A Question Regarding Wittgenstein

I agree with Kenneth. You tend to start the cut and paste polka whenever serious question you cannot handle occurs.

jjg,

You tend to start the cut and paste polka whenever serious question you cannot handle occurs.

The “cut and paste” polka, is so that you, if you ever had the inclination, could actually pursue these ideas in depth, in the context in which they have been examined by others, in the field of philosophy. (That you can say to yourself, as I have, I like the way he put that, that point of view sounds interesting to me, perhaps I’d like to read up on him and learn for myself - and not this must be true because person A says so.) What you call “serious questions” one can’t handle, are simply rediscriptions of philosophical problems. If you don’t understand the consequences of describing things in way “x” or way “y”, but simply assume whatever way you are describing things is self-evidently the right way, you are not conducting philosophy, which is largely the study of the groundings of a such descriptions. What may I ask is your “serious question”?

Dunamis

James,

I am interested to know, Dunamis, which of the two thinkers reflects more your own Marxist colourings

Deleuze by far, but it’s not really a fair comparison, for Deleuze’s views have such breadth and foundation, the two thinkers almost cannot even be put side by side. I take from Deleuze his remarkable diversity of source, his nearly phenomenological critique of Capitalism, his tendency to radicalize the thoughts of very old thinkers to arrive at new ways of seeing things.

I liked your summation of Wittgenstein very much. If you ever want to get a look at another side of his brain, check out the house he architecturally designed for his sister, absolutely amazing, and inhuman.

Dunamis

Everyone does this. Don’t kid yourself.

A poster can always say something slightly different than what he has said in a post. In addition to this contingency, a reader cannot possibly understand what has been posted, or even what could have been posted had the poster changed his words. The result of this is quite remarkable. Instead of a discussion between two people, there happens a discussion with oneself through and around the words of another.

When a cut-and-paste occurs, this means that the reader is dealing with something familiar, but most often isolates it out of the intended context in which it was presented, that which couldn’t be understood to begin with, and to further the irony, as if one could present his thoughts in a post, the reader continues the argument oblivious to the disarray.

Yes. Again, the issue is this: “Was Wittgenstein’s discussion of philosophical problems only a trivial verbal discussion of the meanings of words, and not about anything substantive? Was it like the “lift” elevator “dispute”?” Whether or not Wittgenstein distinguished between verbal and substantive disputes is simply irrelevant, and a diversion just as it would be irrelevant to cite what any other philosopher said about it except, of course, as a source of insight into the attempt to answer the question.

Why is it so hard in philosophy to keep your eye on the ball, and not go running off in all sorts of directions, is a question which might provide insight not only into philosophy but into philosophers. Imagine. Were scientific inquiry conducted like that, would we have got anywhere in science?

Ken, I believe the reason is because since Descartes, “modern philosphers” have been so caught up in questioning whether human reason is valid that they don’t get beyond square one and they end up getting caught in a quagmire of universal skeptism.

jjg,

questioning whether human reason is valid that they don’t get beyond square one and they end up getting caught in a quagmire of universal skeptism.

So your philosophical solution is just to assume that human reason is valid, and that when two people use human reason to come up with two incompatable conclusions, to do what?

Dunamis

Actually, I don’t know what the question, is human reason valid comes to. To make sense of it, I would require something more detailed, since I am not very sure what we are talking about. It is too vague as it stands to permit anything sensible to be said about it. I would suppose that if reason means anything specific at all, it is the ability to draw inferences from what we know to what we do not yet know. When, for instance, I draw the conclusion that it has snowed overnight from my observation that there is snow on the ground, and my recollection that there was no snow on the ground before I went to bed last night. That kind of thing. And I have no idea how I would rebut the claim that human reason was not valid except by begging the question by using human reason. I would certainly want to ask, for instance, what objection anyone would have to an inference like the example I just gave about snow.

If, as has been suggested, a case was presented when two contrary conclusions have been drawn from (I take it) the same premises, I would suppose that the first thing to do would be to search for a flaw in one of the arguments. Kant, of course, alleged in the section on the Antinomies, that he had inferred incompatible conclusions, and from that inferred (strange to say!) that human reason was impotent in a certain area. That was simply an assertion on his part because he never showed that boht incompatible conclusions were, indeed, correctly drawn from their premises, and has he tried to show it, I wonder how he could have done so without using reason. So I would not take that objection all that seriously.

Kennethamy,

If, as has been suggested, a case was presented when two contrary conclusions have been drawn from (I take it) the same premises,

Please stay out of my posts, and let this guy answer the question posed to him. You are the same blithering idiot who proclaimed that he gave Wittgenstein Seminars, but has no idea what a private language argument is, or even the nature of what Wittgenstein’s position is in general. Either a complete liar, or a complete moron. That you would take any objection seriously is meaningless, since you have no understanding of any of the positions you reference. You literally don’t know what you are talking about.

Dunamis

jjg,

It seems that if I play the “cut and paste polka” when faced with a “serious” question, you play the “run and hide” jig when faced with a very easy, elementary question. I look forward to your answer.

Dunamis

There are logically two possible replies:

  1. If incompatible conclusions are reached from different premises, then one of the arguments must be unsound since one of them has a false conclusion. Therefore, one of the arguments must have false premises, or be invalid, or, of course, both.

  2. If incompatible conclusions are reached from the very same premises, then, one of the arguments that reach one of the conclusions must be invalid.

But this is logic 101. Have you a difficult one?

Kennethamy,

As I said, stay out of my posts. You are an idiot. You do not understand the least thing of what you are speaking of. I am still waiting for you to demonstrate any, and I mean any, understanding of Wittgenstein, a philosopher you purported to be an expert on. Yes, I am waiting…As I said, either a liar or a moron. Can you not understand that it is the truth of premises themselves that is up for grabs? Are you that thick?

Dunamis

Now wait just a moment, please. If it is the truth of the premises that are at issue, then how can it be the reasoning from the premises to the conclusion that is at issue. Isn’t that what all this is supposed to be about? Reasoning.

You may not know, but it was Kant’s contention (and I thought you were alluding to the Antinomies) that since we could infer incompatible conclusions from the same premises, or from different premises. that was supposed to show that reason had transcended its limits. If it is the truth of the premises that is supposed to be in question, how would that have anything to do with rationality which has to do with the inference from the premises? Given that the argument is valid, then if the conclusion is false, it follows that one or more of the premises must be false. But, as I said, I had been under the impression that this was all about rationality, and that concers inference from the premises to the conclusion, not with the truth or falsity of the premises themselves. If you don’t believe me, ask someone at your institution that knows any logic. If there is anyone like that.
Haven’t you taken any logic at all?

Kennethamy,

If it is the truth of the premises that are at issue, then how can it be the reasoning from the premises to the conclusion that is at issue.

Are you so dim that you don’t understand that if premises cannot be assessed as true, the entire edifice of reasoning that follows from them collapses? That all of Analytical Philosophy has been trying to establish fundamentally true premises - the proposition -, and the assault on or justification of this “truth” is what all of Analytic Philosophy since Frege has pretty much been about? Don’t you get that? But no, you don’t get that. Instead, here is your brilliant analysis of what to when two arguments come up with incompatible conclusions. Ready everyone, its really brilliant:

“I would suppose that the first thing to do would be to search for a flaw in one of the arguments.”

You are the most simple minded poster I have ever encountered. In the past month or so I have seen you authoritatively declare that the word “philosophia” in Greek has been inaccurately translated from the Greek as “the love of wisdom”, even though you have absolutely no knowledge of Greek, or even Greek philosophy it seems. You have quoted Quine and Peirce to defend your position that truth is not an agreed upon standard, while the quotes you used actually spoke of the tribunal of truth, undermining your own position. I’ve seen you refer to Tarski, but seemingly have no idea what measure Tarski’s formal language theory of truth has upon the nature of “truth” in argumentation. A bit doubtful you even understood it at all. Then you accused me of assuming a private language in defiance of Wittgenstein’s argument against, and when pushed to state your case, all you could do was claim to be a public speaker on Wittgenstein, and then disappear, completely disappear. Why did you disappear? Because you literally have no idea what you are talking about. And now, when discussing Wittgenstein, you seem to actually have no understanding at all of his position even in the general sense, nor the significance his position had upon philosophy - despite the fact you claiim to speak publically on him. You propose rather to solve all of these problems that compel so many people much, much brighter than you or me with the kindergarten idea of, and I repeat it hear in case someone missed this brilliant assessment:

“I would suppose that the first thing to do would be to search for a flaw in one of the arguments.”

My lord, how ever did the great philosophical minds of Europe and America miss this one? And isn’t it kind of you to provide the answer all have missed. I think you may very well be a teacher of some kind, and are used to an audience that is subservient to you, and which knows just a little bit less than you, so you can bluff them this way and that. None of your so easily impressed students will ever find out that you are very poorly read, have a very poor grasp of the issues, and are simply bluffing – I pray that you are not teaching philosophy somewhere, and are simply a liar on that account.

Dunamis

Yes well, if I had been forced to guess beforehand, I would have assumed that this would be what you would say. Have you read Badiou’s book on Deleuze, though? (I haven’t) I picked it up in the book store the other day, after browsing through Brandom’s ‘Making it Explicit’; apparently Badiou paints Deleuze as something of an intellectual aristocrat after all (though I don’t suppose this is surprising). Badiou strikes me as something of an oddity though in French philosophy (and not just French) - he is certainly saying things which seem rather weird. I’m not really sure what to make of him.

Yes I have been told about this - one of the lecturers at my uni who specialises in philosophy of language has a penchant for impromptu biography. Told me plenty of humourous things about Kripke also (from personal experience, mind you).

Incidentally, I have a copy of Heidegger’s 1955/6 lecture course on the principle of reason, whose pertinence here I assume is self-explanatory. Unfortunately this conversation is taking place around 4 months too early - I have not read it yet.

Dunamis I think the tone of your writing has ‘loosened’ a little these last few weeks. Your criticisms are now frequently crass in addition to what they were before; namely, insightful. You have added some latin to the bottom of your posts. I even caught you using the expression ‘fo shizzle’ the other day. :astonished: What is the world coming to, I wonder? :laughing: :laughing:

However, I haven’t really paid much attention to your ‘argument’ with Kenneth - I have been rather more inclined towards silence recently. I am intrigued by what Kant may or may not have unwittingly achieved; yet reason and truth remain in some sense seperate for me. Tarski has also been appropriated by Kripke, who wrote a paper a while back called ‘A Theory of Truth’; which it seems to me has been either underappreciated or ignored by too many for too long. It certainly seems, in any case, to problematise Tarski’s conclusions.

In any case, I think it still holds some weight to say in philosophy what is occasionally said in science, every now and again; ‘never say never’.

I also personally think that Derrida is the bastard love-child of Heidegger and Saussure (and Hegel) - the Wittgenstein in him is comparitively under-articulated.

Someone also once said that Wittgenstein was a master of aphorism - which is also sheer crap, though he is at the same time better than his detractors give him (dis)credit for.

It continues to humor me though that I can write a whole post and say next to nothing. I personally don’t think Wittgenstein was anywhere near well-read enough to be entirely ‘consistent’ rhetorically speaking.

What an irony it is, then, that he advocates ‘thinking for yourself’, as if this were some kind of extant ‘method’ which could be ‘enacted’ with complete abandon in some fantastic historical vacuum.

Someone will say; he is just another one of those thinkers who projects his own inadequacies onto something called ‘philosophy’, so that they may rule over others too. Yet the fact that there is no absolute alternative, even ideally speaking, hints at the mis-formulation inherent to this kind of argument. Which is not to affirm anything either, though. All I seem to see these days are little Hegel’s running around; I am beginning to think that it is Hegel who has done the most to shape our so called ‘popular ways of thinking’ - the ‘logic’ of culture, or whatever it is we teach our kids these days, and not just our kids.

Incidentally, Dunamis, you wouldn’t happen to know if Heidegger’s 1924 lecture course on Aristotle’s Rhetoric is available in English, by any chance?

Regards,

James

James,

Have you read Badiou’s book on Deleuze, though? (I haven’t) I picked it up in the book store the other day, after browsing through Brandom’s ‘Making it Explicit’;

No, I haven’t read this yet.

Badiou strikes me as something of an oddity though in French philosophy (and not just French) - he is certainly saying things which seem rather weird. I’m not really sure what to make of him.

I’m not sure anybody knows what to make of him. I though, I a believe I mentioned before, found his examination of St. Paul very fascinating.

Your criticisms are now frequently crass in addition to what they were before; namely, insightful. You have added some latin to the bottom of your posts. I even caught you using the expression ‘fo shizzle’ the other day.

As you know, I write in the idiom of those I communicate with.

I also personally think that Derrida is the bastard love-child of Heidegger and Saussure (and Hegel)

This is close to how Rorty views him, without the bastard designation. He speaks of the Hegel-Nietzsche-Heidegger-Derrida line, where each philosopher historicizes philosophy, and purges the preceding philosopher’s metaphysical tendencies a bit.

I personally don’t think Wittgenstein was anywhere near well-read enough to be entirely ‘consistent’ rhetorically speaking.

What the guy did with a few brushstrokes of verbalized thought is nearly unsurpassed in the history of philosophy. I can think of no one else, besides the pre-Socratics whose shaped so much, saying something so briefly.

Incidentally, Dunamis, you wouldn’t happen to know if Heidegger’s 1924 lecture course on Aristotle’s Rhetoric is available in English, by any chance?

I haven’t seen it. Man you really love Heidegger. The bloom has come off that rose for me as of late. I’m rereading his Parmenides lectures now, and to hear him go on about ‘aletheia’ and the disclosure of occluded Being, while the final solution is taking away his Jewish peers, is it bit hard to muscle through, philosophically. He makes a beautiful point, and I love the discovery through the Greek, but he maxed himself out in terminology to me.

I just went through a rather thorough Rorty period. You might find him compelling, though surely you won’t appreciate his attempted defeat of “truth” that you long pursue. I could not help thinking of you considering his love of Heidegger – wrote a book on him - , all the while having predominantly Analytic Philosophy ties. No philosopher I know has read the Continentals so thoroughly back into the Analytic tradition.

Dunamis

Dear James no. 2

Have you ever read Heidegger and Fink’s lectures on Heraclitus? Not that they are particularly relevent (other than the notion of the hermeneutic circle) to the discussion on this thread, I was just wondering, since you seem to have read every other book I’ve come across.

Dunamis

I must admit I’m rolling towards your side of this dispute with Kennethamy over Wittgenstein. There seems to be a lot Kennethamy is missing out which is significant.

But today I’m reading Derrida’s comments on the tensions in being a viewer of television (the tensions between being comfortably at home while simultaneously being taken to an Other by the screen) and spinning out some ideas on how soap operas supplant the ‘real’ in their Social Realism with something I think is more appropriately named a ‘norm’. Soaps don’t present reality, nor do they ever seek to present reality. They seek (usually) to present a particular form of the normal, sufficiently real to be believable, sufficiently melodramatic to be entertaining.

However we’ve also seen (in the work of Phil Redmond) a certain supplanting of this normative melodrama in favour of a realism which holds the contemporary as the benchmark of the ‘real’, even if the capturing of that contemporary thing, that contemporaneity leads to what is formally (i.e. technically) unrealistic. Hence the presence of dreams, hallucinations, the supernatural and so on in Hollyoaks.

But none of that’s particularly important right now, so ignore it if you like.

Yes.

As far as I am concerned, its not nearly as thorough as it could have been (though I have only read his philosophical papers vol. 2). Tried to pick it up and read it again the other day, but Rorty has come to taste a little off in my mouth after having actually become properly acquianted with some of the thinkers he ‘chews’ over. Whilst his understanding of these thinkers is perhaps considerable, the use he makes of them, and thus his ostensive understanding, seems to do considerable harm to their actual content/program, regardless of how often he pays lip service to them. And all this, ironically, whilst ranting on about historicism and narrative-creation in philosophy. Rorty’s narrative, it seems to me, is by far the most misguided of them all.

So no, at this stage, I definitely do not find him compelling. Which is why I always said that Davidson was superior. Derrida’s reading of Heidegger is much more nuanced, also.

The real question is, does Rorty actually need his rather thin narrative in order to buttress his philosophical program?

I don’t know. I am going to try Taylor instead.

For now though I am rounding up my reading of Heidegger; another 6 or so books and then I will spend some time reading the latest the analytics have to offer; probably Brandom’s book (the one I mentioned), Kripke’s book on Wittgenstein (the notorious Kripkenstein), the rest of Davidson’s stuff, and probably the rest of Wittgenstein as well. In any case, some random points;

-Safranski’s bio of Heidegger is worth reading;

  • your ‘observations’ concerning Heidegger’s metaphorics and poetics cannot become too critical, lest they become self-critical;
  • and, finally, I am beginning to think that Agamben is just a better thinker than Foucault.

Regards,

James

p.s.

Read Geoffrey Waite’s paper; ‘On Esotericism: Heidegger and Cassirer at Davos’. It offers a Marxist perspective on the meaning of the debate between the two, which has come to symbolise so very many different things. Heidegger’s use of rhetoric is surely the most fascinating aspect of his philosophy, hands down. The topic under debate is; Kant’s ‘erosion’ of reason, and the consequences for ethics, and thus political action.

No I have not got around to it yet. There is a significant aspect of Heidegger’s corpus which I will not even both reading until I have a sufficient command of Attic Greek. As for the hermeneutic circle; this is present in just about everything Heidegger ever wrote. In what specific sense do you think it is relevant here?

Regards,

James

Wittgenstein’s notion of philosophy as a very complicated language game which simply demonstrates the rules by which the game is being played (rather than any worldly Truth) is tacitly connected with the understanding of the hermeneutic circle I got from the Heraclitus lectures, namely that the search (the game) is always already happening, one cannot come into it anew without at least adopting some of the rules of the game as it is being played. Just as you can’t affect the path of a cricket ball without hitting it with a bat (or moving the ball sufficiently close to the ball that gravity does the rest).