The Talking Lion

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

For your philosophical enjoyment....

There are still harmless self-observers who believe that there are "immediate certainties"; for example, "I think", or as the superstition of Schopenhauer put it, "I will"; as though knowledge here got hold of its object purely and nakedly as "the thing in itself," without any falsification on the part of either the subject or the object. But that "immediate certainty," as well as "absolute knowledge" and the "thing in itself," involve a contradictio in adjecto, I shall repeat a hundred times; we really ought to be free ourselves from the seduction of words!
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil §16

Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of our language
- Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations §109

A picture held us captive. And we could not get outside it, for it lay in our language and language seemed to repeat it to us inexorably.
- §115

...ask yourself whether our language is complete;--whether it was so before the symbolism of chemistry and the notation of the infinitesimal calculus were incorporated in it; for these are, so to speak, suburbs of our language. (And how many houses or streets does it take before a town begins to be a town?) Our language may be seen as an ancient city: a maze of little streets and squares, of old an new houses, and of houses with additions from various periods; and this surrounded by a multitude of new boroughs with straight regular streets and uniform houses.
- §18

Just to get one thinking, where in the ancient city does our religious language dwell? Or expressions like "I think" or "I will"? "I am"? Certainly not in the "suburbs" with their "straight regular streets and uniform houses." And of course the old, irregular parts of cities are extremely interesting, and perhaps fun and interesting to live in, as long as you realize that they arent the only parts of the city, and certainly not functional for many activities...I am off to the park to do some writing, I shall have two more posts when I return.


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