By Robert Hanna
TABLE OF CONTENTS
X. Gödel-Incompleteness and Formal Piety: The Death of Classical Logicism in Thirty-One Steps
X.2 Twenty-Five of the Thirty-One Steps
X.3 Conclusion: The Last Six Steps
XIII. Wittgenstein and the Investigations 3: §§242–315
XIII.1 What is a Private Language?
XIII.2 The Private Language Argument: A Rational Reconstruction
XIII.3 Is Wittgenstein a Behaviorist? No.
XIII.4 Wittgenstein on Meanings, Sensations, and Human Mindedness: A Rational Reconstruction
XIV. Wittgenstein and the Investigations 4: §§316–693 and 174e-232e
XIV.1 Linguistic Phenomenology
XIV.2 Two Kinds of Seeing
XIV.3 Experiencing the Meaning of a Word
XIV.4 The Critique of Logical Analysis, and Logic-As-Grammar
XV. Coda: Wittgenstein and Kantianism
XV.1 World-Conformity 1: Kant, Transcendental Idealism, and Empirical Realism
XV.2 World-Conformity 2: Wittgenstein, Transcendental Solipsism, and Pure Realism
XV.3 World-Conformity 3: To Forms of Life
XV.4 The Critique of Self-Alienated Philosophy 1: Kant’s Critical Metaphilosophy
XV.5 The Critique of Self-Alienated Philosophy 2: Wittgensteinian Analysis as Critique
XVI. From Quine to Kripke and Analytic Metaphysics: The Adventures of the Analytic-Synthetic Distinction
XVI.1 Two Urban Legends of Post-Empiricism
XVI.2 A Very Brief History of The Analytic-Synthetic Distinction
XVI.3 Why the Analytic-Synthetic Distinction Really Matters
XVI.4 Quine’s Critique of the Analytic-Synthetic Distinction, and a Meta-Critique
XVI.5 Three Dogmas of Post-Quineanism
Chapter XVII. Crisis Management: Husserl’s Crisis, Post-Classical Analytic Philosophy, and The Ash-Heap of History
XVII.1 Husserl’s Crisis and Our Crisis
XVII.1.2 The Thematic Structure of the Crisis
XVII.1.3 Theme 1: A Husserlian Critique of Science
XVII.1.4 Theme 2: A Teleological Interpretation of European Culture Since the 17th Century, Focused on the History of Modern Philosophy
XVII.1.5 Theme 3: The Core Notion of the Life-World
XVII.1.6 Theme 4: Transcendental Phenomenology
XVII.1.7 Crisis? What Crisis?
XVII.2 Formal and Natural Science After 1945, and the Rise of Natural Mechanism
XVII.3 The Emergence of Post-Classical Analytic Philosophy
XVII.4 The Two Images Problem and its Consequences
XVII.5 The Rise, Fall, and Normalization of Post-Modern Philosophy
XVII.6 Why Hasn’t Post-Classical Analytic Philosophy Produced Any Important Ideas in the Last Thirty-Five Years?
XVII.7 The Ballad of Donald Kalish and Angela Davis: A Micro-Study
XVII.7.3 The Ballad
XVII.7.4 The Double Life Problem, and Your Options
XVII.8 On Irad Kimhi’s Thinking and Being, Or, It’s The End Of Analytic Philosophy As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
XVII.8.2 The Classical Analytic Package, and Kimhi
XVII.8.3 Kimhi’s Five Main Claims, and What’s Wrong With Them
XVII.8.4 Can Logic Absolve Us of Our Sins and Redeem the World?
XVIII. Epilogue: The New Poverty of Philosophy and Its Second Copernican Revolution
XVIII.2 Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Philosophy Revisited
XVIII.3 The New Poverty of Philosophy
XVIII.4 How is Philosophy Really Possible Inside the Professional Academy? A Global Metaphilosophical Problem
XVIII.5 Philosophy’s Second Copernican Revolution, Part 1: The Metaphilosophical Paradigm Shift to Anarcho- or Borderless Philosophy
XVIII.6 Philosophy’s Second Copernican Revolution, Part 2: The Metaphysical Paradigm Shift to Humanistic Neo-Organicism
XVIII.7 Conclusion: Let’s Go There
The first 35 installments in this online series followed the 2020 working draft version of THE FATE OF ANALYSIS.
Starting with installment #36, all subsequent installments follow the 2021 final draft version of the book.
This installment contains section XIII.1.
Chapter X is new in the 2021 final draft version.
But you can also read or download a .pdf version of the complete 2021 final draft version of the book, which contains all eighteen chapters, including the new chapter X, and a full bibliography, HERE.
Chapter XIII. Wittgenstein and the Investigations 3: §§242–315
XIII.1 What is a Private Language?
All rationally charitable readers of the Investigations agree that one of its central and principal achievements is The Private Language Argument: Wittgenstein‘s demonstration of the impossibility of (or: the incoherence of the concept of) a private language. But unfortunately very few readers, even the most rationally charitable ones, agree either (i) about what precisely a “private language” is, or (ii) about what The Private Language Argument actually is. Obviously, however, since no progress can be made on the second question unless the first question has been adequately answered, then that’s where we’ll start.
First and foremost, a private language is a solipsistic language in the sense that it is a language whose meanings are nothing but mental representations (or “ideas”) in the mind of an individual speaking subject. A solipsistic language of this sort is such that only one person can understand it, because its meanings or semantic contents are determined wholly and solely by what is inside that person‟s head (or alternatively: inside that person’s Cartesian soul, if you’re a substance dualist). I’ll call any language that’s solipsistic in this way a language that’s solipsistic with respect to its semantic content. But unfortunately, even the notion of a language that’s solipsistic with respect to its semantic content is ambiguous, because there are at least two disjointly different classes of subjective mental representations that might be identified with meanings: (i) sensations (i.e., phenomenal qualia or phenomenally conscious mental states) of various kinds, all of which lack representational content, and (ii) other mental items (i.e., other sorts of mental states, mental processes, mental images, mentalistic terms for direct reference, aka “intuitions,” Anschauungen, mentalistic concepts, aka Begriffe, rule-following impressions, memories, anticipations, desires, emotions, etc.), of various kinds, generally called cognitions, all of which contain representational content. As a consequence, there are at least two different kinds of language that are solipsistic with respect to their semantic contents: (i) sensation languages, i.e., solipsistic languages in which words have meaning by standing for an individual speaker‘s sensations, and (ii) cognition languages, i.e., solipsistic languages in which words have meaning by standing for an individual speaker’s cognitions. And in fact, Wittgenstein wants to argue against the possibility of both sensation languages and cognition languages.
In a second way, however, a private language can also be a solipsistic language in the quite different sense of a “mental language” or lingua mentis, that is, a language whose words (types and tokens alike) are nothing but mental representations in the mind of an individual speaking subject. A solipsistic language of this sort is such that only one person can understand it, because its grammatically-structured signs or symbols are determined wholly and solely by what is inside the head (or Cartesian soul) of a single speaking subject. I’ll call languages of this sort languages that are solipsistic with respect to their syntactic vehicles.
From the standpoint of clearly understanding The Private Language Argument, the unfortunate thing about private languages that are solipsistic with respect to their syntactic vehicles is that they aren’t necessarily equivalent with private languages that are that are solipsistic with respect to their semantic contents. And that’s because of the following two facts. First, it’s possible for there to be languages that are solipsistic with respect to their semantic contents, but also are not solipsistic with respect to their syntactic vehicles. These languages would include sensation languages that are also public natural languages. For example, according to phenomenalists (say, the early logical empiricists/positivists), the ordinary English sensation-word ‘pain’ would mean this painy sensation now. And second, it’s possible for there to be private languages that are solipsistic with respect to their syntactic vehicles, but also are not solipsistic with respect to their semantic contents. These languages would include any mental language or lingua mentis that has a direct translation into a public natural language. For example, my mental word “##” could mean the same as “beetle” in English.
And if this were not already bad enough, there are also private languages that are actually public with respect to their semantic vehicles, but trivially solipsistic with respect to their syntactic vehicles. Consider, for example, Robinson Crusoe’s monologues on his island before encountering Friday, or the text of Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky before he actually showed it to anyone else (or perhaps even before he actually wrote it down).
Now what’s the point of drawing all these careful distinctions? The answer is that the private languages that are the target of The Private Language Argument are just these:
All and only languages that are solipsistic with respect with their semantic contents, whether or not they’re also solipsistic with respect to their syntactic vehicles, including all sensation languages and all cognition languages.
And this excludes many languages that are solipsistic with respect to their syntactic vehicles, as well as most languages that are trivially solipsistic with respect to their syntactic vehicles.
AGAINST PROFESSIONAL PHILOSOPHY REDUX 537
Mr Nemo, W, X, Y, & Z, Monday 22 March 2021
Please consider becoming a patron!