Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wittgenstein and Religion 2

Quoting from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy quoting from Culture and Value:

"Rules of life are dressed up in pictures. And these pictures can only serve to describe what we are to do, not justify it. Because they could provide a justification only if they held good in other respects as well. I can say: "Thank these bees for their honey as though they were kind people who have prepared it for you"; that is intelligible and describes how I should like you to conduct yourself. But I cannot say: "Thank them because, look, how kind they are!"--since the next moment they may sting you." p. 29e

While this is not directly a religious statement, I think for Wittgenstein ethics and religion both involve language games that exceed what I'll call the "Logical Positivists' theory the of Legitimate Use of Language"(LPL for short). But for Wittgenstein it seems, the most important things are beyond LPL.

And it is difficult for me not to agree with this. Having passed the midpoint of my life, I find I am looking more and more for things beyond LPL, probably because of fear of death, but also a sense that LPL and those things within its confines do not give me the degree of peace I want; sorry, it doesn't, might as well be up front about it. I don't have any tricks up my sleeve or anything. I'm not going to spring something on you, like, "the answer was Jansenism all along".

But where can I turn? The vexing thing with this view is that there doesn't seem to be anywhere to go within this gloss on Wittgenstein. I call it a gloss because maybe someone out there has something better to say.


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