Monday, February 7, 2011
We should understand a language as a logical picture of the world around us.
Each declarative sentence was built of statements which referred to minimum facts.
Sentences we utter are pictures of the world, if they’re true it reflects the world.
Philosophical Investigations - Wittengenstein’s attempt at a theory of everything.
Reacting against Cartesian Dualism
Physical world vs.
Mental world – subjective accessibility to whose it is. What the mind knows infallibly
If the mind is the brain, it has the same properties. Ex. Mind is knowable to itself, brain is
unknowable to itself.
Causal reaction between the mind and brain – brain can create imagery, mind can
formulate policies, send decisions to the brain to cause the body
How can it be true? Physics say a non-physical object can’t create a causal reaction with
a physical object.
Skepticism still exists – minds have skepticism about the world and other minds.
Theory of Language?
Ex. Cup – brain stimulates, association of the word ‘cup’ with the visual image.
How could we know we mean the same things by our words?
Common objects in the physical world – but there are things individuals experience for
themselves (ex. Pain – feels a certain way for you. Have a phrase you to refer to
“menstrual pain” – some minds don’t have the apparatus to associate certain words in our
minds with the private word.) Public vs. private words
Could never confirm the pain of ex. A hammer hitting me on the thumb
Colour experiences? Could have an inverted spectrum, words used to describe could be
caused by the same stimuli
Public language we can refer to, but some things are private (ex. Menstrual pain) Since
the words are private, everyone has to guess about them. Only you are an expert. Private language.
Reflecting on the possibility that there is even a language in which we can state the
Cartesian Theory. Descartes theory can be true, only if it can be stated. Statements can be
true or false. Can only be true or false if it can be stated and have meaning
Can you have a sentence with meaning when uttered has consequences
Language is a bunch of rules, thought of like a game. Rule governed activities – ex.
Calling something a watch, saying “Sorry” reflects that you should act in a different way
Language thought of as a game.
A game only has rules only if there would be something in doing it wrong.
Only a game if there’s such thing as doing it wrong.
Only a game if there’s a difference between you thinking you’ve done it right, and you
actually have done it right.
Only have rules if these things exist independently of you having applied them.
A standard that exists in principle possible in which someone of the same standard can
reject your behaviour, or tell you you’ve done something wrong. Needs to be an expert to
know if you played by the rule correctly. Someone other than you must be equally good
seeing whether or not you had a pain when you had a pain or not – if it’s possible for you
to describe what’s going on in your mind, must be possible for someone else to be an
expert. Talking about mental states is public, rather than private.
Language must be public for other people to know what you’re talking about. Everyone
has to be able to see into your mind only if Descartes was wrong.
Private Language Argument
What did Wittgenstein think mental states were? What was the relationship
between the words and the sensations?
Closet behaviourist – All that existed were bodily tendencies to behave a certain ways
when someone assigns a description (ex. Feeling “stabs of hunger”)
Instead of saying mental objects are physical objects – might be saying no such thing as
mental objects – no such things as pains, hopes, dreams, etc. – therefore no such l