Life\’s Direction

3rd Reading and Response

Posted in 20th Cent. Phil. by lifesdirection on September 25, 2008

On Philosophical Investigations:

The Philisophical Investigations by Wittgenstein seem to be a far more accessible peice than the former tractatus, the difference in my opinion is comparable to the difference between night and day.  In this writing Wittgentstein seems to take alot more carefull steps in explaining what he means and in explaining the context of his statements.

As per my previous readings and response I will number the point which I am referring to:

1.  Objects reffered to as a sound?  Perhaps interchangable with a word but, the verbal language of communication and the audible language of communication have different implications and they are both “sound” based.

What object does body language represent if sounds represent objects?

Grammar fills in the “assumptions” that Wittgenstieng is talking about

4.  The ‘script’ is to vague and undefined of a term to be using, Wittgenstein has not defined what kind of script he is referring to, colloquially a script dictates the actions and words of actors in a play or is used to run commands on a computer in sequence.

5.  Children learn vocabulary first, usually nouns as they are simple and can be represented by objects that are tangible, they then learn the intangible words which are not and cannot be represented by objects but instead actions, so we can see that not all words represent objects as claimed in point 1.  Intangible words are verbs, adjectives, pronouns an adverbs while these communicate they do not represent objects necessarily and must be learned in context.

7.  What is mean by the reference (2)

8.  “shews the assistant”  there is no word in english “shew” I think they mean “show” but this error occurs many many times in the book and is unnacceptable for a text book because of the frequency of the error.

9.  Wittgentstieng seems to avoid the concept of “context”

17  We have different kinds of word. (should it not be words)?

18.   I disagree, I think that it is the “contents” of a language that allow us to imagine a form of life as language in its broad definition and as Wittgenstein has used it previously is content agnostic,  A language is the idea of communicating and the qualifier for that idea in terms of its classification is its contents.  for example body-language, verbal-language etc…

2nd Reading & Response

Posted in 20th Cent. Phil. by lifesdirection on September 18, 2008

Homework #2


The more I read of Wittengstien the less respect I gain for him as a philospher, he has essentially come up with a clever language and framework for saying nothing.  In all honesty I do feel sorry for him, while I thought that in the former readings perhaps there was something I was not understanding,

I am quite saddened to read his works, he essentially has never claimed anything nor has he said anyhting new without discounting it completely.  It is frustrating to read his thought patterns as they are quite circular, except instead of comming around full-swing to completion, often at the end they are trapped in contradiction.  I am at a loss to even comprehend how his work was able to win a doctorate in phliosophy.

The following are my comments on points 5.6 – 7 of the Tractus

5.6 – What kind of language? Which one? What about all the non-literate languages?  Art, Music, love.  If our limits are set by our language does this then mean that we should learn more languages in order to increase our understanding of language and question and fact?

6.4 – What about 4.06? propositions can be true or false, these are values, the contradiction is obvious furthermore, if the proposition has no value does it sit in between true and false?  Then it is not knowledge, then truly as propositions exist they are valueless.

6.41 – Value has value by definition, the author has made a mistake in using the same word he is trying to define in his definiion.

6.421 – What do ethics transcend exactly? space? time?  Most definatly not culture, as ethics exist inside of a culture to determine right or wrong.
– what is meant by aesthetics?  The definition is completely different from ethics, aesthetics is the study of beuty.

6.43 – Language has these limits with regards to anything: good and evil, hot or cold, fat or skinny, bright or dark etc…  what is so special about good or bad?  The limit is language not unquantifiable attributes such as good or bad.

6.4311 – This is so absurd I don’t know where to begin.  Eternity is outside time, or transcendant of time, death and life and the present do not transcend time, how can one simply declare that both of these dimensions can exist inside of one-another

6.4312 – If the answer is outside space and time then Wittgenstien cannot claim that eternal life is in the present because ‘time’ by definition has a tense.

6.432 – Heretic. You cannot claim that God exists with boundaries it is contradictory to core theism.

6.431 – What is the context to this statment?  Furthermore it might be suggested that a ‘problem’ and its ‘solution’ are more a question of ethics.  Problems and Solutions are not questions of epistemology at least in regards to their evaluation.

6.44 – Is Wittgenstien saying that the world does not exist?

6.45 – What is ‘sub specie aeterni’

6.5 – This statement is no true, take the simple question: “How did you feel when your father died?”  I have stated a question where by the respondant may not have adequate language to answer with but I have still asked the question.

6.51 – to deny the skeptic is to deny the epistemologist.

6.52 – who is ‘we’?  What is ‘the answer’ For someone declares that riddles don’t exist (6.5).  Wittgenstien certainly knows how to speak in them.

6.522 – Cannot language be developed to express these ‘mystical things’?  Furthermore I would question these ‘mystical things’ and humorously suggest that they might be God in the world.

6.53 & 7 – Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.
Proverbs 17:27-28

1st Class Reading & Response

Posted in 20th Cent. Phil. by lifesdirection on September 9, 2008


It has been a very interesting introduction, a breif overview of all the diferent branches of Philosophy, it would appear mostly accessible except for the section on structuralism.

I am starting to see that there is alot of overlap in terms of what branches of Philosophy cover what ideas. For example, it would appear platonism and phenominology when reffering for example to objects of coniousness.

Another interesting rabbit hole that I have found is Scholasticism. I will have to delve into this school of thought as it intrigues me, mainly it was studied by catholic philosophers and I am interested to see how they handle the problem of the existence of God. Most philosiphers stay away from God as ‘God’ is a complex idea, not only that but they are fearfull of dealing with the implications of taking his existence for granted and being pigeon-holed into a belief system that looses scholastic credibility as ‘God’ is the answer to many many things that philosophers ask questions about.

I will have to read-up a bit on Marxism, as I am not too knowledgable on the subject, I suppose it is because I have never heard of Karl Marx outside of the political areana.

It is most interesting to observe the thoughts and ideas that shape our culture, to be educated on the main sources or thoughts underwhich this culture is shaped on, it helps to be more critical of our culture as you hear the ideas and their form from the source.

Feminist Philosphy – It is interesting to interact with the opposite sex, they were created where man fell short, that is to say they are the ‘other half’, completing the image of God that we (men and women) were created in.  The perspective on issues and the way women are able to address different issues should prove to be most informative.

Wittgenstein (p 137-147)


It would appear as though Wittgenstein was a perfectionist, he only published one work and it got him a doctorate, he never published anything else but when he died, they published over 12 books from his writings and notes.
Wittgenstein saw philosphy as an oppurtunity to “dissolve” problems which were in his opinion primarily language based.  It seems to be a little bit of a broad stroke to paint all Philosophical problems as being language based however there is some merrit that clearing up the language issues surrounding problems helps us to understand the crux of the issues.

Wittgenstein definatly has something to say about hermaneutics, I can see how his ideas were influential particularly in light of how subjective the english language is, my very limited knowledge of biblical translation has helped to highlight how fickle and fragile the english language is.

I do however disagree with applying this idea to philosophy in general as I dont beleive that language is _the_ issue, it does help to have common vocabulary and terms but this would only help to clarify questions, language by no means can inherently provide answers to questions themselves.  A broad example can be taken into consideration from the area of Academics in general, while there are defined vocabularies for each discipline, use of these vocabularies often makes expert knowledge in an area of study inaccessible to the general public, there must exist a middle point or lowest common denominator where language is understood.  I do however sympathize with the academics for example, it would be most awkward to have to spell out the meaning of the word ‘postmodern’ or ‘postmodernism’ everytime I wanted to use this term.  Language is a tool, there are good tools and there are bad tools.

Remark #1

This is a very esoteric view of the world, in general, it seems as though a better use of language would be ‘the truth’.  However at the caution of the Straw Man Fallacy I will continue using the vocabulary of the critic.

1.11 – There exists and impossibility with this premis from a human perspective, one will never have ‘all the facts’ as Wittgenstein put it, because if they did they would be omniscient, they would be in fact ‘God’.

1.13 – I dont know what the authors view on metaphysics is so it is hard to critisize his view on ‘the world’ as being merely logical.  Regardless it seems as though he is leaving out the exoteric world.

1.21 – This premise undermines the make-up of an argument, the critic in a sense is claiming that premis’s can be false while a conclusions truth value remains the same.  For example, lets take the simple equation: n1-A=B, n2-B=C, p=C=A.  In this simple equation one cannot acertain that while premise n2 is false, the conclusion remains true.  This is absurd.

Remark #2

2.0121 – With regards to imagination, there are no conventional boundaries as the imagination is not bound by logic, consider a small boy who imagines that he can fly, it is possible that inside the definition of existentialism this could be true however we are dealing with logic.  Imagination is not bound by logic.  With regards to space and time, it is however true that these objects and events cannot occur outside of their respective paradigms as they would loose their inherent definition the moment they left, that is to say that a spatial object would no longer be a spatial object if it left ‘space’.  In a sense the critic is stating the obvious or arguing in circles.

2.0122 – I understand this to be simply worded as objects, contain their attributes based on their enviroments (or states of affairs) perhaps the analogy can be drawn with water, if the water is hot, it is steam, it is still water but its attributes have changed as a result of it’s state of affairs, similarly if the water is very cold it is ice, it is still the same water but its enviroment has changed from the original state of affairs (as listed above ‘hot’).

2.0123 – This statement makes knowing an object impossible as it is impossible to experience or know and object outside all the possibilities therefore we cannot know anything as we cannot percieve objects in any state of affairs.  Knowledge is therefore unattainable.
2.01231 – How can one decipher between internal and external ‘properties’ when dealing with absolute knowledge (supposing the above is true).  This further proves my above comment and it seems that the author has contradicted himself.  Furthermore, external or physical properties are empirical, and cannot be evaluated in a framework that is theoretical as would all internal properties be.  I may however be evaluating this premise under the guise of a spatial definition.

2.0131 – It seems the author is having trouble defining properties and enviroment, eluding to the fact that an object exists in all of its states of affairs including those enviroments that cause the state of affairs. Later articulated in 2.0141

2.021 – If objects cannot be composite then what makes up their form, if the form of an object dictates its properties in a state of affairs then perhaps the objects form does not belong to the object but is dependant on the state of affairs, one cannot assert that the form of an object is not related to its state of affairs but instead must understand that the ‘state of affairs’ is a composite matter, therefore it cannot be asserted that objects are not composite.

2.0211 – Please explain, if the world had no substence then it would not exist.

2.0232 – If objects can be colorless then what dictates properties in an object — this guy is crazy.

2.0251 – Now he starts to define his vocabulary, it is quite excasperating, knowing full well the fallacies of language that Wittgenstein only now, half way through this reading starts to define his vocabulary, he should have done this before he started.

2.027 – Please explain.

2.0272 – Previously the author stated that we cannot know objects unless we know all their properties, how can we know objects of only a certain configuration of their properties then exist?  How are they to be identified?

The whole picture paradigm is not that clear, also I find wittgenstein’s writings to be a little bit backwards, in general he uses vocubulary in a non-conventional way and then explains the vocabulary after he has used it!

Terms of the course and Terms of the book

There seems to be confusion with regards to the two major branches of 20th Century Philsophy, the book describes them as “Contenential” and “Anglo-American” and the course outline (and Dr. Li) describes them as “Contenential” and “Analytical”.

The concept of Post-modernism seems to be quite analogous according to the book, it gives little peices of a definition without being able to define this school of thought as being represented by a common idea. The best we seem to have is that it has evolved into a rejection of modernity, but without any solid definition, only to claim that modernity is not acheivable and ultimate truth cannot be known and is unattainable

I’m interested to know a little more about proccess philosophy, if it is indeed anything like proccess theology (which is absurd, and violates the character of God according to ‘core theism’).

I noticed that in the dissection of the term “Analytical Philosophy” there remiains (as expected with any Arts discipline) alot of ambiguity, personally this is intimidating most of my education being in the sciences frowns upon and to a large extent shuns ambiguity, but alas this is a 3rd year philosophy class and I will just have to ‘deal with it;’, in the post-modern spirit of not having the ability to know any absolute truths… This is starting to sound quite dystopian.

In the introduction to Marxism, it is interesting to read about how some philosophers have been attempting to wed different philosphical ideas and beleif systems.


With regards to vocabulary there have been a few words I have learned: