7.21.2003

[95,96] In these remarks Wittgenstein challenges the cognitive privileges afforded to thought by philosophers. I imagine he is attacking a range of epistemological assertions about thought. Rationalist intuitionism is the prime target, however. The idea that because we can imagine perfection exists it must exist (Plato, Anselm, Descartes, etc.) is challenged by Wittgenstein on two grounds. First, thought is not unique. The medium of thought is the language of everyday life. Second, "Thought can be of what is not the case."
In 96, Wittgenstein argues that philosophers attribute special qualities to thoughts by extrapolating thinking from the language-games that produce them. Removing thought from the specific contexts gives it the appearance of frictionlessness. Thought is indeed beautiful and can defy the physical laws of the universe. This quality of imagination is to be revered. But Wittgenstein wants us to see that the ordinary language that is the medium of thought is capable of the flourishes we attribute to thought alone. I'm not being abundantly clear here. What Wittgenstein is calling for in a not very explicit way is for philosophers to turn their attention from occult conceptions of thought and toward the creative aspects of language use.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home