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early wittgenstein on metaphysics

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
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Arjen
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Re: early wittgenstein on metaphysics

Post by Arjen » January 28th, 2019, 9:40 pm

So, if we are going to have a normal conversation about Wittgenstein, can we discuss the fact that his 'World' is the world of the solipsist, without the subjective 'I'? That means that it loses it's metaphysical properties and only leaves the complete whole that he calls 'world', in the sense that it is that same thing for everyone and the object or objective 'world'. A noumenon in my choice of words.

Do you understand what I mean and that this is what Wittgenstein is talking about?

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Re: early wittgenstein on metaphysics

Post by Arjen » January 28th, 2019, 9:43 pm

Perhaps you should ignore that last line and instead read:

This is how I read him and have always read him. I also think to remember being taught this, but my memory is too dim to state that with certainty. It, at least, shows why solipsism is an extreme, as opposed to what he makes of it, by shying away from the subjective 'I' of the solipsist.

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Re: early wittgenstein on metaphysics

Post by Fooloso4 » January 28th, 2019, 11:11 pm

Arjen:
… can we discuss the fact that his 'World' is the world of the solipsist, without the subjective 'I'?
We can’t. That makes no sense to me. It is the fact that it is his world, the world of the subject, of the subjective ‘I’, the world as the I alone, solus ipse know it, that makes it the world of the solipsist.
That means that it loses it's metaphysical properties and only leaves the complete whole that he calls 'world', in the sense that it is that same thing for everyone and the object or objective 'world'.
There is for W. a fundamental distinction between the factual world and “my world”. In one sense my world sets a limit to the world, for there is always more to the world than what I know and can say. In another sense my world sets the limit of what I alone, solus ipse, experience. My world is not about the facts of the world but the meaning and value the world as a whole has for me alone, solus ipse .

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Arjen
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Re: early wittgenstein on metaphysics

Post by Arjen » January 29th, 2019, 6:13 am

I have quoted above where he says this in his Tractatus, so have you. Your take is interesting, but I think that you are reading it in a way that was not intended by Wittgenstein.

May I ask you how you think Wittgenstein explains 'my world' while not believing in private language, nor in the metaphysical subject?

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Re: early wittgenstein on metaphysics

Post by Tamminen » January 29th, 2019, 8:40 am

Fooloso4 wrote:
January 28th, 2019, 11:11 pm
...there is always more to the world than what I know and can say.
The world is the subject's world, but it transcends the subject's perspective. It is one of the two "godheads" W. speaks about in Notebooks. The other godhead is the subject. And because there are two godheads, one is not enough. So: (1) no world = no subject = nothing, and (2) no subject = no world = nothing.

This is my interpretation. What is yours?

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Re: early wittgenstein on metaphysics

Post by Fooloso4 » January 29th, 2019, 10:44 am

Arjen:
May I ask you how you think Wittgenstein explains 'my world' while not believing in private language, nor in the metaphysical subject?
I did not deny the metaphysical subject. In an earlier post I said:
The metaphysical self is the “I” that experiences, the “I” of “my world” and “my language”. The "I" of solipsism (T 5.62, 5.64)
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=15942&sid=8adbd19da ... 15#p328152

What I said is that he rejects the transcendental subject. The transcendental conditions that make possible knowledge and experience are logic and ethics. There is for W. no conditions of mind - no categories of the understanding, no unity of apperception. as Ramsey put it , Wittgenstein’s method was to:
construct a logic, and do all our philosophical analysis entirely unselfconsciously, thinking all the time of the facts and not about our thinking about them … (1929 draft paper titled “Philosophy”).
This was a deficiency that Wittgenstein eventually came to acknowledge. It is one of the main differences between the Tractatus and Investigations.

In the Tractatus he talks about “my language”, but my language is not a private language. Language is, according to the Tractatus, structured by logic and pictures the facts of the world. There is nothing private about it. Nothing individual about it. 'My language' like 'my world' is a solipsistic limit.

Perhaps you are using the term ‘private language’ in an idiosyncratic way.

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Re: early wittgenstein on metaphysics

Post by Fooloso4 » January 29th, 2019, 11:39 am

Tamminen:
The world is the subject's world, but it transcends the subject's perspective. It is one of the two "godheads" W. speaks about in Notebooks. The other godhead is the subject. And because there are two godheads, one is not enough. So: (1) no world = no subject = nothing, and (2) no subject = no world = nothing.

This is my interpretation. What is yours?
The statement from the Notebooks:
There are two godheads: the world and my independent “I”. (NB 8.7.16)
W. is quite clear about the independence of the will from the world.
The world is independent of my will. (6.373)
They are not interdependent. The “I” is outside the facts of the world. There is no logical or causal connection between them.
The facts in logical space are the world. (1.13)
Belief in the causal nexus is superstition. (5.1361)
The independent “I” is not a fact in logical space. It plays no role in the world. The facts of the world are independent of the subject. It is the subject’s world that ceases to be when the subject dies. The subject’s world is not the world of facts in logical space. The world of facts in logical space is independent of the “I”.

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Re: early wittgenstein on metaphysics

Post by Tamminen » January 29th, 2019, 12:45 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
January 29th, 2019, 11:39 am
The world of facts in logical space is independent of the “I”.
So your interpretation is that there can be a world with its logic but without the subject? Logic without anyone using logic? Of course there cannot be any logical or causal connection between the subject and the world, but isn't it possible that there is an ontological interdependence? Why did W. speak about "two godheads" if one of them was enough? My view is that W. saw the being of the subject as an ontological precondition for the being of the world. Maybe I misinterpret him, but it is too late to ask how W. himself saw it. Anyway, I think my way of seeing it is reasonable. The subject is an abstraction without the world and the world is an abstraction without the subject. And abstractions cannot exist. I do not believe in a Platonic heaven where logic resides and where the Universe resides in its silent meaningless existence. For even its meaningless existence would be meaningless for us, because only we can say what is meaningless and what is not. This is very obvious for me, and knowing that W. was a deep thinker, I would not be surprised if it was also obvious for him.

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Re: early wittgenstein on metaphysics

Post by Fooloso4 » January 29th, 2019, 2:16 pm

Tamminen:
So your interpretation is that there can be a world with its logic but without the subject?
Yes.
Logic without anyone using logic?
Yes. The logical structure of the world is independent of and makes possible its use. That structure is the form of simple objects. It is that structure that makes it possible for them to combine to create states of affairs. It is that structure that makes it possible to picture states of affairs in propositions.
… but isn't it possible that there is an ontological interdependence?
If their interdependence is neither logical nor causal then what, according to Wittgenstein,it is? How do you move from there being a world and subjects to the interdependence of world and subject? What is the basis of their interdependence? There is a relationship between the world and the independent "I", but essential to that relationship is their independence. If it were otherwise the I would not be the "independent 'I'''.
Why did W. speak about "two godheads" if one of them was enough?
Because one of them is not enough. The world and my experience of it, its meaning and value for me are not the same. They are two different things.
I do not believe in a Platonic heaven where logic resides and where the Universe resides in its silent meaningless existence.
That is a remark about you. For W. logic resides in the objects that make up the world. It does not have an independent existence elsewhere. Objects contain their logical possibilities. Meaning comes into play only with a subject for whom the world has meaning.
For even its meaningless existence would be meaningless for us, because only we can say what is meaningless and what is not.
A meaningless existence would be one without meaning. Meaning comes into play only with the subject. A world without subjects would be a world without meaning. But there are subjects and the world was meaning for those subjects, hence two god-heads.

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Re: early wittgenstein on metaphysics

Post by Tamminen » January 29th, 2019, 3:26 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
January 29th, 2019, 2:16 pm
If their interdependence is neither logical nor causal then what, according to Wittgenstein,it is? How do you move from there being a world and subjects to the interdependence of world and subject? What is the basis of their interdependence? There is a relationship between the world and the independent "I", but essential to that relationship is their independence. If it were otherwise the I would not be the "independent 'I'''.
Perhaps W. meant that there cannot be (1) causal dependence because the subject does not belong to the world, (2) logical dependence because logic only comes with the world. So what is left is the question of ontological dependence or independence. If the answer, according to Wittgenstein, is independence, then our views differ. I find it impossible to think of the universe without a subjective perspective. What kind of being has such a universe? Why do we want to speak of such a universe? What is the logical justification to posit its possibility?

I do not understand why it is so difficult to see what is obvious: the lack of subjective perspective means nothingness.

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Re: early wittgenstein on metaphysics

Post by Arjen » January 29th, 2019, 4:12 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
January 29th, 2019, 10:44 am
In the Tractatus he talks about “my language”, but my language is not a private language. Language is, according to the Tractatus, structured by logic and pictures the facts of the world. There is nothing private about it. Nothing individual about it. 'My language' like 'my world' is a solipsistic limit.

Perhaps you are using the term ‘private language’ in an idiosyncratic way.
Well, the idio(t) certainly seems aptly pointed at me. :P
I am going to try and find some more information.
I stand open to learn and I will be reading what you 2 are writing as soon as I absorb some terminology.


Tamminen wrote:
January 29th, 2019, 8:40 am
The world is the subject's world, but it transcends the subject's perspective. It is one of the two "godheads" W. speaks about in Notebooks. The other godhead is the subject. And because there are two godheads, one is not enough. So: (1) no world = no subject = nothing, and (2) no subject = no world = nothing.

This is my interpretation. What is yours?
It might be my memory, but I never heard of the notebooks. I am now checking on google books to see what this means exactly. It certainly looks like fooloso4 had it right all along. Thanks for mentioning this. I am opening my mind to try and consume some more insights. :)

@@Fooloso4 and @Tamminen :
I am happy to read you 2 talking. If either of you knows of a good online resource to absorb knowledge about the 2 godheads, please do point me towards it.

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Re: early wittgenstein on metaphysics

Post by Fooloso4 » January 29th, 2019, 4:28 pm

Tamminen:
If the answer, according to Wittgenstein, is independence, then our views differ.
As far as I can see, that is the case.
I find it impossible to think of the universe without a subjective perspective.
In the Tractatus W. thought that logical relations were sufficient. He came to reject that assumption.
What kind of being has such a universe?
That depend on how you define being.
Why do we want to speak of such a universe?
There may be various reasons including trying to understand what the universe was like before we were here to speak about it.
What is the logical justification to posit its possibility?
The justification is empirical, but all justification presupposes the existence of a thinking, seeing subject that provided justification.
I do not understand why it is so difficult to see what is obvious: the lack of subjective perspective means nothingness.
It is not difficult to see why one would make such a claim . Without a subject there is nothing to whom anything would be present. It does not follow, however, that the physical world would no longer exist, unless you define existence as presence.

The reality is, though, that there are subjects and that without subjects this discussion could not take place. That is an ineliminable condition for any discussion of existence. It is only an ineliminable condition for existence if one defines existence in such a way that what exists must be present to a subject. One obvious problem with that is that it leaves nothing unknown, nothing that has not already be discovered; or that what is discovered comes to be by being discovered, that what is not come to be by being perceived.

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Re: early wittgenstein on metaphysics

Post by Tamminen » January 29th, 2019, 5:22 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
January 29th, 2019, 4:28 pm
There may be various reasons including trying to understand what the universe was like before we were here to speak about it.
It is easy to make the mistake of seeing a temporal slice of the universe as a universe. But it is only an abstraction of a universe, and the question remains if the whole universe can be without a subjective perspective.
Fooloso4 wrote:
January 29th, 2019, 4:28 pm
It is not difficult to see why one would make such a claim . Without a subject there is nothing to whom anything would be present. It does not follow, however, that the physical world would no longer exist, unless you define existence as presence.

The reality is, though, that there are subjects and that without subjects this discussion could not take place. That is an ineliminable condition for any discussion of existence. It is only an ineliminable condition for existence if one defines existence in such a way that what exists must be present to a subject. One obvious problem with that is that it leaves nothing unknown, nothing that has not already be discovered; or that what is discovered comes to be by being discovered, that what is not come to be by being perceived.
No, this is a misunderstanding. The necessity of subjecthood does not mean that everything there is must be present to a subject. It only means that everything must be in the same and only universe as the subject. There are lots of things that no subject ever perceives, lots of things that are not present to anybody. But all things in the universe are connected to each other and in this sense indirectly present to the subject, if there are subjects. And if it were possible that there are no subjects, we would have a problem so obvious that it is hard to see how anybody can stand it: positing nothingness by eliminating ourselves from reality. It seems that everybody does not see the paradox here, and I am wondering why, because as I said, it is so obvious.

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Re: early wittgenstein on metaphysics

Post by Arjen » January 29th, 2019, 5:55 pm

Tamminen wrote:
January 29th, 2019, 5:22 pm
No, this is a misunderstanding. The necessity of subjecthood does not mean that everything there is must be present to a subject. It only means that everything must be in the same and only universe as the subject. There are lots of things that no subject ever perceives, lots of things that are not present to anybody. But all things in the universe are connected to each other and in this sense indirectly present to the subject, if there are subjects. And if it were possible that there are no subjects, we would have a problem so obvious that it is hard to see how anybody can stand it: positing nothingness by eliminating ourselves from reality. It seems that everybody does not see the paradox here, and I am wondering why, because as I said, it is so obvious.
Isn't that solipsism again?
Removing the subjects and then ending up with nothing?

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Re: early wittgenstein on metaphysics

Post by Fooloso4 » January 29th, 2019, 6:33 pm

Tamminen:
It is easy to make the mistake of seeing a temporal slice of the universe as a universe. But it is only an abstraction of a universe, and the question remains if the whole universe can be without a subjective perspective.
What we know is that the whole universe is not without a subjective perspective.

My opinion is that subjectivity requires consciousness and consciousness is an emergent property of some entities in the universe, and so, there was a time, a “temporal slice” when there was not a subjective perspective. It was out of this universe without a subjective perspective that a subject perspective emerged. They are not interdependent, the latter is dependent on the former.
And if it were possible that there are no subjects, we would have a problem …
By we I assume you mean subjects, but no subjects no problem. Who would it be a problem for?
… positing nothingness by eliminating ourselves from reality.
Only something that is could posit nothingness, but it would be self-refuting. In any can, it is you assumption that a world without subjects means nothingness. I don’t agree.

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