Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Philosophy and Understanding

Allow me to formulate my “Conception of Philosophy.”  Appropriate to my understanding of the subject, I have a quick way to do it.  I’ll use a few bits from Kenny’s book From Empedocles to Wittgenstein, Ch 11 “Philosophy States Only What Everyone Admits,” pages 136-137. Kenny opens by quoting Wittgenstein in the Investigations:
“In philosophy we do not draw conclusions. ‘But it must be like this!’ is not a philosophical proposition. Philosophy only states what everyone admits.” (PI #599) 
Kenny then quotes Peter Hacker’s response to the above, in which Hacker puts his finger on what he believes Wittgenstein is (or rather is not) saying: “It does not mean that there are no arguments in philosophy, or that no definite conclusions can be drawn from them, e.g. that solipsism and idealism are incoherent, or that private language is unintelligible.”

Kenny replies:
“Against Hacker, I think Wittgenstein is seriously maintaining that there are no arguments in philosophy, and that philosophical methods lead to no conclusions. If it is possible definitively to dispose of philosophical errors such as solipsism and idealism, or the belief in private objects, this is achieved by methods that resemble the cure of a delusion rather than the deduction of a therom.”  
A little lower, Kenny quotes the following line from the Investigations: “Philosophy simply puts everything before us, and neither explains nor deduces anything” (PI #126).  There is another line that comes to mind from Wittgenstein to the effect that “Philosophy leaves everything as it is.” I don’t consider this to be anti-philosophy, but instead consider it to be advancement in our understanding of what understanding really means... or, put another way, what understanding really is.

1 comment:

Dario Rivarossa said...

>“Philosophy leaves everything as it is.”

What about the 'Heisenberg effect'?