Heaven sent the promised land
Looks alright from where I stand
'Cause I'm the man on the outside lookin' in
Waiting on the first step
Show me where the key is kept
Point me down the right line because it's time
To let me in
From the cold
Turn my lead
'Cause there's a chill wind blowin' in my soul
And I think I'm growing old
Flash the readies
Wot's uh, the deal?
Gotta make it to the next meal
Gotta keep up with the turning of
Mile after mile
Stone after stone
You turn to speak, but you're alone
A million miles from home, you're on your own
So let me in
From the cold
Turn my lead
'Cause there's a chill wind blowin' in my soul
And I think I'm growing old
Fire bright by candlelight
With her by my side
If she prefers, we will never stir
Someone said, "The Promised Land!"
So I grabbed it with both hands
Now I'm the man on the inside lookin' out
Hear me shout,
"Come on in!
Wot's the news?
Where ya been?"
'Cause there's no wind left in my soul
And I've grown old
- Roger Waters
clenchedfist00: This is the best I can currently do at understanding Wittgenstein's Private Language Argument.
If the meaning of a sensation word like "pain" is what the experience of it is like, if the quality of the sensation as I experience it is the meaning of the word associated with it, then sensation words are completely unnecessary and even deceptive; every sensation that each person experiences ought to be given a different name, since giving a sensation I experience and a sensation you experience the same name would conceal the fact that the meaning of the word is different in the two cases. If I have a sensation, I should call it S1; if I have a different sensation, I should call it S2. And you should give your sensations names that are different from mine, say E1, E2, etc. And so on.
This is the logical consequence of the idea that "Each person only knows what pain and other sensations are from his own case." It does feel intuitive that the meaning of the word "pain" is what I imagine experiencing when I hear that word - isn't its meaning the sort of sensation I get when I bang my knee on a table or have a toothache?* Can't I imagine (or have) that experience, point at it with my mind (or focus on it as it's happening), and say "THIS is what the word 'pain' means"?
But a word is something used to form sentences, which are used to communicate. Another person cannot understand the meaning of my word "S2" because she does not experience S2 - only I do; and I cannot understand E1 or E2. And the meaning isn't just -hard- to get across - it is literally impossible by definition, since the meaning of each of my S-words IS the experience that I had when I created the word. If a word, then, is by definition not capable of being understood by another person, then ... it is not a word. What I have created cannot be a word, but only a kind of non-linguistic sound akin to a moan - or, at best, an indication that I -want- to create a new name for this sensation, but cannot, unless I break the rules of my solipsistic sensation language and get others to agree to use the word when -they- have it.
*"THIS is what pain is! You don't know what pain is until you feel this!" can mean different things. It can be a trivializing of other people's pain as an attempt to underline, and garner sympathy for, one's own. It can be used when the hearer has a medical condition in which he cannot feel pain - as equivalent to "You don't know what pain is like, because you can't experience it." It can also be an attempt at giving meaning to the word "pain." I think we move from the former two sorts of use to the latter without realizing it, and this is why the subjective definition of the word seems so intuitive. We don't easily recognize that the three senses of that sentence are distinct, and the last one nonsensical.
clenchedfist00: Or ... "This is what pain means" can either be a remark on an already-existing meaning of a word, as equivalent to "This is what is called 'pain'"; or it can be an attempt to give meaning to the word "pain" in the first place. The former is a trivial remark, one that is apt to be misunderstood outside special contexts, e.g. a child trying to remember the difference between the words "pain" and "itch." She falls over and scrapes her elbow - she says "What is this called? Um ... this is ... pain."
The latter - the giving of meaning to the word - is what Wittgenstein wants to suggest is nonsensical.
theKnaveofNevermore: this is very interesting, my ex was an ERRN and as such she had to deal with people in pain, often people who were not strong with the english vocabulary. so she was given a chart with twenty facial expression drawn upon it, ranging for a smiling delightful face, which would suggest no pain at all, to twenty a face so distorted in tears ans gritted teeth one could clearly tell this was a face in extreme pain, a sliding scale of expression in between. the patient could simply point at a face and it would be clear to the attending nurse the level of discomfort the patient was experiencing. i know this is meaningless in the context of general vocabulary. but as far as pain is concerned i thought it might be of interest to you.
clenchedfist00 in reply to theKnaveofNevermore: my tutor and i have brought up the Pain Scale a few times while discussing this argument actually ... i have encountered it numerous times, mostly because my wife has severe chronic pain and i go with her to doctors, she is always asked to rate her pain, one to ten instead of twenty
it reminds me of a remark of wittgenstein's that is still mysterious to me ... he's opposing the idea that it makes sense to say a pain is exactly "this" intense in some incommunicably precise sense, so precise that no pain scale could capture it, even if it had a googoloplex of ratings ... he says (roughly), "one wants to say 'the pain is exactly -this- intense,' while concentrating on the pain. does one also want to say that one always knows exactly where one is? namely here. is the concept of degree given with the pain?"
i still struggle with a lot of the passages even when i read them over and over and discuss them with my tutor, and think about them week after week ... the philosophical investigations is written in german, then translated, so i suppose there is necessary difficulty in that as well
theKnaveofNevermore: alienation has become fractal. it is not enough now to be divergent from a group or collective. one must test the boundaries of extreme individualism and be alienated from everything. i am distinctly me. in fact we have all with our efforts become too cool for the room.
clenchedfist00: could it be that the big environmental problems of our highly developed society today - things like pollution and global warming, factory farming and its mistreatment of animals, big pharma, etc - are really necessary evils of our world in virtue of the principle "the bigger they are, the harder they fall"? so that we can't wish away these evils wholesale without wishing away, as it were, geometry and physics altogether - which would mean wishing away the whole world?
View all 7 posts
clenchedfist00 in reply to A_Muse_Mint101: what if these problems could not be eradicated without changing the average level of compassion inherent in our genetic makeup? what if stamping out one expression of the human desire (need?) to dominate and take advantage of others (including the earth-as-other) ends up forming another bubble of domination somewhere else? i'm not saying this IS the case, but if it were, could we affirm this world anyway, and accept these necessary evils? this is one of nietzsche's deep challenges as i understand him, one of the basic issues out of which his whole philosophy developed
well ... "basic moral guidelines will help us survive and thrive" is no -meta-ethical- justification ... i can just say "and why is the surviving and thriving of others a moral concern of mine?"
the argument is ... moral education is necessary because of practical concerns, but agreement on moral truths is lacking ... so let me present an argument for basic moral truths that everybody should accept: these basic moral truths are justified by their necessity in addressing practical concerns!
anyone smell a circular rat?
but the effort is interesting - get people to agree on basic moral truths and allow divergence on the rest ... that really might have potential
theKnaveofNevermore: the immoral can not impart moral wisdom. it is after all a learned behavioural mindset. monkey see monkey do is all to simplistic but it remains however a valid conceptualization. this of course has been the argument against confining people in prisons where the immoral may feed off of one another further deepening the brokenness of their general pathology.
clenchedfist00: we can easily imagine a world in which everyone who asserted something also intended to persuade the hearer that what he/she said was true
but can we imagine a world in which no assertion ever carried with it the intention to persuade?
View all 17 posts
clenchedfist00: this has all become too complicated and nuanced for me to comment on unless i am in a very clear-headed and sober mood ... my new living situation, in which i am always around other people, also tends to draw my attention and energy away from the phone screen ... so i am going to let this topic rest, i have been technically defeated by perspecuity several times and overwhelmed with interesting topically related material by knave ... i thank you both and i acquiesce on all contentious points
.. for now
clenchedfist00: a damaged but functioning organic system, given rest, nourishment, and distance from the stress that caused the damage, will tend towards repairing itself and restoring its former efficiency and output capacity
View all 8 posts
A_Muse_Mint101: No such thing as unproductive; you can be counter-productive. Which is still being productive, just alternatively rather than wanting.
Perhaps instead of producing rest, you produce (more) unrest.
clenchedfist00 in reply to A_Muse_Mint101: i see the benefit of looking at productivity that way, as equivalent to the word "activity," so that just as you are always doing -something- (even watching netflix is activity), so you are always "productive" ... the benefit is that it transfers the onus of responsibility on to what you are choosing to do, rather than whether you choose to do something or not, translating the problem into one of priorities rather than laziness
i suppose in this way of thinking my issue would be represented as one of producing or partaking in unrest rather than rest, like you said, and i can then ask myself why such a thing would be a priority or a goal, especially since it can weaken my efficiency in attaining other more important goals?
clenchedfist00: moving sucks ... even if the place you're moving to is better than the old place, the process is horrible
View all 7 posts
theKnaveofNevermore: moving is the least fun you will ever have, i have helped many others move over the years, but the idea of dealing with my own junk is just too damn much to contemplate. i don't even like packing a suitcase. lol
View all 7 posts
theKnaveofNevermore: i was having a discussion on dreams recently, and it had me wondering, how is it that the deep subconscious can present the unconscious mind with a dream backdrop that we, in our dream state, can not anticipate or fail not to be taken unaware by. how can we be so out of touch with that facet of our mind that it can take us by surprise. and does this have any precedence in our waking state.
View all 4 posts
clenchedfist00: cf. "i think therefore i am" - descartes concludes that since he can't doubt that he exists, he must therefore exist, and the essence of his existence is that of thought and psychological inner states ... but who or what was it that discovered this?
clenchedfist00: "When someone says 'I hope he'll come' - is this a report about his state of mind, or a manifestation of his hope? - I can, for example, say it to myself. And surely I am not giving myself a report." - Wittgenstein
theKnaveofNevermore: not a huge fan of introspection, i can only peer into nietzsche,s abyss for so long. before i become it. but all is not so drab and lifeless, so stricken,d with despair as to make the living of it more burdensome than would be tenable. we all exist in our own mindfulness, aware of our place in the reality surrounding us. in such a thorough and consuming fashion we needn't even consciously acknowledge it at all. i,m not even sure we can be separated from the construct, we are utterly invested in our reality. we are it.
clenchedfist00: i had this trout at this place years ago and it was the best thing i have ever eaten, period
theKnaveofNevermore: when i was in my teens there was a local pizzaria a privately owned, family bizz, castle pizza. they made the best pies i have ever eaten and i have searched, unsuccessfully for 40 years to find their like.
View all 11 posts
clenchedfist00: anyway knave you were suggesting that people don't generally commit the homuculus fallacy, that accusations of it are generally unfounded, that perhaps the fallacy was itself thought up with an agenda in mind, thus potentially misrepresenting various positions (especially certain theories of consciousness) in order to be able to refute them
which would be, of course, an instance of the straw man fallacy
and i think you are onto something there, the homunculus fallacy has this subtle tint of anti-scientism to it, a tint i am thoroughly acquainted with
theKnaveofNevermore: i find the concept fanciful, and i will be honest i was not familiar with this strange theory, the very idea, smaller and smaller versions of what i can only assume to be me, frankly i have heard stranger tropes, but the concept of existing in the form of endless virtual presents, each individual level experiencing its immediate descending representations take on its overall surroundings. fallacy might be applicable, ha, and i,m not nearly high enough to entertain the possibilities. yet.