josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

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5 Sep '14 04:54:46 PM

Where should you look?

4 Sep '14 03:54:40 PM

The color-square language in §48 repeats, abstracts, the builder's language of §2 and §8. And so with what feelings should it be met? I'm very unsure; these remarks seem the least immediate to me. It's less clear here, than most anywhere else, who says these things; who thinks what is being responded to; what they're thinking. But suppose it is, something like the feeling about the overtly 'primitive' language games, described in terms of the activities of those who play them (and who can thus sound crude, primitive, simple, or like children, unpracticed, not yet masters), related to a feeling that 'anyone can see what's involved'. Here, with even some of those stage-setting, stage-filling matters out of the way (initially—Wittgenstein has to issue a reminder, in §51, that of course they would be involved, were this a language-game: learned, practiced, taught), with the building materials flattened to squares and reduced to single qualities (and a relation, in terms of their positions in the complexes), there might then be a feeling something like: a discovery of what's obvious. Or: that we might come to rest in a discovery of this? As if the abstraction, reduction, will settle many issues for us, take them out of our hands: the game itself, its pieces, the board, its rules, will tell us how it is to be played. —Maybe something like this could explain the character of Wittgenstein's responses, unsatisfyingly inconclusive.

3 Sep '14 05:40:47 PM

Refusal, or something akin to it, less defiant, more matter-of-fact, a simple nope, appears relatively late in the Investigations, for a book so conspicuously interested in the idea of people giving each other orders. And it enters not as a rejection of authority to command, not as refusal to do, out of disagreement, or disinclination, but in a way centered on the means of work: nope, tool's broken. As in earlier passages, like §20, the variation and sophistication in orders seems to derive not so much from more cultivated people—though there is 'hand me' and 'bring me' and 'get' and so on—but from the more seemingly basic fact already highlighted in language (2): there are different kinds of thing. As if the things tell us when or how we can or can't say no; as if they would provide us with reasons for saying no.

3 Sep '14 05:23:00 PM

('Homo ludens' fits how with 'theatrum mundi'?)

3 Sep '14 05:11:55 PM

Rather: There's nothing else to it. A satisfied feeling, but just as well, sometimes, an anxious one: That's all?!

3 Sep '14 05:04:39 PM

A 'primitiviren Sprache, als der unsern'; 'primitive Formen der Sprache' employed by 'das Kind, wenn es sprechen lernt'; 'eines jener Spiele… mittels welcher Kinder ihre Muttersprache erlernen'. A feeling: I stand over these, above these. Anyone can see what's involved. Or another: Play with this. Imagine you are…

2 Sep '14 04:12:29 PM

—And so the emotions have to do with what? In Wittgenstein's case, say: what sorts of feelings are caught up with your language, your relation to it? With its not just being yours, but still: being yours?

1 Sep '14 08:20:04 AM

It would be wrong to suppose that what stops you would always, at bottom, be you—at least, you alone, unrelated to others. Even with their 'I's, books pertain not just to you, or you and the author, but to others. A book is, as it were, an instrument for relating differently to others. For relating readers to others. And really, what doesn't stop us from relating differently to others? Us, them, the books, our reading. Whichever, failure is the rule. Still, a book promises that: connection, new relation—offers a chance. A complex opportunity which awaits realization.

30 Aug '14 07:39:54 PM

What takes work is realizing what you've read. Or seeing why you haven't; won't. What stops you.