back to the beginning: the limitations of language

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Fri Nov 19, 2021 4:53 pm

The Tractatus
Wittgenstein, Tolstoy and the Folly of Logical Positivism
Stuart Greenstreet explains how analytical philosophy got into a mess.

Put simply, Wittgenstein’s leading idea in the Tractatus was that propositions – that is, statements asserting facts, such as ‘it is raining’ – are a picture of what they describe. This is Wittgenstein’s ‘Picture Theory of Language’, or as he himself called it, his ‘Theory of Logical Portrayal’:

“We can say straight away: Instead of: this proposition has such and such a sense: this proposition represents such and such a situation. It portrays it logically. Only in this way can the proposition be true or false: It can only agree or disagree with reality by being a picture of a situation”

He added later:

“The great problem round which everything I write turns is: Is there an order in the world a priori, and if so what does it consist in?”


Next up: all of those particularly important the things that pop up on the news that language cannot picture. Those things Wittgenstein later suggested we remain silent regarding.

Unless, of course, as an moral objectivist you insist that not only can language paint a picture even pertaining to conflicting goods, but unless your picture is a reproduction of their picture, you will never be become a true artist. Let alone a true philosopher.

For example, when the moral objectivist asks you to picture "John eating the flesh of pigs" and then to picture in turn "John eating the flesh of pigs as evil", to him they are no less equally a picture of reality itself. Perhaps even a priori?

By “an order in the world a priori,” Wittgenstein meant an order that we could know to exist in the world without reference to our experience of the world. He felt forced to conclude that there is such an order, for it is this order that is pictured or logically portrayed by the relations between the symbols of a proposition.


In other words, unlike other philosophers, he elected to stay in the cave.

Ah, but then...

We don’t need to pursue this mysterious idea because Wittgenstein himself later rejected the Picture Theory as a huge over-simplification of how language works. In his Preface to his Philosophical Investigations published thirty-one years later in 1953 (two years after his death), he admitted that “since beginning to occupy myself with philosophy again, sixteen years ago, I have been forced to recognize great mistakes in what I wrote in the first book” (i.e., the Tractatus). In the Philosophical Investigations he argued virtually opposite to what he had claimed in the Tractatus: he now recognised that language is a vast collection of different activities, which he called ‘language games’, each with its own logic.


My own "game" focusing on human interactions at the existential intersection of identity, value judgments and political economy.

If largely in the is/ought world. Language in the either/or world is still considerably less...subjective?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Sat Nov 27, 2021 6:16 pm

The Tractatus
Wittgenstein, Tolstoy and the Folly of Logical Positivism
Stuart Greenstreet explains how analytical philosophy got into a mess.

A Circle In Vienna

Logical Positivism was a theory developed in the 1920s by the ‘Vienna Circle’, a group of philosophers centred (unsurprisingly) in Vienna. Its formulation was entirely driven by Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, which dominated analytical philosophy in the 1920s and 30s. The Circle itself owed its existence primarily to Moritz Schlick, who came to Vienna in 1922 as Professor in the Philosophy of Inductive Science; besides Schlick, the Circle included Rudolph Carnap, Otto Neurath, Friedrich Waismann and other very able thinkers – but not Wittgenstein himself, who could not be persuaded to attend their meetings.


And suppose Wittgenstein had been persuaded to attend? How might our understanding of Logical Positivism today have been much the same...or considerably different? But that's how these things unfold: existentially. They unfold as they do and we get what we've got. But they might have unfolded in some other manner given the intertwining of all the individuals and variables involved. And we'd have something else. Well, assuming some measure of human autonomy of course.

The Circle had a programme of research and a journal, Erkenntnis, to publish its results. Waismann defined the hallmark of Logical Positivism – namely ‘the principle of verification’. As Waismann explained this principle:

“If there is no way of telling when a proposition is true, then the proposition has no sense whatever; for the sense of a proposition is its method of verification. In fact whoever utters a proposition must know under what conditions he will call the proposition true or false; if he cannot tell this, then he does not know what he has said” [My italics] (from ‘A Logical Analysis of the Concept of Probability’, Erktenntis 1, 1930-1).


Unfortunately [or, perhaps, for most, fortunately] the human brain is hard wired such that actual verification is never really necessary at all. Propositions relating to religion and spirituality and morality and politics are made all the time...and the only verification needed to confirm their truth is that you believe them.

Where would the objectivists among us be without that particular proposition itself. Whole "Coalitions of Truth" have been invented to sustain objective moralities of this sort. And of course, Gods and Goddesses.

So the principle of verification was supposed to be a criterion to determine whether or not a sentence is literally meaningful: and the criterion was that the user must know the conditions under which the sentence’s assertions are verifiable.


Nonsense! Right, Mr. Objectivist? If the sentences you use to assert your own dogmatic/authoritarian moral and political agenda have been verified by you "in your head" as in fact true, then in fact they are.

In your head.

Proof!
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Sun Dec 05, 2021 5:40 pm

The Tractatus
Wittgenstein, Tolstoy and the Folly of Logical Positivism
Stuart Greenstreet explains how analytical philosophy got into a mess.

So the principle of verification was supposed to be a criterion to determine whether or not a sentence is literally meaningful: and the criterion was that the user must know the conditions under which the sentence’s assertions are verifiable.

This doctrine drew a line of demarcation between science and what the Circle’s members pejoratively called ‘metaphysics’ – a word they used as a synonym for ‘nonsense’. Their principle of verification meant that only propositions concerned with matters of empirically-verifiable fact (‘It is still raining’), or the logical relationship between concepts (‘A downpour is heavier than a shower’) are meaningful. Propositions that fall into neither of these camps fail to satisfy the principle, they argued, and consequently lack sense. It follows, therefore, that the propositions of ethics, aesthetics, and religion, are meaningless nonsense. The same would be said for any proposition that expressed a judgement of value as distinct from propositions solely concerned with facts.


Of course for me this pertains to my own distinction between I in the either/or world and "i" in the is/world. You might say something about yourself out in the world with others. Someone asks you to demonstrate why they should believe that what you say is true or not true. You either can or you cannot. On the other hand, it's one thing to suggest that moral, political and spiritual value judgments are subjective, and another thing altogether to argue that they encompass meaningless nonsense.

After all, those in the Circle are no less entangled in the gap between what they think they know about "ethics, aesthetics, and religion" and all that can be -- must be -- known in order to definitively rule out what either can or cannot be demonstrated.

On the other hand, talk about metaphysical!!

Also, as soon as you choose to interact with others, ethics, aesthetics and religion are necessarily bursting at the seams with existential meaning.

One Englishman attended meetings of the Vienna Circle: A. J. Ayer, who in 1936, at the age of twenty-six, published a book called Language, Truth and Logic. This brought the ideas of the Vienna Circle to the attention of the English-speaking world. The title of the first chapter of this dogmatic, even arrogant, book, is ‘The Elimination of Metaphysics’. Here’s how to do it, according to Ayer:

“We may define a metaphysical sentence as a sentence which purports to express a genuine proposition, but does, in fact, express neither a tautology nor an empirical hypothesis. And as tautologies and empirical hypotheses form the entire class of significant propositions, we are justified in concluding that all metaphysical assertions are nonsensical.”


Arrogant, even dogmatic. And the beauty of it all is that when you take this dogmatic arrogance up into the stratosphere of intellectual contraptions like these, no one is ever able to effectively rebut it. Except with their own arrogant even dogmatic intellectual contraptions.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby promethean75 » Sun Dec 05, 2021 6:16 pm

Biggs check this out. The whole analytical movement in philosophy was a response to the nonsense produced by continental philosophy all the way back to Grease. The analytical guys were all terminators, you might say, sent from the future to kick some ass and take names.

Wittgenstein's role... well what ended up being his role after the tractatus period, was to show that yes, so much philosophy was nonsense... but this does not mean we can't speak meaningfully about subjects that fail the verifiability principle. Instead, we need only recognize what kind of language game we are playing... and not get this one mixed up with that one. For example, we can't speak of values being true in the same way we speak of facts being true... but we can still speak of values!

It was the continentailist philosophers who tried to systematize ethics into objective forms of thought, and as a result, created all kinds of confusion. We are in fact still recovering from platonism... now in the form of modern Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Sun Dec 12, 2021 4:45 pm

The Tractatus
Wittgenstein, Tolstoy and the Folly of Logical Positivism
Stuart Greenstreet explains how analytical philosophy got into a mess.

The Mystical Logician

We have seen that when Wittgenstein risked his life in battle day after day, he found solace in Tolstoy’s version of the Gospels: hence his prayer ‘May God enlighten me’. By 1916 his experience of war had made him a different man to the one whom Russell had met in 1911.


See, didn't I tell you? His very own Song Be Syndrome.

You think one way. And you use language that, to the best of your ability, allows you to convey to others what you do think, what you do believe.

But then you have an extraordinary experience -- and being in a war is certainly up near the top there -- and you find yourself thinking something else, believing something else.

Then over time Wittgenstein began his own sojourn from I in the either/or world to "I" in the is/ought world. The extent to which the tools of philosophy themselves come to be thought of in a very different way.

The scope of the Tractatus, too, had broadened: it was no longer just about the possibility of language being logically and pictorially connected to the world. Wittgenstein had begun to feel that logic and what he strangely called ‘mysticism’ sprang from the same root. This explains the second big idea in the Tractatus – which the logical positivists ignored: the thought of there being an unutterable kind of truth that ‘makes itself manifest’. Hence the key paragraph 6.522 in the Tractatus:

“There are indeed things that cannot be put into words. They make themselves manifest. They are what is mystical.”


Whatever that means. From my frame of mind this basically revolves around The Gap, Rummy's Rule and dasein. Linked to however the relationship between genes and memes works insofar as human language can actually capture this. It just seems patently obvious that the ambiguities and uncertainties are most clearly seen in regard to value our judgments at the intersection of identity and political power.

Mystical in the sense of how exasperating it can become when that which seems utterly clear to us is completely mangled by others. Which, of course, happens all the time here. It's as though there is something inexplicable in their brains that prevents them from doing the right thing: agreeing with us.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby Lorikeet » Sun Dec 12, 2021 4:49 pm

We'll need a context...of course.

=D>
#-o
:wink:
To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his gods

-Thomas Babington Macaulay, Lays of Ancient Rome
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Sun Dec 19, 2021 7:07 pm

The Tractatus
Wittgenstein, Tolstoy and the Folly of Logical Positivism
Stuart Greenstreet explains how analytical philosophy got into a mess.

Wittgenstein’s intention in asserting this is precisely to protect matters of value from being disparaged or debunked by scientifically-minded people such as the Logical Positivists of the Vienna Circle. He put his view beyond doubt in this sequence of paragraphs:

“6.41 The sense of the world must lie outside the world. In the world everything is as it is and happens as it does happen. In it there is no value – and if there were, it would be of no value. If there is value which is of value, it must lie outside of all happening and being-so. For all happening and being-so is accidental. What makes it non-accidental cannot lie in the world, for otherwise this would again be accidental. It must lie outside the world.”


Your guess is as good as mind in regard to how this might be translated given the existential parameters of human value judgments in conflict out in the world as we all know it to be. Most here are familiar with my own attempt to connect the dots between language and values. So, naturally, I would be curious to explore how someone here who thinks he or she understands what Wittgenstein means above would translate it given a set of circumstances in which our values come into conflict.

How might Wittgenstein react to the points I raise in my signature threads? Any advocates of his philosophy care to take a crack at it?

In other words, all worldly actions and events are contingent (‘accidental’), but matters of value are necessarily so, for they are ‘higher’ or too important to be accidental, and so must be outside the world of empirical propositions:

“6.42 Hence also there can be no ethical propositions. Propositions cannot express anything higher.

6.421 It is clear that ethics cannot be expressed. Ethics is transcendental.”

(‘Transcendental’ here is not to be confused with ‘transcendent’. ‘Transcendental’ is used here in a technical philosophical sense to mean that which is incapable of being experienced by any of the senses – and is therefore beyond the reach of science, which deals in what can be observed.


How about this? What down here out of the ofttimes obtuse/abstruse intellectual clouds would you assess this to mean at the existential juncture of identity, value judgments and political economy?

Given a moral and political value judgment near and dear to you.

Especially one that, as an objectivist, you'd defend from the perspective of "one of us" vs. "one of them".
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Sun Dec 19, 2021 7:11 pm

Lyssa fArts Philosophy wrote:We'll need a context...of course.

=D>
#-o
:wink:


Again...

Note to anfang, Æon, Impulso Oscuro, apaosha, Jarno, Kvasir:

Explain to her how here she is the context!!! =D>
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby Lorikeet » Sun Dec 19, 2021 7:32 pm

Wiggle, waggle, wiggle, waggle...

Straight up into the skyhooks.

Note to God
See what you've done to the dead?
To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his gods

-Thomas Babington Macaulay, Lays of Ancient Rome
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Sun Dec 19, 2021 7:53 pm

Lyssa fArts Philosophy wrote:Wiggle, waggle, wiggle, waggle...

Straight up into the skyhooks.

Note to God
See what you've done to the dead?


Really, try to imagine Wittgenstein himself reacting to the Lyssa's posts here!

With others on other threads, however, she actually does try to come off as a "serious philosopher". It's always up in the sky-high clouds, sure, but at least she doesn't allow herself to be reduced down to the buffoon that I bring out in her.

On the other hand, she is only here during the festive holiday season. And this time she claims it's her last. So, her humiliation at least has a light at the end of the tunnel.

Now, does the festive holiday season end on Christmas...or will she stretch the embarrassment out all the way to New Year's Day?

Stay tuned.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby Lorikeet » Sun Dec 19, 2021 7:58 pm

Wiggle, waggle, wiggle, waggle...

She wants me gone....as soon as possible so she can return to undermining, dismissing, negating, rejecting...and leaving nothing behind.
She calls this "philosophy".

Note to God
No, really...who's responsible in a no-god, no free-will created universe?
To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his gods

-Thomas Babington Macaulay, Lays of Ancient Rome
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Sun Dec 19, 2021 8:04 pm

Lyssa fArts Philosophy wrote:Wiggle, waggle, wiggle, waggle...

She wants me gone....as soon as possible so she can return to undermining, dismissing, negating, rejecting...and leaving nothing behind.
She calls this "philosophy".

Note to God
No, really...who's responsible in a no-god, no free-will created universe?


Let's at least pin this down:

Your humiliation...will it come to an end after Christmas or after New Years?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby Lorikeet » Sun Dec 19, 2021 8:06 pm

*cuckoo

How am I supposed to know, woman?
Am I free to choose?
It's been determined. I may stay all year round.
It's not up to moi.
I am but a stone...

*click
To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his gods

-Thomas Babington Macaulay, Lays of Ancient Rome
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Sun Dec 19, 2021 8:20 pm

Lyssa fArts Philosopohy wrote:*cuckoo

How am I supposed to know, woman?
Am I free to choose?
It's been determined. I may stay all year round.
It's not up to moi.
I am but a stone...

*click


Click, indeed,

Of course, here, she's the one who insist that her own language in regard to determinism had better be your language because her language really does reflect the only rational manner in which to understand the manner in which lifeless matter "somehow" configured into autonomous living matter in the human brain.

She doesn't quite have the science pinned down yet but, as with most other things of this nature with her, she just knows it.

Anyway, assuming the real deal free will, it does sound like she is hinting at staying here beyond our festive holiday season.

After all, this year, ILP really has turned into a No Moderation All The time slugfest for the pinheads, the Kids, and the fulminating fanatic objectivists.

And ILP has an enormously larger impact on world events than Know Thyself, right? :lol:
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Sat Dec 25, 2021 5:17 pm

The Tractatus
Wittgenstein, Tolstoy and the Folly of Logical Positivism
Stuart Greenstreet explains how analytical philosophy got into a mess.

Young philosopher Frank Ramsey, who helped to translate the first English edition of the Tractatus, remarked that to describe ethics as ‘nonsense but important nonsense’ is too much like having one’s cake and eating it.


Not really. It's merely to suggest that while, from the perspective of ethics, language does not seem able to encompass human interactions either logically or epistemologically, it is "logically" and "epistemologically" sound to suggest we have no choice but to pretend that it can. Much along the lines here of "if God did not exist, we would have to invent Him."

We can't differentiate right from wrong behaviors objectively without God, but with language we can create arguments that, in a world of words rooted to one or another objectivist font, assert that we can.

This is surprisingly glib coming from Ramsey, whom we can assume had read Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (as Wittgenstein certainly had), and would know the famous line in its Preface: that Kant had “found it necessary to deny knowledge, in order to make room for faith.” By this Kant meant that he denied an exclusively scientific worldview – a worldview that the Vienna Circle, including A. J. Ayer, had taken for granted.


And here he is not alone. Any number of philosophers down through the ages recognized the need for the "transcendent" -- God -- in order to have that crucial foundation mere mortals can turn to. And precisely because neither science nor philosophy has yet to come up with the secular equivalent of God. Only countless [and hopelessly conflicting] political ideologies and Humanisms and those who cling to biological imperatives -- Nature -- that revolve entirely around the assumptions that they make about Good and Evil.

Kant’s purpose was to justify our conceiving of ourselves as rational agents who can through free will freely govern ourselves by the moral law. For Kant, for free moral choice to be possible, our will must not be constrained by the deterministic grip of the laws of nature that apply to the physical world. So our moral choices must be made independently of nature.


Right, and tell me how he demonstrates this other than by merely asserting it to be so. If free will didn't exist Nature would be obligated to compel us to insist that it does. Down the rabbit-hole of sheer speculation...the human brain attempting to understand the human brain itself.

So for both Kant and Wittgenstein, ethics is definitely transcendental. There are mysteries beyond the reach of human reason – totally beyond it, so that even all theological explanations are necessarily wrong. The most we can hope for is that our words may make our ignorance known to ourselves.


Exactly my point. No God, no moral font.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Fri Dec 31, 2021 5:23 pm

The Tractatus
Wittgenstein, Tolstoy and the Folly of Logical Positivism
Stuart Greenstreet explains how analytical philosophy got into a mess.

Philosophy Is Not Science

To the question ‘What is your aim in philosophy?’, Wittgenstein replied, “To show the fly the way out of the fly-bottle.” By this he meant that the work of philosophy “consists essentially of elucidations” (4.112).


In other words, whatever that means. Really, in regards to your day to day life, what do you make of it? Or is it just something that a philosopher might think up...something that somehow allows us, perhaps, to go beyond our day to day interactions and grapple with something truly "profound" in regard to the "human condition"?

Instead, from my own frame of mind, there is what philosophers are able to elucidate in regard to the "rules of language". There are things that make sense logically and things that do not. There are things we can know epistemologically and things that we can't.

Given that we "elucidate" when we "make (something) clear; explain", where does language meet its match "for all practical purposes" when we interact?

This provokes the further question ‘Why then are the ideas of the Tractatus so obscure and controversial, as for instance in paragraph 6.522 quoted above, which says values “make themselves manifest”?’ A. C. Grayling, for instance, has complained:

“If it were true that value somehow just ‘manifested itself’, it would be puzzling why conflicts and disagreements should arise over ethical questions, or why people can passionately and sincerely hold views which are quite opposite to those held with equal passion and sincerity by others.”
– Wittgenstein: A Very Short Introduction


And yet many here become all but apoplectic when I keep insisting that we need a context. A set of circumstances in which we do explore "for all practical purposes" what the "limitations of language" might possibly be.

Manifest truths? Of course: that is precisely what the moral and political and spiritual objectivists among us insist that others ought to embrace in regard to their own value judgments.

On the contrary, I don’t find the idea of different manifest values being held by different people at all puzzling. It is in the very nature or essence of values (as distinct from verifiable facts) that they are contentious.


Exactly! I merely root my own rendition of this in dasein, conflicting goods and political economy. My own unique take on the limitations of language...when exploring the existential parameters of moral and political value judgments.

Here however...

There is simply no objective truth to be had about a judgement of value. So it would be extremely odd if the values – be they moral, aesthetic, religious, or whatever – that manifest themselves to us as individuals were to be the same for everybody. In such a weird case they would cease to be ‘values’ as we understand them.


...this is no less ultimately just an assumption. It's not like it can be proven by either philosophers or scientists that beyond all doubt there is no collection of words, no language, no argument able to establish an objective morality. That's what the objectivists can always fall back on. They merely have to believe what they do to make it true.

For them. In their head.

And here the rest really is history.
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Fri Jan 07, 2022 4:07 pm

The Tractatus
Wittgenstein, Tolstoy and the Folly of Logical Positivism
Stuart Greenstreet explains how analytical philosophy got into a mess.

The declared aim of the Vienna Circle was to make philosophy either subservient to or somehow akin to the natural sciences. As Ray Monk says in his superb biography Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius “the anti-metaphysical stance that united them [was] the basis for a kind of manifesto which was published under the title The Scientific View of the World: The Vienna Circle.”


Of course, as I often come back to, given "the gap" and "Rummy's Rule", even science itself is left sputtering in the dark when it goes far enough out on the limb encompassed by "The Really Big Questions".

What for example is either metaphysical or not metaphysical when either scientists or philosophers set for themselves the task of determining why there is something instead of nothing? Or why there is this something and not something else? Or the God Question. Or fierce discussions and debates that revolves around everything from determinism to morality.

What is the limitations of human language when we don't even know how to encompass the "human condition" itself in the staggering vastness of "all there is".

Yet as Wittgenstein himself protested again and again in the Tractatus, the propositions of natural science “have nothing to do with philosophy”; “Philosophy is not one of the natural sciences”; “It is not problems of natural science which have to be solved”; “even if all possible scientific questions be answered, the problems of life have still not been touched at all”; “There is indeed the inexpressible. This shows itself; it is the mystical”. None of these sayings could possibly be interpreted as the views of a man who had renounced metaphysics. The Logical Positivists of the Vienna Circle had got Wittgenstein wrong, and in so doing had discredited themselves.


Same thing basically. Where does science end and philosophy begin? Okay, so let's narrow the discussion down to a context we are all familiar with and explore that. Clearly it would seem the laws of nature overlap with the rules of language. The laws of nature tell us about the interactions of matter and energy such that some things are true objectively for all of us. Same with language. Something is either logically true or it is not. Thus in discussions that do revolve around the either/or world both philosophers and scientists can concur regarding any number of things. And whether Wittgenstein is understood correctly by those in the Vienna Circle in regard to "metaphysics" doesn't change that.

Instead, the "problems of life" are almost always in regard to how we ought to react to the world around us when the way things are are thought to be either a good thing or a bad thing.

So, to the extent that science helps to create a world that brings into existence such things as computers, the internet, nuclear bombs and mind-boggling communications technology, those philosophers we call "political scientists" or "ethicists", along with sociologists and psychologists and others are always going to be around to weigh in on things.
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Fri Jan 14, 2022 5:22 pm

The Tractatus Code
Sándor Szegláb decodes the hidden message of the Tractatus.

The statements of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus start with index numbers. It is taken for granted that this indexing is used in such a way that 1.1 is a comment on or elaboration of 1, 1.11 and 1.12 comment on 1.1, and so forth. With Wittgenstein, however, nothing should be taken for granted. I will here demonstrate that he used his index numbers to hide a secret message. The secret meaning of the Tractatus in turn may also help ease the apparent tension between Wittgenstein’s negative alogicalism – his ultimate skepticism about the applicability of logical analysis to anything that really matters – and logical positivism, the philosopher camp that many have associated him with.


Reminds me a bit of this: https://youtu.be/3vi7043z6tI

So, sure, if there are secret messages in the Torah, then why not in Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Only for me, of course, my interests is always the same: connecting the dots existentially between morality here and now and immortality there and then. And here the Torah is likely to be more applicable, right?

Wittgenstein's "message" would seem more applicable to logic and epistemology. Where in regard to the either/or or the is/ought world what are the limitations of language when it all comes down to communicating in the most rational manner.

In regard to the things that "really matter".

Questioning the real use of terms is of fundamental importance, as we learn from 6.211: “In philosophy, the question ‘Why do we really use that word, that proposition?’ constantly leads to valuable results.” That Wittgenstein was aware of the need for asking this very same question about the numbers he uses in his foundational work on logical atomism is clear from what he says in 5.453: “All numbers in logic must be capable of justification.” We must therefore find out whether his usage of indexes in the Tractatus can be justified. The text itself shall be our guide.


Numbers and words. Apples and oranges to some of us. Again, depending on the context. With numbers, as most use them, the is/ought world doesn't go away. The numbers may correspond to actual objective facts, but the conflicting goods remain the same.

On the other hand, since none of this "philosophical analysis" here is brought down to earth by the author, I may well be missing the point altogether about words and numbers.

Anyone willing to correct or clarify my own thinking about them? This part for example:

A textual clue appears in 5.02: “For I recognize the meaning of the sign… from the index.” We can thus gather that our indexes have something to do with a sign, and the meaning of the sign can be recognized from the index. We also learn from 3.32 that “The sign is… perceptible by the senses,” and thus we should expect said sign to be perceptible, say, by our eyes.


What sign? What index? What in particular do our eyes see? Pertaining both to the either/or and the is/ought world.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Fri Jan 21, 2022 5:00 pm

Wittgenstein’s Significance
Mark Cain on the 50th anniversary of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s death.

Although the Tractatus is of great historical importance, it is fair to say that Wittgenstein’s standing as a philosopher mainly rests upon his later work, much of which focuses upon a closely-related battery of issues to do with language, mind and mathematics. It had a huge influence on philosophy in the middle decades of the 20th century, particularly in Britain.


Language, mind and mathematics for some, perhaps, but language, mind and morality for me. After all, with mathematics, one rarely comes across this: "Whereof one cannot speak thereof one must be silent."

Only when mathematics is employed regarding the very, very big and the very, very small are "the gap" and "Rummy's Rule" likely to come into play.

Instead, language becomes increasingly more muddled when we get around to the "rules of behavior" that entangle us in "perspectivism".

Throughout his later period Wittgenstein championed a revolutionary conception of the nature of philosophy and the way in which the philosopher should proceed. He rejected the traditional idea that the task of the philosopher is to solve philosophical problems by means of the construction of theories that present facts that were hitherto hidden or unknown. Hence, philosophy is to be sharply contrasted with science. Rather, the philosopher’s concern should be to describe our concepts and the relationships between them and so make explicit something that we all know (yet tend to lose sight of when we philosophise). For Wittgenstein, grasping concepts involves mastering the use of words and sentences. Consequently, carrying out the conceptual investigation that he recommends involves focusing on the manner in which we use the words and sentences of our language.


This part...

"...to describe our concepts and the relationships between them and so make explicit something that we all know..."

The part where I come in and ask others to take those conceptual descriptions intertwined in other conceptual descriptions and note the extent to which there are differences between human relationships in the either/or world and in the is/ought world. And thus the difference between the effectiveness of language in communicating to others what we think/believe/claim to know is true.

How [clearly] science is able to intertwine its own "world of words" with the world as it actually is for all of us. Whereas philosophers, ethicists, political scientists, anthropologists, sociologists etc., often seem to come into conflict over which description most rationally encompasses the "human condition".

Then I take it a step further and insist that "theoretical descriptions" that come into conflict are nothing compared to the conflicts generated "out in the world of human interactions" when "for all practical purposes" they smash into each other socially, politically and economically.

For example, theoretical/conceptual descriptions of capitalism vs. theoretical/conceptual descriptions of socialism given the actual history of both seeking to stomp each other out "down here".
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Fri Jan 28, 2022 5:28 pm

Wittgenstein’s Significance
Mark Cain on the 50th anniversary of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s death.

Wittgenstein thought that human beings have an irresistible urge to philosophise but when we give in to this urge we often lose sight of the nature of familiar concepts and so fall into error and confusion. Sometimes we set ourselves problems that are spurious. The ‘problem of other minds’ is one example, as our psychological concepts and the concept of knowledge are such that it is nonsense to fear that we can never know what another person thinks or feels.


The "problem of other minds" is hardly spurious when it comes to creating "rules of behaviors" in any given community. And the problem here revolves around minds that are only able to communicate intelligibly up to a point in regard to reconciling conflicting moral and political value judgments.

In particular the problem can mount when you encounter those who insist that there would be no problem at all if only everyone thought and felt as they do about [for some] everything under the sun.

And sometimes we are seduced by tempting pictures to make claims that are conceptually confused. Two such pictures are central targets of Wittgenstein’s reflections. The first is a picture of language according to which words name objects (the meaning of a word being the object that it names) and sentences are combinations of such names that serve to describe possible facts or states of affairs. In order to break the grip of this picture, he presented a battery of examples of language in use, some involving the use of imaginary simple languages. For example, in the opening section of the Philosophical Investigations Wittgenstein describes a case where someone enters a shop and presents the shopkeeper with a slip of paper marked ‘five red apples’. The shopkeeper responds in the following manner. He opens a drawer marked ‘apples’. Then he consults a colour chart to find the colour sample opposite the word ‘red’. As he says the series of cardinal numbers up to ‘five’ he takes an apple out of the drawer that matches the colour sample for each number. Such examples are designed to establish that we use words and sentences in many different ways and that such usage is intimately bound up with non-linguistic activities that constitute our distinctive human form of life.


Once again, however, in using as the example "five red apples" we are dealing with words that relate to the either/or world. Something either consist of 5 things or it does not. Something either is red or it is not. Something either is an apple or it is not. But suppose the note had read "five large eggs". Same thing. Only there are those who insist that consuming eggs is wrong. Those in Peta for example, "cannot condone using animals for any reason".

So, how do we determine when someone "falls into error and confusion" in their choice of language here?

The second pernicious picture that Wittgenstein went to great pains to undermine is that of the mind as being an inner theatre and mental phenomena (such as thoughts, intentions, states of understanding, and sensations) as residing inside this theatre and lying hidden behind our publicly accessible behaviour. It was in this context that he developed his famous argument against the possibility of a private language (a language that, in principle, can be understood only by a single person).


And yet given my own argument regarding dasein, there are any number of contexts in which each of us interacting with others who do not share our moral and political values do, "for all practical purposes" acquire our own existential understanding of what particular words mean. A private language in the sense that if others don't share our own meaning of the words in, say, the second amendment of the U.S. Constitution, truly contentious interactions can result.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Sat Feb 05, 2022 5:09 pm

Postmodern Understandings of Language and Power – Explanations and Refutations
February 1, 2019 Otto King
from The Postil Magazine website

Can language express truth? Can language give us a clear picture of reality?


Here of course what everyone will expect me to note is this: "given what particular context?"

Yes, that's my main "thing" when it comes to philosophy. And why wouldn't it be since, above all else, I come back to connecting the dots existentially in regard to this question: "how ought one to live in a world awash both in conflicting moral and political value judgments and in contingency, chance and change?"

Truth and clarity there.

Discussing Postmodernism has become almost prosaic given the intellectual climate of the 2010s. However, it has posed questions which directly challenge the most classical assertions of how we understand the world around us. For that alone it is worth responding to.

Postmodernism also remains relevant because much of current thinking is rooted in Postmodern ideas. This goes beyond just academic circles: it is easy to catch Postmodern ideas in everyday discourse. Nothing is unusual about hearing someone retort in an argument “Well, that’s subjective,” or if they are more well versed and a little bolder “That’s just interpretation, there’s never really any one meaning.”


Here, of course, it depends on how far you go with this. After all, think about your day to day interactions with others. Think about all of the countless times you don't stop to insist, "that’s just interpretation -- subjective -- there’s never really any one meaning."

Nothing much "postmodern" about the laws of nature, mathematics, the empirical world around is, human biology, the rules of logic.

These ideas originate from Postmodern language theory in particular. What is referred to as “Postmodernism” refers to a specific idea of language and how it functions. These ideas were shaped by numerous thinkers in the 1960s and 1970s: most popularly through French thinkers like Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida, who took the core ideas on language and related them to concepts of power, oppression, and freedom.


On the other hand, the language that postmodernists use to deconstruct meaning and purpose in our lives necessarily includes their own arguments. For me, it still comes down to connecting the dots existentially between this or that "core idea" and this or that set of circumstances. Power, oppression and freedom out in what particular world understood in what particular way? That laborious, often futile task of separating what through language we claim to believe is true and what we are in fact able to demonstrate is true for all rational human beings. Postmodernism changed none of that.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Sat Feb 12, 2022 7:40 pm

Postmodern Understandings of Language and Power – Explanations and Refutations
February 1, 2019 Otto King
from The Postil Magazine website

A critique of language of all things may appear benign and simply technical at first, but the challenge undermines confidence in our ability to have knowledge and the possibility of truth.


That's always been the thrust of my own argument...that in many crucial respects language seems to be profoundly embedded in our subjective experiences. Resulting in countless "failures to communicate". And what if these failures revolve around the fact that in regard to "conflicting goods" -- moral and political value judgments at odds -- human language is, perhaps, simply not capable of resolving these historical and cultural conflagrations?

There are some things languages can be very, very precise regarding in connecting the dots between words and worlds. But with other things, well, as they say, "the rest is history".

Let us explore both, but first I will need to explain the Postmodern understanding of language which I have been alluding to. I do warn that in discussing “Postmodernism” that there is a risk in generalization. The term remains elusive and the various thinkers who are characterized as Postmodern are not totally unified in their views. I will stick to explaining the broadly agreed upon problems Postmodern thinkers find in language and dabble with some responses.


Right from the start then...

Using language, to what extent are we able to "explain the Postmodern understanding of language" the author or anyone else refers to? After all, why do you suppose that once we leave discussions that pertain largely to "generalizations" imparted about postmodernism, and bring them "out into the world" of actual human interactions, we come to the at times heated debates regarding what postmodernism is? What if human language itself [even here] is not capable of bridging those subjective interpretive gaps and coming up with a more objective, "unified" consensus?

Especially given that, in regard to moral and political dissension, all language going back to the pre-Socratics, have utterly failed to bring about that vital unification that would make the "failures to communicate" go away. Here, in many crucial respects, postmodernism is just the next "school of thought" in line.
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Sat Feb 19, 2022 8:53 pm

Postmodern Understandings of Language and Power – Explanations and Refutations
February 1, 2019 Otto King
from The Postil Magazine website

Postmodern theories of language challenge the belief that language provides a stable way of understanding the world. When you use language, you are partaking in the act of representing things in the world through concepts.


Come on, we all know that in the course of living our lives and interacting with others from day to day, language is there to provide us with the sort of communication that is, over and over and over again, extremely stable. The concepts overlap with the world with the sort of precision that allows us to sustain social interactions we scarcely have to think about at all. Language and the either/or world are truly made for each other.

Where does postmodernism fit in there? Theoretically or otherwise.

This does not have to be simply through speech, when you are thinking or simply identifying an object you are representing the world through language.


Yes, but identifying what object in what set of circumstances? Are you or are you not able to communicate the object effectively to others through language such that all of us "of sound mind" are able to discuss it at length with no real conflicts?

But, as is almost always the case when it comes to "illustrating the text" here, the example is invariably something like this...

If you are for instance looking at a red apple, you will have the corresponding thought “That is a red apple,” which frames the experience and allows you to understand it. In that case, language is being used to formulate a claim which represents something out there in the world, namely that the apple is there and that it has the characteristic of “redness”. “There” is used to represent a concept of space–namely where the object is–and “red” is used to represent a concept of colour. Real things are therefore represented with concepts in language.


Yes, and how is any of this different for the postmodernists? Instead, as with most truly controversial discussions and debates, "attitudes of skepticism toward what it considers as the grand narratives and ideologies of modernism, as well as opposition to epistemic certainty and the stability of meaning" revolve far more around value judgments in the is/ought world?

But there, in my view, postmodernists are no less the embodiment of "I" at the existential juncture of "identity, conflicting goods and political economy".

Just note a "situation" that generates moral and political conflagrations, and we can discuss our own use of language -- limitations in particular -- in conveying "the objective truth".
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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Sat Feb 26, 2022 6:37 pm

Postmodern Understandings of Language and Power – Explanations and Refutations
February 1, 2019 Otto King
from The Postil Magazine website

Postmodern language theories argue that this sort of linear connection between language and objects in the world is fallacious and that, in fact, these kinds of representations are unstable. Instead of language being an accurate link to understanding reality, it is a product of culture and social circumstances. Therefore, representations and language are more indicative of culture rather than an objective reality.


Tell that to physicists, chemists, biologists, geologists, meteorologists, mathematicians and those in other disciplines who would never think of the language they use to communicate back and forth as anything but entirely linear. Even among anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists, psychologists and others in the "soft disciplines", they are able to agree on any number facts embedded in human interactions.

Ever and always [to me] the bottom line: that all we can do here is to note the extent to which anyone using language to communicate something that they believe is true are able, if pressed, to demonstrate to the best of their ability that in fact it is true. Or is true in one set of circumstances but not necessarily in another.

Postmodernists are no less included here.

The argument is that all human thought is done through language and that language has an intrinsic “messiness” to it. It relies on words and signs which Postmodernists claim can have countless meanings and interpretation. Without unified meanings Postmodernists argue that it becomes impossible to have singular representations of things in the world, meaning there is a large degree of interpretation to what is deemed reality–therefore, reality is never separated from a subject.


Sure, I may be misunderstanding the point being made by particular postmodernists, but the fact is that in any number of contexts there exist a reality that is clearly separate from the "interpretations" of the "subject".

This computer technology for example. What, it can't be encompassed and communicated in language without the discussion breaking down into heated disagreements about what the actual components of it are or how they work together to make it possible to function as they do.

It's like those who yank nihilism out of the is/ought world and attempt to make it applicable to, say, the laws of nature, mathematics, the rules of logic?

Yes, if you go far enough out on the metaphysical limb and start factoring in solipsism and sim worlds and dream worlds and determinism and Matrix realities -- "the gap", "Rummy's Rule" -- who the hell really knows what Reality itself is.

I'm always willing to concede that in regard to human language.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: the limitations of language

Postby iambiguous » Sat Mar 05, 2022 6:07 pm

Postmodern Understandings of Language and Power – Explanations and Refutations
February 1, 2019 Otto King
from The Postil Magazine website

Language having a cultural dimension also poses a challenge. Since, in this view, meaning is framed by the culture which creates it, what language can express about reality is structured by the types of discourses and meaning which is possible with the ideas of that culture. What Postmodernists are arguing is that the ideas of a culture limit what language can say about reality.


Right, like if different cultures set about creating a space program, there won't be any number of instances in which the language used to build the rocket ships won't be entirely interchangeable around the globe. On the other hand, the language used to convey differences of opinion regarding whether funding a space program is or is not more reasonable than spending the money on healthcare or infrastructure down here on planet Earth?

If true, this has significant implications, because every human body of knowledge (“epistemology”) has relied on the intuition that language can at least roughly represent reality. Without that foundational assumption, it is impossible to make any claims about the world or have any form of understanding---consequently defeating the possibility of having knowledge entirely.


Exactly. So, I've never really been entirely clear as to what the fuss is all about in regard to postmodernism, deconstruction, semiotics, etc.

To me, they all eventually became just another way of noting that in regard to "I" in the is/ought world, communication often breaks down precisely because language in regard to value judgments doesn't work the way it does in regard to material interactions in the either/or world.

Postmodernism then becomes just another way of encompassing the points I raise in with respect to dasein.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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