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Beautiful Theology

Signifying truth in more than words alone

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Philosophical Investigations

I’m not even going to begin to discuss the Investigations in this post — I’ll just transcribe some of my favorite phrases. The long-dormant site where Joe Duermer and Christopher Robinson were talking through the Invesigations provides a much more productive matrix for discussion than I could on short deadline, in short compass.

§11: “What confuses us is the uniform appearance of words when we hear them spoken or meet them in script and print.”

§28: “an ostensive definition can be variously interpreted in every case.”

§34 “Neither the expression ‘to intend the definition in such-and-such a way’ not the expression ‘to intepret the definition in such-and-such a way’ stands for the process which accompanies the giving and hearing of a definition.”

Footnote on p. 18e: “It is only in a language that I can mean something by something. This shews clearly that the grammar of ‘to mean’ is not like that of the expression ‘to imagine’ and the like”

§40: “. . .the word ‘meaning’ is being used illicitly if it is used to signify the thing that ‘corresponds’ to the word.”

§78: “Compare knowing and saying:
     how many feet high Mont Blanc is—
     how the word ‘game’ is used—
     how a clarinet sounds.
If you are surprised that you can know something and not be able to say it, you are perhaps thinking of a case like the first. Certainly not of one like the third.”

§85: “A rule stands there like a sign-post.”

§88: “If I tell someone ‘Stand roughly here’—may not this explanation work perfectly? And cannot every other one fail too?” [cp. Magritte on vague images and expressions]

§90: “Our investigation is therefore a grammatical one.”

§109: “Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language.”

§110: “ ‘Language (or thought) is something unique’—this proves to be a superstition (not a mistake!), itself produced by grammatical illusions.”

§115: “A picture held us captive. And we could not get outside it, for it lay in our language and language seemed to repeat5 it to us inexorably.”

Footnote on 54e: “I see a picture; it represents an old man walking up a steep path leaning on a stick.—How? Might it not have looked just the same if he had been sliding downhill in that position? Perhaps a Martian would describe the picture so. I do not need to explain why we do not describe it so.”

§194: “When does one have the thought: the possible movements of a machine are already there in it in some mysterious way?—Well, when one is doing philosophy.”

§208: “Teaching which is not meant to apply to anything but the examples given is different from that which ‘points beyond’ them.”

§251: “What does it mean when we say: ‘I can’t imagine the opposite of this’ or ‘What would it be like, if it were otherwise?’—For example, when someone has said that my images are private, or that only I myself can know whether I am feeling pain, and similar things.”

(Class beginning)


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