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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6 Oct '14 10:40:40 PM

'A case can be made for the poet giving some of his life to the use of the words the and a: both of which are weighted with as much epos and historical destiny as one man can perhaps resolve. Those who do not believe this are too sure that the little words mean nothing among so many other words.'

3 Oct '14 10:02:06 PM

Melville's Emerson

27 Sep '14 09:03:06 PM

'Josh, you have so thoroughly internalized skepticism you no longer experience it as being skeptical.'

24 Sep '14 04:18:55 PM

Their work, the people's work, never stops; ours is interrupted.

21 Sep '14 04:59:34 PM

'Issues of legitimation do not pertain to the master. There is no question of licensing the master or checking up on him. The relation among peers is altogether different from the relation between master and novice. Each master speaks with an authoritative and representative voice. Failure of understanding in the master does not indicate the need for correction (or if it does, the master himself is able to make the correction), but some kind of physical or mental disorder. For understanding is shown in continuing correctly as a matter of course. In acting with right, he is not under the scrutiny of others. So it is no accident that when Wittgenstein turns to those passages in which he develops the community view (196–239), he speaks of what I do as a full-fledged master of language. The "we" is dropped. In being acculturated into this community, this form of life, I am enabled to speak for the community without justification for what I do and without being checked by others in the community. The master is autonomous and yet his autonomy is grounded in a dependence upon the community, both for his actions to be what they are and for his acculturation into the practice since the way one learns provides the paradigm for what is learned.'

14 Sep '14 04:06:19 PM

Days where the air carries every sound.

5 Sep '14 02:54:46 PM

Where should you look?

4 Sep '14 01:54:40 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 03:40:47 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.