[17] "Think of the different points of view from which one can classify tools or chessmen." Okay, I will: Tools: by size, by color, by material(s) from which they are made, by the physical properties--leverage, friction, etc.--they employ, & so on. I have a small shed in my backyard, 10' x 12', made out of pine, with a tin roof. Inside I have constructed a small storage loft. There are shelves along one wall & a sort of workbench made out of an old door at the end opposite the door. Though I may be mistaken, I will assume that all of the objects in my shed have names, even if I don't know what they are. (What is that little curved piece of brass that came with a light fixture called?) Only some of the objects are tools; others are materials; yet others I would simply call objects--at the moment, all the screens from our windows are stacked against one wall. (Objects, I suppose, might always be able to be decomposed into either tools or materials, but is such a decomposition offer an analytical advantage?) So, given at least two & possibly three classes of things in my shed, how to I organize them? How do I make use of them? To some extent, I try to group like things together: various sizes of nails on the same shelf & near the nails, various screws. Even within this subset, though, I am forced to create little piles--or bags, or jars--of miscellaneous things that it would make no sense to separate out any further. I've got whole crates of nameless or nearly nameless stuff that's too good to throw out. Too good because it might find its way into one meaningful system of use or another. In consequence, I have a plastic bowl full of odd screws, hooks, fasteners, washers, pins, & whatnot. One view might argue for the uselessness of such a collection--it is literally & fundamentally indescribably in general, abstract terms--but I go often to this little bowl of things & finger through it looking for just that one thing that I need to complete some task. (Sometimes I find it, sometimes I don't.) On the other hand, all the tools for working with dirt--shovels, picks, hoes, rakes--are stacked in one corner near the door, so that when last week I needed to dig a grave for a dog, I knew exactly what I wanted & where to find it. And even if I had originally organized those tools by placing them together because they all had the quality of having long thin handles with metal instruments on one end, I would still have know which corner of my shed to go to & which things to pick up. To grasp.

So it is with language games. The shed has an infinite number of possible organized states, though a much larger infinity of chaotic ones, I suppose. I move from one system of organization to another, incommensurate, one--usually with ease, but occasionally with difficulty. The moments of difficulty are particularly interesting, no? In any case, Wittgenstein has led me to understand that the analogy of my shed is more useful for talking about language than was Augustine's little scene of hearth & home. A problem has just occurred to me, though: who teaches & who learns the system(s) of organization in my shed? Chessmen: Well, you get the idea. Anyway, I'm better with tools than with chessmen, so I'll leave that example for you to work out, if you like.


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