Sunday, May 10, 2009

78b Ludwig Wittgenstein II

In the Tractatus Wittgenstein developed an extreme uniform theory regarding the meaning of words and sentences. All words that have a semantical relation with reality are names. Their meaning consists of the denotatum - that what we are directly aware of.

All sentences that are used to say something about reality are eventually pictures of atomic states of affairs. They form an arrangement of names which show a resemblance of the structure withe the arrangement of objects.

These names and picturing atomic sentences posses the monopoly of meaning. besides that there are no symbols. which substantially can contribute to a meaningfull use of language.

This means, that every compound statement should be analyzable into atomic statements which derive their meanings from direct awareness with reality by sensory perception.

But as we already observed in the former lecture, this rigid theory may answer some questions, but creates all kinds of new questionable issues. Is there really one name for every single denotatum?

When Wittgenstein returned to Cambridge in 1929 and resumed lecturing on philosophy he had come to the conclusion that the ontological and epistemological views as formulated in the Tractatus weren't anymore his actual views.

He understands that when we ask for the meaning of every word and every sentence, you can't escape the idea that all words and sentences must have something unique in common, namely a meaning. That is what Russell envisioned with his ideal language and what Wittgenstein pleaded for in his Tractatus: one language - one meaning.

But instead of asking for "the meaning of a word" or "the meaning of a sentence" we should ask for the meaning of a specific word or sentence and observe the various contexts in which the word or sentence is used.

And instead of finding that one meaning in all contexts we'll discover that you almost can equate the meaning of the word with the way it is used in a certain context.

You could get the idea that all tools in a toolbox have a common function, for instance to create a change, but such a pure verbal unification does contribute almost nothing to the real insight of what each tool does. You have to observe how and in which situations the individual tools are used to grasp their individual meaniing.

Wittgenstein used the term "language-game" to designate simple forms of language, "consisting of language and the actions into which it is woven" , and connected by family resemblance. The concept was intended "to bring into prominence the fact that the speaking of language is part of an activity, or a form of life" .

So at the end philosophical and logical analysis shouldnt aim at revealing THE meaning of every sentence, but clarify how a sentence or word gets its meaning by its use in a given context.

The journalist says "Politics is a game" and his colleague of the sports page says "Soccer is a game". And when the philosopher jumps on these two statements and tries to clarify THE meaning of the word "game" as such, he is on the wrong track, according to the present Wittgenstein.

By avoiding this first false step, philosophical problems themselves simply no longer arise and are therefore dissolved rather than solved. As Wittgenstein puts it; "the clarity we are aiming at is indeed complete clarity. But this simply means that the philosophical problems should completely disappear."

So maybe from now on it is no longer the task of linguistic analysis to solve philosophical problems but to dissolve them...(^_^)

The Discussion

[13:22] Ze Novikov: smiles
[13:22] Herman Bergson: This was Wittgenstein...
[13:23] Cailleach Shan: This is very complex Herman, as even voice inflections can change the meaning of a word or sentence!
[13:23] Gemma Cleanslate: did he understand what he was talking about? :-)
[13:23] Gemma Cleanslate: very true cail
[13:23] arabella Ella: i love wittgenstein's statement ... to let the fly out of the bluebottle ... or to dissolve philosophical problems
[13:23] Herman Bergson: What Wittgenstein did was focusing on ordinary language
[13:24] itsme Frederix: and introducing yet another game
[13:24] Herman Bergson: He was well aware of the fact that the Tractatus didnt achieve what he had thought of it: solve all philosophical problems
[13:24] itsme Frederix: which means you have to play around with it to get the meaning
[13:25] Mickorod Renard: sounds like he decided we should do what we have always done
[13:25] Herman Bergson: the funny thing is..that in the Philosophical Investigations he goes for Dissolving the philosophical problems
[13:25] itsme Frederix: Phil. Invest. was published posthume so never finisched
[13:26] arabella Ella: i think it is important to add wittgenstein did not finish this work but it was published posthumously ... as itsme just said
[13:26] Herman Bergson: half true...
[13:26] itsme Frederix: sorry are, a bad habbit and not that nice taking words out of a mouth
[13:26] Herman Bergson: part one was ready for publishing in 1946, but he canceled the printing
[13:27] arabella Ella: hey no worries itsme
[13:27] Herman Bergson: I think we can observe here a general development
[13:27] Herman Bergson: in the early 20s logic and mathematics showed a tremendeous development
[13:28] arabella Ella: i also love the way he describes 'overlap' of meaning as language games
[13:28] Herman Bergson: and what you see is....philosophers begin to belief in the new toys
[13:28] Herman Bergson: then it shows that they dont deliver what they seemed to promis
[13:28] itsme Frederix: new might not be a qualification in its own isn't it
[13:29] arabella Ella: new toys that make much more sense than those which fall under philosophy with a capital 'P'
[13:29] Mickorod Renard: maths was and is open to much developement,,but language I believe is well evolved
[13:29] Herman Bergson: and then you see the movement to ordinary language in Wittgenstein's thoughts
[13:29] AristotleVon Doobie: I am afraid that language changes everyday
[13:30] Mickorod Renard: yes,,but often to the same outcome
[13:30] Osrum Sands: Language changes with place also
[13:30] itsme Frederix: Herman not only ordinairy language, also "ordinairy" people, remember his teaching and serving in the hospital. I would say Witty found you have to play the game to understand it
[13:31] arabella Ella: nice way of putting it itsme
[13:31] Mickorod Renard: from a non academic position,,personaly,,i would agree itsme'
[13:31] Herman Bergson: Well......I have a slight inclination to think that pragmatism would be a nice line of thinking here
[13:31] AristotleVon Doobie: it is truly a blessing to discover someone on the same frequency, to be understood at first brodcast
[13:31] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[13:32] itsme Frederix: well after all W was a technican
[13:32] Herman Bergson: Yes Russell was a mathematician..
[13:33] Herman Bergson: it is interesting to see how the development of UK philosophy was dominated by the beta side
[13:33] itsme Frederix: well b comes after a
[13:33] arabella Ella: wittgenstein was a rather strange character but there is no doubt he was brilliant
[13:33] Herman Bergson: Continental philosophy had hardly an appreciation for math
[13:34] itsme Frederix: in what I read from and about him not only brilliant but also honest & honorable
[13:34] Herman Bergson: except Frege, but he was hardly recognized
[13:34] Mickorod Renard: Leibniz was a mathematician? yes?
[13:34] itsme Frederix: Yes Mick
[13:34] Herman Bergson: I think it has no relevance to relate the ideas to the personality
[13:35] arabella Ella: i see wittgenstein as bridging continental and anglo saxon philosophy somehow
[13:35] AristotleVon Doobie: as Da Vinci birlliant, but if his drawings and designs proved themselves on paper he did not have to build them to satisfy his mind
[13:35] itsme Frederix: I think if dealing with Witgenstein it is
[13:35] itsme Frederix: Ari wittgenstein did some architecture to
[13:36] arabella Ella: but herman u know there is always some fascination with the person himself ... but his mind was so brilliant ... but everyone was terrified of him
[13:36] Herman Bergson: So true Arabela...
[13:36] Herman Bergson: but what is left to us are the ideas...the person is dead already
[13:36] Nick Cassavetes is Online
[13:36] itsme Frederix: And Herman, wasn't W. trying to live his ideas, so neglecting his personalyty is not done
[13:37] cheryl3100 Korobase is Offline
[13:37] Herman Bergson: and when you claim that the ideas are the rpoduct (and dependent) on a personality...philosophy becomes a psychologism
[13:37] itsme Frederix: Well that might be very pragmatic
[13:38] Herman Bergson: I dont think so would lead to absolute relativism
[13:38] itsme Frederix: Because as you said before it is/was hard to find a atomic postulate at itself
[13:38] itsme Frederix: but that is ontology I admit
[13:39] arabella Ella: herman i think the fact that witt did not publish after the tractatus is a demonstration of his perfectionist character
[13:39] AristotleVon Doobie: why did he decline to publish?
[13:40] Herman Bergson: I would say...whatever....he didnt publish a thing...and we want to read his stuff
[13:40] Herman Bergson: I dont know Aristotle
[13:40] itsme Frederix: Ari maybe because if you publish/finish the game is over - has been played
[13:40] arabella Ella: he did not publish cos he thought it was not yet complete and acceptable
[13:40] arabella Ella: it was published by his heirs
[13:40] Herman Bergson: You play too much with the word game Itsme...
[13:40] AristotleVon Doobie: did he have doubts about his conclusions
[13:40] itsme Frederix: Ara it would never be acceptable I guess
[13:40] Osrum Sands: Or is pub just another part of the Game Itsme
[13:40] arabella Ella: and other stuff by his students
[13:41] arabella Ella: he did not come to any conclusions himself
[13:41] itsme Frederix: Osrum not for Witty I just guess
[13:41] arabella Ella: he only left behind him fragments ... called aphorisms
[13:41] arabella Ella: brilliant stuff tho
[13:41] Osrum Sands: ok
[13:41] Mickorod Renard: did he not conclude in the end that words are a replacement for describing the sensation
[13:42] Mickorod Renard: of what one thinks
[13:42] itsme Frederix: Well to make a conclusion W. showed to me there is no final conclusion (as he potphoned as I, but rejected as II)
[13:42] Herman Bergson: a replacement, Mickorod?
[13:42] Herman Bergson: I guess that is your final conclusion Itsme..:-)
[13:42] itsme Frederix: Not at all Herman ;)
[13:43] Mickorod Renard: well,,as we are not telepathic we need words to comunicate our sensations and thoughts
[13:43] AristotleVon Doobie: I think that it takes a poet, not a philosopher, to describe sensation
[13:43] Gemma Cleanslate: are you beginning a new philosopher on sundday Herman or????????
[13:43] itsme Frederix: Mick maybe even more, we need words to state our ideas, do the thinking
[13:44] Mickorod Renard: maybe that is what some philos are ,,poets but of a diferent kind
[13:44] Herman Bergson: No Gemma..I intend to give a synopsis of all we learnt in all these months
[13:44] AristotleVon Doobie: may be so, MIck
[13:44] Gemma Cleanslate: translations are interesting tho i looked at a comparison of his 7 principles on the web
[13:44] Gemma Cleanslate: from different translators
[13:44] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[13:44] Gemma Cleanslate: some were very different in concept
[13:45] Gemma Cleanslate: ah that is good Herman
[13:45] Mickorod Renard: I dont think words do the thinking,,itsme
[13:45] itsme Frederix: Gemma didn't you yourself make a translation (small interpretation)?
[13:45] Gemma Cleanslate: i did
[13:45] Gemma Cleanslate: lol
[13:45] Gemma Cleanslate: of some
[13:45] itsme Frederix: Mick I think it does, but what makes the difference for you
[13:45] Gemma Cleanslate: only 1 was the same in meaning
[13:45] Mickorod Renard: mmm,,I am loosing track here
[13:46] itsme Frederix: Mick, that's why I use words - to anchor
[13:46] Mickorod Renard: i think words act as a medium for collective thinking
[13:46] Herman Bergson: So am I Mickorod..:-)
[13:46] Mickorod Renard: ahh,,i see itsme,,yes
[13:46] arabella Ella: for communication you mean mick?
[13:47] itsme Frederix: so these words have to intrinsic "meaning" just like light & ether Mick
[13:47] arabella Ella: communication between individuals and groups?
[13:47] Mickorod Renard: yes Ara,,but i see Itsme's point too
[13:47] Herman Bergson: Sorry friends...I am completely at a loss here..
[13:47] Herman Bergson: what is the question?
[13:47] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[13:47] itsme Frederix: we are just discussing language - game
[13:47] Gemma Cleanslate: join the crowd
[13:47] Herman Bergson: what is the question
[13:48] Mickorod Renard: forgot now
[13:48] Samuel Okelly: i must go now - thanks again herman :) tc every1 :)
[13:48] Herman Bergson: for if you understand Wittgenstein then even the word language-game is a language-game
[13:48] arabella Ella: bye Sam
[13:48] itsme Frederix: But maybe Herman your last statement needs clarification about words being a medium instead of monades
[[13:48] AristotleVon Doobie: bye Sam
[13:48] arabella Ella: but wittgenstein is not easy to understand it took me ages and lots and lots of reading and reflection to understand him ... or at least i think i do
[13:48] Mickorod Renard: wasnt it me who used the word medium?
[13:49] Mickorod Renard: grin
[13:49] itsme Frederix: I needed the word you understand that mick
[13:49] Herman Bergson: There are no two interpreters of Wittgenstein that agree with eachother dont worry
[13:49] Mickorod Renard: yes,,i do
[13:49] itsme Frederix: But Herman they all agree to Witty ;)
[13:50] Cailleach Shan: Sorry Herman..... I have to go... Bye all.
[13:50] Ze Novikov: bb
[13:50] AristotleVon Doobie: bye Cail :))
[13:50] arabella Ella: bye cail
[13:50] Mickorod Renard: I think his tractutus must have been great,,but maybe not relevant
[13:50] arabella Ella: who are the two interpreters herman?
[13:50] Mickorod Renard: bye cail
[13:50] Osrum Sands: Cheers Gaill
[13:50] Herman Bergson: Well, let's conclude with the observation that Wittgenstein's ideas are stimulatiing and creative to us
[13:50] Cailleach Shan: Wow.... I am stuck in sl..
[13:51] itsme Frederix: Is maybe Chomsky part of the deal
[13:51] Ze Novikov: lol
[13:51] Gemma Cleanslate: is it because of the language issue that they consider him such a great philosopher of the 20th century???
[13:51] Wyeth Bailey is Online
[13:51] itsme Frederix: Gemma and the myth!
[13:51] arabella Ella: @ itsme ... perhaps chomsky and pinker too?
[13:51] Herman Bergson: I have to think about that Gemma
[13:51] Gemma Cleanslate: i will wait
[13:51] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[13:51] Gemma Cleanslate: til next time
[13:51] herman Bergson smiles
[13:51] arabella Ella: not only language Gemma but lots more too
[13:51] Gemma Cleanslate: and i hope i will be here
[13:52] Gemma Cleanslate: may be late!!'
[13:52] Gemma Cleanslate: rl
[13:52] arabella Ella: the idea that philiosophers can no longer come up with a grand scheme of things to resolve everything
[13:52] Herman Bergson: Yes Arabella interesting observation
[13:52] AristotleVon Doobie: ahh, to resolve everthing , what will we do when that is achieved
[13:53] Herman Bergson: then we will get bored Aristotle
[13:53] arabella Ella: i also appreciate his method ... which is called quietism by others
[13:53] Mickorod Renard: maybe the aliens that are flying over england will be able to explain it all to us
[13:53] AristotleVon Doobie: LOL, like the poor Marquis
[13:53] Ze Novikov: lol
[13:54] Herman Bergson: Well...thank you all for your was a pleasure again
[13:54] Ze Novikov: Thank you!!
[13:54] Mickorod Renard: thank you Herman,,great
[13:54] AristotleVon Doobie: i suspect that resolution philosopher maybe not be frothcoming
[13:54] AristotleVon Doobie: Thank you, Herman
[13:54] arabella Ella: wittgenstein's later philosophy claims that problems can be dissolved by 'showing' how language functions in ordinary real life
[13:55] arabella Ella: thank you so much once again herman
[13:55] Matt232 Vought: Thanks Herman
[13:55] Gemma Cleanslate: yes as usual
[13:55] Herman Bergson: my pleasure
[13:55] arabella Ella: to ask for a meaning see how a word is used in everyday language
[13:55] Mickorod Renard: how do u mean Ara?
[13:55] arabella Ella: meaning as use of a word ... and the language games and family resemblances emerge
[13:55] Mickorod Renard: oh
[13:56] arabella Ella: just as 'game' has many uses, so do words in language
[13:56] Gemma Cleanslate: have to go now!!! enjoyed it all
[13:56] arabella Ella: bye gemma
[13:56] AristotleVon Doobie: bye Gemma
[13:56] Mickorod Renard: bye Gemma
[13:56] Herman Bergson: Bye Gemma
[13:56] Ze Novikov: bye Gemma
[13:56] Matt232 Vought: bye
[13:56] Qwark Allen: ty herman!!! interesting as allways :-)
[13:56] Herman Bergson: Arabella loves to continue the game..:-)
[13:56] Qwark Allen: cya later my friends
[13:56] AristotleVon Doobie: later on, Qwark
[13:56] Herman Bergson: Bye Qwark
[13:56] Ze Novikov: bb
[13:56] Osrum Sands: Cheers Q
[13:57] Kate Miranda is Offline
[13:57] Qwark Allen: going to absynth! eheheh
[13:57] Herman Bergson: cool
[13:57] Mickorod Renard: I am not sure that language has to be understood any more to be able to move forward in philosophy
[13:57] Mickorod Renard: unless your english is as bad as mine
[13:57] arabella Ella: what is absynth apart from the alcohol qwark?
[13:57] itsme Frederix: Arabella just never stops publishing
[13:58] arabella Ella: excuse me itsme?
[13:58] arabella Ella: ??
[13:58] Herman Bergson: Absynth was fobidden in the Netherlands...qualified as a halucionation creating drug
[13:58] Mickorod Renard: mmm
[13:58] Mickorod Renard: wow,,sounds good
[13:59] itsme Frederix: oke do not mis understand, just thinking about Witty not publishing and you never stopping the game but playing it here
[13:59] Herman Bergson: yes indeed Mickorod
[13:59] itsme Frederix: @ara
[13:59] AristotleVon Doobie: a constant deciphering of the meaning of words, phrases and sentences combined with body language and culrture of the listners, is required for effective communication
[[14:00] AristotleVon Doobie: yes, Herman, Absynth is still outlawed in the US
[14:00] Mickorod Renard: but this is what we as humans do naturally Ari
[14:00] Osrum Sands: Pls What is Abynth ?
[14:00] itsme Frederix: over effective creates chaos
[14:00] Herman Bergson: it is a acoholic beverage
[14:00] Mickorod Renard: yes,,and where can we buy some?
[14:00] Ze Novikov: lol
[14:01] Herman Bergson: in France and the Netherlands
[14:01] AristotleVon Doobie: Van Gogh's favorite drink
[14:01] Osrum Sands: ta
[14:01] AristotleVon Doobie: and Toulouse's too
[14:01] Mickorod Renard: lol
[14:01] Herman Bergson: yes a lot of painters drank it..:-)
[14:01] Laila Schuman: hee hee...might have cleaned their brushes in it too
[14:01] Mickorod Renard: doesnt help you grow then
[14:02] Ze Novikov: lol
[14:02] AristotleVon Doobie: LOL yes Laila a dual purpose cleanser
[14:02] AristotleVon Doobie: dual
[14:02] arabella Ella: absinth is available in malta ... high alcohol content ... but not available in many EU countries
[14:02] Mickorod Renard: might cut ur ear off shaving
[14:02] Laila Schuman: :0-)
[14:02] Ze Novikov: lol
[14:02] Herman Bergson: OK..NEXT CLASS IS ON MALTA
[14:02] Mickorod Renard: yeaaaaaaaa
[14:03] Ze Novikov: yyes!!

Posted by herman_bergson on 2008-06-27 05:15:54

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