2.24.2003

[79] The remark that inspired Thomas Kuhn (among others). Here Wittgenstein observes the fluidity of propositions, concepts, and definitions. What is the source of this fluidity? It is the character of my knowing. Knowing is provisions. Claims to knowing have different requirements for verification, and verification itself is fluid. Think of how we assess the following claims from me:
1. I saw a man rise from the dead last night
2. My spouse is the most beautiful person I have ever seen.
3. I can bench press five hundred pounds.

On statement one: You might note that I work at Hospice as a volunteer care-giver. I have seen many people resurrected from the dead thanks to the marvels of modern medical technology. It is not a Lazarus-scene, but according to the old definition of death -- the termination of respiration and heart beat -- it is valid.

Statement two: What are you going to do, hook me up to a polygraph? We allow such statements to go unverified. They are no doubt true for one in love.

State three: This is observational. Let's not be too insulting.

This is a long remark, but it could be much longer. We have only offered illustrations of the provisional quality of our claims to knowledge. Even those classified as "scientific."

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