[lit-ideas] Lebensform

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 7 Mar 2012 10:38:21 -0500 (EST)

In a message dated 3/7/2012 11:34:09 A.M.  UTC-02, 
donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx writes:
in W's sense, (almost?) all humans  on earth share a sufficiently similar 
"form of life" to understand each other.  
Below, from wiki. Cheers. -- Speranza
""Form of life" (German "Lebensform") is a ... term used by Ludwig  
Wittgenstein ... it connotes the sociological, historical, linguistic,  
physiological, and behavioral determinants that comprise the matrix within 
which  a 
given language has meaning. ... akin to and perhaps based on Spengler's  
civilization model."
"Comments about a [lebensform] are not explanations meant to  comprehend 
any concept as a whole."
"Comments about a concept are simple, non-controversial, statements of  
ordinary understanding."
"the human animal engages various forms of life, that vary but agree at the 
 most basic levels. This explains how, for example, travelers from one 
culture to  another can understand the other culture's language, customs, and 
behavior. (See  Wittgenstein, "Remarks on Frazer's Golden Bough")"

"That is not agreement in opinions but in form of life." (Wittgenstein,  
Philosophical Investigations, para. 241).

"We simply do what we do because we assume a given form of life."
"[T]he term ‘language-game’ is meant to bring into prominence the fact 
that  the speaking of language is part of an activity, or of a form of life” 
(PI 23). 
"What enables language to function and therefore must be accepted as  “given
” is precisely forms of life. In Wittgenstein's terms, agreement is  
required “not only in definitions but also (queer as this may sound) in  
 (PI 242), and this is “not agreement in opinions but in form of life”  
(PI 241)."
"Used by Wittgenstein sparingly—five times in the Investigations—this  
intriguing concept has given rise to interpretative quandaries and subsequent  
contradictory readings."
"Forms of life can be understood as changing and contingent, dependent on  
culture, context, history, etc."
"This appeal to forms of life grounds a relativistic reading of  
"On the other hand, it is the form of life common to humankind, “the common 
 behavior of mankind” which is “the system of reference by means of which 
we  interpret an unknown language” (PI 206)."
"This is clearly a universalistic turn, recognizing that the use of  
language is made possible by the human form of life."
"Lest this universalism be taken to an extreme, Wittgenstein reminds the  
reader that as philosophers “… we are not doing natural science, nor yet 
natural  history” (PI p.230).
David Kishik, "Wittgenstein's Form of Life," (London: Continuum, 2008).  
ISBN: 9781847062239
Jesús Padilla Galvez; Margit Gaffal, "Forms of Life and  Language Games". 
(Heusenstamm, Ontos Verlag, 2011). ISBN 978-3-86838-122-1  [1]
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "Private Language, Grammar and Form  
of Life," in Wittgenstein (excerpts extracted above). 
Wittgenstein, Ludwig.  Philosophical Investigations: The German Text, with 
a Revised English  Translation 5oth Anniversary Commemorative Edition. Trns, 
G.E.M. Anscombe.  Wiley-Blackwell; 3 edition, January 15, 1991. ISBN  

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