individuals - the "what makes it what it is", and these would be some subgroup of the necessary characteristics?

    So the essence is some, but not all, of the necessary characteristics of the individual in question? And it can be given as a definition?
  • What can I know with 100% certainty?
    Not much. The terms in each premise do not match. On a generous reading the last three might form a syllogism, but that leaves the first out. For it to be included he's need an additional premise.

    Like Dogberry, this learned constable is too cunning to be understood.

    But for a mystic, that's probably the point.
  • What can I know with 100% certainty?
    Mystics claim to know the truthFrancisRay

    Trouble is, from a claim that you know such-and-such, we cannot conclude that such-and-such is true.

    After all, we do sometimes say "I thought I knew..."

    13. For it is not as though the proposition "It is so" could be inferred from someone else's utterance: "I know it is so". Nor from the utterance together with its not being a lie. - But can't I infer "It is so" from my own utterance "I know etc."? Yes; and also "There is a hand there" follows from the proposition "He knows that there's a hand there". But from his utterance "I know..." it does not follow that he does know it.
    Wittgenstein, On Certainty.
  • Essence and Modality: Kit Fine
    By way of relaunching the discussion of the Fine article, I might offer the following rough summary. Kit Fine pretty much accepts that the modal account of essences does not turn out well for those who look to Aristotle. His solution is to claim that the modal account of essences diverges from Aristotelian account, which he says is to be given in terms of definitions rather than necessary characteristics.

    He is not offering a criticism of modal logic, but accepting it's results while claiming that Aristotle is talking about something else.... definitions.

    I have not understood how essences as definitions differs in salient ways from essences in terms of necessary properties. Isn't a definition a set of necessary and sufficient properties?

    I figure there must be something in FIne's account I am missing, and hence this thread is in part an effort to elicit the missing piece.
  • A Wittgenstein Commentary
    43. For a large class of cases of the employment of the word “mean- ing” a though not for all a this word can be explained in this way: the meaning of a word is its use in the language. |21|
    And the meaning of a name is sometimes explained by pointing to its bearer.

    If Wittgenstein is against theorising, then why did he write that the meaning of a word can be either i) its use in language or ii) what it points to.RussellA

    He clearly didn't write anything of the sort. He wrote that one of the ways in which words can be used is to point.

    The Wiki article leaves much to be desired. Check out it's history and talk. It needs attention from a dedicated team, or a specialist in the topic.
  • An Analysis of "On Certainty"
    has an idealist bent, and so is perhaps suggesting that any language game will do.

    There's a pinch of truth in saying language games do not reflect the facts, since the facts, being truths, are a part of the language games around truth. Better perhaps to say that the games are embedded in the world – so the builder's game inherently involves slabs and blocks and cannot be played without them.

    There's also the ill-informed supposition that language games only ever involve language, which even a cursory reading will evict.

    While he shows that Moore's use of "know" in "I know this is my hand" is problematic, I suspect Wittgenstein pretty much agreed with the argument Moore presents against idealism. "Here is a hand" shows that there is stuff around us to be dealt with, providing a foundation, a certainty. Again, there have to be slabs in order to engage in the builder's game
  • Essence and Modality: Kit Fine
    A couple of things.

    In PI§66 Wittgenstein, in considering the nature of games, asks us not to theorise but instead to look at how the word "game" is actually being used. We're in a not dissimilar place here, thinking "there must be something that serves to pick out the individual in question..."

    But an individual can be "pick out" even in cases where the description is wrong - consider another example from Donnellan, someone at a party asking "Who is the man with the martini?" and receiving the correct reply, despite the drink not being a martini. The description may be wrong and yet still serve to elicit the correct response.

    SEP lists three possible ways of fixing a referent, in addition to descriptions, and points out that they are not mutually exclusive. Some combination might well give the best account.

    What is clear is that rejecting the idea that all references are fixed by descriptions does not tie one to the view that no references are fixed by description, nor to causal theories of reference.

    In fending off the arguments, is obliged to take extreme measures. Hence "If the definition of Thales is stipulated to be "the man who fell into the well," then Fred is Thales". His approach cannot envision, let alone articulate, the possibility that Thales did not fall into the well, because for him "Thales" is exactly "He who fell into the well". I hope others will accept that "Thales might not have fallen into the well" is a clear enough English sentence that might even have been true.

    Aristotle was a fine philosopher, "conceptually rich" as says, and well worth reading, especially on topics such as ethics. But his logic has been superseded. Leontiskos has attached himself to the descriptivist view, and thus to the supposed utility of Aristotelian logic he holds dear. He has taken the next, predictable step, when Kripke shows your argument to problematic, attack the character and authority of Kripke ().

    Notice that the Kit Fine article (this is a thread about an article by Kit Fine...) does not reject Kripke's account; Fine is too good a logician to engage in anything so perilous. Instead he accepts the modal approach but tries to defend essences by accounting for them using definitions instead of necessity.

    Anyway, given that the discussion has moved away from the Fine article I might leave this topic where it is.
  • Essence and Modality: Kit Fine
    So what?

    Well, it comes from Kripke because he is the bloke who developed a working semantics for modality.

    Modality is the part of logic that deals with "what if..." and the like. Kripke's solution is Possible World Semantics. Part of that semantics is that proper names refer to the very same individual in each possible world in which it exists. A consequence of this is that one might specify a possible world in which the characteristics that supposedly set out the essence of that individual do not apply. Nevertheless, what they do not apply to is that same individual.

    The argument from error being used here is a plain English account of that sort of argument.

    Possible World Semantics gives a way of dealing with modalities that enables us to clarify quite a bit of what was obscure in earlier types of modal logic, especially that which did not progress far beyond De re and De dicto.

    Not unlike the clarity that Frege and Russell brought to the ambiguity of "is" by separating out quantification, identity and predication - ∃(x), x=x and f(x). There are folk not so far from this thread who have not been able to follow this, with dire consequences.
  • Essence and Modality: Kit Fine
    An alternative version. Suppose that the only thing we know about Thales is that he fell into a well. On the descriptivist account, "Thales" and "The fellow who fell into a well" are synonymous, then on your view "The fellow who fell into a well" is what we mean by "Thales"

    Now suppose that it wasn't Thales, but his friend Fred who fell into the well. So "The fellow who fell into the well" actually refers to "Fred".

    It follows that all this time, while you thought you were talking about Thales, you were actually talking about Fred.

    The alternative, which is now a commonplace, is that names do not refer in virtue of some associated description.

    Edit: I hope it clear that in this case Thales certainly exists, but we do not have to hand a description that sets him apart, he has no "essence", so it seems, and yet we can still talk about him.
  • Essence and Modality: Kit Fine
    I don't see that you have understood the argument. Your supposed reply begs the question by supposing that "Thales" sans description does not refer to Thales. And yet, "What if every description we have of Thales were wrong?" is clearly a question about Thales. You are apparently willing to deny this, in order to preserve your view.
  • Essence and Modality: Kit Fine
    Obvious question begging on your part. You claim the name cannot work without a description, so you say that the name hasn't worked; but it has. Meh.
  • A Wittgenstein Commentary
    In fact, he seems proud that he makes no attempt at theorising.RussellA
    Wittgenstein's work shows the poverty of what is here being called "theorising". There's something oddly obtuse in denouncing him for not doing something that he has shown to be an error.
  • A Wittgenstein Commentary
    Wittgenstein deals with the first part, but ignores the second.RussellA

    What twaddle. Wittgenstein explicitly asks his readers to look at how words are actually used. Suggesting he does not look at how "the language game has a use in the world" is the most extreme example of your misreading so far. That follows you here shows how little he has understood. As happens so often, the fly is so happy in the bottle it will go out of its way to remain there.
  • Essence and Modality: Kit Fine
    But this is a confusion of a name with an individual,Leontiskos
    Really? If Thales did not fall down the well, that is a truth about Thales, not about his name.

    You'd have to fill this out somewhat.

    And it's not that Thales doesn't exist - but that he exists, and yet none of the things we understood to be true of him are actually true. Suppose it is true that nothing we thought we know about Thales were actually true of him. That would be a fact about Thales. And this despite the unavailability of a description that is true of him.
  • The Problem of Universals, Abstract Objects, and Generalizations in Politics
    Laws ought to apply to each and every particular individual, not a set of individuals.NOS4A2
    I do not count companies or any other association as individuals.NOS4A2

    No corporate law then. That's a rather extreme form of laissez-faire!

    Honestly, what you are setting out here is too incomprehensible, too incoherent, to be addressable.

    Might leave you to it.
  • The Problem of Universals, Abstract Objects, and Generalizations in Politics
    It isn’t a voluntary association like people getting together to form a club or company.NOS4A2
    Worker cooperatives need not be imposed. Your' engaging in the fallacy of composition. You've also moved from the claimt hat there isno society to a claim something like that social norms ought not be imposed.

    Laws ought to apply to each and every particular individual, not a set of individuals.NOS4A2
    Presumably you would count incorporated companies as individuals?

    Or are you against incorporation?
  • The Problem of Universals, Abstract Objects, and Generalizations in Politics
    Isn't what? your point remains obscure.

    Incorporation in the general sense is voluntary... Socialism isn’t.NOS4A2

    So if you inherit your shares, having them forced on you involuntarily, then... what?

    Again, you appear to argue that there is no such thing as society, while making use of the very thing you deny.

    There's nowt queer as folk.
  • A Wittgenstein Commentary
    Well, if you want to continue discussing Searle, I suggest starting a new thread.
  • The Problem of Universals, Abstract Objects, and Generalizations in Politics
    But it would be clear only if you knew which investors owned how many shares.NOS4A2
    Meh. Of course anyone can purchase shares, and even if the numbers are not public, the process is.

    What you call "collectivist politics" is a commonplace. Socialism could be as simple as having those who work for the corporate body, own the body corporate.

    All that stands out here is your ongoing inability to see more than individuals in the social interactions around you, and the contradiction in rejecting socialism while accepting incorporation.
  • A Wittgenstein Commentary
    "Well institutional facts work this way"schopenhauer1
    Yep. What's salient here is the communal nature of certain intentions.

    This relates to 's recent thread.

    I won't go into Searle here, too much of a digression, except to say that he is a hard realist.
  • A Wittgenstein Commentary
    Searle posited something quite similar, which I had a go at expounding.
  • The Problem of Universals, Abstract Objects, and Generalizations in Politics
    But the political subject is without a particular referent.NOS4A2
    So you claim, yet "Common ownership" and "public control" are clear enough in the associations listed on the ASX.
  • The Problem of Universals, Abstract Objects, and Generalizations in Politics
    Then it's hard to see what the complaint in your OP is.
  • The Problem of Universals, Abstract Objects, and Generalizations in Politics
    So we agree that people can get together and form social organisations?