11 June 2011

Free Issue of Philosophical Investigations

The journal Philosophical Investigations has published a "virtual issue" that collects some of their best material from the past 30 years, without a paywall. It looks like a pretty good group. So far I've read the Stove review (which is fun fluff) and the Rush Rhees article, which I recommend to anyone who cares about Wittgenstein's views of what he was doing in (at least) his later philosophy. This bit in particular jumped out at me, given my most recent post:

There was something misleading about Wittgenstein’s use of the phrase Krankheiten des Verstandes: since we do not know what a Gesundheit des Verstandes would be. He certainly did not think that the unreflecting philistine was in a better state of mind than the person who knows genuine philosophical puzzlement. And the notions of ‘health‘ and ‘illness’ are not very helpful here.
Rhees also discusses the relationship between the übersichtliche Darstellung der Grammatik and the Tractarian say/show distinction, though at a disappointingly short length. This is an interesting bit though:
[The say/show distinction] was an idea which he did retain [in his later philosophy], in his account of recursive proofs or proofs by induction, for instance; and it had much to do with the discussion of generality.
Here we have a clear instance of a place where the thing "shown" has to have the shape of something like "how to go on". You can't add something propositional to an inductive proof that makes it into a deductive one -- there's no point at which "logic takes you by the throat" (and I think that the "What the Tortoise Said to Achilles" case is another example of this). If you try to add a premise like "If you've checked N cases and they've had results consistent with [x,y,z] then all cases will give results consistent with [x,y,z]" or "If you've checked N cases and they've had results consistent with [x,y,z], assume that all cases will have results consistent with [x,y,z]" then you have the problem of having to motivate those assumptions/imperatives, and there's no way to do that without falling back on induction. It's formally akin to the "interpretations" in the "rule-following paradox" of PI 201:
It can be seen that there is a misunderstanding here from the mere fact that in the course of our argument we give one interpretation after another; as if each one contented us at least for a moment, until we thought of yet another standing behind it. What this shews is that there is a way of grasping a rule which is not an interpretation, but which is exhibited in what we call "obeying the rule" and "going against it" in actual cases.

I think this passage from Rhees lends some support to Kremer's view of the say/show distinction as lining up with the knowing-that/knowing-how distinction. These aren't cases where you might (per impossible) be able to say something that "grammar" or "logical syntax" forbids you from saying, and have it do the work you want. There's something deeper to "showing" than that.

1 comment:

Daniel Lindquist said...

The article on "Two Dogmas" is basically Grice/Strawson's old "In Defense of a Dogma", only with more fight in it and a couple pages of quotations from Duhem. (Duhem never head the "Quine-Duhem thesis"; his holism applied only to mathematical physics.) There's a strong element of "gotcha!" journalism to it -- what does it help to remind people about "stimulus analyticity" in "The Roots of Reference" or that Quine held that observation sentences have their empirical significance independently, given that these notions are both among Quine's worse ones? Still, I think I liked it better than I expected to after the first few pages.

The Philips review is short and doesn't have much going on in it.