Friday, January 24, 2014

Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, Entry 14, taking off your glasses

"The ideal, as we think of it, is unshakable. You can never get outside it; you must always turn back. There is no outside; outside you cannot breathe -- Where does this idea come from? It is like a pair of glasses on our nose through which we see whatever we look at. It never occurs to us to take them off(Section 103)

"We predicate of the thing what lies in the method of representing it. Impressed by the possibility of comparison, we think we are perceiving a state of affairs of the highest generality"(section 104)

"When we believe that we must find that order, must find the ideal, in our actual language, we become dissatisfied with what are ordinarily called 'propositions', 'words', 'signs'.
the proposition and the word that logic deals with are supposed to be something pure and clear-cut. And we rack our brains over the nature of the REAL sign...(Section 105)"

I see in these passages Wittgenstein rejecting the program of finding a logically ideal language, the assumption of the existence of which is so ingrained that they are like glasses we never think to take off. To assert there IS NO such language is like taking these glasses off. How does taking the glasses off in Wittgenstein contrast with leaving Plato's Cave? Discuss.

1. Is taking the glasses off the reverse of leaving the Cave?
2. Is taking the glasses off the same as leaving the Cave?
3. Are 1. and 2. stupid questions?

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