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[Wittrs] Searle at Simply Wittgenstein [message #6690] Thu, 09 June 2011 00:35 Go to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
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... here is Searle on Wittgenstein in what appears to be an exclusive interview for Simply Wittgenstein:

http://simplycharly.com/wittgenstein/john_searle_interview.php


Although he makes some interesting and thoughtful remarks, we come to the point in the interview where Searle shows us why he could never be regarded in a serious conversation as being one of America's greatest philosophic minds. In fact, the below quote seems to evidence that he is challenged by the notion of what the greatest ideas might have been:   "Wittgenstein was a very great philosopher, but he is not in the same class with the people I mentioned [Aristotle, Plato and Kant]. For example, his work is not comprehensive in the way that most of the great giants of the past were. He has very little to say about ethics and political philosophy, for example."


I don't mind Searle in other respects. Thought his Chinese Room argument was worthwhile. But his assessment of the relative worth of Wittgenstein's ideas is only greater evidence of certain traits in himself that may be lacking.  

Regards and thanks.


Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
 

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Re: [Wittrs] Searle at Simply Wittgenstein [message #6691 is a reply to message #6690] Thu, 09 June 2011 11:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
kirby urner is currently offline  kirby urner
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On Wed, Jun 8, 2011 at 9:35 PM, Sean Wilson <whoooo26505@yahoo.com> wrote: > ... here is Searle on Wittgenstein in what appears to be an exclusive interview for Simply Wittgenstein: > http://simplycharly.com/wittgenstein/john_searle_interview.php >

Thanks for the link.

The story is pretty consistent in dividing the world into Analytics versus Continentals.
Searle likes claiming the former tribe as his own, and pokes at the latter for their
writing being unclear (too Heideggerian no doubt -- I empathize). Wittgenstein is
claimed as an Analytic but as fairly safe and defanged, more a saint than a subversive (saints having been safely dealt with many times, including by Anglican Anglophones).

There's no story about Asian philosophy infusing through California and adding to the syllabus, stealing a lot of the limelight from Continental fare, and therefore
from the Analytics, who thrive on those "differences".

Where Searle and I tend to agree most is about Leibnitz, could be the smartest guy who ever lived (which isn't to say the smartest ever).

Probably the best place to branch off is through Frege though, as here's what the Analytics rally around: Logic, ala propositional calculus, Frege's invention.

Along one prong, that led to Russell-Whitehead's Principia and an outcome Frege himself considered untenable.

Along another prong (or tine, if a fork), we come to Leibnitz again, and his dream of machine-driven logic.

What's the relationship between these two branches? Both contain something called logic, with computer languages infused with booleans, query strategies, algorithms, bootup sequences, and running on logic boards with embedded chips built from logic gates.

The other stuff went nowhere very interesting and is where Analytic Philosophy terminates, in a kind of logic of no bread and butter value except to its practitioners, who use it to distinguish themselves from Continentals (but not Asians).

As a recruiter of future philosophers, I champion the geek subcultures and their hard work keeping companies going, governments, families, by means of computer software and hardware.

I recognize Richard Stallman as one of our greats, not just for his ethics around keeping power sharing free and open among engineering cults (Church of Emacs etc.), but for his hammering away on GCC, one of the great tools of our day.

Philosophers should appreciate GCC (GNU C Compiler) and what it has done for the world, as well as GNU more generally.

Wittgenstein's philo helps us with this idea of namespaces. We're also given a limbering up, get a new kind of flexibility from his disciplines (like yoga?), that makes it easier to stop clinging to old security blankets such as Euclidean geometry (not that it's at risk in any way; security blankets tend to outlive their owners).

This later talk about "four tetrahedroned" versus "four cubed" is a good example of the kind of basic gestalt flipper stuff you would find in Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics. Philosophy mixed with ethnography is better able to break free of cultural vortexes that keep maths mired, including its propagation in formal schooling. Thinking is more about acting than we might have presumed. LW's joining a hospital staff shows his greater powers of thought and imagination. This was also a peer group. He was making his statement.

A big question is whether Analytics want to defect in droves, jump ship as it were, and join the hacker-geek pirates. Painting Wittgenstein as more subversive than saintly is a recruiting face in that case. As a subversive, he made the balance of Analytic Philosophy (the sinking ship part) pretty much untenable. Plus we can say he was really a Continental in disguise, taking more like a 'Jew of Linz' tack, though not connecting the dots in quite the same way Cornish does (less of a role for Special Branch maybe -- lets see what le Carré thinks).

Continentals and Asians, in the meantime, have a hot thing going, pretty steamy, as they don't need to wait for Anglophones to get in the groove. If defecting Analytics join the party, so much the better, as they'll have their Wittgenstein. But LW wrote in German too, and there's nothing to stop a latter day Vienna Circle type from embracing those language game concepts, the tilt towards ethnography, and finding interesting work as an anthropologist of cyber cultures like Amber Case, or serving diplomatic functions in other ways. The focus on language, ala the linguistic turn, was not uncongenial to the Continentals.

The first prong, which went nowhere all that special, held out the promise of AI perhaps (ala Hal in Arthur C. Clarke's '2001 Space Odyssey'). But today's Watson is far more a "prong two" device than a creature of Frege. Dr. Vannevar Bush wrote 'As We May Think' of the MEMEX, prefiguring search engines before any "Internet", while Grace Hopper pushed ideas of COBOL type compiled languages that could accept humanly contrived syntax we could think in, flow in. Programs are scripts. They control behaviors. Like in theater. Like television. Watson, part of a marketing campaign, played the role of The Turk on the TV game show Jeopardy, the "artificial man" in command of much trivium. He was the Wolfram Alpha of the hoi polloi, the comic book superman robot. At last, the 21st century: so like the 19th.

Anyway, these are some cool thinkers to look at, if wanting more background in the Analytic Philosophy of tomorrow (if we choose to keep one). Wittgenstein and his engineers (not all of them boys praise Allah). Friendly Asians. Come join us.

Kirby

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Re: [Wittrs] Searle at Simply Wittgenstein [message #6692 is a reply to message #6691] Thu, 09 June 2011 12:25 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
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(Kirby)

... I think that is an excellent point. Those who divide the world between Analytics and Continentals, and who endear toward the former, are more likely to see Wittgenstein as only an "important figure" in the venture, not as some sort of pantheon for the club. You see this all the time. Ayer talks of Wittgenstein being a brilliant genius who was just wrong on several important "arguments." Go to Analytic (the discussion group), and you will see them bringing out Wittgenstein as a play toy here and there -- as though Wittgenstein's contributions reduce to argument X or Y, the validity of which any person trained in the symbolic logics could cipher.           
That gets back to my point that people who have a certain orientation -- probably related in some way to cognitive traits -- tend not to "see" the greater significance of Wittgenstein's thought to both intellectual culture generally and to philosophy-the-club in particular.

Compare, for example, someone like Ray Monk with some like Searle. Just watch how their minds work. Watch what they do with information, how the process or absorb context. Watch what they do with ideas. I think there is a reason someone like Monk picks Wittgenstein as having so many of philosophy's greatest books while leaving Searle's "bigs" neglected on the list. And why Cambridge was more indulged with Wittgenstein than Oxford. 

If you just watch the way Searle behaves in public when he talks philosophy, you see something in the way his mind works that leaves you with not much confidence about, perhaps, certain kinds of abilities or traits that you would want to see when specific issues are being considered. One wants to say: analytics are intellectually boring in certain respects. 

It's not that one couldn't make correlative observations about the opposite-inclined, of course. Surely Wittgensteinians are "weird" in their own right. But the point is only this: all that Searle has done is confess his framework bias, which reveals to us something about the way he is suited (perhaps) for attachment with orientation. 

Regards and thanks.

Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.


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Re: [Wittrs] Searle at Simply Wittgenstein [message #6693 is a reply to message #6691] Thu, 09 June 2011 14:16 Go to previous message
kirby urner is currently offline  kirby urner
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>
>
> The story is pretty consistent in dividing the world into Analytics > versus Continentals.
>

My apologies for some of the nasty linebreaks here, as it came out through Yahoo, a transform in Gmail first: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wittrs/message/6839

I did some reformatting and sent a replica to another Yahoo! group I frequent, it being not-a-secret that I'm into this namespace that has some math going, with credit to Euler and Gibbs especially (Leonhard and Willard respectively if I'm not mistaken).

Reformatted:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/synergeo/message/65713 Other philosophy of mathematics, posted right after: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/synergeo/message/65715 (the usual polemics, Synergeo a sandbox)

Kirby



> Searle likes claiming the former tribe as his own, and pokes at the > latter for their


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