Philosophical Investigations reading group?

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kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 17 Feb, 2010 11:04 pm
@Emil,
Emil;129514 wrote:
I read the Tractatus. It's nearly impossible to understand unless one has read some secondary work too and know one's logic. I happen to be good with logic, so it wasn't that hard, though I don't recall much of it. Didn't seem useful to memorize.


Did you know that W. invented the truth table (and independently, an American by the name of Post also invented them)? I think I suggested Max Black's book on the Tractatus. Is that the one you read? The Tractatus is, by no means, self-explanatory. And neither is the Investigations.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 17 Feb, 2010 11:09 pm
@Deckard,
Deckard;129485 wrote:
That was my original feeling too. I have many more questions about Tractatus at the moment than I do about PI.

Furthermore, Tractatus divides up very nicely Preface and then 1,2,3,4,5,6,7. We could have a thread for each. PI doesn't lend itself to such a nice and neat division. I'm back to advocating for Tractatus.

I'm so decisive.:sarcastic:


I just hit up the library for both, and some promising commentaries. Either way, I'm in.
 
Deckard
 
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 01:35 am
@Deckard,
I'll be stopping by the library tomorrow as well. I'm still working on getting the Tractatus Group working properly. I must have botched it somehow or there is some minor glich. The PI group is up and working for anyone who want to start with PI. I plan on focusing my energies on Tractatus before moving on the PI but I will be moving on to the PI group when the time comes.

So since Tractatus Group sub-forum is not as yet fully operational I'm asking interested parties to hold off posting until it is. It may have to be deleted and recreated and I don't want to erase anyone's work. Thanks.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 01:43 am
@Deckard,
Deckard;129585 wrote:
I'll be stopping by the library tomorrow as well. I'm still working on getting the Tractatus Group working properly. I must have botched it somehow or there is some minor glich. The PI group is up and working for anyone who want to start with PI. I plan on focusing my energies on Tractatus before moving on the PI but I will be moving on to the PI group when the time comes.

So since Tractatus Group sub-forum is not as yet fully operational I'm asking interested parties to hold off posting until it is. It may have to be deleted and recreated and I don't want to erase anyone's work. Thanks.


Thanks for taking the trouble. I expect it will be worth it.
 
Deckard
 
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 03:53 am
@Reconstructo,
Tractatus Discussion Group is up now.

Anyone is free to join and post but I'm asking that we divide the text as Wittgenstein did. Thus there are really only 8 major threads within the sub-forum to be started:

Tractatus: Preface
Tractatus: 1
Tractatus: 2
Tractatus: 3
Tractatus: 4
Tractatus: 5
Tractatus: 6
Tractatus: 7

I realize that these sections of the text are of very different lengths but I want to hold to this.

However, if someone has a tangential thread relevant to the Tractatus (e.g. biographical, historical etc.) that doesn't fit under one of the above mentioned threads then making a new thread within the Tractatus sub-forum may make sense.

Of course (and obviously) references to other sections of Tractatus, references to PI or other W texts, references works by other philosophers... that come up within a given thread are in no way verboten. Within a given thread all is permitted. I'm just trying to keep from dividing the text itself into threads that are not already suggested by Wittgenstein's original divisions, namely Preface,1,2,3,4,5,6,7.

If you start a thread, it should be titled something like "Tractatus: Preface" or "Tractatus:1" or "Tractatus: 2" and not something like "Tractatus 6.3-6.5". Or else the thread should be called something like "Russel's influence on the Tractatus" or "Wittgenstein's Vienna" or "Russell's introduction to the Tractatus".

That said, whatever happens happens. I just wanted to voice my preferences about how the Tractatus sub-forum should be organized. As for the the PI Discussion sub-forum I have no preferred restrictions.

Here's a link to the Tractatus sub-forum.

Tractatus Discussion Group
 
jack phil
 
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 10:34 am
@Owen phil,
Owen;129500 wrote:
1* The world is all that is the case.

Can we say the 'world' is all that exists, instead?

The world is all that is.


He is more likely stating a tautology- that the world is tautological. In a truth-table the world would be all Ts.

There is a line in Prop 2 that says something like 'substance is what there is besides what is the case'. A nod to Spinoza? Without all the metaphysics?

I don't think W ever uses the word 'exists', though your reading isn't really off.

Shall we start some reading?
 
RDanneskjld
 
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 11:48 am
@jack phil,
jack;129678 wrote:
He is more likely stating a tautology- that the world is tautological. In a truth-table the world would be all Ts.

There is a line in Prop 2 that says something like 'substance is what there is besides what is the case'. A nod to Spinoza? Without all the metaphysics?


In the opening sections of the Tractatus Wittgenstein sets out his metaphysical view of the world, why we should accept this particular metaphysical view is not apparent at the beginning.

In fact it is quite clear that he is not stating a tautology. Proposition 1.1 States 'The world is the totality of facts not things'. The difference between facts and things can be understood by an analogy between sentences and words. For Wittgenstein the relationship between is much like the relationship between sentences and words. The sentence 'R.Danneskjold is an idiot' is constructed out of words specifically 'R.Danneskjold; idiot; an; is', written like this they are merely a list even though our list consists of the same words. But a sentence is much like a fact as it contains words in relation to one another. Like Wittgenstein's facts which contain 'a combination of objects (things)'(2.01) in relation to one another.

Proposition 1.13 states that the 'The facts in logical space are the world'. Logical Space is the space of possibilities. There are lots of facts which might have existed, such as 'Wittgenstein's family were poor' or 'R.Danneskjold is 6ft tall' these facts are called negative facts by Wittgenstein 'The existence of atomic facts we also call a positive fact, their nonexistence a negative fact' (2.06). Actual facts only account for some of the possible facts in logical space, only some of these possibilities are occupied by what is actually the case. It is in this way that the world is all that is the case.
 
jack phil
 
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 12:18 pm
@RDanneskjld,
R.Danneskjöld;129685 wrote:

In the opening sections of the Tractatus Wittgenstein sets out his metaphysical view of the world, why we should accept this particular metaphysical view is not apparent at the beginning.

In fact it is quite clear that he is not stating a tautology. Proposition 1.1 States 'The world is the totality of facts not things'. The difference between facts and things can be understood by an analogy between sentences and words. For Wittgenstein the relationship between is much like the relationship between sentences and words. The sentence 'R.Danneskjold is an idiot' is constructed out of words specifically 'R.Danneskjold; idiot; an; is', written like this they are merely a list even though our list consists of the same words. But a sentence is much like a fact as it contains words in relation to one another. Like Wittgenstein's facts which contain 'a combination of objects (things)'(2.01) in relation to one another.

Proposition 1.13 states that the 'The facts in logical space are the world'. Logical Space is the space of possibilities. There are lots of facts which might have existed, such as 'Wittgenstein's family were poor' or 'R.Danneskjold is 6ft tall' these facts are called negative facts by Wittgenstein 'The existence of atomic facts we also call a positive fact, their nonexistence a negative fact' (2.06). Actual facts only account for some of the possible facts in logical space, only some of these possibilities are occupied by what is actually the case. It is in this way that the world is all that is the case.


Well, I just don't see how that contradicts what I said, other than stating W was being metaphysical. Having a negative fact as T doesn't invalidate the tautological notion of the world.

And it isn't that I disagree with what you said, its just been a bit since I read the TLP. But I am pretty sure that the propositions of the TLP are supposed to be tautological, and that is why he says they are nonsense at the end.

Cheers! and Nice Post.
 
RDanneskjld
 
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 01:20 pm
@jack phil,
jack;129700 wrote:
And it isn't that I disagree with what you said, its just been a bit since I read the TLP. But I am pretty sure that the propositions of the TLP are supposed to be tautological, and that is why he says they are nonsense at the end.

A tautology is not in itself nonsensical. It is Wittgenstein's rejection of metaphysics and his criterion of meaning that leads him to brand his own work as nonsense. As the rejection of metaphysics is neither a posteriori or analytic. This can be clearly seen in Proposition 6.53 :

'The right method of philosophy would be this. To say nothing except what can be said, i.e. the propositions of natural science, i.e. something that has nothing to do with philosophy: and then always, when someone else wished to say something metaphysical, to demonstrate to him that he had given no meaning to certain signs in his propositions. This method would be unsatisfying to the other - he would not have the feeling that we were teaching him philosophy - but it would be the only strictly correct method.'


His use of 'Philosophy' means the same as thing as he means by 'metaphysics', which leads him to reject his own work as meaningless. Others such as Carnap and Hume who have also wished eliminate metaphysics haven't seen this apparent paradox. But Wittgenstein seems to see the problem which is presented by this rejection quite clearly going on to state in Proposition 6.54.

'My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them'.
 
jack phil
 
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 01:47 pm
@RDanneskjld,
R.Danneskjöld;129708 wrote:
A tautology is not in itself nonsensical.


It is nonsense, not nonsensical. I can say 'existence exists', and this has the appearance of depth. This is not a metaphysical claim, merely a philosophical treatise that states a tautology. Sane people would likely not disagree, if it is understood as tautological; and anything understood as tautological does not add to our knowledge, etc. It is nonsense. But it is an essential part of logic, just as much as contradictions.

If I were to speak in contradictions, you would surely call that nonsense. Both are the limits of language, however.

Quote:
It is Wittgenstein's rejection of metaphysics and his criterion of meaning that leads him to brand his own work as nonsense. As the rejection of metaphysics is neither a posteriori or analytic. This can be clearly seen in Proposition 6.53 :
'The right method of philosophy would be this. To say nothing except what can be said, i.e. the propositions of natural science, i.e. something that has nothing to do with philosophy: and then always, when someone else wished to say something metaphysical, to demonstrate to him that he had given no meaning to certain signs in his propositions. This method would be unsatisfying to the other - he would not have the feeling that we were teaching him philosophy - but it would be the only strictly correct method.'


I guess you think Wittgenstein is being contradictory. I think he is being tautological. Here we are, at the limits of language.

Quote:
His use of 'Philosophy' means the same as thing as he means by 'metaphysics', which leads him to reject his own work as meaningless.


I think this is wrong. He seems to be creating his own brand of philosophy- something new, though, or at least new guidelines. He says Philosophy is an activity, right? I don't know how you square that with metaphysics. His following two works, the PR and PG, are on how to do philosophy like him.

Quote:
Others such as Carnap and Hume who have also wished eliminate metaphysics haven't seen this apparent paradox. But Wittgenstein seems to see the problem which is presented by this rejection quite clearly going on to state in Proposition 6.54.
'My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them'.


"Whereof One Cannot Speak, Thereof one must be silent" is completely tautological. Anyone who says you can speak where you cannot is uttering a contradiction. The negation of a contradiction is a tautology.

The Lecture on Ethics speaks greatly on the nonsense of tautologies. The Lecture on Philosophy speaks of their really only being one kind of nonsense. More or less, nonsense=senseless. Maybe their is a neat distinction being made, but I don't know how important that is.

"...the objective of the Tractatus --to silence certain kinds of philosophy and metaphysics, yet to set aside a certain status or realm for the transcendental."

So has the reading group started?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 01:50 pm
@jack phil,
jack;129700 wrote:
Well, I just don't see how that contradicts what I said, other than stating W was being metaphysical. Having a negative fact as T doesn't invalidate the tautological notion of the world.

And it isn't that I disagree with what you said, its just been a bit since I read the TLP. But I am pretty sure that the propositions of the TLP are supposed to be tautological, and that is why he says they are nonsense at the end.

Cheers! and Nice Post.


Wittgenstein has two German terms : "sinnlos" and "unsinn". Tautologies are "sinlos", "senseless". metaphysics is "unsinn" "nonsense". Since tautologies are true, they cannot be nonsense. But they have no content.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 01:52 pm
@RDanneskjld,
R.Danneskjöld;129708 wrote:
A tautology is not in itself nonsensical. It is Wittgenstein's rejection of metaphysics and his criterion of meaning that leads him to brand his own work as nonsense. As the rejection of metaphysics is neither a posteriori or analytic. This can be clearly seen in Proposition 6.53 :

'The right method of philosophy would be this. To say nothing except what can be said, i.e. the propositions of natural science, i.e. something that has nothing to do with philosophy: and then always, when someone else wished to say something metaphysical, to demonstrate to him that he had given no meaning to certain signs in his propositions. This method would be unsatisfying to the other - he would not have the feeling that we were teaching him philosophy - but it would be the only strictly correct method.'


How are we meant to understand "propositions of natural science?"
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 01:56 pm
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;129716 wrote:
How are we meant to understand "propositions of natural science?"


The propositions of natural science. Like, that Mars is the fourth planet, or water is H20.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 02:21 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;129717 wrote:
The propositions of natural science. Like, that Mars is the fourth planet, or water is H20.
"Mars is the fourth planet" is a proposition?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 02:23 pm
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;129724 wrote:
"Mars is the fourth planet" is a proposition?


Yes. It is either true or false.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 02:40 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;129725 wrote:
Yes. It is either true or false.
Yes, I found it.. atomic propositions vs. nonatomic propositions.
 
jack phil
 
Reply Fri 19 Feb, 2010 02:42 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;129715 wrote:
Wittgenstein has two German terms : "sinnlos" and "unsinn". Tautologies are "sinlos", "senseless". metaphysics is "unsinn" "nonsense". Since tautologies are true, they cannot be nonsense. But they have no content.


"I could of course wonder at the world round me being as it is. If for instance I had this experience while looking into the blue sky, I could wonder at the sky being blue as opposed to the case when it's clouded. But that's not what I mean. I am wondering at the sky being whatever it is. One might be tempted to say that what I am wondering at is a tautology, namely at the sky being blue or not blue. But then it's just nonsense to say that one is wondering at a tautology."
-LW, Lecture on Ethics

You may be making a distinction between empiricism and rationalism, I am quite uncertain. But you are surely putting an importance on the distinction of words, of which I have heard there are 3 distinct words he uses, but I have not seen the importance of this distinction.

It is simply that one cannot prove or disprove a metaphysics, as far as I can tell. If that is true, then metaphysical assertions fit the description of what a tautology is.

It may be the case that certain metaphysics are better than others, but how would we tell? Well, if I did argue for one in favor over the other, wouldn't I be speaking tautologies?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 20 Feb, 2010 03:33 pm
@Deckard,
I view metaphysical systems as more akin to poetry rather than tautology. I agree that one cannot prove or disprove a metaphysical system but then the concept of proof is itself metaphysical, or so it seems to me. This ties into the proof as persuasion thread. What is proof? Does the concept of proof imply a metaphysics? Is an attack on the possibility of metaphysics itself a metaphysical operation?

I'm not associating these views with anyone on this thread. I'm just curious as to your opinions on these matters.

---------- Post added 02-20-2010 at 04:35 PM ----------

Arjuna;129716 wrote:
How are we meant to understand "propositions of natural science?"

Good question. To distinguish between kinds of science requires metaphysics?

---------- Post added 02-20-2010 at 04:56 PM ----------

Quote:

As Wittgenstein grew older, he became reconciled to the fact that the difference between chatter and nonchatter was one of degree. As he gradually became reconciled to the fact that he would never see the world as a limited whole, he gradually dropped the notion of the "limits of language." So he turned the Tractatus distinction between saying and showing into the distinction between assertions and the social practices which gave meaning to assertions. He thereby reinvented Heidegger's doctrine that assertion is a derivative mode of interpretation.

Rorty from Wittgenstein, Heidegger, and Language
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 20 Feb, 2010 03:56 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;130368 wrote:


---------- Post added 02-20-2010 at 04:35 PM ----------


Good question. To distinguish between kinds of science requires metaphysics?


Eh, the question was, How are we meant to understand "propositions of natural science?" The question was not, how are we meant to understand the propositions of science. Inverted commas mean something. Reading is a skill.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 20 Feb, 2010 04:07 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;130375 wrote:
Eh, the question was, How are we meant to understand "propositions of natural science?" The question was not, how are we meant to understand the propositions of science. Inverted commas mean something. Reading is a skill.


Yes, reading is a skill. Thanks. (Did I ever tell you you're my hero?) But my point stands. To distinguish between natural science and not-natural science seems to require something that is not natural science.

---------- Post added 02-20-2010 at 05:14 PM ----------

Quote:

The young Wittgenstein saw, however, what Frege and the young Russell had not seen: that the search for nonempirical truth about the conditions of the possibility of describability raises the self-referential problem of its own possibility. Just as Kant had faced the problem of rendering the possibility of transcendental philosophy consistent with the restrictions on inquiry which such philosophy purports to have discovered, so Frege and Russell had problems explaining how knowledge of what they called "logic" was possible. The problem was that logic seemed to be an exception to the conditions which it itself laid down. The propositions of logic were not truth-functional combinations of elementary statements about the objects that make up the world. Yes "logic" seemed to tell us that only such combinations had meaning.
Rorty from Wittgenstein, Heidegger, and Language
 
 

 
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