Wednesday, November 8, 2017

686: Wittgenstein on introspection...

An important criticism of introspectionism we encounter in the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951). 
When Harry strikes his thumb and says "I'm in pain," he does so, according to introspection theory, 
based on a certain mental state (a sense of pain) he has seen with his inner eye. 
However, Wittgenstein argues that we are making a fundamental mistake when we think this is the way we gain self-knowledge. 
The introspective theory leaves room for a radical form of skepticism. For example, how does Harry know that he means the same thing with "pain" like someone else? 
As his friend Barry strikes his thumb with the same hammer and also says "I'm in pain," Harry and Barry seems likely 
to mean the same thing with their pronunciation: they have seen a similar kind of internal condition. 
But how can we actually know if their verdict is based on introspection? Since Harry and Barry can only have knowledge of their own mental state, 
and not of the others, they can never be sure if the other feels pain or something else, “minx” for example. 
This is not just a problem for Harry's knowledge of Barry, but also for the knowledge Harry has of himself. 
After all, how does Harry know that the pain he felt after he hit the thumb with his hammer is of the same kind as the pain he felt when he stumbled across a tree stump?
According to the introspection theory, just as you can see, for example, a cup of porcelain or plastic, you can 'see' an experience of pain or itchiness. 
The meaning of the word 'pain' is thus derived from introspection. When Harry says, "I'm in pain," he means, "I have experience X." 
But when he stumbles over a tree stump, Harry does not have experience X, but experience Y. So how does Harry know that in both cases it is an experience of pain? 
With these types of skeptical questions, Wittgenstein wants to show in the first place something is wrong with the introspective theory and the idea of ​​an 'internal world' that we can perceive. 
You can not experience each others experiences, only your own. If we accept the introspective theory, it's impossible to know what pain means,
because everybody may have just another experience. Because of this private character of experiences, we will never know 
if Harry and Barry, when they both use the word 'pain', actually mean the same. And that also eliminates the ability to understand what it means to others to have pain. 
The introspection theory ultimately leads to a state of solipsism (solo =  'alone' and ipse = ‘self'), in which there is no such thing as a shared language or meaning. 
The knowledge we have of ourselves may seem to be a private matter, but that is not the case says Wittgenstein. 
Concepts like 'pain' but also 'hunger', 'fear' and 'happiness' derive their meaning from a social world, that is, from a common context in which these words are used. 
Language is, according to Wittgenstein, embedded in usage rules, and you must be able to follow and apply them.  
When we say we have pain or hunger, or want to go to the cinema, in those cases we play a particular game - a language game - that is bound to certain rules, as Wittgenstein calls it.

According to the rule you hit your thumb with a hammer and then show certain behaviour including uttering a word: pain.
This is because everybody does so in our language. Thus gets the word “pain” its meaning.
It is not so that you hit your thumb and then through introspection you ‘see’ the word pain.  

Significance and thus self-knowledge can not be achieved simply by linking a word to an experience. We must first know how that word is used in a social context. 
Proponents of introspection theory assume the idea that we should first of all have knowledge of our own mental states and, on the basis of that, acquire knowledge of others. 
Meaning goes from inside to outside. Wittgenstein turns this around: first of all, we need to know 
how to use the concepts in a social context before we can apply them to ourselves to gain self-knowledge. Meaning goes from the outside to the inside.
Thank you for your attention again … ^_^

The Discussion

[13:26] Ciska Riverstone: thanx herman
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): we can tell the experience is the same for everyone by the reaction (jumping around yelling and swearing after hittng the thumb with the hammer)
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): (aims haper at hermans head to give hom experience x and see if that is the same as well)
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hammer
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): experience z it would be
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol
[13:28] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): depends on the impact of the hammer on the head or thumb
[13:28] herman Bergson: The main idea here is how we look at language....
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): in all cases it hurts
[13:28] CB Axel: I tend to agree with Wittgenstein, but the language had to have started internally with someone who was the first to use a particular word like pain.
[13:28] herman Bergson: and how words get a meaning...
[13:29] herman Bergson: yes CB but that is a theoretical approach just like mankind had to start with at least one couple...
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): all grts togethre
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): DAMN CANt tyPE At ALL TODAY, ! too much rumbling around befor i guess
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): im tired
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): played floorball again
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but its fn
[13:30] herman Bergson: Logically you could come to such a conclusion but in reality...?
[13:30] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): you callit tired Bejiita, but what is tired for you?
[13:30] CB Axel: LOL
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): wanting to sleep
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats tired for me
[13:30] herman Bergson: We only understand bejiita when we use the same language game rules :-)
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess you all want to sleep as well when tired
[13:31] herman Bergson: rule 1....I want to sleep :-)
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): just as me
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the reaction is same
[13:31] CB Axel: Tim Minchin wrote a song for the musical Matilda that starts out with this idea of what one person experiences may not be what another experiences.
[13:31] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): afraid of me John? i don't bite :)
[13:31] herman Bergson: means I can use the word "tired"
[13:31] CB Axel: So I've thought about this before.
[13:31] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): no no
[13:31] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): I crashed sorry
[13:31] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): not now I mean..
[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): just like hitting herman in the head with a hammer would be as much pain as him stumbling over a root only in different places
[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): in both cases its pain
[13:32] CB Axel: I've thought about how, if I could somehow get put into someone else's brain, would things look the same to me.
[13:33] encidious Opus: wow , 4 h's Hitting Herman in the Head with a Hammer
[13:33] CB Axel whispers: That's a lot of alliteration. LOL
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): loool, that was NOT intentional!
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:33] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): I think that in those years they didn't know the human brain as we do now
[13:33] encidious Opus: see you're not tired
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I am tired but clinging on
[13:34] herman Bergson: Teh main subjec there is the we have a slef and how can we know it...
[13:34] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): a what?
[13:34] CB Axel: self
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): think Herman is tired too
[13:34] herman Bergson: The introspectionists link language directly to experiences....
[13:34] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): ok
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): just like me
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:35] herman Bergson: Wittgenstein shows us that this leads to sollipsism ultimately....
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): self is a seemingly obvious yet complex thing
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): as i get it
[13:35] herman Bergson: for the owrds I use for my inner experiences  have no meaning for others...
[13:35] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): to some extent, no
[13:36] herman Bergson: Wittgenstein points at the social context in which language functions
[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): maybe the language we use is too limited
[13:36] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): modern medicine confirms that the perception of pain is not the same in everybody
[13:36] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): and it varies between the sexes
[13:36] herman Bergson: meaning originates form the rules people use to use words
[13:36] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): so, you have some scientific evidence for it
[13:37] herman Bergson: pain is a difficult phenomenon...
[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes there is a difference between mans flue and womans flue
[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): mans flue seems worse:)
[13:38] CB Axel: hehehe
[13:38] herman Bergson: well at least there is some level at which every human being will say: I am in pain....
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hitting the little toe in all cases also make you jump around screaming and swearing = same experience or?
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): isn’t it?
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): no. it's your experience
[13:39] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): The self or selfish part is what motivates us the most. The ego
[13:39] CB Axel: Same reaction to that experience, but if you were able to put yourself into someone else's brain and then hit your/his thumb with a hammer, would if feel the same as it would have if you were still in your own self?
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): all i know react that way to that event
[13:39] herman Bergson: General conclusion is that the word pain does not derive its meaning form introspective observing pain
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): interesting indeed, is it same for all or not
[13:40] herman Bergson: but according to Wittgenstein, from the social context a word is used in
[13:40] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): SCience says no, CB
[13:40] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): science says that we have a difference in pain threshold
[13:40] herman Bergson: oh yes...
[13:41] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi):
[13:41] herman Bergson: women seem to have higher tresholds than men :-)
[13:41] herman Bergson: the whimpeys :-)
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok
[13:42] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): Some part of the question has been replied by science since Wittgenstein
[13:42] herman Bergson: To know yourself and express it in language means that you use words which are not private, but derived from a social context
[13:42] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): He would probably formulate the question differently
[13:42] CB Axel: strike
[13:42] CB Axel: I'm not talking threshold. I'm talking about the actual feeling. Perhaps, if I were to enter your brain that hammer my feel like what I, in my own body and self, would feel like a tickle. But in that other body/self, it would be just as uncomfortable.
[13:43] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): so would dozens of others if they know what we know now
[13:43] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): now we know that the personality can be changed with few grams of a given chemical
[13:43] CB Axel: strike
[13:43] CB Axel: But to both of us that hammer would still make us pull our hand away and scream and, in my case at least, swear up a storm.
[13:43] herman Bergson: what chemical John?
[13:44] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): WE know that Depression can be cured by drugs. and without depression half of World's literature and art wouldn't exist
[13:44] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): art and literature, as well as philosophy are the product of sheer pain
[13:44] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): mental pain
[13:45] herman Bergson: That sounds too poetic John :-)
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:45] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): we can expect a decline in creativity in future generation due to the advancement of Psychiatry
[13:45] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): generations
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I create literature and art without being depressed (my game/interactine story making projects)
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but also my projects are a bit special
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:46] CB Axel: Joy can be a creative force as well as saddness. °͜°
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and i still cant type SIGH
[13:46] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): you're not famous, lol
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol
[13:46] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): I said half, not the whole
[13:46] CB Axel: That's not poor typing, Bejiita. It's creativity.
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): nope and also its not the purpose of it
[13:47] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i just want to create stuff from my fantasy and reams
[13:47] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): dreams
[13:47] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cool stuff
[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): how do you know Bejiita is not famous?
[13:47] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): Wittgenstein himself was in a huge pain
[13:47] CB Axel: Creativity born of excitation and exhaustion. LOL
[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): you don't know him
[13:47] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): Ok, I take it back, he's famous
[13:48] herman Bergson: Well, I guess...enough said about this issue....
[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): im not a star yet but i have at least been nominated to Swedish Talent for my dance abilities once, did not make it all the way though as there were so many seeking this year
[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but i was really close and will try again
[13:48] herman Bergson: BEfore we get lost in the  metaphysics of pain,
[13:48] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): anyway, the greatest feats of art, science, literature and ultimately Phylosophy generate from a state of pain, anguish, fear, rage or anguish
[13:48] herman Bergson: I'd like to thank you for your active participation again :-)
[13:49] John Howard Cassio (sticaatsi): the greatest advancement in science and technology happen during or because of wars
[13:49] herman Bergson: So thank you all....class dismiised ^_^
[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): now lets hit ourselves in the head with a hammer and go to sleep
[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:49] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman.
[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): great again Herman
[13:49] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): welterusten Bejiita
[13:49] herman Bergson: If you like to continue the discussion plz feel free to do so :-)
[13:49] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman
[13:49] CB Axel: And I still say that there has been great art that was spawned by joy.
[13:49] CB Axel: So there.

[13:49] Ciska Riverstone: welterusten beertje

No comments:

Post a Comment