THE FATE OF ANALYSIS, #41–What is a Private Language?

By Robert Hanna

THE FATE OF ANALYSIS: Analytic Philosophy From Frege to The Ash-Heap of History, And Toward A Philosophy of the Future

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

II. Classical Analytic Philosophy

II.1 What Classical Analytic Philosophy Is: Two Basic Theses

II.2 What Classical Analytic Philosophy Officially Isn’t: Its Conflicted Anti-Kantianism

II.3 Classical Analytic Philosophy Characterized in Simple, Subtler, and Subtlest Ways

II.4 Three Kinds of Analysis: Decompositional, Transformative, and Conceptual

II.5 Frege, The First Founding Father of Classical Analytic Philosophy

II.6 Frege’s Project of (Transformative or Reductive) Analysis

II.7 Frege’s Dead End

II.8 Frege’s Semantics of Sense and Reference, aka Meaning

II.9 Some Biggish Problems For Frege’s Semantics

II.10 Husserl, Logic, and Logical Psychologism, aka LP

II.11 What LP is, and its Three Cardinal Sins

II.12 Husserl’s Three Basic Arguments Against LP

II.13 Has Husserl Begged the Question Against LP? Enter The Logocentric Predicament, and a Husserlian Way Out

III. Moore, Brentano, Husserl, Judgment, Anti-Idealism, and Meinong’s World

III.1 G.E. Moore, the Second Founding Father of Classical Analytic Philosophy

III.2 Brentano on Phenomenology, Mental Phenomena, and Intentionality

III.3 Husserl on Phenomenology and Intentionality

III.4 Moore and the Nature of Judgment

III.5 Moore and the Refutation of Idealism

III.6 Meinong’s World

IV. Russell, Unlimited Logicism, Acquaintance, and Description

IV.1 Russell Beyond Brentano, Husserl, Moore, and Meinong

IV.2 Russell and Mathematical Logic versus Kant

IV.3 Russell’s Unlimited Logicist Project

IV.4 Pursued by Logical Furies: Russell’s Paradox Again

IV.5 Russell’s ‘Fido’-Fido Theory of Meaning

IV.6 Knowledge-by-Acquaintance and Knowledge-by-Description

IV.7 Russell’s Theory of Descriptions

IV.8 Russell’s Multiple-Relation Theory of Judgment

IV.9 Russellian Analysis, Early Wittgenstein, and Impredicativity Again

IV.10 Russell and The Philosophy of Logical Atomism

V. Wittgenstein and the Tractatus 1: The Title, and Propositions 1–2.063

V.1 A Brief Synopsis of the Tractatus

V.2 The Tractatus in Context

V.3 The Basic Structure of the Tractatus: A Simple Picture

V.4 Tractarian Ontology

V.5 Reconstructing Wittgenstein’s Reasoning

V.6 What Are the Objects or Things?

V.7 The Role of Logic in Tractarian Ontology

V.8 Colorless Objects/Things

V.9 Tractarian Ontology, Necessity, and Contingency

V.10 Some Initial Worries, and Some Possible Wittgensteinian Counter-Moves

VI. Wittgenstein and the Tractatus 2: Propositions 2.013–5.55

VI.1 What is Logical Space? What is Real Space?

VI.2 Atomic Facts Necessarily Are in Manifest or Phenomenal Space, But Objects or Things Themselves Necessarily Aren’t in Manifest or Phenomenal Space

VI.3 Logical Space is Essentially More Comprehensive than Manifest or Phenomenal Space

VI.4 Why There Can’t/Kant Be a Non-Logical World

VI.5 A Worry About Wittgenstein’s Conception of Logic: Non-Classical Logics

VI.6 What is a Tractarian Proposition?

VI.7 Naming Objects or Things, and Picturing Atomic Facts

VI.8 Signs, Symbols, Sense, Truth, and Judgment

VI.9 Propositions Again

VI.10 Language and Thought

VII. Wittgenstein and the Tractatus 3: Propositions 4–5.61

VII.1 The Logocentric Predicament, Version 3.0: Justifying Deduction

VII.2 The Logical Form of Deduction

VII.3 Logic Must Take Care of Itself

VII.4 Tautologies and Contradictions

VII.5 What is Logic?

VII.6 Logic is the A Priori Essence of Language

VII.7 Logic is the A Priori Essence of Thought

VII.8 Logic is the A Priori Essence of the World

VIII. Wittgenstein and the Tractatus 4: Propositions 5.62–7

VIII.1 Tractarian Solipsism and Tractarian Realism

VIII.2 Tractarian Solipsism

VIII.3 Tractarian Realism

VIII.4 Is the Tractatus’s Point an Ethical One?

VIII.5 The Meaning of Life

VIII.6 Three Basic Worries About the Tractatus

VIII.7 Natural Science and the Worry About the Simplicity of the Objects or Things

VIII.8 Natural Science and the Worry About the Logical Independence of Atomic Facts

VIII.9 Tractarian Mysticism and the Worry About Metaphilosophy

IX. Carnap, The Vienna Circle, Logical Empiricism, and The Great Divide

IX.1 Carnap Before and After the Tractatus

IX.2 Carnap, The Vienna Circle, and The Elimination of Metaphysics

IX.3 The Verifiability Principle and Its Fate

IX.4 The Davos Conference and The Great Divide

X. Gödel-Incompleteness and Formal Piety: The Death of Classical Logicism in Thirty-One Steps

X.1 Introduction

X.2 Twenty-Five of the Thirty-One Steps

X.3 Conclusion: The Last Six Steps

XI. Wittgenstein and the Investigations 1: Preface, and §§1–27

XI.1 From the Tractatus to the Investigations

XI.2 The Thesis That Meaning Is Use

XI.3 A Map of the Investigations

XI.4 The Critique of Pure Reference: What the Builders Did

XII. Wittgenstein and the Investigations 2: §§28–242

XII.1 The Picture Theory and the Vices of Simplicity

XII.2 Wittgenstein’s Argument Against The Picture Theory: A Rational Reconstruction

XII.3 Understanding and Rule-Following

XII.4 Wittgenstein’s Rule-Following Paradox: The Basic Rationale

XII.5 Wittgenstein’s Rule-Following Paradox: A Rational Reconstruction

XII.6 Kripkenstein’s Rule-Following Paradox: Why Read Kripke Too?

XII.7 Kripkenstein’s Rule-Following Paradox: A Rational Reconstruction

XII.8 How to Solve The Paradox: Wittgenstein’s Way and Kripkenstein’s Way

XII.8.1 Wittgenstein and The Rule-Following Paradox: A Rational Reconstruction

XII.8.2 Kripkenstein and The Rule-Following Paradox: A Rational Reconstruction

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.1.1 Introduction

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.7.1 Introduction

XVII.7.2 Stage-Setting

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.8.1 Introduction

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.1 Introduction

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

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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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.

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Chapter XIII. Wittgenstein and the Investigations 3: §§242–315

XIII.1 What is a Private Language?

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.

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