Re: Philosophy WAS introducing steps

Subject: Re: Philosophy WAS introducing steps
From: Phil Snow Leopard <philstokes03 -at- googlemail -dot- com>
To: "Dan Goldstein" <DGoldstein -at- riverainmedical -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2011 17:48:12 +0700


> Leonard wrote:
> Was that Wittgenstein before or after he changed his mind about everything?


That was his later work, but its a common misconception that he changed his mind about everything.

The key tenets of his earlier and later philosophy remained the same:
i. true metaphysical statements are actually just linguistic rules for meaningful employment of terms
(think 'nothing can be both red and green all over simultaneously'; the truth or falsity of this statement is determined by the rules for meaningfully employing and combining the terms 'red', 'green', 'all over', and 'simultaneously')).

ii. language is a rule-governed activity
(what we say only makes sense if there are criteria for employing terms correctly and incorrectly)

iii. philosophy is not privileged; it makes no sense when it strays from the rules that give utterances their meaning just like other areas of discourse
(in his early work he famously concluded, 'of that which we cannot speak, thereof we must remain silent'; in his later work he made the same point in a different way: philosophy is just another 'language game' which may or may not make sense depending on whether it employs terms consistently with their explanations; it is not a discipline that is either deeper or more important than other areas of discourse).

What changed was that:

i. the rules of meaningfulness are not determined by the structure of the world but by convention
(something makes sense when a speaker/writers words adhere to the same rules of explanation of meaning employed by their audience; however, any rules are possible, so long as they are tacitly or explicitly understood);

ii. philosophical problems are a result of employing words in one sense and explaining them in another, inconsistent, sense
(philosophical problems are literally (and I don't mean figuratively!) nonsense. They are propositions that don't make sense, not because they don't describe a possible state of affairs (that was his early view), but because they use terms inconsistently with the way they are explained. This happens when language 'idles' — when it is not being used to do or achieve something; hence, we get...

iii. language does not reveal the structure of reality; language is a tool
(it is not the case, as he famously said in his first work, that 'the world is all that is the case'. Language uses reality to define its terms ['what's does 'table' mean? That --> __ {points at a table} ]. It does so because language is essentially instrumental. We have a need to communicate successfully and successful communication is behaviourally confirmable; however, philosophical speculation has no criteria for success, and thus we easily fall into the trap of using words inconsistently ).
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References:
introducing steps: From: Becca
RE: introducing steps: From: Peter Sturgeon
Re: introducing steps: From: Phil Stokes
RE: introducing steps: From: Porrello, Leonard
Re: introducing steps: From: Phil Stokes
RE: introducing steps: From: Porrello, Leonard
Re: introducing steps: From: Phil Stokes
RE: introducing steps: From: Porrello, Leonard
Philosophy WAS introducing steps: From: Peter Sturgeon
RE: Philosophy WAS introducing steps: From: Porrello, Leonard
RE: Philosophy WAS introducing steps: From: Peter Sturgeon
RE: Philosophy WAS introducing steps: From: Dan Goldstein

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