[lit-ideas] Re: Is there a point in still studying the "ether"? Was: "Roughly speaking" (Was: Wittgenstein)

  • From: Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 27 May 2004 14:05:24 +0100 (BST)

 --- Robert Paul <Robert.Paul@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote: > Richard writes:
> 
> >I believe some insight into "objects are colorless" can be gained by
> discussing $A431 in _Philosophical Investigations_. If anyone (Robert?)
> wants
> to "play" and could set up the pieces (it's about chess, language games),
> i.e. post the text (if this doesn't involve typing, at least in English,
> though I've got some lambasting to do and need the German, too), I think
> there's a lit-ideas mini-seminar lurking in it.<
> -----------------------
> 
> English text herewith. It did involve a fair amount of typing. I'm not up
> to
> typing this much German because I can't look away from the page and keep
> strings
> of German in my head while I type. I'd be glad to supply the German for
> particular words, passages, or phrases that anyone finds problematic.
> 
> $A431 When one shews someone the king in chess and says: "This is the
> king",
> this does not tell him the use of the piece--unless he already knows the
> rules
> of the game up to this last point: the shape of the king. You could imagine
> his
> having learnt the rules of the game without ever having been shewn an
> actual
> piece. The shape of the chessman corresponds here to the sound or shape of
> a
> word.
> 
> One can always imagine someone's having learnt the game without learning or
> formulating rules. He might have learnt quite simple board games first, by
> watching, and have progressed to more and more complicated ones. He too
> might be
> given the explanation "This is the king", --if, for instance, he were being
> shewn chessmen of a shape he was not used to. This explanation again only
> tells
> him the use of the piece because, as we might say, the place for it was
> already
> prepared. Or even: we shall only say that it tells him the use, if the
> place is
> already prepared.  And in this case it is so, not because the person to
> whom we
> give the explanation already knows the rules, but because in another sense
> he is
> already master of a game.
> 
> Consider this further case: I am explaining chess to someone; and I begin
> by
> pointing to a chessman and saying: "This is the king; it can move like
> this,
> ....and so on."--In this case we shall say: the words "This is the king"
> (or
> "This is called the 'king' ") are a definition only if the learner already
> 'knows what a piece in a game is'. That is, if he has already played other
> games, or has watched other people playing 'and understood'--_and similar
> things_. Further, only under these conditions will hebe able to ask
> relevantly
> in the course of learning the game: "What do you call this?"--that is, this
> piece in a game.
> 
> We may say: only someonewho already knows how to do something with it can
> significantly ask a name.
> 
> And we can imagine the person who is asked replying: "Settle the name
> yourself"--and now the one who asked would have to manage everything for
> himself.
> -----------------------
> Robert Paul
> Reed College
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  • » [lit-ideas] Re: Is there a point in still studying the "ether"? Was: "Roughly speaking" (Was: Wittgenstein)