[lit-ideas] Re: Was Wittgenstein a Wittgensteinian?

  • From: "" <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> (Redacted sender "Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx" for DMARC)
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2014 20:47:44 -0400 (EDT)

Fermi cut some atoms. In Manhattan, more specifically:
"I remember very vividly the first month, January, 1939, that I started  
working at the Pupin Laboratories because things began happening very fast. In 
 that period, Niels Bohr was on a lecture engagement at the Princeton 
University  and I remember one afternoon Willis Lamb came back very excited and 
said that  Bohr had leaked out great news. The great news that had leaked out 
was the  discovery of fission and at least the outline of its 
interpretation. Then,  somewhat later that same month, there was a meeting in 
where the  possible importance of the newly discovered phenomenon of fission 
was first  discussed in semi-jocular earnest as a possible source of 
nuclear power."
The Oxford professor of Greek philosophy objected: "An 'atom' is not  
cuttable, etymologically."
D. McEvoy:

"They [Wittgensteinians -- since Palma was using the noun, and in  plural] 
are less fictions than Popperians."

In a message dated 6/18/2014 6:18:47 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
rpaul@xxxxxxxx writes in answer to the query in the subject line to this  
R Paul
Well, yes. I would say: probably yes.

Incidentally, it was R. Paul who brought in the issue of  'Wittgensteinian' 
(I prefer neo-Wittgensteinian, and oppose that to  palaeo-Wittgensteinian).

R. Paul had written, as properly inspired by a post by Palma:

"'Wittgensteinians' [sic in scare quotes] are fictions, made up by  those 
who really don't want to
talk about Wittgenstein—and that because they  can't be troubled to actually
read him.
By isubstituability, this would yield:
i. Wittgenstein is a fiction made by those who don't really want to talk  
about Wittgenstein (including Wittgenstein).
I would distinguish between the proper adjective,
as in
ii. Geary is having one of them Wittgensteinian moments.
and the improper noun, as in
iii. Geary has become a Wittgensteinian.
Oddly, Grice thinks that some thinks that he can be criticised along  
Wittgensteinian lines.
In "Some remarks about the senses", in Butler, Analytic Philosophy  
(Blackwell, 1966), Grice writes:
"I am well aware that here,  those whose approach is more  
Wittgensteinian than my own might complain that  unless something more  is 
about the difference between x-ing and y-ing might  'come out'  or show 
in publicly observable phenomena, then the claim by  the  Martians that 
and y-ing are different would be one of which nothing  could be made, which
would lead one at a loss how to understand it."

(Grice is discussing the Martians who have two pairs of eyes: with one  
pair they are x-ing things; with the other they are y-ing things.)
On the whole, Grice prefers to speak of 'followers of Wittgenstein', and it 
 would be a harder case to justify that, qua, implicature, Wittgenstein is 
a  follower of Wittgenstein.
""A few years after the apperance
of [Strawson's] "An [sic] introduction  to logical theory"
I was devoting much attention to what might
be loosely  called the distinction betweeen
logical and pragmatic inferences. In the  first
instance this was prompted as part of an attempt
to rebuff  objections, 
[G. A. Paul?],
to the project of using "phenomenal"
verbs, like "look" and "see", to  elucidate
problems in the philosophy of perception,
particularly that of  explaining the
problematic notion of sense-data, which seemed 
to me to  rest on a blurring of 
the logical/pragmatic distinction."

There is a further unwanted implicature, that we have discussed in this  
forum, re: the past tense, "WAS Wittgenstein a Wittgensteinian?". The correct  
form is the historic present, as per an essay in "Journal for the History 
of  Philosophy":
"Is Wittgenstein a Wittgensteinian?"
To use the past seems to IMPLICATE that Witters WAS, _once_ a  
Wittgensteinian, but changed his Wittgensteinian mind into something  

"the idiocy of the Wittgensteinian (it was not Wittgenstein's  own) is that
once one "knows" that ordinary Greek has 'atom' as the thing  [that is not
cuttbale] then one "knows" that when Fermi cut the atoms he  said
something false and/or meaningless.
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