Wittgensteins Later Theory of Meaning: Imagination and Calculation

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Emphasizing both religion's prominence in the contemporary public sphere and its potential contributions to critical thought, Habermas's engagement with religion has been controversial and exciting, putting much of his own work in fresh Since his death in , Michel de Certeau's reputation as a thinker has steadily grown both in France and throughout the English-speaking world.

His work is extraordinarily innovative and wide-ranging, cutting across issues in historiography, literary and cultural studies, anthropology, sociology, theology, philosophy and psychoanalysis. Since his death in , Michel de Certeau's reputation as a thinker has steadily grown both in In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in the work of Emmanuel Levinas, widely recognized as one of the most important yet difficult philosophers of the 20th century.

In this much-needed introduction, Davis unpacks the concepts at the centre of Levinas's thought - alterity, the Other, the Face, infinity - concepts which have In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in the work of Emmanuel Levinas, widely Hans-Georg Gadamer is one of the leading philosophers in the world today. His philosophical hermeneutics has had a major impact in a wide range of disciplines, including the social sciences, literary criticism, theology and jurisprudence.

Truth and Method, his major work, is widely recognised to be one of the great classics of twentieth-century His philosophical Experimental philosophy uses experimental research methods from psychology and cognitive science in order to investigate both philosophical and metaphilosophical questions.

It explores philosophical questions about the nature of the psychological world - the very structure or meaning of our concepts of things, and about the nature of the Experimental philosophy uses experimental research methods from psychology and cognitive science in Wittgenstein claims that there are no realms of phenomena whose study is the special business of a philosopher, and about which he or she should devise profound a priori theories and sophisticated supporting arguments.

Indeed the whole idea of a subject that could yield such results is based on confusion and wishful thinking.

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This attitude is in stark opposition to the traditional view, which continues to prevail. Philosophy is respected, even exalted, for its promise to provide fundamental insights into the human condition and the ultimate character of the universe, leading to vital conclusions about how we are to arrange our lives.

If so, then we are duped and bound to be disappointed, says Wittgenstein. For these are mere pseudo-problems, the misbegotten products of linguistic illusion and muddled thinking. Therefore traditional philosophical theorizing must give way to a painstaking identification of its tempting but misguided presuppositions and an understanding of how we ever came to regard them as legitimate. But what is that notorious doctrine, and can it be defended?

We might boil it down to four related claims.

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And this is undoubtedly the case. They evolved, not for the sake of science and its objectives, but rather in order to cater to the interacting contingencies of our nature, our culture, our environment, our communicative needs and our other purposes. As a consequence the commitments defining individual concepts are rarely simple or determinate, and differ dramatically from one concept to another. Moreover, it is not possible as it is within empirical domains to accommodate superficial complexity by means of simple principles at a more basic e.

Reactions to this impasse have included a variety of theoretical proposals. This seems to suggest there is the possibility of ways of thinking, counting, inferring, calculating, and so forth, alternative to ours, even though such alternatives are unintelligible and, strictly speaking, inconceivable. On the other hand, however, there are exegetical grounds for not at- tributing such a metaphysical, Cartesian view to Wittgenstein. He may be convinced that there are still possibil- ities that we have not taken into account. Here Wittgenstein does not try to apprehend by imagination the possibility of something inconceivable; rather, he seems to suggest that, however queer and unlikely, such a scenario is, after all, conceivable.

How could one get conceptual clarity by discovering or apprehending, by means of imagination, one or more metaphysically possible but conceptu- ally unclear or even inconceivable scenarios? According to Putnam, as the history of mathematics and natural sciences teaches us, there are cases in which we considered a certain statement, say p, as nec- essary, and we later discovered or acknowledged that p is, after all, con- tingent.

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By exploring the significance of Wittgenstein’s later texts relating to the philosophy of language, Wittgenstein’s Later Theory of Meaning offers insights that will transform our understanding of the influential 20th-century philosopher. "Schneider's penetrating and original. Wittgenstein's Later Theory of Meaning: Imagination and Calculation. Author(s). Hans Julius Schneider. First published:4 December

In such cases, up to a certain time not-p was regarded as incon- ceivable and unintelligible hence, allegedly impossible , but it later be- came conceivable and intelligible hence, surprisingly possible. However, as Putnam puts it, it was true. Learning Riemannian geometry enables us to give sense to those words. This does not mean, of course, that we are stipulating a new meaning.

Prior to Riemann, that triangle was consid- ered as inconceivable. Therefore, it was regarded as impossible.

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For Bouwsma, Wittgenstein's thought experiments and bizarre juxtapositions represented surrealism, that family resemblance neighbour of magic realism — according to him there were philosophical "realists, critical realists, semi-critical realists and now surrealists" Bouwsma Query: explain the notion of definition that Socrates has in mind when he questions Euthyphro about the definition of holiness. Kant too attacked the Cartesian formula; he argued that we should think of mind and body as functions, not as independently existing substances. It is a meaning of 'meaning', not a "theory of meaning". It is highly implausible that he did so with the very purpose of do- ing what Frege did with just one thought experiment let alone what the Tractatus did using no thought experiments at all , that is, exhibiting nonsense in order to make us aware of the illusory conceivability of a certain imaginary scenario, based on the Kantian assumption that illogi- cal thinking is not thinking at all.

After Riemann, we understand in what sense such a triangle is possible. Einstein did not arbitrarily change the meaning of one or more words occurring in that statement. Rather, he gave them a sense.

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Secondly, this is not to say that there is a metaphysical guarantee that something that will strike us as completely analogous to what happened in the case of geometry or physics will ever happen in the field of arithmetic or even of logic. On the one hand, at first glance, the idea expressed by the Putnam-in- spired answer is very attractive. III, 7.

Here the notion of facts of nature which, as is well known, is con- nected with the concept of a form of life should be taken in a broad sense, as including not only biological facts, but also more complex an- thropological and symbolic ones. It as it were shews you a new dimension of space. On the other hand, however, there are grounds for rejecting the Put- nam-inspired interpretation just outlined. Moreover, there are grounds for thinking that even those imagi- nary cases do not really work like that.

Wittgenstein does not tell us that such imaginary cases are meant to make intelligible concepts different from the usual ones; rather, he tells us that such imaginary cases are meant to make intelligible the formation of concepts different from the usual ones II, The difference is telling. Secondly, the reference to the Einsteinian model is promising, though, as Penco has shown, one cannot do more than conjecture about the relation between Einstein and Wittgenstein, for there is not much material to work on; whereas the reference to non-Euclidean geometry is even more controversial, for it cannot be taken for granted that imagination plays or played a fundamental role in the acceptance of such alternative geometry.

In this sense, for example, the philosophy of mathematics before Riemann is and should be different from the philosophy of mathe- matics after Riemann. Hence, the philosopher should pay attention to the conceptual development of mathematics, in order to describe it ap- propriately. More generally, the Wittgensteinian philosopher should not challenge one or another mathematical theorem, but rather help us better to un- derstand its nature and role.

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He should not form new rules, but rather help us to reach conceptual clarity about the rules such as they are at the present time, in the context of present mathematics. In this section, I will focus on point a above, and sketch and alterna- tive view.

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He typically takes into account a familiar or real situation, involving cer- tain familiar and real concepts, languages, and worlds. Then he imagines removing or changing one or more features or parameters in that sce- nario, thus obtaining a different scenario. Nonetheless, the scenario, as modified in imagination, is conceptually and logically similar to the initial scenario. In fact, even in the paradigmatic cases of LACs Wittgen- stein underlines the similarities between bizarre and familiar circum- stances. They set the price of an area of wood according to the area it covers, re- gardless of how much wood the pile contains.

Nonetheless, it is not that they have no concepts of a lot and a little at all. This idea should not be interpreted as if such aliens deny p, accept or as- sent to not-p, or even assert not-p. In fact, the so-called LACs are not logically alien at all. Now, it is natural to ask: what do thought experiments have to do with such a descriptive conception of philosophy? On closer inspection, however, it turns out that the use of imagination in philosophy is, in a sense, a natural consequence of a descriptive concep- tion of philosophy.

More precisely, thought experiments are the instru- ments or the techniques that allow the philosopher, as it were, to over- come or avoid the shortcomings of conceiving of philosophy as merely descriptive. My conjecture is that this is how Wittgenstein sees things.

Let me propose an exegesis of this passage. Wittgen- stein has a concern: how to avoid ineptness and emptiness in philosophy. Let me begin with ineptness. Here the source of the illegitimacy is the confusion between philosophy and science be it a sort of explanatory doctrine such as natural sciences, or a sort of de- ductive activity such as logic and mathematics.

That is why, he points out, descriptive philosophy requires imagination and thought experiments: the building of imaginary language games is required in order to avoid the risk of emptiness. Philosophy as a mere description of linguistic us- age runs the risk of being empty in two senses. First, it does not allow us to discern philosophically interesting features of a puzzle, a situation, or a question from ordinary and non-philosophical features.

Secondly, it does not allow us to distinguish between the essential features of a con- cept and its accidental features which depend on the idiosyncrasies of ordinary language usages Casati Thus, one of the purposes of the use of imagination in philosophy is to avoid floating off into vacu- ity. Imagination challenges the flexibility of our concepts, their applica- tion in non-ordinary or bizarre circumstances, so that we succeed in see- ing what is important or even essential in our concepts.

On the other hand, Wittgenstein warns us not to make a further mis- take. When we describe our practices, we have the tendency to consider them as the right ones or even as the standard of rightness.