1.28.2002

[10,11] Your dreams are far more interesting than mine. I wonder what this says about the life in which I am immersed. A few weeks ago I had a long, extremely detailed dream about sweeping out my garage. I wonder what Proust would have done with this.
It looks like 10 and 11 need to be taken together as Wittgenstein seeks to expand one the relationship between signification and use or function. This is difficult stuff. What he appears to be doing in 10 is eliminating the world/language duality by entwining them. This is achieved by looking at the polysemic quality of even simple words like "slab" or ordering sequences like "a,b,c,d." Slab can be the thing or the shape of the thing. Letters can be used to signify quantity or correct ordering. When we look at the uses "we see, they are absolutely unlike." Wittgenstein then moves to 11 where sensitivity to these differences needs to be acute.
What surprises here is an apparent recasting of the old appearance/reality distinction. We open with the analogy of the tool-box used to drive the point of difference in use home from remark 10. "The functions of words are as diverse as the functions of these objects." The entwining of language and world is shown to be dynamic on both counts. Think of the uses of slabs. Think of the uses for the word "slab." The way words are used appear uniform, Wittgenstein warns. This is a source of confusion -- particularly "when we are doing philosophy." Critical notice of uses cuts through the appearance of similarity and exposes the reality of differences.
I've been reading "Wittgenstein's Poker" and I suppose it is fun. It is not really for someone interested in Wittgenstein's philosophy. Where it succeeds is on the level of personality, the character of internecine squabbles in professional philosophy, and in its description of Cambridge life in the post-war era.

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