In the examples I gave there is an objective standard, for e.g., to say "I know algebra."
This does not resolve the problem. I will hold off discussing this until you get to the relevant passages. For now I will say only that the word objective can be dropped. We have a standard by which we can determine whether “I know algebra” is true, although this leaves open the question of what counts as the standard for how much algebra one needs to know in order to determine that one does indeed knows algebra.
True, we could drop the word objective,
- one could just say that there is a standard. That standard incorporates those things I mentioned in that example, which are by the way, objective
. This won't derail anything that I will be posting. In terms of how we use the phrase "I know algebra," it's interesting that one only needs to get C- in algebra to make the claim that one knows
algebra. Hence, you could be wrong 30% of the time, and still make the claim.
Consider the following:
"That he does know takes some showing (OC, 14)
"But whether I am so needs to be established objectively (OC, 16).
Wittgenstein would say, at least according to my interpretation, that Moore's propositions aren't like this at all. These hinge-propositions seem to be outside of any epistemological concerns, it's as though these kinds of propositions are foundational in a sense. They don't require justification. This seems to be why Wittgenstein says, "If you do know that here is one hand
, we'll grant you all the rest OC, 1)" Another way to think of these kinds of propositions is that they're similar to the rules of chess. The rules of chess are foundational to the game. One doesn't need to justify the rules. It's as though these kinds of propositions are a necessary backdrop in order for us to play the game. I would make the claim that hinge-propositions play a similar role. Something needs to stand fast for us in order for us to have language-games. I will say much more about this as time goes on.
-- Updated July 7th, 2017, 7:07 am to add the following --
Wittgenstein: On Certainty Post #6
"We just don't see how very specialized the use of "I know" is (OC 11)"
This seems to be the difficult part, i.e., being able to grasp how specialized the use of words like know, doubt, free will, time
, etc, - can give us a mental cramp. The reason, I believe, is that it is very easy to remove a word from its home, and place into an environment that is not its home. Its home is the language-game in which it thrives, in which it derives its meaning.
"For "I know" seems to describe a state of affairs which guarantees what is known, guarantees it as a fact. One always forgets the expression "I thought I knew" (OC 12)."
The negation of I know... tells us something about the use of this phrase. Tells us that saying "I know..." doesn't guarantee anything. There are many times when we think we know, but later find out that the facts are different from what we believe. Sometimes it appears as though we are justified in believing that a certain proposition is true; however, upon closer examination we say "Well, I thought I knew." This is also closely related to the use of the word doubt, we doubt at times because we know that sometimes people get it wrong; and this is why we want an objective way of verifying one's knowledge. There is no objective way of verifying Moore's propositions, since they are the very propositions that support the entire structure - they are bedrock.
It is here that Moore seems to drop the ball, because it is as if Moore's use of the word know is such that when he lists these propositions, he wants us to agree with him because they are so obviously true, which is why he uses these propositions as an argument against the skeptic. He wants us to acknowledge that we all know these propositions are true - that all of us know what Moore knows. For instance, that he cannot be mistaken about his knowledge of his hands, or that he lives on the earth, etc. The problem of course is that it does not make any sense to doubt these kinds of propositions, so his use of the word know is out of place, and the use of the word doubt by the skeptic is equally out of place. Knowing and doubting work hand-in-hand.
The tendency is for us to agree with Moore. All of us want to say, "Yes, of course Moore is correct." After all how can we doubt his propositions? And this is the question isn't it? The propositions that Moore proposes, i.e., those propositions that seem to be beyond doubt are the kind of propositions that are bedrock, which is to say, that they are the kind of propositions (hinge-propositions) that fall outside the scope of justification or knowledge. They are prior to the language-game of knowledge. We come to believe them before we understand the concepts of knowing and doubting. A child believes Moore's propositions before they understand the concepts of knowing and doubting, and these basic beliefs are observed in their actions. These beliefs are not based on reasons, but are causally formed as we interact with our environment.