Sunday, November 8, 2009

On Wittgenstein's Philo

Sat, Oct 17, 2009 at 8:06 AM, jrstern wrote:

> Especially as Kirby described it, a grammar can
> (or must?!) relate not (just) to words, but to distal
> objects, to the real, or at least intersubjective,
> consensus world. It is not the word "consciousness"
> that has a grammar, it is the actuality in the world
> of "consciousness" that has a grammar. Then, it is
> well if our linguistic grammars, and our use of the
> word "consciousness", correspond to the distal
> facts. Sean speaks of "assertability conditions".
> That may head in some problematic directions, but
> it's the same kind of concept.

I think Sean's use of "languaging" helps move us from noun-sense to verb-sense i.e. to a post nominalist sensibility. It's not that the word 'cat' and the thing (cat) are related as proximal to distal (the word might be on a distant bill board, the real deal in your lap) but that both have semantic value in a grammar.

For suburbanite Americans going to community college, maybe taking philosophy at night school (a prerequisite for foreign service at some levels), I might translate "grammar" as "lifestyle". I think they'd get that, and it's faithful to On Certainty's "form of life". Language games involve moving slabs around (of fat, of whatever), are not just quiescent stare-into-a-book activities. You may feel obligated to draw some line, making "chess pieces" be not language, with "chess notation" as language, but that'd be an artificial line, as in arbitrary, random.

I think most philosophers of language might agree that "pure language" has this "jagged edge" where it connects to real stuff. That's where Wittgenstein grounds his certainties, his arithmetic sensibilities, not in some cerebral "pure logic" we can never see or smell, no matter how hard we think about it. He's more like Nietzsche in this way, in keeping the senses, also vivid imagery, central to the thinking process, not just as sources of "data" (as in "sense data").

:: sources ::

Sun, Nov 8, 2009 at 8:15 PM
[C] [Wittrs] Wittgenstein on Nominalism

From PI ...

"383. We do not analyze a phenomenon (for example, thinking) but a concept (for example, that of thinking), and hence the application of a word. So it may look like what we were doing were nominalism. Nominalists make the mistake of interpreting all the words as NAMES, and so of not really describing their use, but only, so to speak, giving a paper draft of such a description." PI, 4th, p.125.
Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
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Wright State University
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