Tagged: Philosophical Investigations

Ludwig Wittgenstein’s private language argument in short

(LW stands for Ludwig Wittgenstein, PU for “Philosophische Untersuchungen”.) The origin of the private language argument 1. The meaning of a word is the object the word stands for (PU 1). 2. Sensations are private. Hence a language that refers to private objects could only be understood by the owner of the sensations (PU 243). Nobody else could understand it, because he has no access to the inner world of another person. (Besides: This is an similar paradoxical result to that of rule-following (PU 201) and the whole treatment of it resembles that of the preceding paragraphs concerning meaning and...

Wittgenstein: The Nature of Philosophy

From: Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations. 89-92. 106-133.  89. In what sense is logic something sublime? For there seemed to pertain to logic a peculiar depth–a universal significance. Logic lay, it seemed, at the bottom of all the science.–For logical investigation explores the nature of all things. It seeks to see to the bottom of things and is not meant to concern itself whether what actually happens is this or that.–It takes its rise, not from an interest in the facts of nature, nor from a need to grasp causal connections: but from an urge to understand the basis, or essence, of everything...

The Will

Wittgenstein: Philosophical Investigations. 587-594; 611-629.         587. It makes sense to ask: ‘Do I really love her, or am I only pretending to myself?’ and the process of introspection is the calling up of memories; of imagined possible situations, and of the feelings that one would have if… 588. ‘I am revolving the decision to go away to-morrow.’ (This may be called a description of a state of mind.)–‘Your arguments don’t convince me; now as before it is my intention to go away to-morrow.’ Here one is tempted to call the intention a feeling. The feeling is one of a certain rigidity; of...

Wittgenstein: What is a Machine?

Philosophical Investigations,  #193. “The machine as symbolizing its action: the action of a machine – I might say at first – seems to be there in it from the start. What does that mean? – If we know the machine, everything else, that is its movement, seems to be already completely determined. We talk as if these parts could only move in this way, as if they could not do anything else. How is this – do we forget the possibility of their bending, breaking off, melting, and so on? Yes; in many cases we don’t think of that at...

Meaning, Understanding, & Naming

from Philosophical Investigations         26. One thinks that learning the language consists in giving names to objects. Viz., to human beings, to shapes, to colors, to pains, to moods, to numbers, etc. To repeat–naming is something like attaching a label to a thing. One can say that this is preparatory to the use of a word. But what for? 27. “We name things and then we can talk about them: can refer to them in talk.”–As if what we did next were given with the mere act of naming. As if there were only one thing called “talking about a thing.” Whereas in fact we...

Private Language and Private Experience

Wittgenstein, 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...

Language Games; Rejection of Logical Atomism

But how many kinds of sentences are there? Say assertion, question, and command?–There are countless different kinds of what we call “symbols,” “words,” “sentences.” And this multiplicity is not something fixed, given once for all; but new types of language, new language-games, as we may say, come into existence, and others become obsolete and get forgotten. (We can get a rough picture of this from the changes in mathematics.)

Primitive Language, Language Games. Toolbox Analogies.

From Philosophical Investigations: 1. “When they (my elders) named some object, and accordingly moved towards something, I saw this and I grasped that the thing was called by the sound they uttered when they meant to point it out. Their intention was shown by their bodily movements, as it were the natural language of all peoples: the expression of the face, the play of the eyes, the movement of other parts of the body, and the tone of the voice which expresses our state of mind in seeking, having, rejecting, or avoiding something. Thus, as I heard words repeatedly used in their...

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Born in Vienna into one of Europe’s richest families, he gave away his entire inheritance. Three of his brothers committed suicide, with Wittgenstein contemplating it as well.He left academia several times: serving as an officer on the frontline during World War I, where he was decorated a number of times for his courage; teaching in schools in remote Austrian villages; and working during World War II as a hospital porter in London. There, he told patients not to take the drugs they were prescribed, and where he largely managed to keep secret the fact that he was one of the world’s most famous philosophers. He described philosophy, however, as “the only work that gives me real satisfaction.”