[lit-ideas] Re: Language, Justice and Social Practices (long)

  • From: Eric Yost <mr.eric.yost@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 27 Sep 2005 15:44:07 -0400

Phil: Could the game go on if the pawn could not move two squares forward on its first move? . . . . Surely the criterion of 'Could the game go on with or without it?' is not suitable here because the game could, with virtually any range of changes, still go on.

Eric: Not and still be chess. There are variations on the game, but they have other names, like Bughouse Chess for example.

Phil: Returning to the point I wanted to originally make, there is no way of distinguishing constituent and secondary concepts. Such a distinction is necessarily made apart from the use of the concepts in question. To make the distinction between constituent and secondary concepts is to engage in a different activity leaving open the question of how the distinction relates to the original activity. The decision that the coin toss is not a way of talking about chess is not itself part of talking about chess. What we encounter here is the fundamental problem of what Heidegger called onto-theology. Onto-theology claims to have access to a deeper/higher/truer/clearer realm that articulates the true
nature of things. On this account, there is the game of chess, and then there is the true account, in this case the division of concepts into constituent and secondary, of what is going on in the playing of the game. The problem is that it is not at all clear how such an account is deeper/higher/truer/clearer.

Eric: What can we say of such an account? Can we dispense with the terms "constituent" and "secondary" and merely ascribe some kind of analytical value to the various concepts such as "pawn"? Is it the claim to "deeper/higher/truer/clearer" that causes the problem or is merely calling "pawn" a concept? I don't understand how the meta-discussion undermines the resilience of "pawn" as a concept.

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