7.24.2003

[99,100] Every sentence has "a definite sense." Here Wittgenstein again explores the notion of boundary, boundary thickness, and open and closed pictures/language-games. Is there a sense in which "an indefinite boundary" can be a real boundary? How else might language-games develop or engulf other language-games the way the philosophy of mind has been subsumed by the philosophy of language and neuroscience, for example? If definite boundaries, marked by rigidity and space that needs to be traversed before stepping into another language-game, are the only real boundaries, then transdisciplinary inquiries would be impossible. Our ability to see our face, ourselves, in childhood photographs, would be impossible too.
In 100, Wittgenstein moves from the boundary to the game itself. Can a game with vague rules still be a game? Wittgenstein answers as directly as possible that "we should call it a game, only we are dazzled by the ideal and therefore fail to see the actual use of the word 'game' clearly." As a kid, I was awful at conventional games like baseball and basketball. Because I was not good, I would not be selected for pickup games. So I developed an extraordinary skill at a game of my own invention. Using a tennis racket, I would hit and return balls off the roof of the house. It was a game because there were rules and boundaries (the top of the roof) and I could explain the rules to others. When they played they had fun, but it was clear that I was the best at the game (because of the longer hours of practice). What, then, do we fail to see in games when "dazzled by the ideal"? The inner relation between game and play (fluidity, joy, inventiveness), I suppose.

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