Posted by alexandra_k on January 18, 2005, at 18:47:58
In reply to Re: Wittgenstein on thought, posted by zeugma on January 18, 2005, at 18:01:25
> Well, I'd rather say that p=p and 2+2=4 have the same content, than that they have no content.
Yes I take your point and revise what I said before. Contradictions would have no content (as they are not true in any possible world) whereas tautologies (or whatever is true in all possible worlds) would be content packed (being true in all possible worlds)...
They do seem to have the same content - but surely not the same meaning? So then meaning isn't given by content and we already knew it wasn't given by extension...
>But is 2+2=4 really a tautology?
Oh, I am not sure it is a tautology. Maybe given the concepts of '2' and '4' - along with the operator '+'. It seems to fall out of that analytically. I would want to say that it is true in all possible worlds though.
>I think that if we use possible worlds as a model for content, then we have to say that all necessary propositions are one and the same. I don't necessarily have a problem with that. But it is puzzling. And we had better get an account of how it is that p=p is easy but it gets harder from there.)
Yeah. I quite like the model of possible worlds delineating content / meaning myself :-)
Not that it is without problems...
> I think admitting the spade has turned is something a philosopher has to say, at some point.
Yeah. But others should continue digging. It is not that explanation HAS to stop somewhere, it is that any particular individual has to. Either death or they run out of stuff to say. Explanation is neverending!
>About mental processes: we can say that their 'hiddenness' isn't interesting. (The opposite seems true, but anyway...)
I think his point was that we should look at what lies open to view. The stuff that is hidden solely in virtue of its familiarity. If we look at how the word is USED then our desire to dig out the 'illusory' metaphysical essence should vanish. Why? Because we see that words don't have clean edges, we use the same word in different though related ways in different contexts. Because of this we cannot hope to find necessary and sufficient conditions and our desire to do such should disappear.
But of course necessary and sufficient conditions can be as vague as the initial word... And maybe there are just a couple of different senses of the word and we can delineate necessary and sufficient conditions for each sense and so on and so forth. I disagree with him too. But I do agree that we should LOOK first and ANALYSE second. I don't agree with him that after we have looked our desire to analyse vanishes. His may have but mine is still alive and kicking!
>Now I have a question for you. behaviorism is a kind of 'anti-realism' about the mind. it says there's nothing there, nothing that can't be captured equally well by the exhaustive physical analysis we can't perform yet and probably never will.
We can read behaviourism in one of two ways. Behaviourists say that EITHER there aren't any mental states OR mental terms can be analysed into behaviours / dispositions to behave. The first interpretation is what happens if we think that meantal states are inner CAUSES of behaviour. Behaviorists deny that beliefs and desires are inner causal states. The second interpretation is what happens if we ask for an analysis of mental talk, what do we mean when we use terms such as 'belief' and 'desire'. Here they want to say that we are really referring to behaviour, and (more plausibly though also more problematically) dispositions to behave.
>Now Wittgenstein denied he was a behaviorist (or am I thinking of someone else here?).
Yes he did say that. That doesn't mean he was right though! Loads of philosophers hate (or would have hated) their classifications. I think he is 'fairly behaviouristic' though I would go short of calling him a behaviourist outright. The radical behaviourists over here claim him as one of their own. I think he would not have been too opposed to functionalism, but he was a little too early for that one. I would like to hear how computers following a program are not following a 'rule in the head' as it were.
>It seems that one influence of Wittgenstein is to turn philosphers in an anti-realist direction. I read that Wittgenstein came back to philosophy by hearing about Heyting's lectures elaborating intuitionism in mathematics (a turn away from the realism of the Frege-Russell tradition). Intuitionism is a step is a constructivist direction, a way of giving sense to mathematical discourse by constructing proofs, and I believe they upheld the Law of Excluded Middle, in which a statement could not be simulataneously true AND false, but denied the Principle of Bivalence, according to which all statements must be either true or false (excluding for the moment vague predicates,and which I am in the process of trying to figure out..agg) because unless one could construct a proof, one could not assign a truth-value to it. This seems to be an example of 'hygiene' which keeps our mathematical discourse in order, because we either can construct the proof, in which case we KNOW the discourse has sense because it's true, and also lets us know when we're venturing into regions where our hold on sense becomes perilous. Anyway, that's just my thought. I've heard it said that Wittgenstein was a more radical constructivist than these intuitionist mathematicians, because Heyting had an essentially Kantian idea of 'intuition' (which is a topic of its own to contend with!) whereas Wittgenstein obviously discards the kantian language of 'synthetic' and 'analytic' and so forth.
Oh dear, philosophy of maths. I can't do that one sorry :-(
I shall have to leave the philsophy of maths to you...