Thursday, September 26, 2013

Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, Entry 12, Logic and Ideal Languages(not everyday language)

"F.P. Ramsey once emphasized in conversation with me that logic was a 'normative science'. I do not know exactly what he had in mind, but it was doubtless closely related to what only dawned on me later: namely, that in philosophy we often compare the use of words with games and calculi which have fixed rules, but cannot say that someone who is using language must be playing such a game. -- But if you say that our languages only approximate to such calculi you are standing on the very brink of a misunderstanding. For then it may look as if what we were talking about were an ideal language."(Wittgenstein, Section 81)

So, in philosophy perhaps philosophers 'correct' common sense usage or notions, referring to such as the language or thought of 'the vulgar'. But it sounds like Wittgenstein is saying that ordinary usage is its own thing.

"logic does not treat of language -- or of thought -- in the sense in which a natural science treats of a natural phenomenon, and the most that can be said is that we construct ideal languages."(Wittgenstein, Section 81)

Does this mean that the logic I took as an undergraduate, that turned ordinary language into symbolic form was forcing something into an ideal form that obeys different rules? Well, I don't see how ordinary logic is somehow not applicable to ordinary language, but only to artificial ones? Perhaps I'm missing a broader point here and you, gentle reader, can help me. One thing that's clear is that language has all these games in it with rules.

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