Private Language and Private Experience

BeetleWittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations. 243-314

243. A human being can encourage himself, give himself orders, obey, blame and punish himself, he can ask himself a question and answer it. We could even imagine human beings who spoke only in monologue; who accompanied their activities by talking to themselves. — An explorer who watched them and listened to their talk might succeed in translating their language into ours. (This would enable him to predict these people’s actions correctly, for he also hears them making resolutions and decisions.)
But could we also imagine a language in which a person could write down or give vocal expression to his inner experiences — his feelings, moods, and the rest — for his private use? Well, can’t we do so in our ordinary language? — But that is not what I mean. The individual words of this language are to refer to what can only be known to the person speaking; to his immediate private sensations. So another person cannot understand the language.

244. How do words refer to sensations? — There doesn’t seem to be any problem here; don’t we talk about sensations every day, and give them names? But how is the connection between the name and the thing named set up? This question is the same as: how does a human being learn the meaning of the names of sensations? — of the word “pain” for example. Here is one possibility: words are connected with the primitive, the natural, expressions of the sensation and used in their place. A child has hurt himself and he cries; and then adults talk to him and teach him exclamations and, later, sentences. They teach the child new pain — behavior.
“So you are saying that the word ‘pain’ really means crying?” — On the contrary: the verbal expression of pain replaces crying and does not describe it.

245. For how can I go so far as to try to use language to get between pain and its expression?

246. In what sense are my sensations private? — Well, only I can know whether I am really in pain; another person can only surmise it. — In one way this is wrong, and in another nonsense. If we are using the word “to know” as it is normally used (and how else are we to use it?), then other people very often know when I am in pain. — Yes, but all the same not with the certainty with which I know it myself! — It can’t be said of me at all (except perhaps as a joke) that I know I am in pain. What is it supposed to mean — except perhaps that I am in pain?
Other people cannot be said to learn of my sensations only from my behavior — for I cannot be said to learn of them. I have them.
The truth is: it makes sense to say about other people that they doubt whether I am in pain; but not to say it about myself.

247. Only you can know if you had that intention.” One might tell someone this when one was explaining the meaning of the word “intention” to him. For then it means: that is how we use it.
(And here “know’, means that the expression of uncertainty is senseless.)

248. The proposition “Sensations are private” is comparable to; “One plays patience by oneself”.

249. Are we perhaps over — hasty in our assumption that the smile of an unweaned infant is not a presence? — And on what experience is our assumption based?
(Lying is a language-game that needs to be learned like any other one.)

250. Why can’t a dog simulate pain? Is he too honest? Could one teach a dog to simulate pain? Perhaps it is possible to teach him to howl on particular occasions as if he were in pain, even when he is not. But the surroundings which are necessary for this behavior to be real simulation are missing.

251. What does it mean when we say: “I can’t imagine the opposite of this” or “What would it be like, if it were otherwise?” — For example, when someone has said that my images are private, or that only I myself can know whether I am feeling pain, and similar things. Of course, here “I can’t imagine the opposite” doesn’t mean: my powers of imagination are unequal to the task. These words are a defense against something’ whose form makes it look like an empirical proposition, but which is really a grammatical one.
But why do we say: “I can’t imagine the opposite”? Why not: “I can’t imagine the thing itself”?
Example: “Every rod has a length.” That means something like: we call something (or this) “the length of a rod” — but nothing “the length of a sphere.” Now can I imagine ‘every rod having a length’? Well, I simply imagine a rod. Only this picture, in connection with this proposition, has a quite different role from one used in connection with the proposition “This table has the same length as the one over there”. For here I understand what it means to have a picture of the opposite (nor need it be a mental picture).
But the picture attaching to the grammatical proposition could only show, say, what is called “the length of a rod”. And what should the opposite picture be ?
(Remark about the negation of an a priori proposition.)

252. “This body has extension.” To this we might reply: “Nonsense!” — but are inclined to reply “Of course!” Why is this?

253. “Another person can’t have my pains.” — Which are my pains? What counts as a criterion of identity here? Consider what makes it possible in the case of physical objects to speak of “two exactly the same”, for example, to say “This chair is not the one you saw here yesterday, but is exactly the same as it”.
In so far as it makes sense to say that my pain is the same as his, it is also possible for us both to have the same pain. (And it would a]so be imaginable for two people to feel pain in the same — not just the corresponding — place. That might be the case with Siamese twins, for instance.)
I have seen a person in a discussion on this subject strike himself on the breast and say: “But surely another person can’t have THIS pain!” — The answer to this is that one does not define a criterion of identity by emphatic stressing of the word “this”. Rather, what the emphasis does is to suggest the case in which we are familiar with such a criterion of identity, but have to be reminded of it.

254. The substitution of “identical” for “the same” (for instance) is another typical expedient in philosophy. As if we were talking about shades of meaning and all that were in question were to find words to hit on the correct nuance. That is in question in philosophy only where we have to give a psychologically exact account of the temptation to use a particular kind of expression. What we ‘are tempted to say’ in such a case is, of course, not philosophy; but it is its raw material. Thus, for example, what a mathematician is inclined to say about the objectivity and reality of mathematical facts, is not a philosophy of mathematics, but something for philosophical treatment.

255. The philosopher treats a question; like an illness.

256. Now, what about the language which describes my inner experiences and which only I myself can understand? How do I use words to stand for my sensations? — As we ordinarily do? Then are my words for sensations tied up with my natural expressions of sensation? In that case my language is not a ‘private’ one. Someone else might understand it as well as I. — But suppose I didn’t have any natural expression for the sensation, but only had the sensation? And now I simply associate names with sensations and use these names in descriptions.

257. “What would it be like if human beings showed no outward signs of pain (did not groan, grimace, etc.)? Then it would be impossible to teach a child the use of the word ‘tooth — ache’.” — Well, let’s assume the child is a genius and itself invents a name for the sensation! — But then, of course, he couldn’t make himself understood when he used the word. — So does he understand the name, without being able to explain its meaning to anyone? — But what does it mean to say that he has ‘named his pain’? — How has he done this naming of pain?! And whatever he did, what was its purpose? — When one says “He gave a name to his sensation” one forgets that a great deal of stage — setting in the language is presupposed if the mere act of naming is to make sense. And when we speak of someone’s having given a name to pain, what is presupposed is the existence of the grammar of the word “pain”; it shows the post where the new word is stationed.

258. Let us imagine the following case. I want to keep a diary about the recurrence of a certain sensation.
To this end I associate it with the sign “S” and write this sign in a calendar for every day on which I have the sensation. I will remark first of all that a definition of the sign cannot be formulated. — But still I can give myself a kind of ostensive definition. — How? Can I point to the sensation? Not in the ordinary sense. But I speak, or write the sign down, and at the same time I concentrate my attention on the sensation — and so, as it were, point to it inwardly. — But what is this ceremony for? for that is all it seems to be! A definition surely serves to establish the meaning of a sign. — Well, that is done precisely by the concentrating of my attention; for in this way I impress on myself the connection between the sign and the sensation. — But “I impress it on myself” can only mean: this process brings it about that I remember the connection right in the future. But in the present case I have no criterion of correctness. One would like to say: whatever is going to seem right to me is right. And that only means that here we can’t talk about ‘right’.

259. Are the rules of the private language impressions of rules? — The balance on which impressions are weighed is not the impression of a balance.

260. “Well, I believe that this is the sensation S again.” — Perhaps you believe that you believe it!
Then did the man who made the entry in the calendar make a note of nothing whatever? — Don’t consider it a matter of course that a person is making a note of something when he makes a mark — say in a calendar. For a note has a function, and this “S” so far has none.
(One can talk to oneself. — If a person speaks when no one else is present, does that mean he is speaking to himself?)

261. What reason have we for calling “S” the sign for a sensation? For “sensation” is a word of our common language. not of one intelligible to me alone. So the use of this word stands in need of a justification which everybody understands. — And it would not help either to say that it need not be a sensation; that when he writes “S”, he has something — and that is all that can be said. “Has” and “something” also belong to our common language. — So in the end when one is doing philosophy one gets to the point where one would like just to emit an inarticulate sound. — But such a sound is an expression only as it occurs in a particular language-game, which should now be described.

262. It might be said: if you have given yourself a private definition of a word, then you must inwardly undertake to use the word in such-and-such a way. And how do you undertake that? Is it to be assumed that you invent the technique of using the word; or that you found it ready — made?

263. But I can (inwardly) undertake to call THIS ‘pain’ in the future.” — “But is it certain that you have undertaken it? Are you sure that it was enough for this purpose to concentrate your attention on your feeling?” — A queer question. —

264. “Once you know what the word stands for, you understand it, you know its whole use.”

265. Let us imagine a table (something like a dictionary) that exists only in our imagination. A dictionary can be used to justify the translation of a word X by a word Y. But are we also to call it a justification if such a table is to be looked up only in the imagination? — “Well, yes; then it is a subjective justification.” — But justification consists in appealing to something independent. — “But surely I can appeal from one memory to another. For example, I don’t know if I nave remembered the time of departure of a train right and to check it I call to mind how a page of the time — table looked. Isn’t it the same here?” — No; for this process has got to produce a memory which is actually correct. If the mental image of the time — table could not itself be tested for correctness, how could it confirm the correctness of the first memory? (As if someone were to buy several copies of the morning paper to assure himself that what it said was true.)
Looking up a table in the imagination is no more looking up a table than the image of the result of an imagined experiment is the result of an experiment.

266. I can look at the clock to see what time it is: but I can also look at the dial of a clock in order to “Mess what time it is; or for the same purpose move the hand of a clock till its position strikes me as right. So the look of a clock may serve to determine the time in more than one way. “Looking at the clock in imagination.)

267. Suppose I wanted to justify the choice of dimensions for a bridge which I imagine to be building, by making loading tests on the material of the bridge in my imagination. This would, of course, be to imagine what is called justifying the choice of dimensions for a bridge. But should we also call it justifying an imagined choice of dimensions?

268. Why can’t my right hand give my left hand money? — My right hand can put it into my left hand. My right hand can write a deed of gift and my left hand a receipt. — But the further practical consequences would not be those of a gift. When the left hand has taken the money from the right, etc., we shall ask: “Well, and what of it?” And the same could be asked if a person had given himself a private definition of a word; I mean, if he has said the word to himself and at the same time has directed his attention to a sensation.

269. Let us remember that there are certain criteria in a man’s behavior for the fact that he does not understand a word: that it means nothing to him, that he can do nothing with it. And criteria for his ‘thinking he understands’, attaching some meaning to the word, but not the right one. And, lastly, criteria for his understanding the word right. In the second case one might speak of a subjective understanding. And sounds which no one else understands but which I ‘appear to understand‘ might be called a “private language”.

270. Let us now imagine a use for the entry of the sign “S” in my diary. I discover that whenever I have a particular sensation a manometer shows that my blood — pressure rises. So I shall be able to say that my blood — pressure is rising without using any apparatus. This is a useful result. And now it seems quite indifferent whether I have recognized the sensation right or not. Let us suppose I regularly identify it wrong, it does not matter in the least. And that alone shows he turned a knob which looked as if it could be used to turn on some part of the machine; but it was a mere ornament, not connected with the mechanism at all.)
And what is our reason for calling “S” the name of a sensation here? Perhaps the kind of way this sign is employed in this language-game. — And why a “particular sensation,” that is, the same one every time? Well, aren’t we supposing that we write “S” every time?

271. “Imagine a person whose memory could not retain what the word ‘pain’ meant — so that he constantly called different things by that name — but nevertheless used the word in a way fitting in with the usual symptoms and presuppositions of pain” — in short he uses it as we all do. Here I should like to say: a wheel that can be turned though nothing else moves with it, is not part of the mechanism.

272. The essential thing about private experience is really not that each person possesses his own exemplar, but that nobody knows whether other people also have this or something else. The assumption would thus be possible — though unverifiable — that one section of mankind had one sensation of red and another section another.

273. What am I to say about the word “red”? — that it means something ‘confronting us all’ and that everyone should really have another word, besides this one, to mean his own sensation of red? Or is it like this: the word “red” means something known to everyone; and in addition, for each person, it means something known only to him? (Or perhaps rather: it refers to something known only to him.)

274. Of course, saying that the word “red” “refers to” instead of “means” something private does not help us in the least to grasp its function; but it is the more psychologically apt expression for a particular experience in doing philosophy. It is as if when I uttered the word I cast a sidelong glance at the private sensation, as it were in order to say to myself: I know all right what I mean by it.

275. Look at the blue of the sky and say to yourself “How blue the sky is!” — When you do it spontaneously — without philosophical intentions — the idea never crosses your mind that this impression of color belongs only to you. And you have no hesitation in exclaiming that to someone else. And if you point at anything as you say the words you point at the sky. I am saying: you have not the feeling of pointing — into — yourself which often accompanies ‘naming the sensation’ when one is thinking about ‘private language’. Nor do you think that really you ought not to point to the color with your hand, but with your attention. (Consider what it means “to point to something with the attention”.)

276. But don’t we at least mean something: quite definite when we look at a color and name our color — impression? It is as if we detached the color — impression from the object, like a membrane. (This ought to arouse our suspicions.)

277. But how is even possible for us to be tempted to think that we use a word to mean at one time the color known to everyone — and at another the ‘visual impression’ which I am getting now? How can there be so much as a temptation here? I don’t turn the same kind of attention on the color in the two cases. When I mean the color impression that (as I should like to say) belongs to me alone I immerse myself in the color — rather like when I ‘cannot get my fill of a color’. Hence it is easier to produce this experience when one is looking at a bright color, or at an impressive color — scheme.

278. “I know how the color green looks to me” — surely that makes sense! — Certainly: what use of the proposition are you thinking of?

279. Imagine someone saying: “But I know how tall I am!” and laying his hand on top of his head to prove it.

280. Someone paints a picture in order to show how he imagines a theater scene. And now I say: “This picture has a double function: it informs others, as pictures or words inform but for the one who gives the information it is a representation (or piece of information?) of another kind: for him it is the picture of his image, as it can’t be for anyone else. To him his private impression of the picture means what he has imagined, in a sense in which the picture cannot mean this to others.” — And what right have I to speak in this second case of a representation or piece of information — if these words were rightly used in the first case?

281. “But doesn’t what you say come to this: that there is no pain, for example, without pain — behavior?” — It comes to this: only of a living human being and what resembles (behaves like) a living human being can one say it has sensations; it sees: is blind; hears; is deaf; is conscious or unconscious.

282. But in a fairy tale the pot too can see and hear!” (Certainly; but it can also talk.)
“But the fairy tale only invents what is not the case: it does not talk nonsense.” — It is not as simple as that. Is it false or nonsensical to say that a pot talks? Have we a clear picture of the circumstances in which we should say of a pot that it talked? (Even a nonsense — poem is not nonsense in the same way as the babbling of a child.)
We do indeed say of an inanimate thing that it is in pain: when playing with dolls for example. But this use of the concept of pain is a secondary one. Imagine a case in which people ascribed pain only to inanimate things; pitied only dolls I (When children play at trains their game is connected with their knowledge of trains. ]t would nevertheless be possible for the children of a tribe unacquainted with trains to learn this game from others, and to play it without knowing that it was copied from anything. One might say that the game did not make the same sense to them as to us.)

283. What gives us so much as the idea that living beings, things, can feel? Is it that my education has led me to it by drawing my attention to feeling in myself, and now I transfer the idea to objects outside myself? That I recognize that there is something there (in me) which I can call “pain” without getting into conflict with the way other people use this word? — I do not transfer my idea to stones, plants, etc.
Couldn’t I imagine having frightful pains and turning to stone while they lasted? Well, how do I know, if I shut my eyes, whether I have not turned into a stone? And if that has happened, in what sense will the stone have the pains? In what sense will they be ascribable to the stone? And why need the pain have a bearer at all here?!
And can one say of the stone that it has a soul and that is what has the pain? What has a soul, or pain, to do with a stone?
Only of what behaves like a human being can one say that it has pains.
For one has to say it of a body, or, if you like of a soul which some body had. And how can a body have a soul?

284. Look at a stone and imagine it having sensations. — One says to oneself: How could one so much as get the idea of ascribing a sensation to a thing? One might as well ascribe it to a number! — And now look at a wriggling fly and at once these difficulties vanish and pain seems able to get a foothold here, where before everything was, so to speak, too smooth for it.
And so, too, a corpse seems to us quite inaccessible to pain. — Our attitude to what is alive and to what is dead, is not the same. All our reactions are different. — If anyone says: “That cannot simply come from the fact that a living thing moves about in such-and-such a way and a dead one not”, then I want to intimate to him that this is a case of the transition ‘from quantity to quality’.

285. Think of the recognition of facial expressions. Or of the description of facial expressions — which does not consist in giving the measurements of the face! Think, too, how one can imitate a man’s face without seeing one’s own in a mirror.

286. But isn’t it absurd to say of a body that it has pain? And why does one feel an absurdity in that? In what sense is it true that my hand does not feel pain, but I in my hand?
What sort of issue is: Is it the body that feels pain? — How is it to be decided? What makes it plausible to say that it is not the body? —
Well, something like this: if someone has a pain in his hand, then the hand does not say so (unless it writes it) and one does not comfort the hand, but the sufferer: one looks into his face.

287. How am I filled with pity for this man? How does it come out what the object of my pity is? (Pity, one may say, is a form of conviction that someone else is in pain.)

288. I turn to stone and my pain goes on. — Suppose I were m error and it was no longer pain? — But I can’t be in error here; it means nothing to doubt whether I am in pain! — That means: f anyone said “I do not know if what I have is a pain or something else”, we should think something like, he does not know what the English word “pain” means: and we should explain it to him. — How? Perhaps by means of gestures, or by pricking him with a pin and saying: “See, that’s what pain is!” This explanation, like any other, he might understand right, wrong, or not at all. And he will show which he does by his use of the word, in this as in other cases.
If he now said, for example: “Oh, I know what ‘pain’ means; what I don’t know is whether this, that I have now, is pain” — we should merely shake our heads and be forced to regard his words as a queer reaction which we have no idea what to do with. (It would be rather as if we heard someone say seriously: “I distinctly remember that sometime before I was born I believed”.)
That expression of doubt has no place in the language-game; but if we cut out human behavior, which is the expression of sensation, it looks as if I might legitimately begin to doubt afresh. My temptation to say that one might take a sensation for something other than what it is arises from this: if I assume the abrogation of the normal language-game with the expression of a sensation. I need a criterion of identity for the sensation; and then the possibility of error also exists.

289. When I say ‘I am in pain’ I am at any rate justified before myself.” — What does that mean? Does it mean: “If someone else could know what I am calling ‘pain’, he would admit that I was using the word correctly”?
To use a word without a justification does not mean to use it without right.

290. What I do is not, of course, to identify my sensation by criteria: but to repeat an expression. But this is not the end of the language-game: it is the beginning.
But isn’t the beginning the sensation — which I describe? — Perhaps this word “describe” tricks us here. I say “I describe my state of mind” and “I describe my room”. You need to call to mind the differences between the language-games.

291. What we call “descriptions” are instruments for particular uses. Think of a machine — drawing, a cross — section. an elevation with v measurements, which an engineer has before him. Thinking of a description as a word — picture of the facts has something misleading about it: one tends to think only of such pictures as hang on our walls: which seem simply to portray how a thing looks, what it is like. (These pictures are as it were idle.)

292. Don’t always think that you read off what you say from the facts; that you portray these in words according to rules. For even so you would have to apply the rule in the particular case without guidance.

293. If I say of myself that it is only from my own case that I know what the word “pain” means — must I not say the same of other people too? And how can I generalize the one case so irresponsibly?
Now someone tells me that he knows what pain is only from his own case! Suppose everyone had a box with something in it: we call it a “beetle”. No one can look into anyone else’s box, and everyone says he knows what a beetle is only by looking at his beetle. — Here it would be quite possible for everyone to have something different in his box. One might even imagine such a thing constantly changing. — But suppose the word “beetle” had a use in these people’s language? — If so it would not be used as the name of a thing. The thing in the box has no place in the language-game at all; not even as a something: for the box might even be empty. — No, one can ‘divide through’ by the thing in the box; it cancels out, whatever it is.
That is to say: if we construe the grammar of the expression of sensation on the model of ‘object and designation’ the object droops out of consideration as irrelevant.

294. If you say he sees a private picture before him, which he is describing, you have still made an assumption about what he has before him. And that means that you can describe it or do describe it more closely. If you admit that you haven’t any notion what kind of thing it might be that he has before him — then what leads you into saying, in spite of that, that he has something before him? Isn’t it as if I were to say of someone: “Hehas something. But I don’t know whether it is money, or debts, or an empty till.”

295. “I know …. only from my own case” — what kind of proposition is this meant to be at all? An experiential one? No. — A grammatical one?
Suppose everyone does say about himself that he knows what pain is only from his own pain. — Not that people really say that, or are even prepared to say it. But if everybody said it — it might be a kind of exclamation. And even if it gives no information, still it is a picture, and why should we not want to call up such a picture? Imagine an allegorical painting take the place of those words.
When we look into ourselves as we do philosophy, we often get to see just such a picture. A full — blown pictorial representation of our grammar. Not facts; but as it were illustrated turns of speech.

296. Yes, but there is something there all the same accompanying my cry of pain. And it is on account of that that I utter it. And this something is what is important — and frightful.” — Only whom are we informing of this? And on what occasion?

297. Of course, if water boils in a pot, steam comes out of the pot and also pictured steam comes out of the pictured pot. But what if one insisted on saying that there must also be something boiling in the picture of the pot?

298. The very fact that we should so much like to say: “This is the important thing” — while we point privately to the sensation — is enough to show how much we are inclined to say something which gives no information.

299. Being unable — when we surrender ourselves to philosophical thought — to help saying such-and-such; being irresistibly inclined to say it — does not mean being forced into an assumption, or having an immediate perception or knowledge of a state of affairs.

300. It is — we should like to say — not merely the picture of the behavior that plays a part in the language-game with the words “he is in pain”, but also the picture of the pain. Or, not merely the paradigm of the behavior, but also that of the pain. — It is a misunderstanding to say “The picture of pain enters into the language-game with the word ‘pain’.” The image of pain is not a picture and this image is not replaceable in the language-game by anything that we should call a picture. — The image of pain certainly enters into the language game in a sense; only not as a picture.

301. An image is not a picture, but a picture can correspond to it.

302. If one has to imagine someone else’s pain on the model of one’s own, this is none too easy a thing to do: for I have to imagine pain which I do not feel on the model of the pain which I do feel. That is, what I have to do is not simply to make a transition in imagination from one place of pain to another. As, from pain in the hand to pain in the arm. For I am not to imagine that I feel pain in some region of his body. (Which would also be possible.)
Pain — behavior can point to a painful place — but the subject of pain is the person who gives it expression.

303. “I can only believe that someone else is in pain, but I know’ it if I am.” — Yes: one can make the decision to say “I believe he is in pain” instead of “He is in pain”. But that is all. What looks like an explanation here, or like a statement about a mental process, is in truth an exchange of one expression for another which, while we are doing philosophy, seems the more appropriate one.
Just try — in a real case — to doubt someone else’s fear or pain.

304. “But you will surely admit that there is a difference between pain — behavior accompanied by pain and pain — behavior without any pain?” — Admit it? What greater difference could there be? — “And yet you again and again reach the conclusion that the sensation itself is a nothing.” — Not at all. It is not a something, but not a nothing either! The conclusion was only that a nothing would serve just as well as a something about which nothing could be said. We have only rejected the grammar which tries to force itself on us here.
The paradox disappears only if we make a radical break with the idea that language always functions in one way, always serves the same purpose: to convey thoughts — which may be about houses, pains, and evil, or anything else you please.

305. “But you surely cannot deny that, for example, in remembering, an inner process takes place.” — What gives the impression that we want to deny anything? When one says “Still, an inner process does take place here” — one wants to go on: “After all, you see it.” And it is this inner process that one means by the word “remembering”. — The impression that we wanted to deny something arises from our setting our faces against the picture of the ‘inner process’. What we deny is that the picture of the inner process gives us the correct idea of the use of the word “to remember”. We say that this picture with its ramifications stands in the way of our seeing the use of the word as it is.

306. Why should I deny that there is a mental process? But “There has just taken place in me the mental process of remembering….” means nothing more than: “I have just remembered ….”. To deny the mental process would mean to deny the remembering; to deny that anyone ever remembers anything.

307. “Are you not really a behaviorist in disguise? Aren’t you at bottom really saying that everything except human behavior is a fiction?” — If I do speak of a fiction, then it is of a grammatical fiction.

308. How does the philosophical problem about mental processes and states and about behaviorism arise? The first step is the one that altogether escapes notice. We talk of processes and states and leave their nature undecided. Sometime perhaps we shall know more about them — we think. But that is just what commits us to a particular way of looking at the matter. For we have a definite concept of what it means to learn to know a process better. (The decisive movement in the conjuring trick has been made, and it was the very one that we thought quite innocent.) — And now the analogy which was to make us understand our thoughts falls to pieces. So we have to deny the yet uncomprehended process in the yet unexplored medium. And now it looks as if we had denied mental processes. And naturally we don’t want to deny them.

309. What is your aim in philosophy? — To show the fly the way out of the fly-bottle.

310. I tell someone I am in pain. His attitude to me will then be that of belief; disbelief; suspicion; and so on.
Let us assume he says: ‘It’s not so bad.’–Doesn’t that prove that he believes in something behind the outward expression of pain?–His attitude is proof of his attitude. Imagine not merely the words ‘I am in pain’ but also the answer ‘It’s no so bad’ replaced by instinctive noises and gestures.

311. ‘What difference could be greater?’–In the case of pain I believe that I can give myself a private exhibition of the difference. But I an give anyone an exhibition of the difference between a broken and an unbroken tooth.–But for the private exhibition you don’t have to give yourself actual pain; it is enough to imagine it–for instance, you screw up your face a bit. And do you know that what you are giving yourself this exhibition of is pain and not, for example, a facial expression? And how do you know what you are to give yourself an exhibition of before you do it? This private exhibition is an illusion.

312. But again, aren’t the cases of the tooth and the pain similar? For the visual sensation in the one corresponds to the sensation of pain in the other. I can exhibit the visual sensation to myself as little or as well as the sensation of pain.
Let us imagine the following: The surfaces of the things around us (stones, plants, etc.) have patches and regions which produce pain in our skin when we touch them. (Perhaps through the chemical composition of these surfaces. But we need no know that.) In this case we should speak of pain-patches on the leaf of a particular plant just as at present we speak of red patches. I am supposing that it is useful to us to notice these patches and their shapes; that we can infer important properties of the objects from them.

313. I can exhibit pain, as I exhibit red, and as I exhibit straight and crooked and trees and stones.–That is what we call ‘exhibiting’.

314. It shows a fundamental misunderstanding, if I am inclined to study the headache I have now in order to get clear about the philosophical problem of sensation.

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