Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Philosophy as a Process

Philosophical Investigations 

Philosophical Investigations

“Our investigation is a grammatical one. Such an investigation sheds light on our problem by clearing misunderstandings away. Misunderstandings concerning the use of words, caused, among other things, by certain analogies between the forms of expression in different regions of language.”   ― Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations

Comments, I

Enter into a philosophy where outside of human thought and speech there are no independent, objective points of support. Meaning and necessity are preserved only by the linguistic practices which embody them. This then is a world that seems not unlike the skeptical realms of those from at least Descartes onward that allow for no objective reality independent of one's mind.
For Wittgenstein it is not quite so simple as that, as he continually asks questions and in doing so creates a philosophy of process much more akin to that of Socrates than Descartes, Kant or any other modern - particularly the camp of the logical positivists where he once dwelt.

His questions center on words and language so we find ourselves asking: is language a real thing? Is there any knowledge of things as they are independent of our language? How can we look at knowing as understanding the nature of things? In this sense there are things (objects) in the world and we can develop an understanding of their nature. This will not necessarily be certain knowledge, but knowledge of a sort nonetheless. "For them after all it is not nonsense" to say that "there are physical objects." (37)

It would seem that statements are only meaningful if they ask questions - Wittgenstein would ask - but there are other points of view out there.


emoosh said...
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Brian Joseph said...

These are fascinating questions. As I recall Douglas Hofstadter, either in Godel, Bach and Escher or I am a Strange Loop (The two books are blended in my mind) tried to take in the issue about knowledge existing outside of language. He tried to examine the question from a scientific and mathematical angle. I really need to read Wittgenstein now.

James said...

THanks for your observation. Wittgenstein pursues the issue of knowledge as a question of the nature of language. What do we mean when we say something?