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[Wittrs] Wittgenstein, Punctuation, Grammar and More [message #342] Thu, 20 August 2009 16:57 Go to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
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Registered: August 2009
Location: Form of Life
Senior Member

.. it strikes me that one of the things that would have interested Wittgenstein at some point would have been what certain marks of punctuation do in thought. Have you ever noticed what your brain is doing when you choose whether to have a clause with a comma versus a dash? Such as,

This is the main phrase, unless you consider otherwise.

This is the main phrase -- unless you consider otherwise.

What has the brain learned to do with these signs? And why? You don't catch this as a reader I think. You catch it as an author. What is your mind doing when it dashes versus when it commas. These marks are not like the others. If you period, it is more about starting and stopping sentences. But other forms of punctuation as you write them are linked to specific things your brain is doing -- I want to call them "brain markings." You know, like when you "quote" an expression ("brain markings"). What is your brain doing when it does this? Or when you string two short sentences together with a semi-colon versus having a period divide them.

Wasn't Wittgenstein at one point talking about thought bubbles in comic books rather than those more-circular things used for direct quotation? What is the "thought bubble" saying (what is is signing)? That is what made me wonder whether punctuation would have caused similar curiosities.

What is interesting is that, with certain kinds of punctuation -- the expressive kind that I am referring to -- you may find it completely unacceptable when you read it tomorrow. It is almost like what is hidden inside these marks are a kind of mood (or possession) that really cannot convey properly. The idea would be that one must always punctuate with a reading psychology rather than with a  writing one, because the grammar of the marks are not conducive to anything else but the psychology of reading. So you have a sort of possessed brain state about how certain ideas are coming out -- a certain liveliness to them -- but that brain state cannot be transmitted (even to one sharing it) by simply using marks out of the range of conventional readership. It is not so with speaking. people can be alive when speaking and incite their audiences with speaker-centric cues. Speaking sort of invites one to "call the shots," so to say. But writing forces
you to find ways to convey mood and such things using only literary devices -- devices that are configured for reader psychology (that is, for the one not initially having the psychology).

Here is what I want to say: in writing, fires must be set. It speaking, they can simply be thrown.

Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Redesigned Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
Twitter: http://twitter.com/seanwilsonorg
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/seanwilsonorg
New Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html




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[Wittrs] Re: Wittgenstein and Punctuation [message #346 is a reply to message #342] Thu, 20 August 2009 18:06 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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--- On Thu, 8/20/09, Sean Wilson <whoooo26505@yahoo.com> wrote:


From: Sean Wilson <whoooo26505@yahoo.com>
Subject: [Wittrs] Wittgenstein and Punctuation
To: Wittrs@yahoogroups.com
Date: Thursday, August 20, 2009, 4:57 PM



.. it strikes me that one of the things that would have interested Wittgenstein at some point would have been what certain marks of punctuation do in thought. Have you ever noticed what your brain is doing when you choose whether to have a clause with a comma versus a dash? Such as,
 
Sean: This is the main phrase, unless you consider otherwise.
 
This is the main phrase -- unless you consider otherwise.
 
What has the brain learned to do with these signs?

GS: Does the "brain" learn? What are the assumptions that lie behind this statement? Do we, as ordinary speakers, say that "My kid's brain has learned to do long division?" Quite frankly, I find this to be nonsense. Literal nonsense. But, then again, as you implied in a previous post, my understanding of Wittgenstein is simply a "sloganized" understanding. Remember? I do. My opinion is that you are missing the point of Wittgestein's later philosophy. It is also my opinion that you went out of your way to attack my position concerning the relation between behaviorism and Wittgenstein WITHOUT directly addressing my posts (and without reading the paper I posted, but that is a different issue). I find that distasteful. Let's see...what was it you said? Something like (I admit this is paraphrase, but only because I am not going to waste my time digging up your exact words), "I think that those that say Wittgenstein is a behaviorist have a 'sloganized'
understanding of his philosophy." Did I mention that I find this distasteful? I also find it a sort of abuse of your "power" as an alleged, but self-proclaimed, "scholar" of Wittgensteinian philosophy. I have only a "sloganized" understanding of Wittgenstein, but I am not the one that said that "brains learn."





[Wittrs] Re: Wittgenstein and Punctuation [message #349 is a reply to message #346] Thu, 20 August 2009 18:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
kirby urner is currently offline  kirby urner
Messages: 349
Registered: August 2009
Location: Portland, Oregon
Senior Member
On Thu, Aug 20, 2009 at 3:06 PM, Glen Sizemore<gmsizemore2@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
>
> --- On Thu, 8/20/09, Sean Wilson <whoooo26505@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> From: Sean Wilson <whoooo26505@yahoo.com>
> Subject: [Wittrs] Wittgenstein and Punctuation
> To: Wittrs@yahoogroups.com
> Date: Thursday, August 20, 2009, 4:57 PM
>
> .. it strikes me that one of the things that would have interested
> Wittgenstein at some point would have been what certain marks of punctuation
> do in thought.

<< snip >>

I like your question Sean and agree that Wittgenstein was sensitive to
precisely this kind of thing, for one cuz we're looking at tools with
no obvious referent, or maybe more that's what students would see, as
in the Wittgensteinian gestalt, a 'referent' is but a sliver of
language tucked in some "101 language game" (beginner level) everyone
knows but philosophers dismiss under the heading of "nominalist" (aka
"boring" (as in "whatever you can point to, we don't care about, and
whatever you can't point too, we care about even less" -- sounds
appropriately koan-like eh?)).

I know in my own case I'm somewhat conscious of influences on my
punctuation: I use the double dash (--) quite a bit thanks to reading
a certain poet a lot; I use nested parenthesis to a quirky degree of
depth sometimes to several levels (any level deeper than one is
considered "quirky" by today's standards), because I'm a computer
programmer (and then I get the parentheses wrong (a kind of "typo" in
my book, and I'm sensitive to those too)); I often put the period
*outside* of the quote marks, I think because of a man named Thatcher
who frequented our Quaker meeting and wrote a manifesto of sorts, on
why he'd change grammar in that way...

Where I'd not put much time is into asking "what does the brain do"
with punctuation as I'm thinking there's no one thing that it does
that'd go with eyeballing code, looking at HTML, scanning music,
poetry... i.e. the idea that every time I encounter a "<p>" or and "<a
ref="http://..."> that my brain is doing some discretely identifiable
"same thing" every time -- I'd regard that as extreme superstition
i.e. *worse* than how many angels might dance on the head of a pin
(which discourse might be relatively sane in contrast).

But maybe you didn't mean it literally as people often use "brain"
just to mean "my sensitive self that pays attention to stuff, so in
making my brain so all-fired alert and aware, I'm really just modestly
saying stuff about "me" -- except self-promotion is a "no no" in
Protestant cultures, so we're habituated to using 'brain talk' as a
way to not sound too much like arrogant bastards ala Lord Byron or
some Little Prince...

And if that all makes any sense to ya, then congratulations, I'm not
an easy writer to grok (professors are deep readers though, sometimes,
know to pick up on those hyperlinks, fold up those polyhedra).

<< just gave $5 to a "help the homeless guy" at my door, didn't do my
"project earthala" rap this time >>

In a related topic, about "tense", imagine if we used different colors
depending on whether we considered the viewpoint "first, second or
third" person (are those all that we have?). Using color at all is
strange, though they do it in the Bible, some illuminated texts.
Mostly we just use italics though, or bold. So how do you do Italics
in Arabic (meaningless question maybe).

In a computer game context, 1st, 2nd and 3rd person are what we call
"modes of play" i.e. in a first person shooter, you under attack by
ETs, whereas when you make that into "a team of players on the same
side" (against the ETs) or even "against one another" then it's more
of a "we" type thing (the team thing especially), whereas if you're in
some god's eye game as a civilization designer or doll house player,
outside the action as not any participant -- an "invisible hand"
and/or "invisible eye" of some kind -- then that's what we'd call 3rd
person.

What I find interesting about the 3rd person is it easily becomes the
"assumed default" when we observe in the movie theater, i.e. the
camera is permitted to spy on the private lives of people from points
of view that a real person would not usually enjoy -- part of what
makes movies fun, like novels, in that they "project" an impossible
(immortal's, demon's, ghost's) view. Indeed, projecting "first
person" would be considered awkward because then there's a body to
deal with, showing that on camera. Who needs "the gods" when you've
got movie directors right?

So have that strike you as odd: that we're so easily accepting of
"disembodied viewpoints" in the 3rd person, take those in
unconsciously not only on TV, but even in our own imaginations, e.g.
often see as if "from a bird's eye view" or "as a fly on the wall"
i.e. going back to an event and "remembering it" from a disembodied
viewpoint (so it's not really a memory then is it, more a fantasy, or
a memory of a fantasy).

The ambient patriarchy is so keen that we be "objective" about
everything (i.e. "professional"), but then that seems to involve
assuming authority and speaking from a viewpoint that no mortal human
could actually have, and doing so semi-unconsciously, leading me to
relate "omniscient" to "unconscious" i.e. those who sound the most
completely omniscient in their "authority voices" are actually the
deepest dreamers (in the Walt Whitman sense), the least awake to the
improbability of their having god-like powers (they look like ordinary
folks to me, so not buying it). That being said, its a view we go in
and out of i.e. "omniscient for a few minutes" might be the view in a
Lightning Talk within Python Nation (our cyberville or cyberia, tribal
HQS python.org -- have a dictator, a chairman...).

Kirby


[Wittrs] Re: Wittgenstein and Punctuation [message #351 is a reply to message #346] Thu, 20 August 2009 19:49 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
Messages: 793
Registered: August 2009
Location: Form of Life
Senior Member

... just a couple of thoughts.

1. You may not be aware of this, but I've been working on a manuscript for about a year now that is rather interesting. It's central thesis is that language meaning is a function of how brains learn to process surface-level marks and noises ("words"), a process that can be scripted using the conventions of  computer syntax. I call this "brain script." It represents a deeper way at objectifying language use and "thinking" compared to diagramming sentences (Chomsky) or using some form of symbolic logic. The key is to always ask what an expression is doing cognitively, not what does a word means. I argue in the manuscript that "brain script" is really what Wittgenstein had in mind with the idea of "grammar." The point being that "grammar" is as much a cognitive phenomenon as it is an anthropological one. 

2. You are right that I have not read the paper about Skinner yet (was that the one?). And I don't intend to read it until I am ready to incorporate literature into the manuscript. I wouldn't have asked for sources for any reason other than to shelve the labor for the that.

3. As to the rest of what might be called your "points," I don't know what to say. As far as I know, I have never said any specific person in here had a sloganized understanding. What I usually say is that position such-and-such would be sloganized. But if you want to reply to that mail, please do -- because I can't even recall the exact discussion (and I'm not looking for it if you aren't). Or start a new thread with my assertion and criticize it. (Maybe I'll discuss if it seems worthwhile).  

4. I don't know exactly how to tell you this. I'm really not paying attention to everything that is said in here. I have things I have to do. I check to make sure policies are being followed, and such. Some messages I actually have saved because they looked semi-interesting. I just didn't want them right now. Sometimes I don't reply because it would require something like teaching or would otherwise not be productive. But here is the fundamental point: I wouldn't make the assumption that any position I take is "against you" or is somehow required to have you in my heart. I'm actually allowed to be formulating ideas WITHOUT reading you.

5. I can't agree with you that it is senseless -- or against Wittgenstein properly-understood -- to use the expression of "brains behaving." At worst, one would simply have to conjugate the idea. Indeed, your expression about brains learning mathematics is quite relevant today in gender studies. It isn't meaningless so long as folk psychology is avoided. No one is saying "the little man in the head." But if you want to discuss this, put it in a new topic thread. This is supposed to be about Wittgenstein and punctuation.

6. I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't tell us what you think is distasteful in another's posting habits or whether you like their credentials and so forth. We are not really here for that. Let's just try to discuss the issues.   

Regards.
 
Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Redesigned Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
Twitter: http://twitter.com/seanwilsonorg
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/seanwilsonorg
New Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html




________________________________
From: Glen Sizemore <gmsizemore2@yahoo.com>
To: Wittrs@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Thursday, August 20, 2009 6:06:02 PM
Subject: [Wittrs] Re: Wittgenstein and Punctuation

 

GS: Does the "brain" learn? What are the assumptions that lie behind this statement? Do we, as ordinary speakers, say that "My kid's brain has learned to do long division?" Quite frankly, I find this to be nonsense. Literal nonsense. But, then again, as you implied in a previous post, my understanding of Wittgenstein is simply a "sloganized" understanding. Remember? I do. My opinion is that you are missing the point of Wittgestein' s later philosophy. It is also my opinion that you went out of your way to attack my position concerning the relation between behaviorism and Wittgenstein WITHOUT directly addressing my posts (and without reading the paper I posted, but that is a different issue). I find that distasteful. Let's see...what was it you said? Something like (I admit this is paraphrase, but only because I am not going to waste my time digging up your exact words), "I think that those that say Wittgenstein is a behaviorist have a 'sloganized'
understanding of his philosophy." Did I mention that I find this distasteful? I also find it a sort of abuse of your "power" as an alleged, but self-proclaimed, "scholar" of Wittgensteinian philosophy. I have only a "sloganized" understanding of Wittgenstein, but I am not the one that said that "brains learn."

.






[Wittrs] Re: Wittgenstein and Punctuation [message #352 is a reply to message #351] Thu, 20 August 2009 20:02 Go to previous messageGo to next message
jrstern is currently offline  jrstern
Messages: 159
Registered: August 2009
Senior Member
--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, Sean Wilson <whoooo26505@...> wrote:
>
> ... just a couple of thoughts.
>
> 1. You may not be aware of this, but I've been working on a manuscript for about a year now that is rather interesting. It's central thesis is that language meaning is a function of how brains learn to process surface-level marks and noises ("words"), a process that can be scripted using the conventions of  computer syntax. I call this "brain script." It represents a deeper way at objectifying language use and "thinking" compared to diagramming sentences (Chomsky) or using some form of symbolic logic. The key is to always ask what an expression is doing cognitively, not what does a word means. I argue in the manuscript that "brain script" is really what Wittgenstein had in mind with the idea of "grammar." The point being that "grammar" is as much a cognitive phenomenon as it is an anthropological one. 

I do indeed find that interesting.

OTOH, I do have this question about it, is it a philosophical thesis, or a psychological thesis, or a linguistic thesis?

I suppose the answer is, some mixture of all those. Fodor says as much about his own work, and I guess I see some of my theories in that light as well. I'd say you are giving privilege or priority to the inscription - sort of Derrida-talk there. And in general, I'm all for it, or for something along those lines, anyway.

Josh




[Wittrs] Re: Wittgenstein and Punctuation [message #354 is a reply to message #351] Thu, 20 August 2009 20:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
kirby urner is currently offline  kirby urner
Messages: 349
Registered: August 2009
Location: Portland, Oregon
Senior Member
On Thu, Aug 20, 2009 at 4:49 PM, Sean Wilson<whoooo26505@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
>
> ... just a couple of thoughts.
>
> 1. You may not be aware of this, but I've been working on a manuscript for
> about a year now that is rather interesting. It's central thesis is
> that language meaning is a function of how brains learn to process
> surface-level marks and noises ("words"), a process that can be scripted
> using the conventions of  computer syntax. I call this "brain script." It
> represents a deeper way at objectifying language use and "thinking" compared
> to diagramming sentences (Chomsky) or using some form of symbolic logic. The
> key is to always ask what an expression is doing cognitively, not what does
> a word means. I argue in the manuscript that "brain script" is really what
> Wittgenstein had in mind with the idea of "grammar." The point being that
> "grammar" is as much a cognitive phenomenon as it is an anthropological
> one.
>

Oopsie, this was a reply to Glen more than me, but then I was just
pouring cold water on all the brain events stuff, not having any
knowledge of your literary endeavor. More below re "the music of
sense" (might be apropos).

Sort of what I'm expecting to happen is biologists will determine the
brain can't explain the "full bandwidth" of the information flow,
which cuts through like a river, such that brain events are like
vegetation events wiggling along the shoreline (reeds in the water),
not registering all fish (there're just too many, and they go by too
quickly).

A parallel might be DNA studies, as now that we have the genome on
file, there's a sense that it's not going to "explain everything" the
way some brands of reductionist had promised. We get back to higher
level phenomena not having a "foundation" in lower ones so much as
making a (consistent) imprint. Maybe it's time we make a Principle
out of this, and not just call it "anti-reductionism" (too lame).

Analogy: if quantum mechanics were an inviolable grammar (whatever
that means to you), exceptionlessly followed, then think how many
novels and plot lines are nevertheless permitted by this restriction,
i.e. the rules of grammar in no way dictate what'll happen in a book,
even when the book "obeys grammar" at every turn. Such is quantum
mechanics. "Determinism from below" (reductionism) just isn't the
only way to deal with "rule following" much as we all think of train
tracks as "determining" where the train must go ("train tracks to
infinity" is an iconic vista for how we think about rules sometimes,
especially the "logical" ones ).

I'm not always a big fan of "physical substrate" ideas (a form of
dualism) as information is information or, as some philosophers put it
"thoughts are *hard*" (banging a chair or table). Having mental
images "live on their own" should be no more surprising than atoms
doing it -- cuz what are atoms after all, or why should their "special
energy" be any "more special" than "mental imagery".

Put another way, we're enamored of the "concrete nature" of vibrations
in the void -- but some are more equal than others, so then we seek to
explain the "epiphenomal" layers on the backs of the layers we rank
higher on the reality principle scale.

Reductionism as a form of idolotry: worshiping rocks i.e. matter as
somehow "not as mysterious" (the essence of literalism and nominalism,
as a combined force, is to turn everything to stone if at all
possible, whereas contemporary physics has discovered the reverse: we
have detected no real "solids" in nature, only patterned energy (and
what's that?)).

> 2. You are right that I have not read the paper about Skinner yet (was that
> the one?). And I don't intend to read it until I am ready to incorporate
> literature into the manuscript. I wouldn't have asked for sources for
> any reason other than to shelve the labor for the that.
>
> 3. As to the rest of what might be called your "points," I don't know what
> to say. As far as I know, I have never said any specific person in here had
> a sloganized understanding. What I usually say is that
> position such-and-such would be sloganized. But if you want to reply to that
> mail, please do -- because I can't even recall the exact discussion (and I'm
> not looking for it if you aren't). Or start a new thread with my assertion
> and criticize it. (Maybe I'll discuss if it seems worthwhile).
>

I actually seek out and use slogans, bumper stickers, to communicate
my philosophy sometimes e.g. "Reality is special case" is one of ours.

"""
537.44 We regard each individual as the special case, but
consciousness as the generalization. Like the bumper sticker, "The
Real World is Special Case." Reality is special case. You and I are
sitting here, and no one else can be sitting right where we are. This
is the kind of reality that the newspapers miss: they write about
reality as if we were all the same realities, as if we were all the
same things. If you and I are sitting here, we couldn't possibly be
anywhere else.
537.45 There are many different realities. This is the difference
between reality and generalization. There is only one generalization.
The only reason the radio works is that it has no interference. The
game of Universe can be played on any one of the fantastically large
number of the quadrillions of quadrillions of frequencies: the game
can be played any way just so long as there is no interference on the
frequency you are using, so long as there are not two pieces in the
same vector equilibrium at the same time.
"""

http://www.rwgrayprojects.com/synergetics/s05/p3700.html

> 4. I don't know exactly how to tell you this. I'm really not paying
> attention to everything that is said in here. I have things I have to do. I
> check to make sure policies are being followed, and such. Some messages
> I actually have saved because they looked semi-interesting. I just didn't
> want them right now. Sometimes I don't reply because it would require
> something like teaching or would otherwise not be productive. But here is
> the fundamental point: I wouldn't make the assumption that any position I
> take is "against you" or is somehow required to have you in my heart. I'm
> actually allowed to be formulating ideas WITHOUT reading you.
>

A basic statement of freedom.

Often we say "don't take this personally" although another thing we
say is "do I remember you?"

> 5. I can't agree with you that it is senseless -- or against Wittgenstein
> properly-understood -- to use the expression of "brains behaving." At worst,
> one would simply have to conjugate the idea. Indeed, your expression about
> brains learning mathematics is quite relevant today in gender studies. It
> isn't meaningless so long as folk psychology is avoided. No one is saying
> "the little man in the head." But if you want to discuss this, put it in a
> new topic thread. This is supposed to be about Wittgenstein and punctuation.
>

So back to the topic at hand, do you relate punctuation to musical
notation? I've always been fascinated how "the music of sense making"
may be divorced from the familiar printed words, even while keeping
familiar words in view.

What am I talking about? This well-known Ladle Rat Rotten Hut story,
which I actually quoted in my senior thesis on Wittgenstein, lo those
many years ago:

http://www.exploratorium.org/exhibits/ladle/index.html

What point was I making? I was questioning why only "words" have
their uses (why "atomize" to that level). Let's zoom out and look at
"entire paragraphs" or "frame in a comic book" (storyboard -- how many
cultures encode their lore, as manga).

And indeed, some of the "memes" that I detect, watch floating around
(not literally), see seething in our cultural pot, are way more than
single words, and more powerful therefore.

These word-image aggregates, may be about the "size" of a punchy
television commercial. And yet they come up again and again, i.e. we
keep re-encountering these "shards" of consciousness, like in an echo
chamber. Politics depends on the exchange of these "coins", sometimes
called "sound bites" (the currency of the realm).

So I'm wondering at what "level" we want to correlate brain events
with "the music of sense". Is listening to a parent shout at you
setting up a familiar pattern, vis-a-vis seen a movie about some other
parent shouting at someone else? The individual words don't matter as
it's the "whole situation" that resonates (to where we're able to
start using a grammar of identity, i.e. this brain event matches that
brain event).

We have this ability to "hum along" and then "complete the refrain"
i.e. a sign of understanding is an ability to complete.

Using punctuation seems a lot like using TV editing techniques: they
have their specific grammars, their rules.

I'd think a brain would be needed to tap tap tap your feet to the
music, but all that tremendous amount of info generated from a
synchronous orchestra -- that's waaaay too much info for any one brain
to tune in, even the conductor's brain.

Brains are quite finite their capacity... sometimes consciousness
seems a wider river in some ways? I notice with two or maybe three
brains present, the quality of the thinking may well improve. Should
any one brain get the credit? Should we picture some "same process"
mirrored in all three? I'm back to "groupthink" again, not as a
reductionism so much as a measurable phenomenon (as in "one boy one
brain, two boys half a brain... etc." i.e. with a "mob", the IQ may go
down, not up).

> 6. I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't tell us what you think is
> distasteful in another's posting habits or whether you like their
> credentials and so forth. We are not really here for that. Let's just try to
> discuss the issues.
>

I actually haven't read Glen's reply yet, am only so far paying
attention to your half of the conversation so far.

I might get to it later...

Kirby

> Regards.
>
>
> Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
>
> Assistant Professor
>
> Wright State University
>
> Redesigned Website: http://seanwilson.org
>
> SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
>
> Twitter: http://twitter.com/seanwilsonorg
>
> Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/seanwilsonorg
>
> New Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html

<< SNIP >>


[Wittrs] Re: Wittgenstein and Punctuation [message #356 is a reply to message #352] Thu, 20 August 2009 21:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
Messages: 793
Registered: August 2009
Location: Form of Life
Senior Member

... the issue of what sort of idea it is -- and who has jurisdiction over it -- is handled with care. I try to separate what would be scientific claims ("the brain uses brains script") from the claims that establish themselves by reflecting upon examples of language use ("philosophy").  My claim is that whomever has the ultimate authority to explore this idea, the means that they will use to invent it simply requires being insightful. That is, if you thought in an acute way about what sort of thing your brain was doing when languaging -- sort of the way you can think about how your are seeing as you do it -- you could then begin to "map" language along the lines of  what it requires as a cognitive activity. No one has done that. Up to now, we have only analyzed the structure of surface-level communication (words) or the structure of forms of assertion (logic). Who has jurisdiction over this? Whomever is insightful enough to invent the
syntax as an explanatory aide. It could be a theoretically-inclined linguist. It could be someone like Fodor. It could even be a Wittgenstein-inspired political scientist who listed to Wittgenstein by not doing philosophy in the club, and who now hates his "field."  

But my ultimate sense is that if this idea is useful, linguists would do it. Why? Because if traffic accidents in the language game are caused by brain script, we would need to develop a lexicography of this syntax. Imagine looking in the dictionary and seeing something along the lines of computer instructions that explain sense. Of course, on second thought, maybe linguists as a field would not be up to that work. I mean, they never took over logic. So perhaps "script dictionaries" would be made by these cognitive neuro-people or even, God forbid, by "philosophers." 

The truth is that I may think too much of my creation. I often wonder if all I have done is find a really interesting and modern way to explain Wittgenstein's central ideas. In fact, that is all I consider myself to be doing. To be showing how confusions arise in language and to make every person always ask "what is being cognitively required of expression X" rather than "what do the words mean" or "what is the definition?" 

So much of our disputes reduce to this simple problem.    

Regards and thanks.

(P.S. I hate Derrida)      
 
Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Redesigned Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
Twitter: http://twitter.com/seanwilsonorg
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/seanwilsonorg
New Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html




________________________________
From: jrstern <jrstern@yahoo.com>
To: Wittrs@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Thursday, August 20, 2009 8:02:54 PM
Subject: [Wittrs] Re: Wittgenstein and Punctuation

 
I do indeed find that interesting.

OTOH, I do have this question about it, is it a philosophical thesis, or a psychological thesis, or a linguistic thesis?

I suppose the answer is, some mixture of all those. Fodor says as much about his own work, and I guess I see some of my theories in that light as well. I'd say you are giving privilege or priority to the inscription - sort of Derrida-talk there. And in general, I'm all for it, or for something along those lines, anyway.

Josh

.






[Wittrs] Re: Wittgenstein and Punctuation [message #357 is a reply to message #356] Thu, 20 August 2009 21:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
jrstern is currently offline  jrstern
Messages: 159
Registered: August 2009
Senior Member
--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, Sean Wilson <whoooo26505@...> wrote:
>
> ... the issue of what sort of idea it is -- and who has jurisdiction over it -- is handled with care. I try to separate what would be scientific claims ("the brain uses brains script") from the claims that establish themselves by reflecting upon examples of language use ("philosophy").  My claim is that whomever has the ultimate authority to explore this idea, the means that they will use to invent it simply requires being insightful. That is, if you thought in an acute way about what sort of thing your brain was doing when languaging -- sort of the way you can think about how your are seeing as you do it -- you could then begin to "map" language along the lines of  what it requires as a cognitive activity. No one has done that. Up to now, we have only analyzed the structure of surface-level communication (words) or the structure of forms of assertion (logic). Who has jurisdiction over this? Whomever is insightful enough to invent the syntax as an explanatory aide. It could be a theoretically-inclined linguist. It could be someone like Fodor. It could even be a Wittgenstein-inspired political scientist who listed to Wittgenstein by not doing philosophy in the club, and who now hates his "field."  

FYI, back in the mid to late 1980s, there was some AI / computational linguistics work, associated with Carnegie-Mellon, using an architecture they called "bulletin board" (BBS) that suggested on had to jump around between lexical, syntactic, and semantic layers, when processing language - they layers did NOT really segregate at all well, so various processes might read from one layer and post to some other layer. This was somewhat before biological paradigm stories were quite in vogue, that let us talk about how the organism (more or less holistically) has "learned" to process such and such strings.

Don't know if that's quite what you have in mind.

The one aspect that you, I, and maybe even Prof. Chomsky might agree on, is that there seems little in the way of simple, cannonical processing going on, lots of messy stuff that can depend on context and particulars in any sorts of ways, reminscent (slightly) of that BBS talk.

Josh




[Wittrs] Re: Wittgenstein and Punctuation [message #358 is a reply to message #357] Thu, 20 August 2009 22:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
Messages: 793
Registered: August 2009
Location: Form of Life
Senior Member

.. you have any more about this? A study or a cite -- or names?

Regards.
 
Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Redesigned Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
Twitter: http://twitter.com/seanwilsonorg
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/seanwilsonorg
New Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html




________________________________
From: jrstern <jrstern@yahoo.com>
To: Wittrs@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Thursday, August 20, 2009 9:26:15 PM
Subject: [Wittrs] Re: Wittgenstein and Punctuation

 
FYI, back in the mid to late 1980s, there was some AI / computational linguistics work, associated with Carnegie-Mellon, using an architecture they called "bulletin board" (BBS) that suggested on had to jump around between lexical, syntactic, and semantic layers, when processing language - they layers did NOT really segregate at all well, so various processes might read from one layer and post to some other layer. This was somewhat before biological paradigm stories were quite in vogue, that let us talk about how the organism (more or less holistically) has "learned" to process such and such strings.


.






[Wittrs] Re: Wittgenstein and Punctuation [message #363 is a reply to message #358] Thu, 20 August 2009 22:51 Go to previous messageGo to next message
jrstern is currently offline  jrstern
Messages: 159
Registered: August 2009
Senior Member
--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, Sean Wilson <whoooo26505@...> wrote:
>
> .. you have any more about this? A study or a cite -- or names?

Oh, er, would you believe ... blackboard?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackboard_system

http://bbtech.com/bibli.php

Josh




[Wittrs] Re: Wittgenstein and Punctuation [message #397 is a reply to message #342] Sat, 22 August 2009 14:30 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
Messages: 793
Registered: August 2009
Location: Form of Life
Senior Member

Glen:

I've divided this response into two mails. The first deals with these "side issues" that you want to discuss -- which unfortunately have overtaken the issue that this thread introduced. The second will deal with the substantive issue you actually do want to discuss. But I'll put that one under a separate subject header later in the afternoon (for obvious reasons). If I don't get to it today, it will be up tomorrow (i'm busy).  

MISUNDERSTANDING MY OLD MAIL.

I had a discussion on Analytic a while back with a fellow named Larry Tapper. You can see it here.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/message/19907

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/message/19991

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/message/19998

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/message/20000

In that discussion, Larry and I took up the issue of what is entailed by Wittgenstein's use of "grammar." I argued to him that it was as much a cognitive as well as anthropological phenomenon, and introduced him to some ideas that I was working on in my language manuscript. Later on, around July or early August of this year, I found a quote from Philosophic Grammar and citations to later-sections of Philosophic Investigations (that Josh and I discussed). I took occasion to celebrate the quotes in a post in here, because they directly support for the idea that grammar was as much about cognition as it was anthropology (sociology). In my post, I declared that those who believed Wittgenstein was a behaviorists had a sloganized account of his ideas, thinking specifically of  Larry Tapper and also Walter Horn. (I had an earlier discussion on Analytic with Walter, where he accused me of being a "behaviorist" after performing a Wittgensteinian
maneuver in the discussion). The term "behaviorist" in my post meant brute-behaviorism. I celebrated the quotation in Philosophic Grammar because it was so relevant to my language manuscript, and I wished I had possessed it during my discussion with Larry. 

Now, this is the post that you apparently think "was directed at you personally." Or somehow accused you of something that required some sort of "display" on your part.  As I told you before: I wasn't even reading you. I think I read one of your posts and offered something about what "behaviorism" meant as a family resemblance, but that was it. Secondly, it would not matter the SLIGHTEST whether, when reading anyone, one took the position that such-and-such an idea required a sloganized read. (Indeed, I still hold that position today).

A couple of points about posting. Please note that people are allowed to be vigorously critical with ideas in here. If a person is told that idea-X is facile, and states why, it matters not the slightest that the person espousing idea-X now feels bad. We don't care about that in here. We are not trying to set up a Mayberry RFD environment. But what we do want to avoid is how this "feeling" gets expressed. If your idea is dissed in here, you only have the following reactions available to you: (a) just take it (especially if it may be true); (b) ignore it (because it isn't worth the labor and correcting the person would amount to teaching him or her); (c) defend the position (show that the idea is not facile); or (d) show that the idea of the BEARER is the one that is truly facile. But what you can NEVER do is reply by talking about the poster, rather than his assertion. Don't say, "how dare you abuse your power by insulting me personally" or
comment on any poster's behavior, character, capacity, credentials, and so forth. In here, the idea and its offeror are separate entities.   

(You are right that this is a bit of a game. But it serves its purpose for preventing what I call the "terrier effect" [or pit-bull list]. I don't want discussions to go "south." I don't want to play the game of who can start hitting each other better. I did that myself for years. I dunno. There's something about 40. I don't want to do it anymore). 

Finally, please note that I would never ban anyone from this group for what they say in mails. I would only put them on moderation until they understood the group's idea of relevance.

Regards and thanks

Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Redesigned Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
Twitter: http://twitter.com/seanwilsonorg
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/seanwilsonorg
New Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html




________________________________
From: Glen Sizemore <gmsizemore2@yahoo.com>
To: Wittrs@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Friday, August 21, 2009 5:18:00 PM
Subject: [Wittrs] Re: Wittgenstein and Punctuation

 

GS: Ahh...but I did not say you used my name. But look at it from my point of view, I start posting on the relation between Wittgenstein and behaviorism, a few arguments ensue between me and a few others, and then you say something very close to "It seems to me that those who argue that Wittgenstein' s philosophy was consistent with behaviorism have a [drum roll please!] 'sloganized' understanding of Wittgenstein. " How was I, and others reading your post, to take this? It wouldn't have been so bad if you were "just" some other poster, but you are the mderator (or at least the head) of this list. Ouch! Is there a burr under my saddle? Is the pot set to simmering?

GS: What you were saying is that those who compare Wittgenstein' s position to any form of behaviorism don't really understand Wittgenstein. No? It seems to me that saying a position is "ignorant" is very, very close to saying that the person is ignorant, though I have certainly been guilty of that myself, I admit. I viewed it as a thinly-disguised ad hominem argument. Was it not? Being a behaviorist, I AM paranoid but, as the saying goes, just because you are paranoid doesn't mean that people aren't out to get you.     
 

.






[Wittrs] Re: Wittgenstein and Punctuation [message #398 is a reply to message #397] Sat, 22 August 2009 15:05 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
Messages: 793
Registered: August 2009
Location: Form of Life
Senior Member

.. by the way, here is the message that I think is being referred to:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wittrs/message/419
 
Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Redesigned Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
Twitter: http://twitter.com/seanwilsonorg
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/seanwilsonorg
New Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html





[Wittrs] Re: Wittgenstein and Punctuation [message #400 is a reply to message #342] Sat, 22 August 2009 16:14 Go to previous message
Guest Not Logged In

--- On Sat, 8/22/09, Sean Wilson <whoooo26505@yahoo.com> wrote:


From: Sean Wilson <whoooo26505@yahoo.com>
Subject: [Wittrs] Re: Wittgenstein and Punctuation
To: Wittrs@yahoogroups.com
Date: Saturday, August 22, 2009, 3:05 PM

Sean: .. by the way, here is the message that I think is being referred to:
 
http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/Wittrs/ message/419
 
GS: No, I don't think that this was it, but perhaps I am a victim of a rather extensive "memory illusion." I don't think so - but that is the nature of so-called "memory illusions"! I do remember this post, and was going to respond to it, but never got around to it. But I accept your assertion that when you said something like (this is what I remember - a memory illusion?): "It seems to me that those who say that Wittgenstein was a behaviorist have a 'sloganized' understanding of his philosophy." Again, SOMETHING like that. I have described this a couple of times now (probably slightly different each time, and admitted that it is likely paraphrase). In any event, I have said my piece. You claim that the temporal juxtaposition of my posts (that you claim you didn't read - and I am not necessarily disputing this) and the "quote" that I have offered was just that - an incidental temporal juxtaposition; a "contingency" in the sense related to "accidental"
rather than the sense of "dependency." In that case, I owe you an apology. For the record, though, it wasn't so much what you said, as it was that it appeared to be elicited by my posting, but that you did not appear to have the guts to directly address my posts. I hope you can see that the temporal juxtaposition of my posts, and your comment, gave the impression of an attack on what I was saying WITHOUT the courtesy of responding to me directly. You say that this wasn't the case. I accept this, and apologize. This doesn't change the fact that I see much of what you say as antithetical to later Wittgenstein.




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