Wittgenstein on the arbitrariness of grammar forster michael n. Wittgenstein on the Arbitrariness of Grammar by Michael N. Forster 2019-02-19

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Wittgenstein on the Arbitrariness of Grammar

wittgenstein on the arbitrariness of grammar forster michael n

For a good account of this, see Monk, Ludwig Wittgenstein. Whatever faults may remain are of course entirely my own responsibility. I then conclude that exegetical exercise by arguing that the position which emerges from it stands in need of certain modest revisions, however chapter 4. It is that the question of whether or not alternatives have actually occurred is a matter of philosophical indifference to him because what really interests him is the grammatical or conceptual question of their possibility, and he believes that this question can be answered independently of the question of whether or not they have actually occurred so that his occasional references to actually occurring alternatives are inessential, merely convenient but dispensable illustrations. See Kripke, Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language.

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Wittgenstein on the Arbitrariness of Grammar by Michael N. Forster · OverDrive (Rakuten OverDrive): eBooks, audiobooks and videos for libraries

wittgenstein on the arbitrariness of grammar forster michael n

In chapter 3 Forster somewhat qualifies this position by examining the ways in which grammar can be considered nonarbitrary. However, the exegetical cause of the diversity thesis is far from lost here. I shall go into this whole thorny topic a little further in the next chapter. Admittedly, Wittgenstein does give a few examples of alternative grammatical principles and concepts in which he either fails to signal scruples concerning their literal intelligibility to us or perhaps even implies such intelligibility. This reading will serve as a sort of foil for the interpretation developed in the present work.

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Wittgenstein on the Arbitrariness of Grammar by Michael N. Forster · OverDrive (Rakuten OverDrive): eBooks, audiobooks and videos for libraries

wittgenstein on the arbitrariness of grammar forster michael n

Or is there more wood, but the same weight? In short, as far as straight exegesis is concerned, passages the limits of language 137 A and B cannot overturn the claim that Wittgenstein is committed to the diversity thesis in favor of saying that he is committed to something more like the Williams-Lear position as his considered view, for they not only face indirect opposition from the many passages which express the diversity thesis itself as adumbrated in chapter 2 but are also directly contradicted and counterbalanced by the corresponding but contrary evidence of passages A1 and B1. Warm thanks are also due to Ian Malcolm and Harry Frankfurt for their great care and good judgment in shepherding the project through to publication, and to Jodi Beder and Debbie Tegarden for excellent editorial work. At certain points Wittgenstein seems to hint that such a choice indeed can and should be based on reasons, and that these are reasons of utility relative to various purposes which one might have in, say, drawing a boundary between linguistic and non-linguistic behavior. However, in his late work he begins to develop a more intriguing line of 238 n ot e s t o pag e s 1 8 6 — 1 8 7 response which exploits his general late invocation of the phenomenon of recognizing aspects in order to throw light on the way in which language is guided by unformulated, and sometimes indeed unformulable, rules. Certainly; why should there not be such propositions. It might reasonably be protested that this consideration falls short of decisiveness against Wittgenstein because there may be commitments in our ordinary language concept of meaning which lie buried beneath the surface, as it were. And indeed, this is exactly how he does characterize understanding in several places.

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Wittgenstein on the Arbitrariness of Grammar by Michael N. Forster · OverDrive (Rakuten OverDrive): eBooks, audiobooks and videos for libraries

wittgenstein on the arbitrariness of grammar forster michael n

And since that fundamental empirical argument also implicitly underpinned the two auxiliary arguments, its demise in this fashion would also entail theirs. Any law asserting what is, can be conceived as prescribing that one ought to think in conformity with it, and is thus in that sense a law of thought. On this view, Wittgenstein's examples of strange tribes with very different practices to our own are supposed to map the bounds of sense by showing where we drift over them. The point is simply that since it is pretty clear that we do have fallible knowledge of our own mental dispositions in many other cases, the fact that the dispositional theory of understanding would be committed to saying the same can hardly count against it. The points which I am about to make against seeing the rule-following argument as a revelation of such a buried commitment therefore fall short of showing that no argument could reveal one. Any attempt to justify a grammatical principle by reference to its successful realization of purposes would, it seems, have to rest on a factual claim concerning such success. Fourth, and most radically, Wittgenstein is moreover skeptical that a person could ever come literally to understand an the problem of access 165 alternative grammar and concepts, in the sense that, while retaining his literal understanding of his own grammar and concepts, he came literally to understand the alternative grammar and concepts as well, at all—whether through a description, through participation in another social tradition, through the careful hermeneutics of the classical scholar, or in any other way.

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Wittgenstein on the Arbitrariness of Grammar by Michael N. Forster · OverDrive (Rakuten OverDrive): eBooks, audiobooks and videos for libraries

wittgenstein on the arbitrariness of grammar forster michael n

See also logic; negation truth-in-virtue-of-meaning, 12—13, 31f. One might say in such a case that the term. Strongly argued and cleary written, this book will appeal not only to philosophers but also to students of the human sciences, for whom Wittgenstein's work holds great relevance. He is, however, sharply critical of an existing Kantian or transcendental reading of Wittgenstein advanced by Bernard Williams and Jonathan Lear, according to which there is and can be only one fundamental grammar or conceptual scheme. And how could what the one says restrict what the other can say? Indeed, it seems that, whether or not he is happy to acknowledge the fact, Wittgenstein is heavily committed to undertaking at least this much conceptual revision in relation to some of the terms from this family. See also logic; truth-functions Newton, I.

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Wittgenstein on the Arbitrariness of Grammar

wittgenstein on the arbitrariness of grammar forster michael n

One apparent problem with it concerns its shift to speaking of conditions of meaning or understanding. I hope to show, though, that in the end they do not really undercut the diversity thesis either exegetically or philosophically. However, it might well also encourage a compensating pruning back of the arbitrariness thesis. Note that this last passage shows with special clarity that Wittgenstein does indeed intend the—here, social—constraints which he is invoking to function as part of his explanation of the nature of necessity. To obey a rule, to make a report. Before leaving the diversity thesis and the Williams-Lear reading for a while, though, there is one further question bearing on them that deserves brief consideration: Why does Wittgenstein put so much more emphasis on imaginary alternatives than on actual ones? Perhaps not for people like myself who are more sympathetic to skepticism, however.

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Michael N. Forster: Wittgenstein on the Arbitrariness of Grammar (ePUB)

wittgenstein on the arbitrariness of grammar forster michael n

A full account of this would be a complicated matter and is beyond both the scope and the needs of this essay. Might it not be a mystical one? But with a dash of interpretive charity they can be united into a single consistent and cogent contrary position. There might be a temptation to respond to this point that the necessity in question here is not supposed to be, as it were, metaphysical, in any of the three ways just canvased, but instead purely normative, more like the necessity of morals. I shall not pursue this point any further, however. Naess, Interpretation and Preciseness Oslo: Dybwad, 1953 ; L. A plausible answer to this objection might run as follows.

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Michael N. Forster: Wittgenstein on the Arbitrariness of Grammar (ePUB)

wittgenstein on the arbitrariness of grammar forster michael n

In the absence of such empirical regularities, mathematical sentences would lose their use and hence their sense. However, this appearance is illusory. For Wittgenstein, this diversity of purposes importantly includes differences between our purposes with our grammatical principles and concepts and the purposes that other people who use alternative grammatical principles and concepts have with theirs. It seems to me that both decisions both the exegetical and 184 chapter seven the philosophical should fall on the side of preferring the diversity thesis over the doctrine of exclusive commitment. Whereas Kant appeals to noumenal human nature constraining the human mind to this, Wittgenstein appeals to empirical human nature as one of the things that does so. What idea do we have of the king of chess, and what is its relation to the rules of chess? It is possible, however, that Wittgenstein means to tease us with a sense of paradox on the way to this realization. Such an investigation sheds light on our problem by clearing misunderstandings away.

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Wittgenstein on the Arbitrariness of Grammar by Michael N. Forster · OverDrive (Rakuten OverDrive): eBooks, audiobooks and videos for libraries

wittgenstein on the arbitrariness of grammar forster michael n

However, the early Wittgenstein of the Tractatus had argued that it was impossible for propositions, language, or thought to violate classical logic T, 3—3. If you tried to doubt everything you would not get as far as doubting anything. This status precludes their possession of truth-values in two intimately connected ways: First, rules, conventions, commands, commandments, and categorical imperatives have the wrong sort of force to be true or false. It also suggests that in order to solve this problem Kant would have had to arrive at some conclusions which would at the very least have greatly surprised him. These two sets are as follows.

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Forster, Michael, N. Wittgenstein on the Arbitrariness of Grammar.

wittgenstein on the arbitrariness of grammar forster michael n

But what the king can do is laid down by the rules. Are there alternative conceptual schemes? Accordingly, my main exegetical task in this part of the essay will be to distinguish and explain in turn a sense in which he supposes grammar to be arbitrary chapter 2 and another sense in which he supposes it to be non-arbitrary chapter 3. I must be able to specify how I imagine such an expansion. This generalization is due to the fact that Wittgenstein does not believe that logical and socalled analytic necessities are susceptible to the sorts of easy alternative explanations that Kant thought he had for them. Kant, lacking the conception, which is at least relatively new with Wittgenstein, of a type of principle that is internal to concepts not in the sense of being derivable from them by analysis but in the sense of constituting them,20 would have tended to see any such notion as making the principles in question analytic, and hence susceptible to an entirely different sort of explanation. There are certainly other ways in which someone might attempt to uncover a commitment to enduring social practice buried in our everyday concept of meaning as well. Part I interprets his conception of grammar as a generalized and otherwise modified version of Kant's transcendental idealist solution to a puzzle about necessity.

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