Some very brief remarks On Wittgenstein's Philosophy of Psychology

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Reply Fri 13 Feb, 2009 06:35 pm
After Wittgenstein had finished the first part of the Philosophical Investigations in the form that is was later printed, he for a time wrote almost exclusively concerned with the nature of Psychological concepts.

One of Wittgenstein's interest's in the Philosophy of Psychology was the relationship between seeing something and interpretation of it.
Quote from Remarks on The Philosophy of Psychology: Volume I :
'I want to ask: what does seeing the figure now this way now that consist in?--Do I actually see something different each time; or do I only interpret what I see in a different way?--I am inclined to say the former. But why?'

Wittgenstein expanded this with help of the use of several examples. He believed that the act of seeing was hard to differentiate, from the act of interpretating. He remarked on how a common illustration of a cube found in many physics textbooks of the time could at
'one time a glass cube, another a wire frame, another a lidless open box, another time it's three boards making a solid angle. The text interprets the illustration every time.'

'The question whether what is involved is a seeing or an act of interpreting arises because an interpretation becomes an expression of experience. And the interpretation is not an indirect description; no, it is the primary expression of the experience.'

He then goes on to speak about the classic duck or rabbit illussion, making further remarks about the seeing of either the duck of the rabbit being deeply linked with our interpreation of the image.
'Would it be conceivable that someone who knows rabbits but not ducks should say: "I can see the drawing as a rabbit and also in another way, although I have no word for the second aspect"? Later he gets to know ducks and says: "That's what I saw the drawing as that time!" Why is that not possible?'

Should I say: "The picture-rabbit and the picture-duck look just the same"?! Something militates against that--But can't I say: they look just the same..... But if I now wanted to offer reasons against this way of putting things what would I have to say? That one sees the picture differently each time, if it is now a duck and now a rabbit'

I felt the Wittgenstein section needed some more material, and Wittgenstein had some interesting thoughts and might get people thinking, I may complete a far more all encompassing review of Wittgenstein's Philosophy of Psychology, once I have more completly read his work on this subject.


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