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I wish to be in all things reasonable

There is no place in my life where I would want to say: Here I do not use reason. There is, nonetheless, a subjective element in reason (namely discretion, choice).

Outline of this page ...

Context: these are logic of language remarks (Is there in philosophy an objective difference between language with meaning and language without meaning?), some quite rough.

What do we see when we look at black-and-white photographs from the past? Do we see the world of the past? But of course for the people of those days the world was not colorless. So, in that sense, we do not see their world, but only a misrepresentation of it.

Reason and logic

We can distinguish between reason and logic -- i.e. we can use the words 'reason' and 'logic' to make a distinction -- or rather between logic and reasonable. A thing may be logically possible (it may even be a real possibility) without being something that any reasonable person would take seriously as a possibility, e.g. possible explanation. In contrast, if the conclusion comes at the beginning rather than the end of the investigation ("Sentence first -- verdict afterwards") -- that is no investigation; i.e. it is a logical impossibility (logic is logic of language; logic of language is not a sub-branch of logic).

The subjective element in reason

Note: Words that follow "Query" are Internet searches that were found in the server logs of this site.

Query: everything is a theory.

Goethe could be paraphrased: Every fact is only a fact within some frame of reference or other: there are no absolute facts. That would be clearer than the translation: "The most important thing to remember is that all fact is already theory." Because the paraphrase says which definition of the word 'theory' we are using. (Although, which definition was Goethe using?)

The word 'theory' has many meanings -- i.e. there is no general definition of 'theory' (although it is very hard to break one's irrational -- i.e. contrary to all evidence -- conviction that there is). [Is 'theory' an important word?]

Query: did Apollo tell Socrates what was good?

That is exactly what gods do not tell him, but instead reason tells him. What Socrates knows, if anything, he knows by reason, not "by revelation" [as if one could know anything that way] -- because even revelation (as e.g. the statement of Apollo's oracle at Delphi (Plato, Apology 21a-d) that no man is wiser than Socrates) is put to the test of reason by Socrates (Xenophon, Apology i, 15-16), to distinguish what he knows from what he only thinks he knows but does not.

Why reason is necessarily limited

No doubt something subjective clings to the knowledge that results from the creative act of the mind. But at the same time such knowledge is on a higher plane than the knowledge based on facts alone. (Out of my Life and Thought, tr. Lemke, Ch. 10)

Reason, I said to myself, is given us that we may bring everything within the range of its action, even the most exalted ideas of religion. And this certainty filled me with joy. (Memoirs of Childhood and Youth, tr. Campion (1925), Ch. 3)

From my youth I have held the conviction that all religious truth must in the end be capable of being grasped as something that stands to reason. (Christianity and the Religions of the World, tr. Powers (1923))

Even in the context of religious thinking Albert Schweitzer said that ethics is question for reason rather than of religious dogma (i.e. unreason). However, by the word 'reason' ["thought"], does Schweitzer mean more -- or, perhaps I should say, less -- than we mean by the word 'reason', that is, by our common usage [held in common grammar] of that word?

There is always, even in entirely reasonable thought, "a subjective element" -- that is, the element found (1) in the selection of a particular frame of reference [or, point of view] that is used [selected among the many possible], and (2) in which concepts [conceptual tools] are selected and which are not. That is to say, there is always discretion [choice] involved in "thought", even in thought that is entirely reasonable. [Wittgenstein wrote that a philosopher says: "Look at things this way!"] So, simply saying that there is "a subjective element" does not explain, does not make clear, exactly what Schweitzer means when he says that.

[But maybe what is at issue here is whether Schweitzer has the right to use the word 'knowledge' as he does, for he does not intend to invent jargon, something which, arguably (and whether intentional or not), both Socrates and Wittgenstein do.]

Wherein, then, does reason distinguish itself from other thought? Plato has told us (Gorgias 457e-458b). Liking or disliking a doctrine is not philosophy. It is opinion. If you do not like a thesis of Plato's e.g., then you must refute it [in argument, with reasons]; otherwise you must accept it as the truth, whether it is a truth which you like or don't like. That is reason; that is dialect in philosophy.

Those who point to animal and even plant forms of life -- as if the excellence appropriate to those life forms were also the excellence appropriate to man -- in order to suggest natural selfishness as a counter to Schweitzer's reverence for life, must establish by argument -- that is not refuted -- that the good for man is selfishness (as some Sophists claimed that selfishness [the exercise of power by the strong over the weak] and pleasure were).

"Faith seeking understanding" is a misuse of reason, an abuse of reason. The conclusion comes at the end of the argument, not at its beginning, and that is where religion must be found. Because as the foundation of thought it can only be superstition. And why? Because logic -- i.e. the art or rules of reasoning [dialectic and refutation] -- plus the test of experience [of the world], is the foundation of all thought. [Indeed, is that not the very thing we mean by the word 'reasonable'?]

Christianity cannot take the place of thinking, but it must be founded on it. (Out of my Life and Thought, Epilogue)

To try to make faith the foundation of thought could only be -- to try to make it take the place of thought. When Schweitzer alludes to "an elemental piety", thought must give that impulse -- the impulse to look at our life from the point of view of eternity -- discipline. The impulse to religion is there [i.e. its presence is a fact of human nature], but so are countless other instincts. Each must be "brought within the range of reason" [and of experience (for reason and experience working together is what Schweitzer means by 'thought')] and thereby judged before anything else is done with it.

Query: unverifiable statements are false.

"Are you asking me or telling me?" No, they are neither true nor false -- some because they are indeterminable (e.g. the hypothesis that there is life on distant planets), others because they are pictures to which, as if by design, there is nothing to compare (e.g. humanity's "eternal answerless questions", metaphysical speculation: Plato's "Have you ever seen any of these things with your eyes?" (Phaedo 65d) as demonstration of the existence of Absolutes or Forms), and ways of looking at things (frames of reference), to which 'true' and 'false' have no application. There are many kinds of statements-of-fact, i.e. language of that form.

Query: examples and illustrations, difference.

In the quotation from Kant's Critique, that is a distinction without a difference, a pleonasm. Of course we could (as we always can) make a distinction, say that: by 'examples' we mean words only, and by 'illustrations' drawings only. But we don't use those two words with such precision in everyday life (and we would not be describing their actual usage -- but we would instead be giving a false account -- if we reported such a distinction).

The meaning of the text, if its own author does not know it

Query: Wittgenstein made simple.
Query: Wittgenstein for beginners.

Those queries are without hope of an answer if they refer to the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus: Wittgenstein himself was unable to make its meaning clear even to Frank Ramsey in 1929 when Ramsey was helping Ogden to translate that book into English. The author of the TLP would have said at the time of its writing that the work was already as straightforward as he was able to make it -- but the TLP was also very concise, in fact, as Wittgenstein later judged it, too concise: it needed examples to make its meaning clear, or, rather, indeed, to give it meaning (Examples are explanations of meaning). For if the meaning of a text is not known even to its own author -- (Socrates held that if a man knows anything ... This is my own account of the TLP.)

"Wittgenstein did not remember" (Ramsey to Moore)

... Ramsey told me [G.E. Moore] that, in reply to his questions about the meaning of certain statements, Wittgenstein answered more than once that he had forgotten what he had meant by the statement in question. (PP i, p. 253)

I will therefore pretend that the two queries above refer to Wittgenstein's later work. And then --

According to the search engine the following page is "Wittgenstein made simple": A Synopsis of Wittgenstein's Logic of Language .... But in my view [considered opinion] there is no "advanced Wittgenstein" [cf. "advanced math"]. Rather, his work never leaves "the origin" that is both its beginning and its end [cf. "Two Runners" in the translator's Preface to Engelmann's Memoir; cf. CV p. 66 [MS 136 80a: 8.1.1948 § 2]]. That origin is logic's master question: What is the meaning of language?

Either that or my Synopsis is "Wittgenstein made simplistic by a simpleton" (which I don't know if that is the correct evaluation of my site). And, again, I do not think my Synopsis is "for beginners" if 'beginners' contrasts with 'advanced'. I try to say nothing more there than Wittgenstein himself would have said (except where I clearly indicate otherwise). My Preface is a "beginner's introduction" but it is also my "advanced" conclusion.

Wittgenstein's Philosophical Grammar, Blue Book and Philosophical Investigations are all written for "beginners": if they are hard to understand, the difficulty does not lie in their obscurity, but in learning to look at language in a radically new way; thus the work may be both simple and difficult. But Wittgenstein had nothing "beyond that" to say in philosophy (Or, rather, in "philosophy" according to Wittgenstein, because philosophy according to Wittgenstein is "logic of language" investigations and nothing more; it excludes ethics and the question of life's meaning).

"Surgery on your cat made simple."

If Wittgenstein had wanted to make vague remarks about language and culture such as are made in Continental Philosophy, or about "language games" ("Art as a language game" e.g.) such as are made by the "philosophical journalists" (which is what Wittgenstein called them) -- he could easily have done so in his philosophical work. But he did not. And such remarks have nothing to do with him. They are entirely foreign to his philosophical method, to his way of thinking in philosophy.

Query: Wittgenstein's Investigations made easy.
Query: Wittgenstein for beginners.

But neither of those is what my site is, regardless of whether the search algorithm chooses the first page of the Synopsis or the homepage "for beginners" -- because the ground to be covered in the beginning, the middle, and the end of one's studies is the same ground. You can go deeper into the elements and foundations, but those are all Wittgenstein has to offer. There is nowhere after the "for beginners". Philosophy -- philosophy as Gestalt shifts -- simply isn't that way.

"Seeing as" in contrast to "Seeing as if"

Query: attitude towards a soul.

The tribalism of French Equatorial Africa in the last century, as Schweitzer and others described it, although these are my words. Anyone from my own tribe was "my brother"; anyone outside my tribe was a rival and potential enemy [Jilek-Aall, Working with Dr. Schweitzer (1990), p. 137-138] ("He is not my brother"). Tribe A's attitude toward Tribe B was not "the attitude toward a soul". But at the same time, this was not because Tribe A regarded [saw] Tribe B as automatons -- no, Tribe A saw Tribe B as if they were automatons; that was Tribe A's "attitude toward" Tribe B, although Tribe A knew quite well that Tribe B suffered pain, feared, loved -- i.e. were fully human. Tribe A knew that Tribe B were human; but Tribe A behaved toward them as if they were not human. And vice versa, and so for all the tribes A, B, C, D of the Gabon .... This is an important distinction: seeing as versus seeing as if.

The Gabon of French Equatorial Africa was a creation of the French colonizers; such a political entity prior to their arrival did not exist. There were simply rival tribes, because the people of the Gabon had no concept 'common humanity' (as neither had Europeans before the Stoics and Christians. Before then it had been for Europeans as for the Gabonese: not "He is not a man" but "That man is not my brother"). That idea was what Schweitzer thought it was most important to teach the people. And apparently they learned it, because they have kept the peace for over 40 years since independence from France, a peace that did not exist prior to the coming of the French colonial government and might well have ended with its departure. But it did not. The French also gave the Gabonese a common language, which allows the tribes divided by language to communicate with one another. Therefore the French colonization of that particular part of equatorial west Africa (which began in the 1870s and ended in 1960) can be said to have been successful from that point of view.

However, Wittgenstein's context is different: "I am not of the opinion that he has a soul" ... although that too could be described [e.g. "I am convinced that when Mr. A cries he experiences pain, and so I go to his assistance; however, I am convinced that Mr. B's crying is robotic, and so I ignore him" (and such opinions could be wholly subjective or reasons might given for them)] -- but that would not be a description of our form of life. Some people, however, have opinions about other species, e.g. fishes -- do fishes have souls -- i.e. do they suffer pain? Do insects and plants suffer? (Albert Schweitzer did not ask whether wasps have souls. His attitude toward all life forms was that toward a soul.)

Query: we have no questions to ask which are unanswerable.

Does saying that there are no questions without answers amount to saying that the riddles of existence don't exist? (Philosophy as one of the mental illnesses treated by the surgeons in Zamyatin's We: according to Wittgenstein, philosophy is the one irrational root in man that needs to be rooted out: man must be cured of "bumping his head against the limits of language" (PI § 119) which is all that philosophy is.) On the other hand, perhaps those so-called questions or riddles are really nothing more than "pictures" [Wittgenstein's notion of non-hypothetical pictures that guide our life]. However, as always in logic of language, the word 'question' -- like all words -- is a tool: what work do we want to do with it? (It is nonsense to ask whether these so-called questions are "really" questions or not.)

Query: Wittgenstein, essential part of meaning.

There is no essential part. There are instead only points ("parts") of focus -- i.e. there are many meanings of the word 'meaning' which might interest us, depending on the point of view we are employing, dependent on what want to know, on what we are looking for. For example, "What is thought?" is a question which might be looked at from many points of view (PI § 108).

There is no absolute point of view or absolute reference point -- i.e. 'absolute frame of reference' is an undefined combinations of words --, from which to determine what is the "essential part" of anything. Cf. There is no "ultimate reality" to which everything else is reducible; much of reality is irreducible.

Again, there is no essential part. That is not what e.g. "the meaning of a word is its use in the language" is. [Note.--Usually forgotten is the beginning of that quotation: "For a large class of cases ..."] (PI § 43) There are many different meanings of 'meaning' -- none is "essential"; each expresses a different [area of] interest. Wittgenstein's interest was in language looked at as a collection of tools used to do various kinds of work. By expressing his particular interest ("Let's only bother about ..." (PG i § 32, p. 69)), he did not say "what the essence of meaning is"; -- and, indeed, the word 'meaning' does not have a general [or, essential] meaning (It is not like the word 'simile' ('a comparison using the words 'like' or 'as' '), for example).

If it's essential, it isn't real, and if it's real it isn't essential. "Essence belongs to grammar" (PI § 371), to conventions, word definitions, not to reality outside language. How could it? (Maybe in metaphysical pictures, e.g. Plato's, but those are creations of the imagination.)

Query: language cannot express real meaning.

That query suggests one of the many ways we use the word 'meaning'. cf. Senses of 'to understand' (language versus human experience). Human beings say things like "That was a meaningful experience", where the meaning of 'meaning' is something akin to 'worthwhile', which is a meaning of the word 'meaning' that is clearly different from what Wittgenstein was interested in.

Query: moralities too are only a sign of the language of the emotions.

There is nothing either good or bad but emotion makes it so [cf. Hamlet (Act ii, scene 2)] is one way this query might be read. That was not Socrates' account of ethics [Socratic ethics is rational: reasoning, particularly using the method of dialectic, can discover what is good [useful and/or excellent ("beautiful")] and bad [harmful], wise and foolish]. But according to the above reading of the query: "moralities" are irrational (for so we characterize the emotions).

When Schweitzer speaks of compassion being the foundation of ethics, and says that compassion's source is the emotions (Civilization and Ethics 2e (1929), tr. Campion, Ch. 15, p. 169: "Ethics are pity.... What is called in ordinary ethics "love" is in its real essence pity. In this powerful feeling of pity ... bids him do something never yet heard of in philosophical ethics -- listen to his own heart"), is he correct? But someone asks: need we feel compassion in order to do compassion? Of course not. So is "feeling" what Schweitzer means? [Is 'compassion' a disposition-word rather than an emotion-word? Feelings may accompany a disposition, but they are not essential [defining] to it.]

In any case, does speaking of "feeling" or "the emotions" make anything clearer here? Someone says: Reasons can be given for both altruism and selfishness, but they are not conclusive one way or the other. But even, for the sake of the argument, were we to grant that claim, should we then go on to say that: And therefore the way one chooses is determined by one's emotions? Why should we say that -- unless saying that is simply equivalent to saying that no conclusive reasons can be given one way or the other? But in that case, referring to "the emotions" makes nothing clearer. We make a decision. And don't we often -- quite often -- make decisions outside ethics where our reasons are less than logically conclusive? And if we simply describe the language-game of justification, we do not find that, in addition to reasons, a cause must be stated for our choice. Do you think there must be a cause for every choice we make? And to which subject-matter would the investigation of such causes belong? (Metaphysics? Certainly not to logic.)

Stoicism in Shakespeare's Hamlet

Hamlet's words in Act ii, scene 2, are not about morality but restate the Stoic notion that whether circumstances are desirable or not depends entirely on an individual's attitude towards them. (When Hamlet says that "Denmark is a prison", he is using the word 'prison' figuratively. His statement is not like the statement "Denmark is a peninsula", which is a statement of fact, independent of anyone's attitude.)

HAMLET: Denmark's a prison. / ROSENCRANTZ: Then is the world one. / HAMLET: A goodly one; in which there are many confines, wards and dungeons, Denmark being one o' the worst. / ROSENCRANTZ: We think not so, my lord. / HAMLET: Why, then, 'tis none to you; for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so: to me it is a prison.

Augustine called Stoicism the counsel of despair: "Since you cannot have what you want, want to have what you can", and a variation of that would be: Since things are not as it seems to you they should be, want for them to be the way it seems to you they should not be. But that is not in all cases possible, and when Hamlet says that "Nothing is good or bad until thinking makes it so" that is false, because not only old kings but also young children are raped and murdered -- and there is no "change in attitude" that can rescue that fact. Absolute evil exists, and cannot be thought away (It can be "put in perspective" but not disappeared from reality).

To Hamlet compare John Milton's restatement of the Stoic notion.

... and thou profoundest Hell
Receive thy new Possessor: One who brings
A mind not to be chang'd by Place or Time.
The mind is its own place, and in it self
Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n.
(Paradise Lost, Book 1)

Is Ethics Rational? (Further discussion of an unanswered question)

Query: Kant's views on conscience.

Cf. the expression "moral sense". And, again, as with "weakness of the will", I want to do away with everything pseudo-psychological -- e.g. with "feeling" (that vague, alleged cause or explanation), with everything irrational ("intuition", "abstraction", and all such safe houses for ignorance, where the three words of wisdom, 'I don't know', are foolishly evaded). Ethics is rational; conscience must also be rational. However ... this requires a reorientation, a new way of looking -- or, rather, an open-mindedness to investigating a topic we are at present closed-minded about: because now we say -- and say most vociferously and irrationally -- that: "Some things are just wrong. Nothing whatever -- and this statement is categorical and not open to disputable -- can justify rape or torture or murder, things like this. These are moral principles (bedrock), convictions that allow no compromise." And if someone does not share our "convictions", our only recourse is to become "angry and be enemies to one another" (Euthyphro 7d).

Whereas we should say -- what instead? That the principles (or, axioms) of ethics must be rationally founded (and whatever is good and true need fear nothing from this). But can obeying the directive "Know thyself" do that? We now think, "Come, come that is quite impossible!" or "That is a misconception, a misunderstanding of the logic of ethics". (Why impossible? How a misunderstanding?) Contrast that way of thinking, however, with Plato's Gorgias -- for there we see the role of dialectical refutation in showing that such sophistic principles as "Natural justice is the rule of the stronger over the weaker" and "Pleasure is the good for man" are false -- i.e. they do not stand up to cross-questioning. Plato: one must not be a misologist in ethics (which is the study of "no small matter, but how to live").

["The kind of verification is the kind of language-game" | Plato's Method in Ethics of Tautologies | Socratic ethics is rational]

Did Wittgenstein, that strange man, who was the friend of logic but the enemy of philosophy, ever investigate a view contrary to his own early, anti-rational ethics [TLP 6.41; cf. "absolute value"] -- i.e. a view which was not simply the Kantian categorical imperative of "conscience" [6.422]? Certainly I would not assume that he had.

But what of Schweitzer, for he also locates values "not in the world" so to speak -- i.e. not in nature outside man? It does not follow from that, however, that ethics must be irrational (How would it?). For right and wrong must, I say, be grounded in the facts of (i.e. in objective) experience -- for what else is there to ground it in (e.g. in the inscrutable -- and therefore irrational -- will of gods or God or in the variable emotion of compassion, which Schweitzer identifies as the foundation of all ethics)? I have given my account of Socrates' view of ethics, which is that: Ethics must be grounded in (1) knowledge of the excellence that is appropriate (or, proper) to man as man, and (2) knowledge of one's own limits as an individual man; and the good is what is useful to the attainment of that excellence. And all this must be put to the test of dialectic refutation -- i.e. it is rational [an exercise of reason]. -- And both those two parts of ethics are derived from the facts of experience, not from e.g. "introspection" or "sacred texts".

Synonyms for not-knowing but pretending to

With respect to the notion of intuition: Words such as 'obvious', 'self-evident' and 'common sense' (Aristotle) are not words that have any place in philosophy; just as 'probably' and 'doubtless' are not part of the historian's vocabulary: may be is may be, possible is possible -- period, full stop. The bad habits of thought which "self-evident", "obvious", "doubtless" and "possibly" are, are not arguments. Either there are reasons or there are not -- but the absence of reasons is not a justification and it does not have a name ('intuition').

[Grammar is a public event (The concepts 'understanding', 'intuition'. In logic of language, 'concept' = 'rules for using a word'). And exorcising linguistic ghosts.]

Query: how did Socrates achieve arete?
Query: can we know what areté means?

Xenophon tells us all the ways in which Socrates achieved the excellence proper to a human being. And both Xenophon (Memorabilia iv, 6, 1) and Plato in his Apology tells us how Socrates first achieved excellence as a philosopher.

As to whether we can know "what human excellence is", or, "what virtue is" -- [But 'virtue' is no longer a word that is commonly used (unless it is perhaps as 'virtue' = 'moral virtue'), and therefore it no longer serves well as a translation for the Greek word areté -- because trying to use the word 'virtue' as a universal translation simply creates a double mystery for us, puzzling us about the meaning of the Greek word and of the English word as well] -- before that question can be answered it must first be given a clear meaning, for now it has none. We do not define "things" in logic; we define words. [Cf. the confused philosophical notion of defining a phenomenon, although it is only confusing if we do not distinguish logic of language from metaphysical speculation (PI § 108 [margin]).]

Another rendering of the Greek word areté is: the specific excellence proper to a given thing; everything has its own excellence, considered both as a member of a class (e.g. {human beings}) and as an individual (e.g. Socrates). For man to seek to know the excellence appropriate to himself is the intent of the command "Know thyself!" (The search for some aspect of this excellence is the topic of each of Plato's early Socratic dialogs. Xenophon clearly believed that Socrates was the embodiment of human areté. [Why does Socrates hold that "virtue is knowledge"?])

Query: why is Socrates' philosophy to question everything?

Plato has Socrates answer that question in his defense to the jury (Apology 21a-d, 23b). He uses this method in order to put to the test the statement of Apollo's oracle at Delphi that "no man is wiser" than Socrates -- in order to discover the meaning of the god's riddle. If Socrates can find someone who is wiser than he is, then his own interpretation of the words spoken by the oracle -- namely, that man's only wisdom consists in his recognizing that he is without wisdom -- will be shown to be false. And so he sets about questioning everyone who has a reputation for wisdom. (It could be said that his philosophical method is to "question everyone".) But he finds no such man in Athens or among the visitors to that city.

Query: why does Socrates think Euthyphro has piety?

Does he think that? Or does Socrates think that Euthyphro has a reputation for being pious, and indeed does not Euthyphro himself claim to know all about the gods and holy things? And therefore Socrates questions him to see if he knows "what piety [or holiness] is" or not; if Euthyphro knows, then he will be able to give an account of what he knows to others. For surely, Socrates says, Euthyphro would not undertake anything so serious as to prosecute his own father if he did not know (4e). And, of course, if Euthyphro does know "what piety is", then he is wiser than Socrates -- and therefore Socrates must have misunderstood the meaning of the words of Apollo's oracle when she said that none was wiser than Socrates. (Is not Plato's attitude toward Euthyphro throughout this dialog: gentle irony? I have, as Diogenes Laertius says about his epigrams, myself written some notes about the Euthyphro.)

Query: Wittgenstein, three words.

"... and whatever a man knows, whatever is not rumbling and roaring that he has heard, can be said in three words" (Motto, tr. Pears, McGuinness, of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus; in school I was told to look for the motto's meaning in the book's last proposition (n. 7), but rather look especially in n. 6.521). That is the idea found in Plato's Apology 23b: "... that the wisest of you men is he who like Socrates has learned that with respect to wisdom, he is truly worthless" (tr. Tredennick), is it not? There is a comparison here worth pondering. [However, the view of the Socrates of Xenophon is rather different: we can know the excellence appropriate to the human form of life, and we can make thoroughgoing use of reason, even in ethics, even in the profoundest questions. (The Three Parts of Philosophy)]

When psychology is superstition

Query: what does it mean if you see the duck but not the rabbit?
Query: the is the psychology behind when a word is written in one color but actually says another and we say the color it is written in instead of the actual one.

The notion that psychologists have knowledge of hidden things [But, as with ancient holy men, the question of how they know such things is never asked], that they know "what it means if" or "what the psychology behind [such-and-such a phenomenon or behavior] is" ... That notion is as an example of the instinct to superstition, of man's easy acceptance of myth. Because most of us were -- and indeed still are, perhaps always will be -- more mythological in our thinking than rational. We must learn -- in most cases, we must learn from the words of others [what philosophers have written] -- skepticism of the kind that always asks [that always questions everything]: How do you know -- how do you verify -- that? Without that education, we simply accept what we are told by scientists, preachers.

It needed sixteen centuries for my ancestors to escape from primeval ignorance and its consequent superstition that, for first the serf and then the poor farmer, was southern Italy. I do not want to go back to that pre-rational thought-world. [And, to paraphrase Wittgenstein's own words, "If a man tells me that it is his superior wisdom that allows him to go there, then I know he is a fraud".]

Seeing what is not there (but is there)

Query: Wittgenstein's rabbit = duck drawing.

That is suggestive, that form of expression: "rabbit = duck". The two drawings are identical. What we see is not. [Gestalt shift]

Arthur Eddington would have to call both the duck-aspect and the rabbit-aspect "mind-spinning" -- i.e. creations of the human mind, having no real existence apart from "in" the human mind, although the drawing (the ink marks on paper) itself is real enough. He says things like that; but he does not say that the duck and the rabbit aspects are an optical illusion (as is the only-apparently bent pencil emerging from a glass of water). "The only thing in the drawing is your imagination." cf. the child and the monster in the closet: the only thing in the closet is the child's imagination as it were. But in the same sense? Why not in the same sense? It is in the same sense. That is, Eddington's account expresses the grammatical muddle that is caused again and again in philosophy by the assumption that "All words are names and the meaning of a name is the thing the name stands for". Wittgenstein's logic of language, only the other hand, simply points out that 'duck-aspect' and 'the duck-rabbit drawing' have different grammars; we use those two expressions differently. -- But that is not a statement about "what is really real".

For "naive language", that is to say our naive, normal way of expressing ourselves, does not ... show you a theory but only a concept of seeing. (Zettel § 223)

That is to say, it shows us only a concept 'seeing' -- i.e. a rule for using a word -- not a theory about the reality of the duck and rabbit aspects. To again use Wittgenstein's words from another context, we can say that the duck-aspect "is not a something, but not a nothing either ... [That is, we] have only rejected the grammar that tries to force itself on us here" (PI § 304), namely, the grammar of name-of-object word.

Query: you use words so I have to talk about words, Wittgenstein.

The engine directed, or misdirected, the query to: "The logic of our language is misunderstood", where are found the words: Our "questions refer to words; so I have to talk about words" (cf. PI § 120). But why that page rather than Gilson's account of Aquinas' First Principles, or Are Wittgenstein and Socrates guilty of logicism? There is no reason, because it is impossible to determine just what the query is seeking.

Query: however we look at it existence will remain for us a riddle, Albert Schweitzer Out of My Life and Thought.

Except that is R.W.A. not A.S., although with the Internet morality it may be taken and used as such: if you don't want your work to be taken uncredited, don't put it on the Internet. Does it matter? Only for Schweitzer's sake, for my version is a rewriting of Campion's translation -- and I have never seen the German text -- which I, not Schweitzer -- directed against L.W.'s TLP 6.5.

"... directed, or misdirected." Queries are so often misdirected that it often seems pointless to have this site indexed by search engines. If anyone finds here what responds to their query, it seems more often than not that is by accident. (Search engines should not be a hazard to Internet navigation, but for this site they are.)

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