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Early and Later Wittgenstein's conception of the world, ethics and later analysis of language.

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Introduction

Prompt: The essence of early Wittgenstein's philosophy is that we are to go about a life dictated by facts, facts and more facts. He is not able to talk about the "most important things in life," namely, ethics. This absolute view of the world softens in Wittgenstein's later philosophy. I believe the methodology that the later Wittgenstein uses may be able to benefit from a consideration of a transcendental phenomenological plane (or something similar) as that given by a similar philosopher, Sankara. Comparing Wittgenstein's later philosophy to that Sankara's, we can see how similar philosophies treat the placement of "the most important things in life" within their linguistic sphere and possibly examine the treatment of one of those "non-speakable" items: Ethics. In the end, I think that Wittgenstein has a distinct problem with reference and meaning that I hope to explain and perhaps examine to find a way to ethics in his own terminology. I. Early and Later Wittgenstein's conception of the world, ethics and later analysis of language. There are, for Wittgenstein, "hard" and "fluid" propositions and the relationship between them can change over time so that fluid propositions could become hardened and hardened ones could become fluid. However, the nature of these propositions, the ones that serve as foundations, is unlike ordinary propositions. The propositions or core beliefs that constitute a form of life cannot be enumerated as a set. This would constitute the set of our beliefs, which ground our human ways of living. However, propositions that stand fast for us, such as the claim that the earth existed long before my birth, cannot, it seems be listed as a set. In fact, Wittgenstein claims that the expression "I know" is misused if we think we can enumerate all the propositions that we know. I am aware that certain things stand fast for me but they are not articulated as propositions. ...read more.

Middle

pot," "real (sensed) cloth," "real (sensed) elephant," the objects (pot, cloth, elephant) constantly change, whereas the reality of the sense experience does not. What Sankara seems to have in mind when explaining the superimpositions of language in statements like "I am in pain," and "This is mine," is not the obvious explanation that these statements do not refer always to the same subject or object, but rather that they do not necessarily refer to any subject or object at all, even though at times they do. The boundaries of "I" or "Pain" or "this" or "mine" are not given by any of the terms language uses when it says "this is mine," or "I am in pain." In the Philosophical Investigations (404, 405), Wittgenstein brings out this same point when he suggests that any decision on identity-making has no one factual answer but rather depends on a great variety of criteria for determining personal (or other) identity. It is up to every language user to decide which criteria to employ. The simple use of terms like "I" or "mine" does not prescribe in any way which criterion we are to use. In fact it presupposes none. It is entirely up to us to decide the type of game we are going to play with sensation-terms so that we may decide, even while suffering the pain, which kind of "candidate" we wish to have as "sensation-owner." We will examine the criteria under which the Real is called "real" and multiplicity is called "illusion." Sankara uses the word "unreal" to mean everything other than Brahman (the Real). At times, however, he uses the word "real" to mean the commonly perceived world, in order to oppose this meaning to the "unreality" of dreams and hallucinations, like the water-mirage and the rope taken for a snake. He also uses the word "unreal" to mean the "non-experienceable," giving as illustrations examples common to all Indian philosophy: "hare's horn," "sky-flower," "a barren woman's son." ...read more.

Conclusion

is evident that if we strive to clarify those linguistic items that would have given us a problem in interpretation in that past, then we may perhaps be able to see a way to define a cogent interpretation of ethics. Without any previous barrier on interpretation, I believe that Wittgenstein has opened a pseudo-transcendental plane on which to encourage meaningful analysis. Since the focus is on the proper use of one's vernacular, ethics could hold a very important place in Wittgenstein's conception, namely it could be thus defined as how we are. Our everyday life could be our "ethics" and thus the notion of obscure reference is lost. We are our own best interpreter and if we choose to view our language in a rule-book fashion (I am going to do X because or the belief Y), then the world of ethics is much closer to us that Wittgenstein first thought. I think that this would satisfy Wittgenstein's earlier need to speak of come "unspeakable" items, namely ethics. It has been apparent that in fact Advaita Vedanta doesn't have any reasons to be backed into any sort of ethical corner; it seems Sankara helped to bring about the epitome of linguistic analysis as a method in philosophical investigations, which emerged much later in the Western tradition (1200 years later!), through the works of Wittgenstein. It is my impression that Wittgenstein and Sankara were both working on similar philosophical problems: problems of meaning and reference. The notion of Brahman was involved in the solution espoused by Sankara. Wittgenstein seems to want to iron out interpretation to better understand the prior unspeakable items. Philosophically, the more reliable and enlightening view takes it as merely a logico-linguistic condition that must be met for epistemological communication to be possible. 1 Tractatus: 1.1 2 Tractatus: 2.011, 2.0121, 2.0123, 2.013 3 Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics, VI, 34 4 Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics, I, 132 5 Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics, I, 132 Senior Thesis 12/12/03 ...read more.

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