8.20.2003

[112,113] These remarks need to be taken together. Indeed, it raises a question about how remarks are divided. Why isn't this one remark on the disquieting effect of a simile that disguises differences by creating a sweeping similarity. Think of how upsetting it is for physicists when novelists misuse the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle or superstring theory.
What does Wittgenstein have against similes? He opposes only those that create false appearances of unity. His goal for philosophy is to provide a rich description of the world in all its variety and complexity. Simile is at the heart of enterprises that seek underlying unity.
There is a philosophy of education implied here. Learning is a matter of moving from the familiar to the unfamiliar. It is a painful process because in learning you are moving to a different level of conceptualization. Teaching students requires you to help them make this difficult move; it is not about simplifying what they need to learn to make it more familiar (palatable). Evolution is not like creationism. They are incommensurable orientations to reality. They cannot be synthesized into creation science or some other accomodation.

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