Philosophical Investigations

Published by Wiley
Online ISSN: 1467-9205
Print ISSN: 0190-0536
Ways and words about infinity have frequently hidden a continuing paradox inspired by Zeno. The basic puzzle is the tortoise's – Mr T's – Extension Challenge, the challenge being how any extension, be it in time or space or both, moving or still, can yet be of an endless number of extensions. We identify a similarity with Mr T's Deduction Challenge, reported by Lewis Carroll, to the claim that a conclusion can be validly reached in finite steps. Rejecting common solutions to both challenges, we use a Wittgensteinian approach for dissolution, noting also that other paradoxes, such as the Surprise Examination and Yablo's, trap us inconsistently into similar endlessnesses. In so doing, we encounter a hopping flea, generate a proportionality paradox and consider the knight's move in chess.
A broad, though not unanimous, consensus among commentators is that the later Wittgenstein subscribes to a redundancy conception of truth. I reject that interpretation. No doubt much depends on what is meant by a redundancy theory. But once even mildly plausible versions of that view are isolated a review of the relevant texts shows that the evidence for that interpretation collapses. Moreover, the redundancy interpretation is at odds with guiding prescriptions in the post-1932 corpus. Wittgenstein doesn’t hold that truth can be defined or characterized thinly, as redundancy theorists propose, but that it isn’t susceptible to any such generic treatment.
The received view of Kripke's Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language is that it fails as an interpretation because, inter alia, it ignores or overlooks what Wittgenstein has to say in the second paragraph of Philosophical Investigations (PI) 201. In this paper, I demonstrate that the paragraph in question is in fact fully accommodated within Kripke's reading, and cannot therefore be reasonably utilised to object to it. In part one I characterise the objection; in part two I explain why it fails; in part three I suggest why commentators might have been motivated to offer it; and in part four I claim that two commentators who have offered it also imply otherwise.
The sensory apparatus.
Tractatus 5.542–5.5421 should be read as follows: anything which represents is complex; the soul is simple; so ‘the superficial psychologists of the present day’ are mistaken when claiming that the soul represents anything. In contrast to the ‘empirical self’, with which psychology is concerned, the ‘metaphysical’ or ‘transcendental’ soul, subject, or self is a purely fictitious entity (or rather, non-entity) which does not have any positive function.
Critique de l'interpretation de la position de Wittgenstein concernant la theorie des couleurs, developpee par J. Westphal a partir de l'affirmation de propositions enigmatiques, telles que un blanc transparent ne peut pas exister. L'A. montre que la grammaire des termes designant la couleur parvient a rendre compte de phenomenes que nous pensons exclusifs a l'explication scientifique.
In this paper, I argue against the later Wittgenstein's conventionalist account of necessity. I first show that necessary propositions and grammatical rules differ in ways that make an explanation of the former in terms of the latter inadequate. I then argue that even if Wittgenstein's account were adequate, the explanation of necessity it offers would still fail to be genuinely reductive of the modal notion.
Ask most any cognitive scientist working today if a digital computational system could develop aesthetic sensibility and you will likely receive the optimistic reply that this remains an open empirical question. However, I attempt to show, while drawing upon the later Wittgenstein, that the correct answer is in fact available. And it is a negative a priori. It would seem, for example, that recent computational successes in textual attribution, most notably those of Donald Foster (famed finder of Ted Kazinski a.k.a. “the Unibomber”) speak favorably of the digital model's capacity to overcome the “aspect blindness” handicap in this domain. I argue however that such results are only achievable when rigid input-to-output parameters are given, and that this element is precisely what is absent in standard examples of aesthetic judgment. I thus conclude that while the connectionist model anticipated by Turing may provide the best approach for the AI project, its capacity for meeting its own sufficiency requirements is necessarily crippled by its inability to share in what can be generally referred to as the collective engagements of human solidarity.
Books reviewed: Malcolm Budd, The Aesthetic Appreciation of Nature, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2002, 158 pp. No price. Reviewed by Colin Lyas, University of Lancaster Furness College Bailrigg Lancaster LA1 4YG
Das Aussprechen eines Wortes ist gleichsam ein Anschlagen einer Taste auf dem Vorstellungsklavier. (Uttering a word is like striking a note on the keyboard of the imagination.) (PU §6) Polonius: What do you read, my lord? Hamlet: Words, words, words! (Hamlet, act 2, scene 2) Wittgenstein in his later years thought about experiences of meaning and aspect change. Do such experiences matter? Or would a meaning- or aspect-blind person not lose much? Moreover, is this a matter of aesthetics or epistemology? To get a better perspective on these matters, I will introduce distinctions between certain subjective and objective aspects, namely feelings of our inner psychological states versus fine-tuned objective experiences of the outer world. It seems to me that in his discussion of meaning-blindness, Wittgenstein unhappily floats between these two extremes, the subjective and the objective. I will also introduce some notions from Kant's aesthetics, to get a better understanding of the interplay between feeling and meaning. This will shed some new light on Wittgenstein's enquiry into meaning- and aspect-blindness.
The predominant interpretation of Wittgenstein's later remarks on religion takes him to hold that all religious utterances are non-scientific, and to hold that the way to show that religious utterances are non-scientific is to identify and characterise the grammatical rules governing their use. This paper claims that though this does capture one strand of Wittgenstein's later thought on religion, there is an alternative strand of that thought which is quite different and more nuanced. In this alternative strand Wittgenstein stresses that religious utterances and beliefs can come in both scientific and non-scientific varieties. More than that, he claims that the grammar of religious utterances, and the logic of religious beliefs, is often complex – in that individual utterances and beliefs will often be mixed between, indeterminate between, or fluid between being scientific and being non-scientific. This complexity means that it will often be unhelpful to try to pin down one particular grammar or logic for a given utterance or belief. Wittgenstein therefore suggests a new method of grammatical and logical investigation, which is less likely to distort complex grammars or logics by being overly simplistic or rigid. This method is to use simple examples of utterances and beliefs as objects of comparison, so as to illuminate the different aspects of the more complex actual utterances and beliefs under examination. This alternative strand in Wittgenstein's later remarks on religion is a manifestation of a broader strand of Wittgenstein's later thought as a whole, which was first described by Friedrich Waismann, and later developed by Gordon Baker and Oskari Kuusela. The paper concludes by providing examples of religious beliefs which are logically mixed, indeterminate, and fluid, and showing how simple objects of comparison can be used to illuminate them.
Entretien de F. Pataut, de l'institut d'histoire et de philosophie des sciences et des techniques de Paris, avec la figure emblematique de la philosophie analytique, M. Dummett. Dans le cadre de leur reflexion sur la conception antirealiste du langage, de la pensee et de la logique, les deux philosophes abordent l'histoire de la philosophie analytique avec Frege et Wittgenstein, puis Austin, Ryle et Carnap, avant d'etudier les questions du verificationnisme, de la philosophie de l'esprit et de l'ethique
In several posthumously published writings about the differences between humans and animals, Rush Rhees criticises the view that human lives are more important than (or superior to) animal lives. Rhees' views may seem to be in sympathy with more recent critiques of “speciesism.” However, the most commonly discussed anti-speciesist moral frameworks – which take the capacity of sentience as the criterion of moral considerability – are inadequate. Rhees' remark that both humans and animals can be loved points towards a different way of accounting for the moral considerability of humans and animals that avoid the problems of the capacity-based approaches.
The essential logical deficiency of the perceptual theory of pain, as I tried to show in my paper,1 is that feeling pain cannot be perceiving anything. The conceptual framework that would make it possible for us to understand “feel” in this use to be a perception concept does not exist. The concept of a glimpse, which George Pitcher relies upon to supply this framework,2cannot begin to do so because it is a secondary perception concept entirely dependent upon that of seeing. This primary concept of visual perception is tied up with actions and supporting concepts like looking, glancing, gazing, glimpsing, watching, and the like. These are different ways in which one's visual perceiving may be characterized. Without the primary concept and the actions connected with it, there would be nothing to characterize. The word “feel” in contexts involving pain is not a perception concept and efforts to make it one are doomed to fail. The supporting actions and concepts do not exist.
In this paper my aim is to consider the picture of God's immediate knowledge of the mind as this appears in Wittgenstein's work, where its soundness seems to be brought into question. My argument is that the response to this denial should take the form, not of an investigation of a theological position concerning God's knowledge (“can God look into the human mind?”), but of a negotiation of the difficulties affecting our use of this picture. A great part of the latter can be seen as difficulties in mastering the communicative relation between God and man which lies at the heart of the religious form of life, and which arises from the dislocation which familiar language-games undergo within it.
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