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Monday, July 7, 2008

Wittgenstein and the inescapable

Can one negate a picture? No. And in this lies the difference between picture and proposition. The picture can serve as a proposition. But in that case something gets added to it which brings it about that now it says something. In short: I can only deny that the picture is right, but the picture I cannot deny.

Wittgenstein Notebooks 1914-1916 p. 33e
Even the inescapable shouldn't necessarily be called true, "truth" is something we add to the picture. We have to come to grips with those things we cannot escape (e.g. a most skeletal common-sense realism, life's perspective, etc.), that coming-to-grips-with is unavoidable but the associated value judgment is quite avoidable. Here I embrace Wittgenstein and pass over Heidegger (i think).

Update 7/9: This is better said by Nietzsche,
But Heraclitus will remain eternally right with his assertion that being is an empty fiction. The "apparent" world is the only one: the "true" world is merely added by a lie.

Twilight of the Idols "Reason in Philosophy" #2
My note following that passage was "->phenomenology". I wonder when I wrote that, it probably had something to do with Husserl.


Anonymous said...

Here's how I would paraphrase W's remark:

A picture is different from a proposition, but you can make a picture do the work of a proposition. When you do this, you add something to the picture -- specifically, the information that the picture is supposed to represent some fact or state of affairs. If you don't add this information, then the picture can't be affirmed or denied, since it is simply another part of the world -- it is not "about" anything.

So I don't see in it the deeper claim I think you see in it.

Mike said...

My statement after that quote isn't meant to be an interpretation of the quote itself. It's meant to be an analogous claim, a parallel argument.

The picture exists (the I's eye view), but it's something we have to come to grips with, not necessarily something we should make a value judgment about. I still think if we're going to say something approximates truth it should be in the realm of negotiating various systems and the methods associated with that.

But that's way outside the scope of something Wittgenstein would want to say, where I'm "with Wittgenstein" I really just mean humility towards truth in regard to the I's eye view. A sentiment I think he fully expresses in "On Certainty".

Does that make any more sense?

Mike said...

I'll return to the inescapable again sometime without getting so many other voices involved.

Nietzsche here uses Heraclitus to call being an "empty" fiction. I want to say the inescapable is our bottomless ground but even that seems like too much of a value judgment.

I'd rather just call the inescapable the inescapable. That which although you might deny it in your words or your thoughts one moment, in the next you're presupposing it again. Like if I deny the existence of my hand. I can hold that thought in my head for a second but in the next I'm typing and denying that my hand exists (when I am in fact doing something with it) is an empty denial, it's dishonest.

Honesty, not truth, is tied up with the inescapable.