It’s (All ?) In The Question

I’ve no wish to clutter up Sam’s blog with my atheist comments, so I’ve brought the link here to make my comment.

OK OK you win, I have to read Wittgenstein 🙂

Sam Says [Quote] In Remarks on Colour, §317, Wittgenstein writes: “When someone who believes in God looks around him and asks ‘Where did everything that I see come from?’ ‘Where did everything come from?’, he is not asking for a (causal) explanation; and the point of his question is that it is the expression of such a request. Thus, he is expressing an attitude towards all explanations.”

In other words: this is meaningful. Asking the question is an expression of its meaning, not a query about the meaning. [Unquote]

I would point out that Wittgenstein’s point is applied to “someone who believes in God”. However I doubt the statement is true even with that caveat. Yes asking a question has some value in it’s own right – for some of the askings it may indeed be the primary, only value – rhetorical questions for a start. But it can scarcely be the only reason anyone would ask that question.

Wittgenstein’s quote actually contains many other useful points, but accepting that causality itself is somewhat mysterious, there are also pragmatic reasons to ask such a question and apply an understanding of any possible causal answers to decisions affecting the future. So yet again, I buy god-like analogies for the wonder of the workings of the world, but cannot buy any causal involvement (in any intentional, purposeful intellegent entity sense) beyond “natural causes”.

Good news is that “explanation” is the focus again.

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