Instead of reading David Morey’s novel (which I had with me on our trip to the Gulf Coast over the Thanksgiving holiday) I finished Wittgenstein’s “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus” and got about half-way through “Philosophical Investigations”.
The latter so far just seems to continue casting doubt on the science (logic) of natural language, and of course logic is something he already debunked philsophically in the Tractatus – “All philosophy is critique of language” (4.0031) – “All propositions of logic say the same thing. That is nothing” (5.43)
The lingusitic stuff doesn’t so far seem to say much more than I’ve already read in Quine’s “Word and Object” – Gavegai, etc (and in Foucault, Derrida and Dennett ?) but I’m only part-way through.
Tractatus was generally a disappointment, but there were surprises, in that whilst following a very methodical structuring of dependent logical assertions, he was actually undermining the value of logic in real world philosophy, and there are some great one-liner jokes to boot. Methinks he must have had a wicked sense of humour at Russell’s expense.
After several dense pages of formal logical notation in 5.5 he concludes “This shows that there is no such thing as the soul” in 5.5421 – Brilliant.
(He is also obsessed by “colour” – the reality of experiencing it vs “naming” or “describing” it … I note that this is something he has also written on elswehere. A recurring theme in “mind” philosophy generally … “Mary the colour scientist” etc.)
Must write more when I’ve fully digested Wittgenstein. Apart from making reference to his mentor Russell, and thence Frege, Witt doesn’t sully himself with analysing the thinking of others – an arrogance he shares with Pirsig, no ?
[Post Note : Read a fair bit “about” Wittgenstein one way or another, despite only recently reading him in the original. I was browsing his Wikipedia entry, partly because I’m still following the conversion to faith / intellectual elitism angle for some reason I’m not yet quite sure of, and sure enough found that point confirmed for future reference. I wasn’t expecting to find this. Could I really have forgotten ? Yep, sure enough, there it is plenty about this in Edmunds and Eidinow. My copy is full of annotations I’ve never followed-up. When will I ever find the time ?]