running with harlots drunk or naked is a killer press philosophy blog. all posts by greg t. charlton. (c) 2008. all rights reserved. killer press.
'For the person or persons that hold dominion, can no more combine with the keeping up of majesty the running with harlots drunk or naked about the streets, or the performances of a stage player, or the open violation or contempt of laws passed by themselves than they can combine existence with non-existence'.
‘The sign ( the sentence) gets its signification from the system of signs, from the language to which it belongs. Roughly: understanding a sentence means understanding a language.
As part of the system of language, one my say the sentence has life. But one is tempted to imagine that that which gives the sentence life as something in an occult sphere, accompanying the sentence. But whatever accompanied it would for us just be another sign.'
- Wittgenstein: The Blue Book.
when we make statements – about the world –
in general – we operate within accepted propositional practise –
in terms of propositional categories that are in use –
that it is assumed are understood
you may ask –
well surely our propositions refer to a non-propositional reality?
i.e. – a world of objects –
the notion of an ‘objective reality’ – is a proposal –
a proposal that is virtually universally accepted –
which is to say – in just about all contexts of use –
it has proved to be very useful
still it is – when all is said and done – a proposal –
677. A proposition is a
proposal. A proposal is open to question, open to doubt, is uncertain. A
proposition is true if assented to. A proposition is false if dissented from.
Assent and dissent are open to question, open to doubt. If you are certain there can be no mistake. In an uncertain reality there
are no mistakes; what you face is uncertainties. The notion of the mistake has
no role to play in epistemology. Theclaim of knowledge is a claim to an authority for a proposition. The
only authority is authorship. The authorship of a proposition is logically irrelevant.
Any claim to an authority other than authorship is rhetorical.
*There is no 677 in Wittgenstein’s text. Wittgenstein ends
676. “But even if such cases can’t be
mistaken, isn’t it possible that I am drugged?” If I am and if the drug has
taken away my consciousness, then I am not now really talking and thinking. I
cannot seriously suppose that I am at this moment dreaming. Someone who,
dreaming says “I am dreaming”, even if he speaks audibly in doing so, is no
more right than if he said in his dream “it is raining”, while it was in fact
raining. Even if his dream was actually connected with the noise of the rain.
There are, however, certain types of cases in which I cannot be making a
mistake, and Moore has given a few examples of such cases.
enumerate certain typical cases, but not give any common characteristic. (N.N.
cannot be mistaken about having flown from America to England a few days ago. Only if he is mad can he take anything else
to be possible.)
first statement is just unabashed rhetoric
typical cases’ – can’t give any common characteristic?
characteristic is pretence grounded in ignorance
the question is always – how is reality to
what is clear is that there is no one
671. I fly from here
to a part of the world where the people have only indefinite information, or
none at all, about the possibility of flying. I tell them I have just flown there
from …They ask me if I might be mistaken. – They have obviously a false
impression of how the thing happens. (If I were packed up in a box it would be
possible for me to be mistaken about the way I travelled.) If I simply tell
them that I can’t be mistaken, that won’t perhaps convince them: but it will if
I describe the actual procedure to them. Then they will certainly not bring the
possibility of a mistake into
question. But for all that – even if they trust me – they might believe I had
been dreaming or that magic had made
me imagine it.
sentence “I can’t be making a mistake” is certainly used in practice. But we
may question whether it is then to be taken in a perfectly rigorous sense, or
is it rather a kind of exaggeration which is used only with a view to persuasion.
if I came to country where they believed that people were taken to the moon in
their dreams, I couldn’t say to them: “I have never been on the moon. – Of
course I may be mistaken”. And to their question “Mayn’t you be mistaken?” I
should have to answer: No.