[lit-ideas] Re: "Roughly speaking" (Was: Wittgenstein)

  • From: Henninge@xxxxxxxxxxx (Richard Henninge)
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 28 May 2004 11:15:40 +0200

Whereof one can speak, thereof must one speak.
            --Henningean corollary to Tractatus 7

----- Original Message -----
From: "Robert Paul" <Robert.Paul@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2004 6:20 AM
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: "Roughly speaking" (Was: Wittgenstein)


> 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 [Königsfigur = king's piece] in
chess [Schach_spiel_] and says: "This is the king",
> this does not tell him the use of the piece [one does not _explain_ to him
thereby the use of _this_ piece [Figur]--unless he already knows the rules
> of the game up to this last point [bis auf diese letzte Bestimmung =
except for this last determination]: the shape [Form = form, why not,
especially considering how important form is in Tractatus? Remember, the
"fixed form" is the "ether" or "substance" in Wittgenstein that McEvoy does
not see any point in still studying (see his post of that title (consisting
only of that title). Form is what I've been suggesting objects are in
Wittgenstein] of the king [king's piece]. You could imagine his
> having learnt the rules of the game without ever having been shewn an
actual
> piece [piece in the game = Spielfigur]. The shape [form] of the chessman
[piece of the game = Spielfigur, i.e. the form of the chess piece]
corresponds here to the sound or shape of a
> word.

Let's dwell on this first paragraph, in particular on the correspondence
between the form of a piece in a game and the sound or Gestalt [form, shape]
of a word, before we go on.
>
> One can always [Robert Paul should have typed (thanks for that, Robert)
"also" here instead "always," but "also" is wrong in any case] 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 someone who 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

Richard Henninge
University of Mainz

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