10.15.2002

[75,76] In these remarks, Wittgenstein appears to be changing course. At least this was my first impression, but now that I look more closely I see that he continues to consider the effect of viewpoint on how we know/see something. Here the example is games. We understand that the meaning of the word 'game' is an effect of how we use it. Using it, is an indication that one has achieved understanding of the word. That is, to know what a game is is to describe various examples of games. There is no correspondence required here: the various games we may use to show our understanding of games does not partake in some idealized form of game. The similarities between games is more complex than this. There are multiple points of comparison from the specific (games have rules) to the general (games have beginnings and ends). But what do we do with metaphorical uses of games? "Life is a game," for instance.

Wittgenstein picks up this point in 76. One could draw "a sharp boundary" around what she believes count as games. I might be more flexible. My boundaries would be wider and more inclusive. Wittgenstein comes along and offers the possibility that no boundary is required or desirable. How then do we arrive at agreement that each of us understand what 'game' means? For some reason, Wittgenstein does not use "family resemblance" here. He uses "kinship" instead. This is all we have to go by when considering all the possible uses of and examples of games. "The kinship is just as undeniable as the difference." How fragile this adhesive holding language together really is!

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