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Note: the numbering of the specific items in the critique changed after some items were addressed below.

Copied from User JWSchmidt[]

From the author: (Sounds neat)

John,

Yes, there should be more biographical material about his family and education before he went to Frege and Frege sent him to Russell. I think it would be out of place before the preface and preview. Before the discussion of the Tractatus it would be logical historical background leading to the writing of the Tractatus.

I was not suggesting that more biographical material be added to the article. I just wanted to include a reference for biographical material. --JWSchmidt 15:56, 10 Aug 2005 (UTC)

1)The context here is about the absence of context. If a person was to try to find the aphorism in the original book, he would get no information from Viking Book of Aphorisms. All you can get is the name of the writer and the copywrite date which would narrow the number of books by Wittgenstein in print at that time:three. The attempt to give the aphorism a context would be the arduous task of searching through the three volumes. I guess this might be a better paragraph than the one that is in the opus. Or perhaps the whole paragraph is unnecessay and should be dropped.

2) The paragraph was about my grasp of the aphorism as used by other writers. Before I had read Wittgenstein himself, the context would be that which the author put it in. I understood it well enough to see there was some insight there, but not well enough to see it as more than poetic insight. Obviously the point was not clear, so I will either rewrite it or drop it.

Okay. I was just hoping that I might be able to get a new interpretation of, “If a lion could talk, we could not understand him,” if I asked you. --JWSchmidt 15:56, 10 Aug 2005 (UTC)

3) I think it would be unwise to articulate further on these two assumptions at this point. The explanation of the 2 concepts of infinity will definitely by described at the proper time. Even this, which I consider only logical, is tied up with the "this life only" viewpoint. Denying that one of the concepts of infinity is self-contradictory clashes with our concept of God---an actual infinity of actual infinities. God can never be thought of as a potential infinity because it would mean God can never be complete, a very untheological idea. This would also mean that the idea of an afterlife would be out of the question.

I may not be putting this through very well to you at this moment, but my main point is that arguing to prove my assumptions are true would be pointless:if not in theory at least in historical reality. Even in theory, Wittgenstein in On Certainty saw a person having a right to hold to a founational belief if abandoning it would leave him unable to form any judgements at all. Calling it "knowledge" would be wrong however.

Maybe you could add a short hint of things to come as a paragraph in the Appendix. A slightly modified version of what you wrote above might serve the purpose. --JWSchmidt 15:56, 10 Aug 2005 (UTC)

4) My material that was quoted is not really in contrast with the 2 quotes you gave. We all agree on what was attempted. If there is a contrast it is in the conclusion of Wittgenstein that Symbolic Logic was a failure. The Analytical traditon that began with Frege and Russell AND Wittgenstein in the Tractatus has in practice abandoned the premisses of the founders but keep the Platonism of Frege and the Scientism of Russell. Even in the Tractatus, Wittgenstein did not equate logic and mathematics, nor did he care for Russells aim to make philosophy scientific. The conclusion of the Tractatus was that having achieved his goal, little was accomplished. If one is patient enough to follow my treatment of the Tractatus, he will find what I believe Wittgenstein accomplished by the Tractatus

His mathematics is certainly not mainstream in its philosophical leanings, but he had not argument with mathematicians as long as the were doing mathematics. However he did think "set theory" was a cancerous growth on mathematics. This is the area of his rejection of Cantor and Transinite Arithmetic, and the focus on infinity. This plays a key role in the part on following rules.

Maybe, "Principia Mathematica was really much more about language than about mathematics," could be changed to "Wittgenstein's attempt to build upon Principia Mathematica was really much more about language than about mathematics." --JWSchmidt 15:56, 10 Aug 2005 (UTC)

5. <<Statements of symbolic logic are so general that they can neither be true nor false. They are either valid forms or invalid for Truth and falsity can be in either valid or invalid propositions.>>

The first sentence should be clear enough. After that perhaps I should expand: "They are either valid or invalid. Propositons in language must be either true or false; they have content. The forms of Symbolic Logic have no content; only variables, such as x.y.z. The form may be perfectly logical, but if you plug in content for the w.y,z, the result can still be nonsense. Can an invalid logical form still lead to a true proposition? I think so, as it would just make an ill-formed sentence." Do I want to make up examples for these? No thanks. I'm content to leave it as a general assertion. Symoblic logic is not my game, anyway.

I fear that this issue is getting into the work of Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing; work that offended Wittgenstein because it made use of the "Cantor's Diagonal" argument. Most mathematicians feel that it was shown that any formal system as complex as arithmatic must contain propositions that are neither true nor false. All we can do with such "unprovable" propositions is assume that they are either true or false and add them to the formal system as a new assumption. I'm not sure if Wittgenstein ever accepted this result. --JWSchmidt 15:56, 10 Aug 2005 (UTC)

6) Equating content with semantics is OK in a general sort of way. But categorizing language into semantics, grammar, syntax, pragmatics----or further into implicature(Grice), illocutionary (Austin and Searle)----does not necessarily lead to a greater understanding of the workings of language. It may only be a sign of the Analytic followers (who do not form a coherent or cohesive group)to specialize and categorize, some to make linguistics more scientific and some to make philosophy look more scientific.

The discussions of 'meaning' in the Philosophical Investigations is at a more fundamental level and as such will not have a 'definition', rather it will show descriptions, differing kinds of descriptions.

When you say, "Content in natural language would be essential in his later philosophy," I assume you are making a a distinction between the "content" of language and some other aspect(s) of language, maybe the "logical form". I'm not trying to force you to adopt some specific definition of "semantics" and say that it means the same as "content in natural language". It is a basic fact of human language that we make use of language as a tool for guiding our thoughts towards certain "contents of thought". Would it be fair to say that Wittgenstein was concerned with the problem of how natural language constrains the "contents of thought" and that these constraints can be explored through descriptions of how people make use language? --JWSchmidt 15:56, 10 Aug 2005 (UTC)

As for the 'lion' aphorism, in the context of the surrounding statements, it "fits", but it is such a striking metaphor it seems to imply more. The same is true of the statement of &128 "&128 If one tried to advance thesesin philosophy, it would never be able to debate them, because everyone would agree with them." Here the saying is absolutly gnomic. One needs to know the history and full text of which the above is the first sentence. “Wittgenstein next met Waismann during the Christmas vacation of 1931, and it was then that the made clear to him his view of the whole conception of the book [Theses] would have to be changed. He explained the implications of his new thinking for the status of philosophical theses: ‘If there were theses in philosophy, they would have to be such that they do not give rise to dispute. For they would have to put in such a way that everyone would say, Oh yes, that is of course obvious. As long as there is a possibility of having different opinions and disputing about a question, this indicates that things have not yet been expressed clearly enough. Once a perfectly clear formulation –-ultimate clarity ---has been reached, there can be no second thoughts or reluctance any more, for these always arise from the feeling that something has been asserted, and I do not know whether I should admit it or not. If, however, you make the grammar clear to yourself, if you proceed by very short steps in such a way that every single step becomes perfectly obvious and natural, no dispute whatsoever can arise. Controversy always arises through leaving out or failing to state clearly certain steps, so that the impression is given that a claim has been made that could be disputed.’” (Wittgenstein: the Duty of Genius by Ray Monk pp. 320-1)

The above description of "theses in philosophy" seems like a good example of "words we know but that don’t seem to fit the context we see them in". Most people use the word "thesis" to describe an intellectual proposition; literally, 'position' from the Greek θέσις. Does Wittgenstein ever explain why we should think of philosophy as special in that it might have theses with Platonic perfection that cannot be argued with? How does "make the grammar clear to yourself" provide a METHOD for attaining perfection of a thesis? Surely this is use of the word "grammar" in a way that needs to be explained. --JWSchmidt 17:26, 11 Aug 2005 (UTC)

The lion example is not that dense. But reading &188-194 of the Last Writings on the Philosophy of Psycholog would make it clearer. Then again Wittgenstein may have wanted to make the reader use a little of his own imagination.

It seems a fundamental contradiction to on one hand advise the reader to take Wittgenstein at "face value" while at the same time expecting the reader to use imagination. Imagination leads one back to what they are familiar with from their own past experience. It is the job of an author to make clear what they were talking about, not make readers guess what the author meant to say. --JWSchmidt 17:26, 11 Aug 2005 (UTC)

<<"Wittgenstein's attempt to build upon Principia Mathematica was really much more about language than about mathematics." --JWSchmidt 15:56, 10 Aug 2005 (UTC) >>

The whole project of Symbolic Logic looked in both directions, like Janus. The central concern was stated directy: logic. Frege's concern was mainly that Platonic mathematics, that he openly espoused, would be coterminous with logic. This would make the universe logical AND mathematical. On the other hand, Russell was not a mathematician, which is why he partnered with the mathematician, Alfred North Whitehead. Russell's early Platonism was in the tradition of humanism, not as much seeking to make a case for the platonism of mathematics.

Instead he was looking for a theory of logic that could settle "perennial problems of philosophy". He had changed positions on philosophical schools often enough that it would seem be be a probable reason for him to seek the security of Symbolic Logic and Analysis. The Principia Mathematica was long finished and Russell exhausted by the time Wittgenstein came to him. He took up with Russell the idea of atomic facts and simple propositions and worked out the consequences of this "Analysis", differently than the way Russell did. But from the beginning his mathematical ideas were not Platonic, except in the casual way Platonism has seeped into the foundations. And in the Tractatus, while not anti-scientific, he thought that science and philosophy had distinct and different methods and aims. As for Symbolic Logic he came to see it as too limited to be much use for a philosopher.

The above seems like a very good sketch of the situation, maybe it could be worked into the existing article or added as a footnote. --JWSchmidt 17:26, 11 Aug 2005 (UTC)

<<:I fear that this issue is getting into the work of Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing;>>

No it is not, because Wittgenstein thought that Mathematics could be treated as Language, logic and the philosophy of psychology is in the PI. I do not intend to deal with anything more than the necessity of dealing with Cantor's understanding of infinities which Wittgenstein totally disagrees with, and for reasons that should not be hard to explain. The treatment of the infinities is an integral part of the treatment of Rule following. anything beyond that is off topic.

One of the major intellectual issues of the 20th century was to define the power and limitations of formal systems. I think that mainstream mathematics and Wittgenstein came to the same basic conclusion. If they came to the same conclusion by different routes, it is worth knowing that. When there are two ways to accomplish the same thing it suggests that two ways of thinking about something are related- even if we cannot see how. --JWSchmidt 17:26, 11 Aug 2005 (UTC)


8/12/05

John,

The suggestions below have one thing in common; if followed they would change a brief and POINTED introduction needed before a reader starts to read the PI in sequence and context with the number by number commentary and aid of my remarks. The PI itself will deal with many if not all of the what you think I should incorporate into the introductory parts.

6 and 2 are False. 3 would not be to Wittgenstein's point in his mathematics. Mathematics for him needs no foundation. Hilbert search for the foundations of mathematics was unnecessary, so Godel's theorems are unnecessary. If Wittgenstein would have lived long enough, he wanted to write a book like the PI dealing only with mathematics. I would love to write about mathematics, but many more qualified than I have already done so. Wittgenstein, like Einstein, believes mathematics is like language in that it is a creation of humans for human uses. It is not the Platonic realities that exists even before there were brains that could "find" the parts of the seamless whole that Patonic mathematician see as their job to find the whole thing. The part of mathematics that Cantor added is really seperable from the rest of current mathematics. It is understandable standing alone, and can be dealt with without background of workaday mathematic, platonic mathematics, and Wittgenstein's kind of mathematics---which has a growing minority of followers.

Try reading it straight through _as_ and introduction, not as a explanation of ALL possible difficulties. According to Wittgenstein an explanation does not rest on another explanation, but stands on its own to prevent a misunderstanding, not every possible misunderstanding.

Please point out the places where the language or meaning are unclear. You have already shown a couple I plan to redo. But also see how it reads as a whole.

PARR


1<<Even in theory, Wittgenstein in On Certainty saw a person having a right to hold to a founational belief if abandoning it would leave him unable to form any judgements at all. Calling it "knowledge" would be wrong however.

Maybe you could add a short hint of things to come as a paragraph in the Appendix.>>

2<> FALSE

3<<All we can do with such "unprovable" propositions is assume that they are either true or false and add them to the formal system as a new assumption. I'm not sure if Wittgenstein ever accepted this result. --JWSchmidt 15:56, 10 Aug 2005 (UTC)>>

4<<The above description of "theses in philosophy" seems like a good example of "words we know but that don’t seem to fit the context we see them in".>>

5<<How does "make the grammar clear to yourself" provide a METHOD for attaining perfection of a thesis? Surely this is use of the word "grammar" in a way that needs to be explained. >>

6<<:It seems a fundamental contradiction to on one hand advise the reader to take Wittgenstein at "face value" while at the same time expecting the reader to use imagination. Imagination leads one back to what they are familiar with from their own past experience. It is the job of an author to make clear what they were talking about, not make readers guess what the author meant to say. --JWSchmidt 17:26, 11 Aug 2005 (UTC)>> FALSE

what in the world are we doing in Iraq.PARR 21:14, 1 Sep 2005 (UTC)

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