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[Wittrs] Proper Names -- Kripke, Russell & Wittgenstein [message #3408] Tue, 02 February 2010 17:22 Go to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
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I'm having some trouble differentiating Wittgenstein from Kripke and Russell on proper names. (I include Russell for the theory of descriptions). Wittgenstein writes about names in paragraphs 39, 40, 44 and 79 of PI. There are also some remarks in Zettel, but I don't have them in front of me at the moment. As I understand it, Wittgenstein's basic point is that people confuse the meaning of a name with its bearer. They think the two are one in the same. (He uses Moses and Excalibur as examples). Because proper names (PNs) mean something apart from their bearer, they take on SENSE and are subject to the "law" (forgive me) of meaning is use.

But what are the senses of PNs? I have listed four. "Moses" can mean: (a) a title or rule (the man who saved the Israelites); (b) a description (the old person with a grey beard who works down the road); (c) ostensibility (that person right there); or (d) a branding (Moses is DNA profile such-and-such, or Social Security Number 233-33-5953). Therefore, PN's accurately exist as four BEHAVIORS.  

One of the things that is strange about PN's is that only some of the senses seem to rule the bearer. That is, one could say that Moses did not exist if the story of Israelites is false, even though a man named "Moses" to whom the story was attributed did, in fact, exist. It would be the same as saying "George Washington was the man who could never tell a lie," and learning that this is false -- he told many. And upon hearing of this, in your delusion, you might say, "The George Washington I know doesn't exist." It would be the same as saying "The God I know is dead" or "Love is a lie." All of these things say that the idealization is false (that the rule is violated). (You don't have to say this, of course -- it's just a sense of expression).

But note that for other things -- like descriptions and social-security numbers -- we wouldn't care if they were wrong. We'd just fix them on the fly. In fact, that is what Wittgenstein says. He says that the meaning of PN's is variable DURING THEIR DEPLOYMENT. The idea is that if you found out that your understanding of certain qualities of the bearer was in error, you would simply amend those qualities and let the PN stand amended. That you don't need to have much there or even right. And that this is the way PN's play in the language game.

Now what does this do to Kripke and Russell? If I understand Kripke, he rejects (a), (b), and (c), and thinks that all PN's reduce to (d), only by science -- is that a correct read? I mean, I understand Kripke best when we are talking about certain kinds of scientific jargon. I guess I'm having trouble seeing how PN's are the same basic thing as those kinds of jargon. It seems to me the only way you can say that PN's are rigid designators is to say that: (a) the bearer and the name are always the same (which isn't true); and (b) that PN's can only exist in the form of a reduction (sense (d) above, only not for social-security numbers). Here's what I am saying. For Kripke, "Moses" can only be a DNA profile (in which it is never inseparable from its bearer), just as the vin number on my auto (or perhaps the ID number on the title) is its ultimate identifier. And as such, PN's work like some kinds of scientific jargon (Water-H20).

Do I have that right (Kripke v. Wittgenstein)?

Now, what does Wittgenstein's view of PN's do to Russell? Here, the idea of the theory of descriptions is in trouble, right? Because, after Wittgenstein, you cannot say of "Moses" that it refers to (a) an X; (b) its definition -- because, (1) meaning is use; (2) the bearer and PN are different; and (c) the definition is in flux by virtue of the way the PN language game exists.

Do I have that right?

(Sigh).

Yours always appreciative

Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html




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[Wittrs] Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3409 is a reply to message #3408] Tue, 02 February 2010 18:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
jrstern is currently offline  jrstern
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I have a note written in the margin of my PI next to §79: "I use the name 'N' without a fixed meaning.". What I wrote was: "anti-Kripke".

I think you have the rest substantially correct.

Kripke's theory is supposedly "causal", but I think it's a slander on the term "causal" to use it in the neo-essentialist manner he does. For the most part, I hold Kripke as gibberish.

Wittgenstein's approach is supposed to be linguistic, not causal. Compared to Kripke, I'll take Wittgenstein every time and twice on Sunday. However, Wittgenstein famously rejects causal explanations entirely, and I think he goes too far with that. So I hold that *some* causal theory is needed to explain why even linguistic theories work, but Kripke advances in a totally different direction under a false (for him) banner, in my ever so humble (not) opinion.

Of course Wittgenstein never read Kripke, which is probably just as well for them both, but was responding to Russell's idea that only true statements represented, or only representing statements were true, or whatever it is that Russell said about things. Certainly Wittgenstein's more linguistic approach turned that around.

To complete the triangle - what Russell meant to Kripke or vice-versa, I leave to someone else.

Josh



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[Wittrs] Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3410 is a reply to message #3408] Tue, 02 February 2010 18:25 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SWMirsky is currently offline  SWMirsky
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Sean,

While I have always been a bit fuzzy on all this, and so wouldn't presume to comment, you might invite Walter from Analytic to weigh in. As I recall we had an interesting exchange some time back on the Analytic list about Kripke's views on proper names and naming generally vs. Wittgenstein's. It was initiated by my request for someone to explicate a bit from Naming and Necessity in light of my past experience on that DRT list. I recall Walter's account being pretty good and quite clear. Although it really hasn't stayed with me, that's very likely my fault, not his. I wouldn't mind seeing him go through the explication again so perhaps you can get him to respond on this one. (Either here or Analytic would do, I guess, since I still look in on that list occasionally, just to see if anything interesting is happening.)

SWM

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[Wittrs] Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3412 is a reply to message #3410] Tue, 02 February 2010 18:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
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... yes, I remember segments of that discussion. I believe it was over the difficulty of the idea you might have had about what a "referent" was. You were saying, I think, that N could stand for any persons so named, and Walter was emphasizing that N was only standing for one of those persons. Wittgenstein's view doesn't dispute what "reference" means in this context. Wittgenstein isn't arguing that N stands for anyone so named (the way, e.g., "chair" does). His view appears to be premised on the idea that the name and its bearer are not identical. And that what a name does (to or about any discreet bearer) is a function of what sense the name is playing in the language game.

One wants to say of words like proper names and of words like "is," the language game is TIGHT one. Imagine playing Charades versus the game of Operation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_(game). Proper Names is more like Operation.  What one is doing to or about the bearer takes place within more limited confines.

Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html




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[Wittrs] Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3415 is a reply to message #3412] Tue, 02 February 2010 21:23 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SWMirsky is currently offline  SWMirsky
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--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, Sean Wilson <whoooo26505@...> wrote:

> ... <snip>
You were saying, I think, that N could stand for any persons so named,


Hmm, I don't recall saying that. My point was that I thought the Direct Reference Theorists, who built their claims on Kripke's Naming and Necessity, were mistaken about rigid designation being a characteristic of names and that, on a Wittgensteininian view, a name is just how it's used and that a tag is a tag is a tag, nothing more nor less. There is no reason to suppose, as Ali seemed to want to say, that the existence of a pragmatic dimension to word usage, as distinct from a referential one implies that naming or referencing are somehow metaphysically fixed. But I was (and still am) somewhat unclear on what Kripke, himself, was really claiming and Walter actually gave what I took to be a very lucid account of it at the time, though, in trying to recall it now, I don't think I could reprise it. I guess I failed that particular exam as I apparently failed to process or retain the information Walter imparted!



>and Walter was emphasizing that N was only standing for one of those persons. Wittgenstein's view doesn't dispute what "reference" means
> in this context.


I didn't (and don't) think so either. Ali's point (and, of course, he isn't here to defend himself so he will have to just be a theoretical Ali for the purposes of this discussion) was that naming involved something beyond meaning-as-use (a la Kripke's claims) and I was disputing that, suggesting that tagging is just another kind of use and that there is no reason to think that the fact that sometimes we use words referentially undermines the meaning as use picture.


> Wittgenstein isn't arguing that N stands for anyone so named (the way, e.g., "chair" does). His view appears to be premised on the idea that the name and its bearer are not identical. And that what a name does (to or about any discreet bearer) is a function of what sense the name is playing in the language game.
>


I think that's a good point. The name is a separate phenomenon from whatever we associate with it. It's a sound or symbol that plays a certain role in a particular set of practices we engage in.


> One wants to say of words like proper names and of words like "is," the language game is TIGHT one.


Well I wouldn't say that. I think it's pretty loose, actually!


> Imagine playing Charades versus the game of Operation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_(game). Proper Names is more like Operation.  What one is doing to or about the bearer takes place within more limited confines.
>
> Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.


Hmmm, I don't follow that one!

SWM

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[Wittrs] Re: [C] Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3422 is a reply to message #3408] Tue, 02 February 2010 23:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
kirby urner is currently offline  kirby urner
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> Do I have that right (Kripke v. Wittgenstein)?
>
>
Any investigation of PNs has to include that they're just as easily
fictional (e.g. Mickey Mouse). Any redux of PNs that neglects the fictive
possibility is of course immature and worthy of no further consideration.
Or would philosophers disagree. :)

Kirby

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[Wittrs] Re: [C] Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3423 is a reply to message #3422] Wed, 03 February 2010 00:18 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
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(Kirby)

.. I'm not exactly sure I follow. If a name is separate from its bearer -- which it surely is -- the same rule for speaking about "the real" seem to obtain for speaking about the mythical. You would have to engage in one of four behaviors in the service of individuating: (a) point ("This is Aragorn'); (b) title ("Aragorn, son of whatshisname, is the one true King); (c) brand ("Aragorn is DNA profile such-and-such); or (d) describe ("Aragorn is yay tall with hair about down to here and a little scuzzy at times. Likes the outdoors).

Names are the behaviors of pointing, describing, branding, or ascribing title for the purpose of individuating. Because the bearer of the name need not be real or even be in accord with your description  -- see Wittgenstein's remarks on Excalibur, paragraph 39, in PI -- you needn't worry about the mythical. Even in the realm of the mythical, the name game function as it otherwise does.

It would be like saying: the way you language generally has to be changed when you enter fiction. Surely, genres and styles exist. But I would think the language game is pretty much the same thing no matter what.   
   
Regards and thanks.

Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html




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[Wittrs] Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3425 is a reply to message #3408] Wed, 03 February 2010 13:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
J D is currently offline  J D
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SW,

As you may or may not have noticed, some of the issues regarding proper names are actually connected with some of the issues in my recent remarks of the grammar of pictures. More on that is soon to come but I thought I'd offer some comments here. I won't comment on Kripke or Russell (except to mention that Russell's work on proper names actually goes through various changes and does go beyond the theory of descriptions) but I will offer some comments and clarifications you may yet find helpful.

"As I understand it, Wittgenstein's basic point is that people confuse the meaning of a name with its bearer."

That's one confusion he addresses. There are others including remarks to those who do not identify the meaning of a name with its bearer.

"He uses Moses and Excalibur as examples"

While Excalibur is used as an example of problems attending to identifying the meaning of a name with its bearer, the Moses example is addressed to those who would wish to identify any single rule as governing the use of a proper name.

"Because proper names (PNs) mean something apart from their bearer, they take on SENSE and are subject to the 'law' (forgive me) of meaning is use."

(I was prepared to "forgive", recognizing a convenient shorthand alluding to Wittgenstein's remarks on meaning and use and "law" being used in a jocular fashion, but this seems to get you into trouble later, so perhaps my being pedantic about this is still necessary.)

Actually, even when we focus on the bearer, this can yet be thought of in terms of use:

43. For a large class of cases--though not for all--in which we employ the word "meaning" it can be defined
thus: the meaning of a word is its use in the language.

And the meaning of a name is sometimes explained by pointing to its bearer.


"But what are the senses of PNs? I have listed four. 'Moses' can mean: (a) a title or rule (the man who saved the Israelites); (b) a description (the old person with a grey beard who works down the road); (c) ostensibility (that person right there); or (d) a branding (Moses is DNA profile such-and-such, or Social Security Number 233-33-5953)."

I'm not sure I see the point in sharply dividing (a) and (b). A title or role is readily assimilated to a description, e.g. "the person who held thus and such a position" is a description as much as "...who works down the road". And descriptions that are not titles can be transformed into titles, as in "the person who earned the highest grades in her class" and "class valedictorian". "The person who received the most votes", "the person who crossed the finish line first", and so forth.

Likewise, "the person assigned thus and such Social security number" is a description.

And if we did need to make finer distinctions here (it depends on our purposes in drawing these distinctions) we should attend to differences in how different "brands" (a misleading simile for various reasons) are used.

A DNA profile may be used to assign a name to a bodily remains (particularly in war or after a disaster) or to identify a missing child found years later. Here it is being used as a rule for the use of the proper name. A military DNA database can be compared to a color chart, giving the rules for matching a particular color to the name of that color.

But (and there are laws, regulations, and rulings governing this) that same databse can also be used in other ways, such as connecting a name with a definite description ("the father of so and so"), where we may or may not have one or more candidates to consider; or an indefinite description ("someone with increased susceptibility to such and such ailment"), where the name of the individual is not in question.

With a criminal database, we may try to link the description, "the person (or one of the people) who raped so and so", with a name in the database. But of course we also take DNA sample of suspects in custody whose names are not in question. Likewise, parents of an abducted child may provide personal affects of their child to confirm the identity of someone who is found years later, whose name is in question.

There are various connections made between names, descriptions, DNA, and putative bearers of names or descriptions.

The (lawful) use of a Social Security number is a different matter. Possessing of the card, knowing the number, knowing the mother's maiden name, the place and date of birth, having additional photographic identification, and so forth, may all be considered. If I don't have the card or know the number, I may not be able to confirm my identity for various purposes. But if I do, I may yet be guilty of malfeasance if the number is not assigned to me. Typically, my right to use the name and the number stands (or falls) as a single issue.

Where the SSN distinguishes one "Jane Smith" from another, the right of Jane to call herself or be called by that name is not in dispute. What may be in dispute are the legitimacy of various descriptions being ascribed to her, e.g. "the person who has accrued this much in benefits".

"Therefore, PN's accurately exist as four BEHAVIORS."

Be very careful here. Proper names are words. Using a proper name is a behavior. The practice of using proper names is an institution. And this practice is involves following rules. But when there are different rules applied to the use of the same proper name or the same word, this is not necessarily different behavior (as if when using a word, the user always were thinking of one rule or another).

Having "a whole series of props in readiness," being "ready to lean on one if another should be taken from under me" (PI 79) does not imply that I always have one rule or another "in mind" when I used a proper name.

Someone says to me: "Shew the children a game." I teach them gaming with dice, and the other says "I didn't
mean that sort of game." Must the exclusion of the game with dice have come before his mind when he gave me the
order? (PI, p.33)

And if circumstances arise that lead me to use one "prop" or another, it does not follow that my behavior in initially using the name would have been different prior to being questioned. If a different question were asked, I should answer differently. And that would not mean that I was lying about what I was doing. The ability to appeal to different rules does not necessarily indicate different actual behavior.

"One of the things that is strange about PN's is that only some of the senses seem to rule the bearer. That is, one could say that Moses did not exist if the story of Israelites is false, even though a man named 'Moses' to whom the story was attributed did, in fact, exist."

One "could" say a great many things.

What does it mean to say that a man named "Moses" did exist? That someone was named "Moses" but nothing in the story is true of him? That's as relevant here as a landscaper named "Jesus" (pardon the crude stereotype) is to the question of historicity of Jesus. When you add, "to whom the story was attributed", this prompts the question: What do we mean by this "Moses", about whom many false things were said, from any number of other people named "Moses"?

And Wittgenstein does not say that some of the senses "rule the bearer". He rightly challenges that idea:

I shall perhaps say: By "Moses" I understand the man who did what the Bible relates of Moses, or at
any rate a good deal of it. But how much? Have I decided how much must be proved false for me to give up my
proposition as false? Has the name "Moses" got a fixed and unequivocal use for me in all possible cases? (PI 79)

If Bacon wrote the plays, then Shakespeare did not. Or if "Shakespeare" is Bacon's pseudonym, then Bacon is Shakespeare. But we believe other things about Shakespeare, such as that he had a career performing at The Globe. If these (and other beliefs) also turned out false, we could say "Shakespeare did not exist." We could also say that Bacon is Shakespeare, so Shakespeare did exist, but that many false beliefs had been attached to the pseudonym.

And why should we expect that the rules would be prepared in advance to determine which would be correct?

"It would be the same as saying 'George Washington was the man who could never tell a lie,' and learning that this is false -- he told many. And upon hearing of this, in your delusion, you might say, 'The George Washington I know doesn't exist.'"

That would be hyperbole and of course such expressions have their use. But saying that George Washington did not exist in the sense that an archaeologist or hostorian might say that Moses did not would not be a matter of being disilusioned about any particular belief but rather finding that a great deal of military and political history was false.

"He says that the meaning of PN's is variable DURING THEIR DEPLOYMENT."

Yes. But I don't know where you're getting the idea that he also said that other senses were fixed.

So my definition of "N" would perhaps be "the man of whom all this is
true".--But if some point now proves false?--Shall I be prepared to declare the proposition "N is dead" false--even if
it is only something which strikes me as incidental that has turned out false? But where are the bounds of the
incidental?--If I had given a definition of the name in such a case, I should now be ready to alter it. (PI 79)

"Now, what does Wittgenstein's view of PN's do to Russell? Here, the idea of the theory of descriptions is in trouble, right? Because, after Wittgenstein, you cannot say of 'Moses' that it refers to (a) an X; (b) its definition -- because, (1) meaning is use; (2) the bearer and PN are different; and (c) the definition is in flux by virtue of the way the PN language game exists."

The Theory of Descriptions could be readily treated as providing a paradigm for rules explaining meaning as use, so (1) is a non sequitur. If it is a flawed paradigm, that is not because it cannot be treated as an explanation of use. Furthermore, even if it couldn't be so treated, Wittgenstein's remarks on meaning and use would not be in conflict because he explicitly says, "though not for all" (cases), and proper names could be viewed as an exception.

Finally, ellipsis and joking references to "law" notwithstanding, PI 43 is not a thesis to be used to knock down other theses. It is a set of truisms indicating alternative ways of understanding questions about meaning that will hopefully reduce some temptations to proffer theses at all.

(2) is very badly expressed. Of course the bearer and the name are different, but who would suggest otherwise? The name "George Washington" and the person George Washington couldn't be more different.

That the meaning of the name and the bearer of the name are different is something Wittgenstein would emphasize. But not against the Theory of Descriptions. Treating names as abbreviated descriptions is not at all the same as equating the meaning of a name with the bearer of that name.

The way that we may shift between using various descriptions in using a proper name would be a problem for some uses of the Theory of Descriptions, but not for others.

And this can be expressed like this: I use the name "N" without a fixed meaning. (But that detracts as little
from its usefulness, as it detracts from that of a table that it stands on four legs instead of three and so sometimes
wobbles.)

Should it be said that I am using a word whose meaning I don't know, and so am talking nonsense?--Say
what you choose, so long as it does not prevent you from seeing the facts. (And when you see them there is a good
deal that you will not say.)
(PI 79)


JPDeMouy

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[Wittrs] Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3427 is a reply to message #3425] Wed, 03 February 2010 15:57 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
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(J)

... Just some comments on big points where I see "issues" (I have to type fast because I've got work to do): 

First, I think we are in agreement that W's position on PN's is thus: (1) PN's have sense; (2) bearers and names are separable; (3) meaning is use for PN's; (4) the language game of PN's are such that use is allowed to be indeterminate and is even allowed to alter some things after the package is delivered.  But where trouble arises is as follows: 

1. That use must ALWAYS be indeterminate or that sharp boundaries cannot be drawn. Is that your position? Because my position was to show that WHETHER names have bearers in accompaniment or not, or are sharp in boundary, is a function of the SENSE of name being used in the language maneuver. And I illustrated four such senses which I could imagine. They are: Point, Brand, Describe & Title. Let me further explain:

SHARP BOUNDARIES AND TITLES 
There is confusion on the issue of whether a name can have a "sharp boundary." You use Moses as the example to say (apparently) that it never can, but you neglect Exalibur and W's position on sharp boundaries generally. Surely the better view is that one CAN draw such a boundary, but that doing so is only home to its purposes, as all sharp boundaries are for family resemblance ideas. Although the Excalibur example isn't that good, I think it can illustrate the point. I take it that the whole reason why the blade can be shattered, yet the statement "Excalibur has a sharp blade," remain meaningful, is that "Excalibur" has come to take on the sense of a title or status (a set of rules) that is independent of the bearer.

Let's say it this way: If any name becomes more important than its bearer, it becomes a title or a status. These examples COULD include hyperbole, but need not. Example: Messy Marvin. The day he grows up one may rightfully say of him, "he's not Messy Marvin any longer." And this is because he no longer lives up to his rule (title). You seem to think that this is not a real example of a "name" or is just fun talking or something. I want to suggest that this does, in fact, belong to the family of names and is a sharpe boundary imposed for parochial reasons (it gets work done in the language game).

'Messy Marvin" functions in language the way Excalibur and Moses CAN.  One could rightly say of Moses, that if he did not save the Israelites, that he was not, in fact, "Moses." Imagine someone saying "Jesus is a lie," where it turned out that certain major things were untrue. In both of these examples, "Moses" and "Jesus' have become RULES. The only thing one who disagreed could say in response is: "I didn't mean that sense of Moses." "I meant the historical Moses." (You'll note this reply seems to have a bearer description in mind that makes use of branding and description)

DESCRIPTIONS, BRANDING AND POINTING
The difference between titles and descriptions is that the former operates as a rule (and turns PN's into a kind of jargon); the latter operates as a set of circumstances (attribute list). And so where the circumstance does not turn itself into a rule ("the man who lived down the road"), it never takes on the role of tautology. This is what you are not getting: I can make a name a tautology if I want to. The language game allows for that. Or I can make it an attribute list that allows me to supplement and amend after delivery. The language game allows that.

You also aren't getting this branding thing. I don't mean like brand names. I mean like branding a cow. Marking. Individuating. This is a specific behavior in the "naming language game." If I say, "Sally is DNA such and such," what I have done is to separate Sally from all the other humans or animals out there. Same as if I say, "Sally is SSN 2323232." Marking or branding are behaviors in the name game. That is a particular sense. The sense is 'Sally's marker." By "Sally," I sometimes mean her marker.

Pointing is very simple. Imagine a greeting. "Hi Mark. This is Jane." "Nice to meet you Jane." From Mark's standpoint, "Jane" is simply "that." The name simply says "pointer call." It's the same as if you say "the dog is Snoopy." You now know what mark or noise to say when you see "it."

INTEGRATION
I'm not against the idea that the four senses of names I have described are integrated. You are right that people might mix and match in complicated circumstances (e.g., identifying the historical Moses). But my point is that names involve four types of brain behaviors: point, mark, generalize (describe), and "tautologize" (status or rule).

I've go to run on the other points. Later on, I'd like to come back to the meaning-is-use point and where I think you are wrong about what W's view does to Russell.

Regards and thanks. 

Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
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[Wittrs] Re: [C] Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3429 is a reply to message #3423] Wed, 03 February 2010 18:49 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 Tue, Feb 2, 2010 at 9:18 PM, Sean Wilson <whoooo26505@yahoo.com> wrote:

> (Kirby)
>
> .. I'm not exactly sure I follow. If a name is separate from its bearer --
> which it surely is -- the same rule for speaking about "the real" seem to
> obtain for speaking about the mythical. You would have to engage in one of
> four behaviors in the service of individuating: (a) point ("This is
> Aragorn'); (b) title ("Aragorn, son of whatshisname, is the one true King);
> (c) brand ("Aragorn is DNA profile such-and-such); or (d) describe ("Aragorn
> is yay tall with hair about down to here and a little scuzzy at times. Likes
> the outdoors).
>

If you're already clear that the same rules apply, i.e. adding a fictional
dimension doesn't really change the abc's of how one uses proper names, then
yes, nothing problematic enters the picture just because the designated
person, geographic place, and/or named vessel or spaceship, has no actual
existence in the world of past or present facts.

I think you might find the occasional amateurish philosophy that takes up
this matter of proper names, yet makes no allowances for the referents being
mythical.

Sometimes what happens with proper names is they're thought to be literal
(if I may use that as the opposite of mythical) and then it comes out later
that (all this time) the referent had no literal existence.

This verdict of "mythical" could be the outcome of sleuthing, detective work
i.e. we're trying to track down X, and we think we know who X is, but then
we end up concluding either:

(a) X never existed or
(b) we're simply not sure if X ever existed
(and if X did, how much of what we suppose about X is actually fictitious
e.g. there's the DNA record, but that turns out to most likely belong to
someone else...).

The above scenario sounds a lot like police work on one of those popular
prime time TV shows wherein all of the characters, plots, equipment, is a
made-for-TV fantasy.

Within the fictional TV show, the hero-sleuths attempt to track down X (some
proper name) and it turns out there's no such person X (the fact that the
heroes are also fictive is not a plot element in the show i.e. their
fictitious nature is "meta" to the storytelling -- we're suspending
disbelief and letting these actors be "real" in a theatrical context).

Taking an example from real life, when Oliver Stone made his movie 'JFK', he
cast Donald Sutherland as this "Man X" character who seemed to have some
inside scoop on that whole business. The movie was of course controversial,
as it advanced yet another thesis on that crowded scene already well stocked
with conspiracy theories.

People attempted to verify this or that aspect of the movie, and that
included wondering if there really was a 'Man X' or was that just a
screenwriter's device?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onks09EQyLY

Well, it turned out in this case that Oliver Stone was actually thinking of
a real person whom he'd had conversations with, one Col. Fletcher L. Prouty
(http://www.prouty.org/).

In the aftermath of the film's release, Oliver and "Man X" actually made
some joint appearances on panels (just once? many times? -- I'm recalling
some video) to answer questions from journalists and so forth.

But one could just as well imagine that "Man X" could have been a
screenwriter's invention. Different history in that case, i.e. in many
circles, a lot rides on whether something is "true" or not, and that
includes much intimate grammar around this concept of "existence" (as in
"no, I'm not just making this up").

Philosophical investigations into the meanings of proper names should
probably grapple explicitly with fictional cases. It's important to point
out that the grammar is similar enough to keep people guessing, in some
cases, as to whether the proper name in question associates with someone or
something that "exists" or "is real".

One might say that "the reality of" or "objective existence of" someone or
something is not critical to its having meaning i.e. is in some ways a quite
dispensable element, at least insofar as how the grammar is constructed.

Of course within this or that language game making use of proper names, it
may make all the difference whether "X" is "real" or not. I'd say that's a
"parochial concern" in the sense that it's not built in to the grammar.


> Names are the behaviors of pointing, describing, branding, or ascribing
> title for the purpose of individuating. Because the bearer of the name need
> not be real or even be in accord with your description -- see
> Wittgenstein's remarks on Excalibur, paragraph 39, in PI -- you needn't
> worry about the mythical. Even in the realm of the mythical, the name
> game function as it otherwise does.
>
>

You've grappled with the special case of "non-existence" in a thinking
manner, have already considered this issue and come out with a clear
verdict: the grammar around proper names is not concerned with "existence"
in the first instance.

There's a subcategory of language games in which the attributes of reality
enter in.

One may populate a universe with any number of properly named participants,
all of whom behave according to the same rules we apply in the "real world"
(as we call it).

But then once in a fictive world we're able to be more plastic about the
rules, more flexible. One might say the structural fabric is far less rigid
in fiction, yet still has its break points or coherence failures, when it
comes to running up against nonsense.

'Alice in Wonderland' plays along this border twixt sense and nonsense, as
does 'Finnegans Wake' I suppose one might say -- as does 'Logico Tractatus
Philosophicus' as does 'Philosophical Investigations'...

I'm glad we have these Wittgensteinian intersections here, a shared
cross-roads of sorts:

http://coffeeshopsnet.blogspot.com/2009/10/on-wittgensteins-philo.html

"I declare it's marked like a large chess-board!" Alice said at last. "There
ought to be some men moving about somewhere — and so there are!" she added
in a tone of delight, and her heart began to beat quick with excitement as
she went on. "It's a great huge game of chess that's being played-all over
the world — if this is the world at all, you know."


> It would be like saying: the way you language generally has to be changed
> when you enter fiction. Surely, genres and styles exist. But I would think
> the language game is pretty much the same thing no matter what.
>

That's pretty clear and I suppose I agree.

I'd say something like: the fictional realm has a low barrier to entry, as
you don't have to tweak the grammar really at all to subtract "existence"
from the equations. It goes away easily, thanks to our highly evolved
ability to sustain fictional realities using the same rules we use for the
real world.

However, once across that barrier, and into the fictive world, then new
possibilities kick in and the grammar may proceed to morph in ways we could
not accept or allow if trying to stay faithful to some special-case reality.

I appreciate this opportunity to refine our respective views. I assume
Kripke is likewise on board with fictional cases being somewhat trivially
distinct from the non-fictional. He writes about 'Nixon' quite a bit, as an
example of a proper name, but he could just as well write about 'Gandalf'
and may well have done so (I'm hardly a walking encyclopedia when it comes
to the full range of philosophical investigations already conducted in this
realm).

Rather than end with a sense of closure though, I want to raise another
issue.

The meaning of a proper name is very much colored by how it is spun (a
truism, just injecting a grammar with 'spin' as an operative term, in
accordance with many contemporary use cases).

For example John Nash, the Princeton-based mathematician who one a Nobel
prize, is also the subject of a popular movie 'A Beautiful Mind' directed by
Ron Howard and starring Russell Crowe.

I think it's obvious that the meaning of 'John Nash' has been affected,
spun, altered, put on a new trajectory, thanks to this fictional work. Then
I would say the same is obviously true for 'Richard Nixon' i.e. the meaning
of that name is not fixed or "nailed" as one might put it.

Overlays, new filters, continuing revelations, keep adding new spin.

So in that sense I might contend that the meaning of a proper name remains
unsettled and/or "up in the air" or "subject to revision" for an open-ended
period of time, another way of saying "remains subject to change in
principle, or in perpetuity" (sounds like some sort of legal document).

We might be getting into "judgment day" territory (important in
Wittgenstein).

It's not intrinsic to the meaning of a proper name that it be "settled" or
"fixed".

Do you rest easy with this formulation?

Perhaps what I'm saying here has the flavor of a thesis no one would
disagree with?

"Trivially the case" might be the verdict on Kirby's proffered observations.

Kirby

PS: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quadray_coordinates now has a reference
into the
technical literature,

Urner, Kirby. "Teaching Object-Oriented Programming with Visual FoxPro."
*FoxPro Advisor* (Advisor Media, March, 1999), page 48 ff.



> Regards and thanks.
>
>
> Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
>
> Assistant Professor
>
> Wright State University
>
> Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
>
> SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
>
> Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html
>
>
>

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[Wittrs] Re: [C] Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3430 is a reply to message #3429] Wed, 03 February 2010 19:09 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

(Kirby writes:)

"So in that sense I might contend that the meaning of a proper name remains unsettled and/or "up in the air" or "subject to revision" for an open-ended period of time, another way of saying "remains subject to change in principle, or in perpetuity" (sounds like some sort of legal document). ... It's not intrinsic to the meaning of a proper name that it be "settled" or "fixed." ... Do you rest easy with this formulation? "

=============================

... I do agree. I'm working on a paper, and I think just found the right way to say it. Here is what a proper name is: it is a set of instructions for bearer-assignment, amendable after shipment."

I'm trying to think of similes for games where a play is made that can be uncontroversially amended after the play is over. One might be Congress (motion to extend and revise remarks). Another might be Spades where going "blind nill" allows you to trade a card with a partner after looking at the hand. But these are poor comparisons. Perhaps the best is this: The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) in contracts law allows for merchants who deal with one another to change the terms of their shipment uncontroversially after the bargain (contract) has already been made. Why? It makes capitalism work better. Business people deal "on the fly."

So it is with names. They arrive on delivery and provide bearer-assignment instructions. Yet, the shipper reserve the right to amend the instructions uncontroversially after arrival.

I want to stress, however, per my comments with J, that the bearer-assignment instructions come in the form of modalities. Those modes are: point, mark, generality, and tautology. You therefore get the package, deploy the mode or modes that assign the bearer, and then wait for the shipper's amendment, if elected.

That's what a name it.

Hail to Wittgenstein! Philosophy as liberation!         
 
Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html



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[Wittrs] Re: [C] Re: Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3436 is a reply to message #3430] Wed, 03 February 2010 21:15 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 Wed, Feb 3, 2010 at 4:09 PM, Sean Wilson <whoooo26505@yahoo.com> wrote:
> (Kirby writes:)
>
> "So in that sense I might contend that the meaning of a proper name remains
> unsettled and/or "up in the air" or "subject to revision" for an open-ended
> period of time, another way of saying "remains subject to change in
> principle, or in perpetuity" (sounds like some sort of legal document). ...
> It's not intrinsic to the meaning of a proper name that it be "settled" or
> "fixed." ... Do you rest easy with this formulation? "
> =============================
>

(Sean replies:)
> ... I do agree. I'm working on a paper, and I think just found the right way
> to say it. Here is what a proper name is: it is a set of instructions for
> bearer-assignment, amendable after shipment."
>

You do seem to have a clear set of modalities going, for specifying in
what ways to "bind" a name to some object -- to use some shoptalk
from computer science. **

I think we should keep in the picture two essential ways in which a
name -> object relationship might be affected.

The object itself may change, or our perception of it does. It turns out
that X was not a real person, or that this suitcase, identified by luggage
tag and bar code, does not contain at all what we thought it did. In
these examples, the target remains the same, and yet has also
changed, perhaps drastically and in a way which strains the original
name->object binding (past the breaking point in some cases).

In Wittgenstein, you'll get the example of where you think King's College
is off to your right, then you suddenly realize it's right ahead. The
meaning of King's College has changed in that the target has moved,
if only in your perception.

Another way in which the name -> object relationship may change,
is if we discover that two different names were in fact bound to the
same object. It turns out the "Sam's sister" and "Mrs. Walker" are
really bound to the same person. That's a context thing of course,
as we have millions of identities using "Sam" and/or "Mrs. Walker",
which is why your "binding rules" are so critical. There's every
potential for missing the relationship i.e. naming the *wrong*
object -- lots of our investigations should delve into that possibility.

Sometimes changes to an object's attributes may be "devastating"
i.e. I think I know what I mean by X, and I've gone around telling
people that X is a real person, i.e. built right in to my definition of
X is that I'll be able to bind the name "X" to "somebody real". When
it turns out there is no X matching my description (I come to this
conclusion on my own), then I don't say "I still mean X, it's just that
X does not have the attribute of existing". On the contrary, I have to
say that my previous use of "X" is now meaningless, is null and
void. "I was just speaking nonsense" might be the confession.

I bring this up to add a wrinkle to the "amending" process. One
may change the name -> object relationship "from either side"
as it were. But one may also obliterate or disrupt the relationship.

Consider for example the proper name "Epcot". I'd say here we
have a good example of a persistent name -> object relationship,
not obliterated or disrupted, where there's nevertheless been
significant activity on both the name side and the object side.

Changes to name:

When the word was first coined, it was EPCOT and stood for
Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. That was
Walt Disney's grand vision of what this new theme park would be
(in Orlando). In choosing to lowercase it to Epcot, the modality
was rebranding (changing the brand).

Changes to object:

The signature building, Spaceship Earth, was decorated with
a more retro skin or theme, a giant Mickey Mouse arm sprinkling
pixie dust.

That arm has since been removed, parts auctioned off on eBay
(says WIkipedia) while the theme ride inside, originally scripted by
Ray Bradbury, has been modernized under new sponsorship.

Name -> Object persistence:

In giving this example, I'm giving a sense of the interplay between
name and object. Both names and objects are subject to
revision, yet we might still claim to be dealing with "the same"
relationship throughout the revisionary process.

I also sense I'm retreating from any strict name->object nominalism,
which I associate with computer logic, Python's in particular, and
am going back to saying things like "everything as a signifier".

The Spaceship Earth ball is as much caught up in usage
patterns as is the moniker "Spaceship Earth", which has its
own trajectory in "semantic space" e.g. if "Global University" is
used as a rough synonym in some namespace -- language
game -- then that changes or "precesses" (spins) its meaning....

Adding the Mickey Mouse arm, then taking it away, changes
the meaning of the Spaceship Earth ball (as would destroying it)
in a way that's difficult to put one's finger on, but since when were
changes in meaning always easy to articulate (I'd like to say
"most change goes by without comment" and hope to be
understood).

In this sense of altering meaning by altering objects, one
might say "things are also names" or (more coherently)
"language" and "the world" are only distinct by convention,
not by divine intervention. Getting back to this cross-roads again...

http://coffeeshopsnet.blogspot.com/2009/10/on-wittgensteins-philo.html

Good to compare notes with ya.

Kirby

Related reading:
http://www.grunch.net/synergetics/docs/epnote1.html

** a language game:

In going:

a = 2

we're not saying "a equals 2" so much as "a binds to 2, is a name for
the 2 object".

The symbol "2" is likewise a name for the "2 object".

The symbol "=" is called "the assignment operator" and its purpose is
to bind names to objects.

two = 2 is akin to two -> 2.
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[Wittrs] Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3441 is a reply to message #3427] Thu, 04 February 2010 00:57 Go to previous messageGo to next message
J D is currently offline  J D
Messages: 51
Registered: January 2010
Member
SW,


"That use must ALWAYS be indeterminate or that sharp boundaries cannot be drawn. Is that your position?"

Under most circumstances, names aren't indeterminate at all. And where they are, we can always draw an arbitrary boundary for some specific purpose. That doesn't mean with blocked all possibilities of indeterminacy.

"but you neglect Exalibur and W's position on sharp boundaries generally."

PI 39 is an elaboration of why we are tempted to the idea of simples such as is found in the Tractatus. And this view is then extensively critiqued.

"Surely the better view is that one CAN draw such a boundary, but that doing so is only home to its purposes,"

This is actually close to what I wrote above. And I have never denied it.

"Although the Excalibur example isn't that good,"

For the reasons indicated, you're right: it isn't.

"...I think it can illustrate the point. I take it that the whole reason why the blade can be shattered, yet the statement 'Excalibur has a sharp blade,' remain meaningful, is that 'Excalibur' has come to take on the sense of a title or status (a set of rules) that is independent of the bearer."

It may well never have had a bearer! (And no doubt, Wittgenstein was well aware of that point.)

"Let's say it this way: If any name becomes more important than its bearer, it becomes a title or a status."

I see nothing to be gained in speaking that way...

"These examples COULD include hyperbole, but need not. Example: Messy Marvin. The day he grows up one may rightfully say of him, 'he's not Messy Marvin any longer.' And this is because he no longer lives up to his rule (title). You seem to think that this is not a real example of a 'name' or is just fun talking or something. I want to suggest that this does, in fact, belong to the family of names and is a sharpe boundary imposed for parochial reasons (it gets work done in the language game)."

Nicknames are "proper names" in the sense that concerns logicians, albeit not in the sense of ordinary English.

The nickname may no longer be apt but may or may not persist nevertheless, as anyone whose ever tried to live down an embarrassing nickname can attest.

Don't forget that nicknames are also often ironic, as with guys named "Tiny", who may be slight of stature or quite large when they acquire the nickname.

I have no idea why you would think such a nickname to be "sharp boundary" though. Especially a nickname based on something so vague and variable as "messiness".

"'Messy Marvin' functions in language the way Excalibur and Moses CAN. One could rightly say of Moses, that if he did not save the Israelites, that he was not, in fact, 'Moses.' Imagine someone saying 'Jesus is a lie,' where it turned out that certain major things were untrue. In both of these examples, 'Moses' and 'Jesus' have become RULES. The only thing one who disagreed could say in response is: 'I didn't mean that sense of Moses.' 'I meant the historical Moses.' (You'll note this reply seems to have a bearer description in mind that makes use of branding and description)"

What possible sense does it have to speak of "the historical Moses" apart from whatever descriptions (mythological? historical?) we may have?

Again, Wittgenstein's choice of Moses for this example was deliberate.

"The difference between titles and descriptions is that the former operates as a rule (and turns PN's into a kind of jargon); the latter operates as a set of circumstances (attribute list)."

So "class valedictorian" is a rule but "the one who had the best grades in the class" is a "set of circumstances"?

"And so where the circumstance does not turn itself into a rule ('the man who lived down the road'), it never takes on the role of tautology. This is what you are not getting: I can make a name a tautology if I want to."

No.

You can't.

A name has no truth value, a fortiori it is not true in all possible states of affairs or true as a verbal explanation of a rule of grammar, or however you might wish to explicate "tautology".

I suspect you're saying that you can treat a proposition applying a particular description to a name as a rule of grammar. If that's what you mean, I have nowhere denied that.

I would deny that the ability to treat the description as a rule of grammar for the use of a name is limited to descriptions that we would normally call "titles" or that this "distinction" you seem to be trying to make is really relevant here. (And I find it nowhere in Wittgenstein's work, for whatever that's worth.)

"Messy Marvin is messy" is not like "Red apples are red", appearances notwithstanding. Nor is "Tiny is tiny."

Serial killers may be the best example of what you seem to have in mind. "The Unibomber". We might say, "The Unibomber is the author of this manifesto". ("Author" is a title.) Or, "The Unabomber is the person who sent such and such a bomb to such and such a victim" (which is not a title). And we might treat these as rules for deciding whether a particular suspect is the Unibomber. If a suspect is arrested and charged, then we'd say "the alleged Unabomber".

But it may have been that we discovered that the author of the manifesto was just some crank trying to ride the publicity of the person who bombed so and so. Then the author is not the Unibomber. Or it may be that the most publicized bombing or the one that prompted the nickname was in fact a copycat or perhaps someone who wanted tenure and, knowing of these bombings, decided to murder a colleague under cover of those bombings. So, the Unibomber didn't do the bombing that first brought his crimes to national attention.

"You also aren't getting this branding thing. I don't mean like brand names."

I hadn't supposed that. I'm not sure why you'd think that I did.

"I mean like branding a cow."

Yes. That was my understanding. And the reason I don't think it's an apt simile for your examples (DNA and SSNs) is that the former is not a social convention though we do carry it with us, while the latter is a convention but not something we carry with us. Tattoos worn in various cultures to mark status, kinship, and so forth, or imprinted in Nazi concentration camps or Russian prisons and even "Hello My Name is..." stickers and military dog tags would all be far more aptly compared to brands (and of course, some cultures practice branding literally). But the examples you gave don't seem at all fitting. And you seem to have simply ignored the various points about similarities and differences between various uses of DNA and SSNs.

"Marking. Individuating. This is a specific behavior in the 'naming language game.' If I say, 'Sally is DNA such and such,' what I have done is to separate Sally from all the other humans or animals out there."

Except for her identical twin, if she has one. (Undeniable possibility.) Or her clone, if that technology develops. (Certainly plausible.) And if gene therapy develops to the point where Sally's DNA can be radically altered? (Not beyond the realm of future possibility.) Or if Sally's body is replaced with various prostheses, by steps, including her brain being replaced in stages with inorganic materials able to perform those same functions? (Completely speculative SF but not logically excluded.)

"Same as if I say, 'Sally is SSN 2323232.'"

In what sense is that the same? Both of them make an identification more precise, as I previously acknowledged. But so does, "the tall, red-headed Sally," albeit not so precise, depending on how large a group of people we're dealing with. (It may be perfectly precise for a particular purpose.)

By the way, who speaks that way? Sally isn't a number. Sally is the person assigned such and such a number. Sally is not a DNA profile. Sally is the person whose DNA profile is such and such. And the rule for using "Sally" may be to apply that name to whoever has such and such DNA (unless she has an identical twin or...). And the rule may also say that we can substitute such and such SSN for the name "Sally".

"Marking or branding are behaviors in the name game. That is a particular sense. The sense is 'Sally's marker.' By 'Sally,' I sometimes mean her marker."

No. "Sally" is not the name of her marker. "Sally" is the name of a person. And the marker can be used in place of the name. And by "Sally", you sometimes mean, e.g. "the person assigned such and such a marker".

"Pointing is very simple."

Wow! And all the difficulties attending to the notion of ostensive definition that Wittgenstein uncovered?

"Imagine a greeting. 'Hi Mark. This is Jane.' 'Nice to meet you Jane.' From Mark's standpoint, 'Jane' is simply 'that.'"

Simply "that" what? In this context, the person to whom he is being introduced. But there's a whole lot more required in terms of "stage setting" to be able to learn to use a person's name!

"The name simply says 'pointer call.'"

Ouch! Um, you aren't making a deliberate computer science reference, are you? I'm hoping that was entirely inadvertent. If not, could you explain the comparison you're making? If it was inadvertent, feel free to disregard my query.

"It's the same as if you say 'the dog is Snoopy.' You now know what mark or noise to say when you see 'it.'"

I know how names are used and I know what a dog is and so I now now how to call to this dog or talk about this dog. I do things with names. I don't just blurt them out when I see their bearers. At least not typically.

"I'm not against the idea that the four senses of names I have described are integrated. You are right that people might mix and match in complicated circumstances (e.g., identifying the historical Moses). But my point is that names involve four types of brain behaviors: point, mark, generalize (describe), and 'tautologize' (status or rule)."

Why in Heaven's name are you calling these "brain behaviors"? Brains don't do these things. People (who presumably have brains) do these things. And what is bringing something that sounds vaguely neurological meant to contribute? Some of my other reservations are covered above and in my previous message.

"I've go to run on the other points. Later on, I'd like to come back to the meaning-is-use point and where I think you are wrong about what W's view does to Russell."

I'll try to be helpful in my responses.

JPDeMouy



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[Wittrs] Re: [C] Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3449 is a reply to message #3441] Thu, 04 February 2010 18:02 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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--- On Thu, 2/4/10, J D <ubersicht@gmail.com> wrote:

> From: J D <ubersicht@gmail.com>
> Subject: [C] [Wittrs] Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke
> To: wittrsamr@freelists.org
> Date: Thursday, February 4, 2010, 12:57 AM


>
> Why in Heaven's name are you calling these "brain
> behaviors"?  Brains don't do these things.  People
> (who presumably have brains) do these things.  And what
> is bringing something that sounds vaguely neurological meant
> to contribute? 

I have been down this road with Sean, and I have some advice for you - quit while you're ahead. What is most fascinating about ol' Sean is that he thinks that this talk of "brain behaviors" or "brain scripts" is perfectly consistent with later Wittgenstein. For him, for example, meanings are things in the brain that are conveyed by utterances - pretty Wittgensteinian, eh?
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[Wittrs] Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3451 is a reply to message #3441] Thu, 04 February 2010 20:23 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

(J)

.. this last message of yours really is hard to follow. It's all over the place. It's really hard to participate in the telephone-conversation format because adding up all of the short, off-the-head replies made to sentences instead of points in a message makes for a tedius effort on my end. And if I just do the same back to you, it ends up not really being "discussion" in any helpful sense. Also, I really want to avoid these little pithy sort of things that go on, ok? So, with that said, I'm going to try one last time to see where I think you have some serious trouble here.

IN GENERAL
Let me start this off with two general statements. I think the trouble here boils down to two basic things.

1. You seem to think that names can only ever be "bearer-calls" and not bearer-assignments. (Now, it's hard for me to say for sure, because I have to read tea leaves here). It seems that you want to say that a name could never set forth criteria to ASSIGN its bearer, and must always, instead, always be the thing that a particular bearer calls to.  

2. Related to this, I think you also (as a consequence) must deny that names are a family resemblance, of which bearer-calls are only one kind (but perhaps an archetype).  This is why you seem to deny that nicknames are "names" or that titles (in the sense I spoke of) are. Or that the examples of hyperbole that take the form of names are a species of "name." And why you find no helpful sense in "historical Moses" as opposed to legendary "Moses" (the key being only to find the right bearer-call).   

I think, in your view, if we found out that Moses was actually named "Ghandalf," that only then could we say that Moses didn't exist. But in fact, note that one could validly say ANY of the following: (a) that "Moses" was really Ghandalf; (b) that Ghandalf is "Moses;" (c) that Moses is known by two names; (d) that Ghandalf has two names. This is the same as Wittgenstein's Excalibur. When bearers become separable from names, the names take on the power of assignment.

Imagine knowing someone intimately for a long time. Then, the person changes. And you say, "That's not Jane anymore." You have separated the name from the bearer because the name has taken on a kind of status or criteria in your language. Of course, you don't mean that the bearer-called-Jane doesn't exist; you mean that attribute set X is no longer present in the bearer. Now, your view, J, seems to think that only bearer-calls are relevant. That Jane's name can only ever mean "the bearer-called Jane." But what I am saying is this: FOR THE LANGUAGE CULTURE, this use of "Jane" is a perfectly ordinary use. We hear it all the time. And it is surely NOT WITTGENSTEINIAN to make this objection: "that's not a proper use; names are only [this]." That would be the kind of thing a librarian would say. Rather, a Wittgensteinian would say, "That's not the sense of 'Jane' I meant."  And that is the key: "JANE" HAS SENSE.

And by the way, although it would be stretch -- actually, poetry -- this is also legitimate. Say you found a person, Rhonda, who seemed to exhibit attribute set X perfectly the same as "Jane." You could commit hyperbole with name (elevating it to a title) by saying, 'Rhonda is Jane.' This is a perfectly meaningful sentence. Making successful meaning is all that matters in the language game. It's a legitimate sense of "Jane" under the circumstances. People who understand "Jane" as you do would get the point entirely. So you aren't the one who controls this; the language culture does. If you were to deny that names work like this, you would be saying that they don't function in cognition or culture like ordinary words. And for you to imply that the only real "name" is the bearer-called-Jane is the same as saying the only real "chair" is the kind that looks like an archetype.   

TAUTOLOGY
1. You've misunderstood several points here. You've appeared to equate "Messy Marvin" (MM) with "Marvin is messy." These are not the same. MM is a name that is functioning as a title. When Marvin grows up, one could rightly say, "he's not MM anymore." Names mean more than historical bearer-calls. Also, your point about class valedictorian (cv) isn't right. CV isn't a "name;" it's an ordinary tautology like "bachelor" can be. For that example to occur, one would have to have their identity distinguished by that feature. Let's imagine a Greek demi-God called "Valedictor," who was said to have the best marks among all the learned gods. If we had found that Valedictor was runner up, we could validly play a language game as to whether "Valedictor" existed. The game would be between bearer-call and bearer-assignment. It would, in short, be between two senses of "names."     

MARKING
1. This point isn't understood either. Because you only see names as bearer-calls, you don't see "numbering humans" as being a type of name. But in fact, the language culture doesn't support you (which is all that matters).  By this I don't mean that the culture treats an id number as a bearer-call -- although, it probably does in some limited cases -- I mean that the bearer-called are also numerically-borne AS A MEANS OF BEARING. The emphasis here is on the kind of activity it is. Just as names individuate, so do markers (brands). And what is not understood here is that the METHOD of creating a bearer is its MEANS. And so, we locate bearers by pointing, marking, describing and by tautology. And the activity of all of these behaviors can be understood as being the family of "names" -- i.e., the things we do to create bearers. 

Compare: the person X is called "Sally." The person X is "SSN 123-445-6677." Or those who say, "Sally is DNA such and such" (All that your cloning examples show is that the marking system isn't perfect. That's not germane). 

POINTING
1. Here, your points are most poor. I don't even know what you are talking about. I know well Wittgenstein's points about ostensive definitions. Here's what you are probably missing (a quote from my paper):

Some may find Wittgenstein a little unclear here. At one point, he says that pointing and saying “that” do not (together) constitute “naming.” Surely this is true. “That” is a pointing; not a naming. But he also says that we often use pointing as away to explain a name, such as, “That is Jane.” Here, the difference is that, thought we are pointing toward “Jane,” we are also, in a sense, pointing out her name, such that the expression really can be thought of as that-plus (that-plus-name).  See ¶s 38 & 43 in PI.
   
BRAIN BEHAVIOR
1. I think it would be too much to try to give you this one, J. The message is already too long. Have a look at the message board if you are interested. (If you are, start a separate thread) . http://seanwilson.org/forum/index.php?t=msg&th=1240&start=0&S=8 f6e252b1089a313b6ce32a7386f26e8

Also, I'd stay away from Glen's invite here, for he sees Wittgenstein as a "behaviorist," which isn't true in the ordinary sense of the idea, and which in general cannot be explained to him.

EXCALIBUR:
Just a quick point here. I think you misunderstand W's (and my) point. Here's the exchange: 

(Me:) "...I think it can illustrate the point. I take it that the whole reason why the blade can be shattered, yet the statement 'Excalibur has a sharp blade,' remain meaningful, is that 'Excalibur' has come to take on the sense of a title or status (a set of rules) that is independent of the bearer."
(You:)  It may well never have had a bearer! (And no doubt, Wittgenstein was well aware of that point.)

The point about Excalibur was not that the blade was mythical. It was that, in the myth, it could be destroyed, yet still be meaningful to speak about. Ask yourself: how is it meaningful to speak about a name when: (a) it's bearer is gone; or (b) it's bearer doesn't live up to its billing anymore? Answer: names can be more than bearer-calls. There are games where names separate from bearers and take on whatever meaning they do (tautology, title, status, idealization, what have you).

"... [Reasons one would offer for a name as a simple:] The word 'Excalibur," say, is a proper name in the ordinary sense. The sword Excalibur consits of parts combined a particular way. If they are combined differently Excalibur does not exist. But it is clear that the sentence "Excalibur has a sharp blade" makes sense whether Excalibur is still whole or is broken up. But if "Excalibur" is the name of an object, this object no longer exists when Excalibur is broken in pieces; and as no object would then correspond to the name it would have no meaning. But it does make sense; so there must always be something corresponding to the words of which it consists. ...  We said that the sentence 'Excalibur has a sharp blade' made sense even when Excalibur was broken in pieces. Now this is so because in this language-game a name is also used in the absence of its bearer.  " (44, 39)  

Regards and thanks

Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html



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[Wittrs] Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3454 is a reply to message #3451] Fri, 05 February 2010 01:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
J D is currently offline  J D
Messages: 51
Registered: January 2010
Member

SW,

I'll start with an observation: I am not entirely clear about what you mean in distinguishing between "bearer-calls" and "bearer-assignments", so I can neither confirm nor deny when you impute to me the view that a name can only ever be the former and never the latter. I do however suppose that that is probably not right because I would always wish to emphasize the multiplicity of ways in which names are used. So, a claim like "names are always... and never...", however one might fill in the blanks, is just not something I'd be inclined to say.

(It may be that the "telephone-conversation format", as you put it, gave the misleading impression that I was debating you. And that therefore I was advancing some position contrary to your own. When I address a remark to something you've written, offer a clarification or observation, it is meant to be pertinent. But if you do not find the remarks pertinent, so be it. Perhaps I have misunderstood you. In which case, it is entirely possible that we aren't disagreeing. "Reading tea leaves" to ascertain what contrary position I am trying to advance (presumably in some subtle or covert way) would only be counter-productive. I find "these little pithy sort of things" to be the best way for me to proceed but if they aren't helpful, I understand.)

Now, you say, "It seems that you want to say that a name could never set forth criteria to ASSIGN its bearer, and must always, instead, always be the thing that a particular bearer calls to." (Forgive the "telephone-conversation format", but how else am I to make clear what I am addressing?)

A few points:

Names don't "set forth criteria". Language users do that. And the rules language users follow in correctly using a name include various criteria. Some of these criteria may in some cases be used to determine the bearer to whom the name is assigned, the bearer to whom the name is rightly applied.
The criteria may work just fine but in some cases they may lead to ambiguity. That does not make them any less serviceable in the many cases where no such problems arise.

A name is not it's bearer. I have ever even suggested such a thing. In fact, I've explicitly rejected it. A name is often used to indicate it's bearer and when we use names to express propositions, we are typically talking about the bearer, not about the name. "'Sally' has 5 letters" is about the name. "Sally has 5 children" is about the person, the bearer of the name. "Sally is the eldest daughter of..." may be used to tell us something about Sally or it may be offerred as a rule for individuating Sally, a rule for the correct use of the name "Sally". It depends on the context.

An explanation like, "Sally is the eldest daughter of..." may be treated as a rule and in typical cases will serve just fine. But we can always imagine atypical cases, e.g. where her parents had another daughter whom they had put up for adoption and never again discussed or where Sally had been kidnapped and unlawfully adopted.

Further, I am not saying that a name always has a bearer or that a name is always taught by indicating its bearer.

Additional point. I never denied that nicknames are names. I don't know why you would impute this to me. I said that nicknames are not proper names as "proper name" is used in ordinary English. If someone asks your name and you give them a nickname they might well clarify, "I mean your proper name..." Still, they are names. And in philosophical discussions, "proper name" is often used in a wider sense than in ordinary English.

I also never denied that titles can be treated as names.

And I never denied that the hyperbolic use of names is still a use of names: I merely emphasized some distinctions between different cases.

And if you can set forth some criteria for neatly distinguishing between the Moses of tradition and the Moses of history, I'd welcome you to share. I have not denied that we might come up with a basis for such a distinction and that such a distinction might be well-motivated. I merely inquired as to what was on the table in this regard.

As for Moses, there are various reasons we might have for saying that Moses did not exist. My only point was that the boundary between those cases where we should say that a particular account did not accurately describe Moses and those cases where we should say that Moses did not exist is not clearly deetermined in advance. The talk about Moses going by a different name ("Ghandalf") is completely beside the point. On the contrary, I would readily acknowledge the possibility that a person who did various things whom we call "Moses" might have been called an entirely different name by his contemporaries.

Regarding "That's not Jane anymore", I don't dispute that such a usage is part of our language. I was emphasizing that there is a distinction between a person who comes to behave in a way that no longer conforms to our prior expectations or a person who turns out never to have been the sort of person we'd supposed (where we might be inclined to engage in the hyperbole you describe) and the person who is only known to us by way of various descriptions and narratives whose existence we come to question as we discover that the various narratives may be substantially false.

I never said that the use of hyperbole was incorrect, never denied that it occurs. Comparing me to a librarian is irrelevant. (Besides: are librarians noted for making such judgments? I thought the stereotype was the schoolmarm. I've known a few librarians and many were fond of wordplay and colorful tropes.) I'm not laying down a standard of correctness. I am pointing out distinctions between cases. And that certainly is Wittgensteinian.

And just for the record, I also don't deny the "Jane is Rhonda" trope (although it's actually seldom presented that way). "Dick Cheney is Darth Vader" is the most recent and widely heard example that comes to mind, though that also involves a fictional name. Calling people "Hitler" is all too common (and offensive for a range of reasons). Calling someone "Freud" who insists on ascribing various views and motives to people on meagre evidence is another popular example that seems to me oddly appropriate at the moment.

I did not equate the nickname "Messy Marvin" with the sentence "Marvin is messy". On the contrary, I emphasized that Marvin might not live down the nickname "Messy Marvin" even after he's cleaned up his act, even after the nickname is no longer apt. And I emphasized that Tiny might actually be a big guy, so the aptness of a nickname might be a matter of irony.

"Bachelor" is not a tautology. I don't know why you persist in referring to individual words or referring expressions as tautologies. They are not tautologies by any of the uses of that word with which I am familiar, because every use of "tautology" I know of applies to propositions and to being true. A word, a name, a referring expression, or a descriptive phrase are none of them propositions and true and false do not apply to them except as they are used to form propositions.

"Class valedictorian" can be and is treated as a name and uniquely identifies in the context of a graduation ceremony or a class reunion. In other contexts, it does not uniquely identify. Just as "the President" is regularly used as the name of a single individual in the US, though if you go outside the US or are writing history or if you are attending a meeting of a companies board of directors, it would no longer be able to function in that way.

Where did I deny that a number assignment could function as a name? You've objected to the "telephone-conversation format", but it at least has the virtue of letting someone know the basis on which a position is being imputed to them. I'd also note that you keep imputing to me various positions I do not hold and have never advanced while at the same time ignoring a great deal of what I actually did say.

The phrase "create bearers" for what I am guessing is individuation of a bearer and assignment of a name to the bearer is unfortunate. But I find many of the phrases you've coined here to be unfortunate in various ways.

With regard to my examples of identical twins, cloning and so forth: my point was both to emphasize similarities and differences between the different cases you were offering and where they potentially break down. And the fact that we can and do treat the linking of a name to a DNA profile as a rule but are yet prepared to revise our judgment in certain cases is as germane as Wittgenstein's own remarks with which he concludes with the simile of the four-legged table. It is entirely germane to the shifts between symptoms and criteria (to which Wittgenstein alludes in subsequent remarks) and to the shift that happens when we move from treating a proposition as a statement of fact and as the expression of a rule.

Regarding pointing, you've simply called my points "poor" without in any way specifying how. You said, "I don't even know what you are talking about," and while that may indicate that my points were poorly expressed or even that I don't have a point at all, I would think you'd be more circumspect in assuming that points you didn't understand were "poor".

The points I was raising do not concern PI 38 or 43 so much as 28, 29, 30, and 33.

I wasn't planning to get into any disputes between you and GS and will probably not bother with looking into past discussions on this, though I do thank you for providing the link. I've learned my lesson on that score as you're likely well aware. If the role of "brain" talk becomes relevant, we may revisit it.

I understood perfectly well the explicit point that "Excalibur" does not become meaningless when the sword is destroyed. I was pointing out the additional (and not explicit) point in using the mythological example. Wittgenstein could have chosen historical examples of artifacts that had been destroyed to make the first point but he chose the example from legend to suggest to a close reader the latter point as well, foreshadowing later discussions. You infer that because I point out the second point, I must be denying the first and therefore have misunderstood. I don't think such an inference was warranted. In any case, it was mistaken.

I also stand by my assertion that the primary role of introducing the Excaliber example is to illustrate a view that he proceeds to challenge, namely the view that there must be ultimate names for simples. And again, this is not to deny the point that the name "Excalibur" does not become meaningless when the sword is destroyed, but the "simples" view doesn't claim that either. It is only once the "simples" view is challenged that the way is opened to the insight comparing "meaning" and "use".

JPDeMouy

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[Wittrs] Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3462 is a reply to message #3454] Fri, 05 February 2010 15:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
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Registered: August 2009
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(J)

... alrighty, I see more of where you are coming from now. Let me note a couple of very minor points.

1. Let me give some better explanation of "bearer-calls" and "bearer-assignments." Bearer-calls are where bearers and their names are always present (together) in the language game. Here we ALWAYS want to identify some person or thing that bears the N in question. It's a person (or thing) quest. The quest can be for something real or fictional. ("This is Mordor"). But what is key is that we are searching for a person, place or thing that is called by the right N. The game is: match the bearer to the N.  One wants to say this "feels" like a kind of archeology or an historicism. You look for the X that is bearing your N.

With bearer-assignments, the psychology is different. In this language game, the bearer and the name become separated. And the name of the game (sorry for pun), is to ASSIGN a bearer by DEFINITION. We don't care who is actually bearing any particular N, we care only whether candidates for the bearing of our N FIT THE RULE. Here, the name has become a kind of definition that narrows to one. That's what separates this from ordinary titles, and from words like "bachelor" or "class valedictorian" or "president" -- which are not really "names," but titles (pure). The idea with bearer-assignments is that they are truly NAMES, but they function differently in their grammar. Compare: "He is president" with "He is The Terminator." (Or Unibomber, as you say). "He is Denice the Menace."  

What bearer-assignments say is something like this: (1) there is an X; and (2) it does attribute-criteria Y. Hence, "Moses" can function in language as a bearer-assignment. So if Bob is the one who saved the Israelites while Moses, his brother, did not, Bob can be "Moses" and his brother not.  Note that this can even be the case where the stories were falsely attributed to Bob's brother (Moses). In this language game, we need to ask: by "Moses," do you mean a bearer-call or a bearer-assignment?  Here is what I want to say: any language game that separates the bearer from the name creates SENSES of the name.

One wonders what this does to Kripke? It's not clear to me if Kripke is saying that bearers cannot become separated from their names -- which is surely false -- or that ONLY IN GAMES WHERE THEY DO NOT, that they are rigid designators. The more I think about Kripke, the more I think that his contributions are quite useless.        

2. "Tautology"

You are right that You and I are not connecting on this word. All my life, I have been taught that "bachelor" in a school-boy sense is a tautology because it is true by the defintion of the terms, not by looking at the world. Here, I think, the confusion between us is between something being verifiable in theory versus it being in action used to state something in a proposition. 

I tend to lump words that are only reflections of their definition into the word "tautology." You know what I mean? These "circular worlds?" Consider the medical jargon of "acidosis." Acidosis is defined as arterial PH below 7.35. Therefore, "acidosis" can be taken as a tautology in this way: it only ever means a measure of 7.35. That is, it means nothing other than "verify criterion." However, in a non-tautologous sense it can mean "requisite acidity" being  serviced by the measure of 7.35." Under this idea, we might say that 7 or 6.5 might also count once our notion of requisite acidity becomes more clear. So if "acidosis" means something more than verifying a criteria -- if it requires any judgment or thinking -- it isn't tautologous. It becomes tautologous if it has no meaning other than verifying a criteria.

If my use of "tautology" is odd here ... what do you call these circular words? (You know, where the "disease" is nothing but the symptoms? You see this in medicine all the time)

Regards and thanks.

Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html



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[Wittrs] Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3463 is a reply to message #3462] Fri, 05 February 2010 15:49 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
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... there's a mistake here. Obviously one does look at the world to say that one is a "bachelor" in a school-boy sense. But what I meant is that "bachelor" in this idea means nothing other than "verifying the yes/no criteria" of 1. male; and 2. married.
================ 
All my life, I have been taught that "bachelor" in a school-boy sense is a tautology because it is true by the defintion of the terms, not by looking at the world.
==============

SW



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[Wittrs] Re: [C] Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3465 is a reply to message #3462] Fri, 05 February 2010 16:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
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... sorry, but I also don't like this either. When I said that a bearer-call was a search for the bearer of the right N, it seems to contradict me saying that the two are never separated. Perhaps the better way to say it is that it is the REFERENCE of the bearer of N, not the assignment of it. That's the key. Replace the idea of reference for the talk of "searching"\"identifying"\"quest." There is no search here where N and bearer need mated. On the contrary, the search, if at all, is for an ALREADY-MATCHED bearer and name who are always present together.

(You know, if bearers didn't become separable from their names in language, one could see Wittgenstein saying that the above was a "queer" expression -- something falsely duplicate or occultish. Talking as if "Jane" was something different from Jane does sound superfluous until you stumble upon language uses where bearers and names divorce. All that I have said here is this: where they DO NOT DIVORCE, the game is precisely that).
    
================================ 
1. Let me give some better explanation of "bearer-calls" and "bearer-assignments." Bearer-calls are where bearers and their names are always present (together) in the language game. Here we ALWAYS want to identify some person or thing that bears the N in question. It's a person (or thing) quest. The quest can be for something real or fictional. ("This is Mordor"). But what is key is that we are searching for a person, place or thing that is called by the right N. The game is: match the bearer to the N.  One wants to say this "feels" like a kind of archeology or an historicism. You look for the X that is bearing your N.
============
SW



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[Wittrs] Re: [C] Re: Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3466 is a reply to message #3408] Fri, 05 February 2010 19:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
kirby urner is currently offline  kirby urner
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> 1. Let me give some better explanation of "bearer-calls" and "bearer-assignments." Bearer-calls are where bearers and their names are always present (together) in the language game. Here we ALWAYS want to identify some person or thing that bears the N in question. It's a person (or thing) quest. The quest can be for something real or fictional. ("This is Mordor"). But what is key is that we are searching for a person, place or thing that is called by the right N. The game is: match the bearer to the N. One wants to say this "feels" like a kind of archeology or an historicism. You look for the X that is bearing your N.
> ============
> SW
>


I think I'm understanding the distinction Sean is making.

When you seek the identity to which a proper name
must attach, that's a kind of questing and/or filtering.
That's a bearer-call.

I have the proper name on a sign at the airport,
where I'm waiting for my party.

Only one person should match the name (even if
more than one person shares that name) as I am
here to meet just that one individual.

Other criteria will narrow the field.  I may have no
idea what this person looks like.

When you assign a name from scratch, that's a
different language game.  That's bearer-assignment.

In terms of ongoing amendments and/or the
unsettled meaning of a proper name, I am
thinking how having a referent is as much a
beginning as a goal.

The form "what was Richard Nixon?" sounds stilted,
as that's not usually what we would ask.

Let's say we already know he was a guy who
became president.

The more usual question would be "who was Richard Nixon?"
and that begets multiple answers on multiple levels.

One answer might be:  "we're still working on that
question".

In that sense, I think knowing the referent and knowing
the meaning, are somewhat distinct.

"Knowing the meaning of" has the connotation of
"knowing the significance of".  But maybe that's what
we don't know, or at least we leave the door open.

I'd say proper names, like any other type of signifier,
are caught up in a web of significance that keeps
their meanings perpetually subject to recalculation.

Having a referent for X doesn't anchor its meaning or,
better, having a referent for X doesn't settle all questions
of what X means.

Perhaps X designates this particular pawn on the
chess board.

However, the meaning of "X" is also affected by the
fact that it's the key piece in some checkmate strategy.

"Having a referent for X does not close the case on
what X means"  is how I should like to put it.

or...

"We have a referent for X and I can give you lots of
data to help you pin point X most definitely, but as
for what X means, the jury is still out on that one."

Isn't this a sensible view too?

Kirby
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[Wittrs] [C] Re: Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3467 is a reply to message #3466] Fri, 05 February 2010 19:29 Go to previous messageGo to next message
jrstern is currently offline  jrstern
Messages: 159
Registered: August 2009
Senior Member
--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, kirby urner <wittrsamr@...> wrote:
>
> "We have a referent for X and I can give you lots of
> data to help you pin point X most definitely, but as
> for what X means, the jury is still out on that one."
>
> Isn't this a sensible view too?

Sure.

Or, "X" is a _word_ I am using in a certain way eg as a proper name, and you can refer to Google's internal database to see a full list of the ways it (any proper name as a type, or just this proper name "X" as a token) has occurred in actual grammars and references with a Bayesian statistic next to it in combination with other words and act accordingly, and maybe you can taxonomize for this type or token or other sub-classification, plus or minus exceptions from any such taxonomy, cuz in the end it's always contingent on particulars as to just what game I was playing in the current utterance.

Or, y'know, ... meaning is use.

Josh


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[Wittrs] Re: [C] Re: Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3468 is a reply to message #3466] Fri, 05 February 2010 20:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
Messages: 793
Registered: August 2009
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(Kirby)

I think that is a good contribution. In discussing bearer-calls versus bearer-assignments, I've strayed away from the indeterminacy part of names that Wittgenstein describes in his Moses paragraphs (79). Let me see if this won't help.

1. If you ask "who was Richard Nixon," you have one of two games to play: (a) who is the bearer called N; or (b) who is the bearer assigned by N. If you mean the former, you have one of four modes (behaviors) available:

1. He's that guy right here. Pointing.

2. He's the 37th President. Marking 

3. He's the one who was involved in Watergate, came after Johnson, and had the sloped Nose that people didn't like to trust on television. Generality (description).

4. He was a President who broke laws, lied in office and was impeached in a scandal. He's was Tricky Dick. Note that this is acting as a title. It's trying to say something similar to "Messy Marvin" or Dennis the Menace. Or Bloody Mary. Honest Abe. Alexander the Great. In a way, it's trying to say The Crooked President. And note what happens here. As actual circumstances in the culture create the same four things -- 1. scandal 2. impeachment 3. lies 4. president -- in the form of a Democrat, now the name-title and the bearer can separate: "Clinton is the Richard Nixon for the Democrats." 

Here is what I am trying to say. If your bearer and N are always together, you are playing a language game where there are multiple ways to get the job done, and where the answer of what "Richard Nixon" means is in flux and is even amendable after delivery. As W says, you have many props available at your disposal. If one fails to identify the bearer of N, you can amend after the fact. The only goal of this game is to reference the bearer-called N.

But the moment you change your game to one of assign the bearer to N, now it is N that runs the show. Everything now is N-determined. Instead of you having an N in flux that must reference the correct bearer, you now have a STERN -N- that plays as something criterial would (as titles or status do). It almost seems like the difference between locate the donkey's tail and pin the tail on the donkey.  

Regards.

Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html




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[Wittrs] Re: [C] Re: Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3469 is a reply to message #3468] Fri, 05 February 2010 20:29 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
Messages: 793
Registered: August 2009
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... of course, Nixon resigned before being impreached. But you get my point.
 
SW



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[Wittrs] Re: [C] Re: Re: Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3470 is a reply to message #3468] Fri, 05 February 2010 21:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
kirby urner is currently offline  kirby urner
Messages: 349
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Senior Member
On Fri, Feb 5, 2010 at 5:26 PM, Sean Wilson <whoooo26505@yahoo.com> wrote:
> (Kirby)

> 4. He was a President who broke laws, lied in office and was impeached in a scandal. He's was Tricky Dick. Note that this is acting as a title. It's trying to say something similar to "Messy Marvin" or Dennis the Menace. Or Bloody Mary. Honest Abe. Alexander the Great. In a way, it's trying to say The Crooked President. And note what happens here. As actual circumstances in the culture create the same four things -- 1. scandal 2. impeachment 3. lies 4. president -- in the form of a Democrat, now the name-title and the bearer can separate: "Clinton is the Richard Nixon for the Democrats."
>

This #4 is what I'd most associate with "spinning" i.e. even after
we've secured a name -> referent link beyond all doubt, i.e. we all
agree there was this guy Richard Nixon and he performed in such and
such a role, then there's still all this language / behavior /
computation that keeps the meaning of "Richard Nixon" in flux.

If I think of properly named people as "stars in my sky" then I also
think how my relationship to those stars is maybe not fixed, nor are
their relationships to one another. It's not a static picture. We
continue to recompute with these "tokens" (names).

The meaning of a proper name (its use) is two fold, one might say:
(a) to designate, to fix (to locate, to pick out) but then also (b) to
weave into a tapestry of signifiers that may well be subject to change
(perpetual revision) over time.

In creating this meme "Clinton is the Richard Nixon for the Democrats"
I think you're perturbing the meaning of both Nixon and Clinton. If
this meme bounces around on a Wittgenstein list, doesn't go much
further, then that's a different physics compared to this meme
becoming popular and recycled in many contexts. Perhaps you ran
across this meme elsewhere already.

Many Democrats would no doubt rally to Clinton's defense and say his
"crimes" in no way amounted to a hill of beans compared to Nixon's,
and it was all about vindictive Republicans trying to show us who's
boss. The computation goes on, the threads continue. If you use that
metaphor of "place in history", then I suppose what I'm saying is
"place in history" is what keeps shifting.

My understanding of Kripke, having read some of his essays, is that
he's investing in some "possible worlds" shoptalk and wants to
establish some kind of name->referent bond that's unbreakable
regardless of what world we're in. Am I even in the ballpark in
casting his thinking that way? In some ways I'm agreeing, that we're
able to make the bond across worlds. But then I'd go on to say "what
world we're in" is actually an ongoing negotiation.

Linking to Wittgenstein again, I'd say both "judgment day" and the
"waxing and waning" of the world are apropos memes from TLP times.

We're acknowledging the aesthetic component of meaning again, which in
a positivist logic is an oxymoron.

Ethical truths are not empirical truths of natural science, and so are
not truths at all in a picture theory of meaning, a
representationalist "truth by correspondence" model of language (a
model no longer promulgated in the PI).

What I go back to in my own thinking is the concept of a "word meaning
trajectory" which I visualize as a kind of spiral through space, maybe
like a charged particle in a cloud chamber.

Then you have these "fields of meaning" (words like "charged" and
"polarized" come to mind) that impart changes to a word, to its
trajectory in semantic space.

A "field of meaning" is like a debating field (if you're lucky), a
discourse. If you're unlucky, it's more a killing field, in how some
debaters get silenced.

To take another example, in a recent blog post I was pointing out that
a man who had made the cover of TIME magazine in on Jan 10 1964, as
some kind of genius, was later rebranded a "nutjob" by TIME magazine
in 2007, also a "walking unorthodoxy".

Without giving the bearer or the name, one might already conclude that
we're perhaps dealing with a polarized field, i.e. whoever this person
is, there's some controversy as to how to contextualize him against
the backdrop of world history (what TIME aims to do, as a magazine of
many stories).

It would be trivial to supply the name and the bearer, and so give the
meaning of the name in that sense. But in the sense of "spin" or "the
meaning X", I'd say we don't get to the end of that, even when we're
sure we're both talking about the same person, individual or event.

Another example, of an event: scholars to this day debate the
significance of the atom bombing of two Japanese cities. We may
consider both bombings an event and assign a proper name.

Freeman Dyson was in Portland recently giving a lecture. His reading
of the scholarship suggests these bombings were not pivotal in
prompting a Japanese surrender. That's to weigh in, and thereby to
contribute to an ongoing computation regarding the meaning of a proper
named event. Dyson was also arguing that atomic weapons need to be
eliminated forthwith, because they have no real military benefits.

Was Nixon a war criminal. At the height of the Vietnam War, you had
Quakers picketing their own meetings because the Religious Society was
not branding him as such (Nixon's family was Quaker, you might
recall). I tell a little more of this story in a recent blog post,
thereby altering the computation once again:

http://controlroom.blogspot.com/2010/02/notes-from-lunch.html
(paragraphs 3 & 4)

We use the word Holocaust as a proper name as well, and use it to
cover a whole set of events and developments relating to Germany and
WW2.

Many horrific events around the same time, e.g. the fire bombing of
Dresden, the V2 rocket attacks on London, are distinct from the
Holocaust, i.e. it doesn't cover everything terrible that was
happening, for example it does not cover the atom bombing of Japanese
cities.

So just getting the referent correct, understanding the scope, in
terms of what events are meant, is already a challenge. I'd say
"pointing" is somewhat out of the question, as no one thing or place
is going to suffice. We fall back on description. We recreate a
vista. Unfolding the meaning takes time.

Now some people deny the Holocaust occurred, and so you have a name ->
event disconnect for these people, as they believe this event is
mostly fictitious, a fabrication. Other nutjobs disbelieve that
humans ever went to the moon.

But setting all that aside, and assuming agreement on referents,
there's still ongoing investigation into significance.

"Meaning" (as a concept) is not just about referents, even in the case
of proper names.

I guess that's what I'm trying to say here: the language game of
proper names is about seeking and/or assigning referents, as you say,
and then it's also about computing significance, even once the
referents have been secured.

Is this something Kripke talks about? Perhaps the "possible worlds"
shoptalk is another way of talking about "computer significance" i.e.
in terms of "possible worlds" we're perpetually reconsidering which
world *this* one might be (an ethical project -- warning: waxing and
waning will occur, as judgment happens).

Kirby
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[Wittrs] Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3471 is a reply to message #3463] Sat, 06 February 2010 00:55 Go to previous messageGo to next message
J D is currently offline  J D
Messages: 51
Registered: January 2010
Member
SW,

First, thank you for the follow-ups. They were particularly helpful because as I read the main letter, I was already noting some of the problems you sought to address in the follow-ups. (Fortunately, I am not one to dash off a reply while I am still in the middle of reading, telephone format notwithstanding.) This is reassuring because the fact that you were seeing some of the difficulties I saw lets me know that I am not completely misunderstanding you.

On the matter of tautologies:

"Tautology" was originally a term in rhetoric referring to expressions (not individual words!) that are redundant. Putative examples include: "first introduced", "planning ahead", and "unsolved mystery". A common form of this is found with acronyms, e.g. "VIN number", "PIN number", "UPC code", "HIV virus", and so forth.

"Tautology" was introduced into logic with Wittgenstein's Tractatus. Here the idea was that some compound sentences (again, not individual words!) were true whatever the truth-values of their constituent propositions. This was demonstrated by the method of truth-tables. In the Tractatus view, all necessary truths could be analyzed into tautologies in that sense but issues like the color exclusion problem rendered this problematic and it was rejected. Now, most logicians distinguish between tautologies as a subset of logical validities but many use "tautology" more loosely in logical and philosophical contexts. Still, not so loosely as to call a word by itself a tautology!

(Classic example of a tautology: "It is either raining or it is not raining." On the textbook view, this is true regardless of what the weather might say. It is a remark about logic not about meteorology. And it is no special feature of the word "raining" that this would be a tautology. However, note also: if there is a heavy mist, one might be inclined to reject either the assertion that it is raining or that it is not raining!)

Now, the analysis of "bachelor" as, e.g. "unmarried adult human male" would show that a sentence like, "If John is a bachelor, then John is not married", is in fact a tautology, i.e. "If John is not married, is human, is an adult, and is male, then John is not married." But strictly speaking, only the analyzed sentence is a tautology.

The sentence "A bachelor is an unmarried adult human male" (or some variation of that) is a textbook example, not of a tautology, but of an analytic truth. Analytic truths have been variously glossed as sentences in which the predicate is contained in the subject (where the container model is suspect) or as true in virtue of the meaning of the constituent terms (which suggests the meaning-body picture criticized by Wittgenstein. Note: he does not speak of analytic truths and it is not a mere stylistic quirk that he favors expressions like "grammatical remarks".)

(Incidentaly, it would be odd - perhaps even blasphemous - to call the Pope a bachelor. But perhaps he is married to The Church. Or to God. And should we say that in prehistoric times, before the institution of marriage, all men were bachelors? That would at least be rather peculiar, which is not to say incorrect.)

In any event, the point is that standard accounts of both tautologies and analytic truths refer to sentences, propositions, or statements, not to individual words.

We might say that "bachelor" is an example of a word that can be given an analytic definition (an idea related to that of analytic truths but not strictly committed to it) but whether a word can be given an analytic definition is an open question for people who engage in such activities. It is a subject of some debate. Whereas the point that if an analytic definition is valid, then certain sentences will be analytic truths, is not disputed. (Assuming one grants even the idea of "analytic truths".)

(I know of no counter-example to various definitions of "bachelor" that would refute the sentence, "If John is a bachelor, then John is not married." That is: I know of no counter-example to suggest that being married wouldn't preclude being a bachelor. But various counter-examples do challenge whether even satisfying all of the putative conditions would always qualify one for bachelorhood.)

I can say, recalling various things I've read, looking through references available to me at the moment, and searching online, I cannot find the claim that the word "bachelor" is a tautology. The definition of bachelor is a classic example of an analytic truth and might be loosely called a tautology, but there is quite a difference between a word and a definition. (A definition might consist of a single word, i.e. a synonym of the word to be defined, but then you still have two words: the word defined and its synonym. Along with some form of copula, perhaps a typographical convention like a colon.)

Sentences, propositions, or statements are true or false. Individual words are typically not, though they may be correctly or incorrectly applied. (But compare: Wittgenstein's remark on exclamations and ellipses PI 19 and 20.)

I'll try to comment on the remarks about "bearer-calls" and "bearer-assignments" later this weekend.

JPDeMouy

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[Wittrs] Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3474 is a reply to message #3462] Sat, 06 February 2010 13:55 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:
>
> If my use of "tautology" is odd here

yes it is

>... what do you call these circular words? (You know, where the "disease" is nothing but the symptoms? You see this in medicine all the time)

analytic or a priori or even "necessary", are the terms most often
used these days, by the neo-Fregeans and Kripke school of philosophy.

... which all means, "by definition", as far as I can tell.

I don't like any of these.

We all know (!) that any word only has the definitions that someone
gives it. Call it normative. Call it a grammar. Call it a use.
But the marks on paper b.a.c.h.e.l.o.r don't mean anything until
someone makes them so. "Oh, analytic means without empirical
evidence, so it includes definitions," is the standard answer, but
this leaves me cold, too.

Josh



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[Wittrs] [C] Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3479 is a reply to message #3465] Sat, 06 February 2010 20:27 Go to previous messageGo to next message
J D is currently offline  J D
Messages: 51
Registered: January 2010
Member
SW,

I appreciate your clarifications regarding your distinction between "bearer-calls" and "bearer-assignments", although I have some misgivings because the expressions don't suggest to me the distinctions you seem to want to make. But perhaps this is merely a stylistic disagreement. Also, I have some vague sense of the connection you're making between "bearer-calls" and archaeological and historical investigations, but it's still not that clear. Having (in your follow-up) rejected the language of "search", are the comparisons with archaeology and history also rejected? That would make sense as far as I can tell but I'm not sure.

The idea of a language game in which the bearer is always present when the name is used did contradict talk of "searching" but stripped of that, the idea seems innocuous enough. I just wonder how useful this concept is. What examples you could give? The one example you offer is of a fictional place. But how could a fictional something be present (or people be present in a fictional place) when the name is used, except that it is present to those characters within the fiction? If that's what you mean, you'd better make it clear. (And even within the fiction, people outside of Morder still spoke of Morder when they were not there, did they not?)

I want to clarify the point I was making before about names being identical with their bearers. This is simply nonsense. And it's not even nonsense that any philosopher has seriously uttered. "Primitive" cultures have been accused of believing such nonsense and its been called a form of "magical thinking" (but see Wittgenstein on Frazer) but every philosopher who has undertaken a serious study of language has recognized a difference between words and their referents.

The name "Sally" has two syllables, five letters (actually, four letter types and five letter tokens), and so forth. To ascribe these characteristics to Sally the person would be nonsense. And a denial of nonsense is also nonsense.

There are words that do apply to themselves. The word "noun" is itself a noun. The word "short" is a short word. The word "sensuous" is a sensuous word. The word "unhyphenated" is unhyphenated. And of course, there's the word "autological", which may be autological. But I am at a loss to think of a word that is a proper name for itself and I am quite sure you aren't thinking of words like this.

The most plausible interpretation I can give is that you are attempting to address the confusion of equating the meaning of a word (specifically a name) with its bearer. And I do agree that that equation is confused. And such a confusion can be reasonably ascribed to many philosophers (including Kripke, though I don't want to get into that. There's enough to disentangle already.)

I actually get the feeling that I would go farther than you in calling this idea confused. But in any event, I would emphasize the importance of distinguishing between the nonsense of saying that a name is its bearer and the confusion of saying that the meaning of a name is its bearer.

Now, you seem to want to put great emphasis on the role of "presence". But what sort of presence? Must the bearer of the name be in my field of vision? Within reach? In my grasp? Within earshot? Continuously so?

Taken to extremes, the requirement of presence leads to such confusions as Wittgenstein sets out to dispel with his remarks on the confused idea of "private ostensive definition", the so-called "private language argument".

When I try to think of words that require presence, I don't think of proper names but of indexicals such as "I", "you", "this", "that", and so forth. And as Wittgenstein reminds us, these aren't names at all. (They also don't always require the presence of whatever they are meant to pick out.)

I want to suggest that you more carefully disguish between the circumstances surrounding the bestowal or assignment of a name, the instruction in the use of a name, the precisification of a name's usage in a particular context for a particular purpose, the correct application of a name in various situations, the various uses to which names are put... I leave this as an exercise for you but I strongly suspect that by considering such matters you will be less inclined to propose any simple divisions.

I also want to warn against any temptation to insist on differences of meaning whenever different criteria are being applied. Certainly, it makes perfect sense in some cases to say, "Ah, you mean something different here. When I say 'Moses', I mean..." But if we generalize too far from such cases, then wherever two people learned to use a word under slightly different circumstances or gave somewhat different (but still compatible under the circumstances) accounts of their usage, they would be unable to agree or disagree at all, because they would never mean the same.

Finally, I want to emphasize again that teaching the use of a name by pointing to its bearer is not simple. There is a lot of grammar, a lot of stage setting involved in learnning to use various sorts of names. If I introduce someone and say, "This is N," that seems as simple as can be. But is N a proper name? Her profession? Her sex? Species? Race or ethnicity? Hair color? What? Such misunderstanding rarely arise because of our shared background. But we should not then ignore the shared background and assume that the naming was just a matter of pointing, that the use of a name is simply the bearer of the name, even in this circumstance.

JPDeMouy

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[Wittrs] On the Family Resemblance of Tautology; [message #3483 is a reply to message #3471] Sat, 06 February 2010 23:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
Messages: 793
Registered: August 2009
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 Hi J.

First, I want to thank you for that account of "tautology." I thought it was quite good. I'm not all that convinced that all the issue are gone, however. Here's my difficulty. I'm sure you agree that "tautology" has sense. The basic idea in rhetoric seems to be redundancy ("unsolved mystery"). In math, it appears to be the idea of redundancy on both sides of the equals sign. (a=a). I assume this also means 2+2 = 4+1 is tautological? And in logic, it is simply the idea of circularity in premise and conclusion. But here's the problem:

1. People do extend the idea to definitions. http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Tautology "Some people consider definitions to be tautologies. For example, 'bachelor' is defined as 'unmarried male.' 'Bachelor' and 'unmarred male' mean the same thing, so, according at least to this understanding of definitions, defining 'bachelor' as 'unmarried male' does not give us any new information; it merely links together two terms that are identical."

2. I'm not sure the idea of an "analytic truth" is superior to the term tautology or tautologous if writing for a multidisciplinary audience. (I'm writing a manuscript right now, so I bring it up). Here's why. First, tautology has a wider application (wider audience). Second, the basic idea of tautology -- repetition, circularity -- is present in the definition. Note the structure:

bachelor = 1. adult 2 male. 3 unmarried. 

There is nothing in the term that isn't in the definition (in this school-boy sense of the word). So the principle of tautology (or its basic idea) is being used on definitions in the same way it was applied to the logical structure of propositions or used for an equation (or what not). In fact, one might say that the definition above is, in fact, appealing to some sort of logical structure (bachelor = property a b c), from which it finds requisite circularity. Also, I don't think it is a critical part of the family resemblance of "tautology" that circularity in assertion come in the form of sentences or props. That seems to be a sharp boundary that you are observing. (Cf. Marriage is between a husband and wife). My point is that it doesn't seem to stop the use of the ideas.

When I was in school way back in the 80s, right after the dinosaurs left, I recall quite distinctly hearing tautology in logic and in 'loser contexts." I recall specifically people talking about "bachelor" as both a tautology and an analytic concept. I think I recall professors remarking that Wittgenstein had a peculiar sense of "tautology" as well, but my point here is only to say that other speaking conventions regarding the word seem present.

Lastly, I want to make one thing very clear. The only reason why I used the word "tautology" in prior mails was that I couldn't find the right word for what I meant (and analytic isn't really doing it either). Here's the idea again:

There are some words where their cognition is brain dead. Some words don't actually say anything other than "calculate the definition." Let's call them for right now predicate-calculators. (I'm using predicate instead of definition). The Pope is a "bachelor" only in the sense of a predicate-calculator. A person who has an arterial PH below 7.35 has acidosis only in the sense of a predicate-calculator.

However, if one means to say that the person having PH below 7.35 has REQUISITE ACIDITY -- as in, too much acidity in the blood, a value judgment -- as reflected by the measure in service of this idea, the matter is NOT-CIRCULAR (not-tautologous). That is, the person has acidosis NOT AS A PREDICATE-CALCULATOR. Do you see the difference? For the Pope to be a TRUE BACHELOR, we need to see that he is in the service of the same idea that the predicate-calculator is serving. In short, he must be "bacheloristic" in the service of an "adult, unmarried male." Since "adult, unmarried male" does not service his "bacheloristicness," we cannot really apply the predicate-calculator with any meaning here.   

Did you catch that? If the predicate-calculator isn't in service of the basic idea -- if the predicate-calculator is all alone, so to speak -- there really is no term there at all. Imagine calling the Pope an unmarried male but NOT calling him a "bachelor." If "bachelor"  is a predicate-calculator, that is all that is actually said (when you think about it). For predicate-calculators, the word vanishes.

There are many medical words, I think, that work like this.

Regards.

Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html





analytic truth. Analytic truths have been variously glossed as sentences in which the predicate is contained in the subject (where the container model is suspect) or as true in virtue of the meaning of the constituent terms (which suggests the meaning-body picture criticized by Wittgenstein.  Note: he does not speak of analytic truths and it is not a mere stylistic quirk that he favors expressions like "grammatical remarks".)

(Incidentaly, it would be odd - perhaps even blasphemous - to call the Pope a bachelor.  But perhaps he is married to The Church.  Or to God.  And should we say that in prehistoric times, before the institution of marriage, all men were bachelors?  That would at least be rather peculiar, which is not to say incorrect.)

In any event, the point is that standard accounts of both tautologies and analytic truths refer to sentences, propositions, or statements, not to individual words.

We might say that "bachelor" is an example of a word that can be given an analytic definition (an idea related to that of analytic truths but not strictly committed to it) but whether a word can be given an analytic definition is an open question for people who engage in such activities.  It is a subject of some debate.  Whereas the point that if an analytic definition is valid, then certain sentences will be analytic truths, is not disputed.  (Assuming one grants even the idea of "analytic truths".)

(I know of no counter-example to various definitions of "bachelor" that would refute the sentence, "If John is a bachelor, then John is not married."  That is: I know of no counter-example to suggest that being married wouldn't preclude being a bachelor.  But various counter-examples do challenge whether even satisfying all of the putative conditions would always qualify one for bachelorhood.)

I can say, recalling various things I've read, looking through references available to me at the moment, and searching online, I cannot find the claim that the word "bachelor" is a tautology.  The definition of bachelor is a classic example of an analytic truth and might be loosely called a tautology, but there is quite a difference between a word and a definition.  (A definition might consist of a single word, i.e. a synonym of the word to be defined, but then you still have two words: the word defined and its synonym.  Along with some form of copula, perhaps a typographical convention like a colon.)

Sentences, propositions, or statements are true or false.  Individual words are typically not, though they may be correctly or incorrectly applied.  (But compare: Wittgenstein's remark on exclamations and ellipses PI 19 and 20.)

I'll try to comment on the remarks about "bearer-calls" and "bearer-assignments" later this weekend.

JPDeMouy

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[Wittrs] Re: On the Family Resemblance of Tautology; [message #3484 is a reply to message #3483] Sat, 06 February 2010 23:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
Messages: 793
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... I'm such a moron!
============================
 
I assume this also means 2+2 = 4+1 is tautological?



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[Wittrs] Games with Logic and Bachelor [message #3485 is a reply to message #3471] Sat, 06 February 2010 23:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
Messages: 793
Registered: August 2009
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Senior Member

"If John is a bachelor, then John is not married." 

-- one reply: this is a tautology. A simplified version would be, "If john is not married, then john is not married." No wonder there are no counter examples.

-- another reply: counter-example is Tiger Woods.

The true point is this:

You cannot deploy family resemblance ideas in formal logical statements. What that really says is "If the bearer-John is a sense of "bachelor," then the bearer-John is not a sense of 'married.'  (It doesn't follow). See Tiger.   



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[Wittrs] Re: [C] Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3486 is a reply to message #3408] Sun, 07 February 2010 06:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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--- On Sat, 2/6/10, J D <ubersicht@gmail.com> wrote:

> From: J D <ubersicht@gmail.com>
> Subject: [C] [Wittrs] Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke
> To: wittrsamr@freelists.org
> Date: Saturday, February 6, 2010, 8:27 PM

>
> Now, you seem to want to put great emphasis on the role of
> "presence".  But what sort of presence?  Must the
> bearer of the name be in my field of vision?  Within
> reach?  In my grasp?  Within earshot? 
> Continuously so?
>
> Taken to extremes, the requirement of presence leads to
> such confusions as Wittgenstein sets out to dispel with his
> remarks on the confused idea of "private ostensive
> definition", the so-called "private language argument".
>
> When I try to think of words that require presence, I don't
> think of proper names but of indexicals such as "I", "you",
> "this", "that", and so forth.  And as Wittgenstein
> reminds us, these aren't names at all.  (They also
> don't always require the presence of whatever they are meant
> to pick out.)
>

The above seems somewhat confused. Though "proper names" play many roles in language games*, ONE of them is certainly as a verbal response class that is under stimulus control of the presence of a particular person. This does not mean, of course, that the utterance "Jack Spratt" is ALWAYS under stimulus control of Jack's presence. The same STRUCTURAL utterance may occur as a function of many different current and historical variables. As such, of course, the same structure is actually very different functional response classes. Though Wittgensteinians (as well as "Wittgensteinians") bandy about the notion of meaning being use, they become embroiled in endless debate about issues that should have disappeared. The issues surrounding "proper names" is one. This is because "proper names" is largely a structural descriptor, and these leads some to think of it as a unitary sort of thing. But, of course, it is not. To take an extreme example: say I train an
individual (who does not speak, say, English) to utter certain sounds in the presence of certain stimuli consisting of letters on a page. Now I show this person a series of letters and the person says "adjustable wrench." Does this utterance "refer" to a particular tool? Is the fragment "wrench" a noun? The answer is, "of course not." Not in any sense that captures the meaning of meaning.


*I would say, of course, that proper names, considered as structural entities, are under the control of a wide array of independent variables - i.e., the same structural utterance is, at different times, in different circumstances, different FUNCTIONAL reponse classes. This captures what is important about "meaning is use" and in the hands of radical behaviorists and behavior analysts it is, so to speak, more Wittgensteinian than Wittgenstein was able to achieve.



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[Wittrs] [C] Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3487 is a reply to message #3486] Sun, 07 February 2010 11:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
J D is currently offline  J D
Messages: 51
Registered: January 2010
Member
GS,

> The above seems somewhat confused.

There is nothing confused in questioning the idea that any name always requires the presence of its bearer to be used.

It would be quite confused to deny that certain uses of a name can and do require the bearer's presence to be successful.

It appears you read me as doing the latter when my point was the former.

I perhaps needed to be more clear.

JPDeMouy


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[Wittrs] Re: [C] Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3488 is a reply to message #3487] Sun, 07 February 2010 14:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
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(J)

... it seems to me the issue is never whether bearers are real or not. The issue is what cognitive operation one is undertaking. If the name of the game (pardon the pun) is to "bearer-call," then you are engaged in a game where bearer and name are assumed to be together.  In bearer-call games, the idea is to refer to the X called N. In playing this game, the meaning N can take on various forms and ideas, which are amendable after shipment if they do not pick out the X in question (e.g., if they mis-describe). This is because these games are X-centric. One wants to say: they take the logical form of the X of N.

However, in games where names and bearers become separated, the goal is to assign the bearer using something in the nature of a predicate-calculation. (Something that resembles the kind of thing this does). This kind of game sees an N that takes the form of "the X that satisfies criteria-set Q." So if there is one or more X's that satisfy the criteria, it or they can bear the name. These kinds of N's seem to be a combination of titles plus names (names-titles).

In the game of "who was Moses," we must ask ourself: do we want to play bearer-call or bearer-assign? If we play bearer-assign, we need an N that is of the requisite type. The N would take the form of something like "the man who saved the Israelites in the exodus." If we found such a man, it wouldn't matter what his bearer-call was. Note that if we found the Exodus was not from Egypt but from some other place, this would seem not to matter either. So if Bob saved the Israelites from, say, Assyria rather than Egypt, one might characterize Bob as being "Moses." (This seems to resemble the amendable after shipment thing above). But note that this (like that) has limitations. If we found that the story of the exodus was false, but that there was a person who saved the Israelites by fighting off an oppressor with a sword, it becomes much more difficult to call such a person "Moses." One might be more likely (today) to say, e.g., "the Aragorn of
Israel."

A name can separate from its bearer whenever the bearer does something to distinguish his or her identity in language. When this happens, paradoxically, the name can find new bearers. The game of bearer-call and bearer-assignment is the fundamental issue in why there is confusion in philosophy over proper names. If you ask yourself a simple question before any name-game is played, you will clear up the confusion: what is your objective, to play bearer-call or bearer-assignment?

For certain kinds of historical or fictional proper names, answering this question is very difficult. Because if you say you want to play bearer-call for Moses, we might never know of which the X's called "Moses" is the right X, if stories are mythical. And note that you cannot say "there is no Moses" because that is bearer-assignment logic. You are precluded from that. But let's say certain stories are NOT mythical. If they are used to identify the X who accomplished them, it would be utterly pointless to then say: "if X does not bear N, he cannot be N," because at this point your game has, by definition, switched to bearer-assignment. (And it has done so precisely through your behavior of pinning the tail on the donkey rather than looking for the donkey's tail).         

Here's what I want to say: I don't think the game of bearer-call can be played with "Moses" unless we mean something like this: "the man born of such-and-such people who lived at such-and-such." And so if we identify the X of N here, it would be immaterial what "Moses" did in life. We would have our X of N. 

I wonder, though: if Bob saves the Israelites and Moses is historically identified in the manner above, could one still say "Bob is Moses?" It seems to me one would be more inclined to say that Moses didn't do it, Bob did it. But one could poetically assert that "Bob is the Moses, not 'Moses'" What I want to say here is that either expression is meaningful. But it does seem that the game of bearer-assignment might be impacted by a successful occurence of bearer-call.  

Regards  
  
Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html



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[Wittrs] Re: [C] Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke [message #3489 is a reply to message #3488] Sun, 07 February 2010 14:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
Messages: 793
Registered: August 2009
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Senior Member

... probably should be typed this way, "Bob is 'The Moses,' not Moses."
 
======================
 But one could poetically assert that "Bob is the Moses, not 'Moses'"

SW



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[Wittrs] Re: Games with Logic and Bachelor [message #3491 is a reply to message #3485] Sun, 07 February 2010 19:18 Go to previous messageGo to next message
J D is currently offline  J D
Messages: 51
Registered: January 2010
Member
SW,

Forgive the telephone format, but it was the easiest way to be clear in what I am addressing.


>
> First, I want to thank you for that account of "tautology." I thought it was quite good. I'm not all that convinced that all the issue are gone, however. Here's my difficulty. I'm sure you agree that "tautology" has sense. The basic idea in rhetoric seems to be redundancy ("unsolved mystery"). In math, it appears to be the idea of redundancy on both sides of the equals sign. (a=a). I assume this also means 2+2 = 4+1 is tautological? And in logic, it is simply the idea of circularity in premise and conclusion. But here's the problem:

The claim that mathematical equations express tautologies is most associated with logicism, the view that mathematics is derivable from logic. Such a view is found in different forms in Russell and in the Tractatus but it is a view the later Wittgenstein rejected. If you want to still say that mathematical equations are tautologies - not in the technical sense but in some as yet unspecified non-technical sense - there's nothing to stop you. But it is changing the subject (if the subject were logicism) and muddles various issues in logic.

And in logic, tautologies (in the technical sense) are compound sentence, not arguments, so talk of premises and conclusions is inappropriate. Now, any logical argument can be transformed into a compound sentence, e.g. with a conjunction of premises on one side, the conclusion on the other, and material implication between them, but not all tautologies exhibit that form.


> 1. People do extend the idea to definitions. http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Tautology "Some people consider definitions to be tautologies. For example, 'bachelor' is defined as 'unmarried male.' 'Bachelor' and 'unmarred male' mean the same thing, so, according at least to this understanding of definitions, defining 'bachelor' as 'unmarried male' does not give us any new information; it merely links together two terms that are identical."

Yes. If you re=read what I wrote, you'll notice that I acknowledged that "tautology" is used more widely than its technical sense in various contexts, including by some logicians.


> 2. I'm not sure the idea of an "analytic truth" is superior to the term tautology or tautologous if writing for a multidisciplinary audience. (I'm

I wouldn't claim that one could assume that either would be understood by various audiences. Some audiences, e.g. English majors, might assume the rhetorical sense of "tautology", and have no acquaintance with the usage in logic. And note that I've already expressed misgivings about the notion of "analytic truth" anyway, so I am certainly not insisting you favor one over the other.


> writing a manuscript right now, so I bring it up). Here's why. First, tautology has a wider application (wider audience). Second, the basic idea of

Is it an advantage or a disadvantage that people are familiar with a word if they are not actually familiar with the particular way it's being used? Note that "tautology" in rhetoric has pejorative connotations. Not so in logic. Just because people have heard a word before doesn't mean they'll understand it without you specifying the particular sense in which it is being used. And if you're having to specify that anyway, then the advantage of them having heard the word before doesn't seem to amount to much.

> tautology -- repetition, circularity -- is present in the definition. Note the structure:
>
> bachelor = 1. adult 2 male. 3 unmarried.

I wouldn't object to calling that a tautology, so long as one were not confusing this with the technical sense. Such a non-technical usage does have precedent.

My objection is to just calling the word "bachelor" (or any other word taken in isolation) a tautology. Calling the definition of the word a tautology is a common and accepted, albeit non-technical (and in some contexts, misleading) usage, but calling the word itself a tautology is just plain wrong. A word alone is not repetitious (except perhaps some compound words) or circular.

And "circular" as applied to definitions, is used pejoratively. A circular definition is one in which the definition includes the word defined or one of it's cognates. That's considered a bad thing. So if you speak of definitions generally exhibiting circularity, you're very likely to be misunderstood. Similar considerations apply to calling arguments "circular".

>
> There is nothing in the term that isn't in the definition (in this school-boy sense of the word). So the principle of tautology (or its basic idea) is being used on definitions in the same way it was applied to the logical structure of propositions or used for an equation (or what not). In fact, one might say that the definition above is, in fact, appealing to some sort of logical structure (bachelor = property a b c), from which it finds requisite circularity. Also, I don't think it is a critical part of the family resemblance of "tautology" that circularity in assertion come in the form of sentences or props. That seems to be a sharp boundary that you are observing. (Cf. Marriage is between a husband and wife). My point is that it doesn't seem to stop the use of the ideas.

Whatever one's views on homosexual marriage, polygamy, and so forth, one might still have objections to the idea of someone being married to themselves! A definition might not be counted as a sentence and yet might be counted as a tautology. Partly, a definition might be variously called "true" (a connection with the technical definition of "tautology" in logic) or at any rate "valid", "correct", "accurate", or something similar. But single words in isolation are neither true nor false, neither valid nor invalid, neither correct nor incorrect, but only so when they are used.

And using "family resemblance" as an excuse to ignore distinctions that play important roles in various discussions suggests that Wittgenstein was interested in licensing muddle-headed and misleading talk, a view wholly contrary to his life and work.

You've indicated an awareness of the sort of continuous revision to which Wittgenstein subjected his work, often replacing one word with another, only slightly different, or making a note "not quite right". He apparently was not at all inclined to say, "Well, it's a 'family resemblance' word, so there's really nothing wrong with my choice of words here."

>
> When I was in school way back in the 80s, right after the dinosaurs left, I recall quite distinctly hearing tautology in logic and in 'loser contexts." I recall specifically people talking about "bachelor" as both a tautology and an analytic concept. I think I recall professors remarking that Wittgenstein had a peculiar sense of "tautology" as well, but my point here is only to say that other speaking conventions regarding the word seem present.

The definition of the word "bachelor" may be called a tautology. The word itself is not. A sentence expressing the definition of "bachelor" is commonly called an analytic truth. But again, the word "bachelor" is not. Perhaps you heard people speaking loosely and incorrectly or perhaps your recollection is faulty. The phrase "analytic concept" is sometimes used, e.g. in discussing Kant, to discuss a priori categories like space, time, and causality - a topic that would take us too far afield. But if one were to use "analytic concept" to characterize any word (or use of a word) that is (or can be) given an analytic definition, I see no problem with that. Except that whether a word can be analytically defined is a notoriously open question. (Actually, any word can be given an analytic definition and this may be useful for some specific purpose, whether or not - and however much - the analytic definition deviates from established usage.)


>
> Lastly, I want to make one thing very clear. The only reason why I used the word "tautology" in prior mails was that I couldn't find the right word for what I meant (and analytic isn't really doing it either). Here's the idea again:

It seems to me that you're talking about words that are analytically defined.

>
> There are some words where their cognition is brain dead. Some words don't actually say anything other than "calculate the definition." Let's call them for right now predicate-calculators. (I'm using predicate instead of definition). The Pope is a "bachelor" only in the sense of a predicate-calculator. A person who has an arterial PH below 7.35 has acidosis only in the sense of a predicate-calculator.


Are you acquainted with the notion of an "operational definition"? That doesn't seem to be too far from what you're talking about and the particular word so defined would be called an "operational concept". Your further remarks suggest to me that this may be the expression you're looking for.

And yes, I would agree that the Pope would be counted as a bachelor according to what we might call an operational definition of the concept.

>
> However, if one means to say that the person having PH below 7.35 has REQUISITE ACIDITY -- as in, too much acidity in the blood, a value judgment -- as reflected by the measure in service of this idea, the matter is NOT-CIRCULAR (not-tautologous). That is, the person has acidosis NOT AS A PREDICATE-CALCULATOR. Do you see the difference? For the Pope to be a TRUE BACHELOR, we need to see that he is in the service of the same idea that the predicate-calculator is serving. In short, he must be "bacheloristic" in the service of an "adult, unmarried male." Since "adult, unmarried male" does not service his "bacheloristicness," we cannot really apply the predicate-calculator with any meaning here.


I don't think the question of "value judgment" is the issue here and "true bachelor" needs unpacking.

But the point you seem to be making is, in the first case, to contrast a test whose results satisfy an operational definition and a test whose results indicate a medical condition in need of attention. And in the second case, a person who fits an operational definition of a concept and a person who would have that concept (not precisified, not operationalized) applied to them by everyday language users.

And those two contrasts are both important and legitimate by my lights. I'm not sure if I have you right though.

>
> Did you catch that? If the predicate-calculator isn't in service of the basic idea -- if the predicate-calculator is all alone, so to speak -- there really is no term there at all. Imagine calling the Pope an unmarried male but NOT calling him a "bachelor." If "bachelor" is a predicate-calculator, that is all that is actually said (when you think about it). For predicate-calculators, the word vanishes.
>

The way you're putting this is muddled and misleading in various ways but if I understand you, your point is that the term, once given an operational definition, may be used in a given context and for a particular purpose without regard to the various concerns, the niceties and nuances, that might arise in using the same word in everyday language.

> There are many medical words, I think, that work like this.
>

If I am correct in supposing that the idea your aiming at is that of "operational concepts", then that's quite correct. (You would have better luck Googling "operational definition", because "operational concept" is also used in a different sense in the military sciences.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operational_definition
http://www.wadsworth.com/psychology_d/templates/student_resources/workshops/re s_methd/op_def/op_def_01.html
http://web.utk.edu/~wrobinso/540_lec_opdefs.html
http://www.qualityadvisor.com/sqc/od_what.php

But compare Wittgenstein's remarks on symptoms and criteria in BB and PI.


> "If John is a bachelor, then John is not married."
>
> -- one reply: this is a tautology. A simplified version would be, "If john is not married, then john is not married." No wonder there are no counter examples.

If you are using "tautology in the Tractarian sense, a sense still commonly used in logic, then only the properly analyzed sentence is a tautology. Prior to analysis, it is not. And there's an important reason for heeding this distinction. It enables to be clear about certain things.

Here, the question is whether a particular analysis is correct. And the point of counter-examples is to challenge a proposed analysis. Assuming that the analysis is correct and that therefore the sentence is a tautology and saying, "No wonder there are no counter-examples," is blatantly missing the point.

The same sort of "argument" (presupposing the validity of the analysis that is in fact being criticized and so presupposing that a given sentence is tautologous on that basis) would "disprove" any of the counter-examples one might offer.

>
> -- another reply: counter-example is Tiger Woods.

There are a variety of reasons for rejecting such an counter-example, not least of which is that if we were to call him a bachelor merely because he was behaving like one, we would be completely glossing over the fact that the consequences of his actions, if he actually were a bachelor, would be quite different. This is not to say that one could not call married men who don't take their vows seriously "bachelors" as a joke. But while the joke would have a point, the point of its being a joke (and not a revision to the definition of "bachelor") lies in the fact that it points to how little regard is being shown to the very concepts of marriage, of fidelity, of vows.

For it to be more than a joke, all of these other concepts would have to be revised as well. Which is not to say that we coudn't see that happen! But there's a difference between acknowledging the possibility of radical changes to our concepts and saying that the standard analysis may not accurately reflect our current practices.

The reason the counter-examples of the Pope or men in societies predating the institution of marriage cannot be so readily dismissed is that they don't obviously conflict with established usage. While the standard analysis might say that cave men are bachelors, that's not actually anything people go around saying. Similarly, people don't go around calling the Pope a bachelor, even though the standard analysis (or an operational definition) might support that.

The reasons people would give for objecting to excluding the Pope or men with societies without the institution of marriage from being called "bachelors" would typically turn on the standard analysis, the dictionary definition. And that's not an unreasonable position: though it is question-begging, the boundary between entrenched practice and entrenched definitions isn't particularly sharp. And as far as established usage goes, people don't typically even consider the question of whether to call cave men or popes "bachelors", so there's not a strong precedent either way. The reasons people would give for objecting to including Tiger Woods as a bachelor would be much more wide-ranging than appeals to dictionary definitions.

Objections to calling Tiger Woods a bachelor would turn on the role this concept plays in our lives, our traditions, our moral judgments, our mating practices, and so forth.

Incidentally, an alternative to the standard analysis would be to say that a bachelor is a male eligible to marry for the first time. This would already address the considerations that lead to adding "adult" and "human" to the analysis (small children aren't usually called "bachelors", nor are pets or wild animals, though they may be unmarried males), and it would exclude men in societies without the institution of marriage, as well as excluding Popes. It also makes clear that a divorcee is not a bachelor (where "unmarried" may or may not mean "never married"). Against such an analysis: the expression "eligible bachelor" would then be a tautology (in the rhetorical sense, i.e. a pleonasm like "unsolved mystery"). But that's not a conclusive argument, since we know such pleonasms abound anyway.

>
> The true point is this:
>
> You cannot deploy family resemblance ideas in formal logical statements. What that really says is "If the bearer-John is a sense of "bachelor," then the bearer-John is not a sense of 'married.' (It doesn't follow). See Tiger.

Wow. A lot to address here.

1. You can use words that are subject to vagueness, ambiguity, and so forth in the context of formal logic. You just have to pay attention to what you're doing. That's one reason that, even though the transformations of formal logic can be used mechanically, applied logic is an art.
2. Whether we should use an operational definition/the received analysis of "bachelor" was the point under discussion. Using formal methods might well bring out differences between various approaches.
3. Your objections seem rather hypocritical, given that you raised the use of "tautology" and the example of the word "bachelor".
4. The sentence was hardly a specimen of formal logic anyway. It was a sentence of a form one might find in various informal contexts.
5. The idea that the sentence "really" says something else is confused. And that it "really" says is something as muddled as what followed...
6. Equating a bearer with a sense defeats the whole point of the distinction between sense and reference.
7. Calling an instance of a class or an individual to whom a general term is applicable and "bearer" runs together the concepts of naming and predication.
8. The idea that different "bearers" are different senses is utterly confused.
9. The paraphrase you offerred isn't formal logic. It isn't plain English either. I don't know what it is and I don't know what possible purpose could be served by putting things that way.

JPDeMouy






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[Wittrs] Re: Games with Logic and Bachelor [message #3492 is a reply to message #3491] Sun, 07 February 2010 20:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
Messages: 793
Registered: August 2009
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(J)

... couple of things. Let me thank you for "operational definition." Will look that up. Also, thanks for reminding me about the connotation of words -- surely that is important. Now let me violently disagree ...  

1. I can't place much stock on the idea that when one says "bachelor is a tautology" that one is not actually saying "the definition or use of bachelor operates as a tautology." I myself have never had in mind the idea that "bachelor" apart from its school-boy definition or apart from its circuitous uses was a "tautology." I don't even know what that would mean. It would be like someone saying a sound is a tautology. (Although I can imagine a scenario where this might be meaningful, given the way language works!. Stereo: the tautology of music). So that one was always a non-starter. Let's say it this way: we agree with that.

2. I have no problem with the idea that a logic-centric sense of tautology would want the sharp boundary of the sentence or proposition. Since we both agree on (1), the issue of using the word not in that sense seems home to the family.

3. I can't agree with several things you have said about what analytic philosophers do with statements like "If Tiger is married, he is not a bachelor." In fact, this is exactly what the fallacy of analytic philosophy of this sort is. It pretends as though the statement is not governed by culture and cognition, and that it presents a question that should be resolved mimicking science or mathematics. For the truth of the matter is, that the statement is only governed by sense of the expression, and that once the sense is shared, there is no other issue other than informational (what Tiger did, what his "marriage" is like).

If we would treat married and bachelors only as predicate-calculators, we would have precluded any counter-examples from being shown by virtue of the language game being used. We would have shut them out. You seem to think that logic has some status over language. I sense this in you. You must be a philosophy professor who teaches symbolic logic. Let me help you with this: "I release you." (You like Lord of the Rings?)

Here's what I think you aren't getting. Definitions don't prescribe the use of words, behavior does. What are commonly called definitions in dictionaries are nothing but accounts of these uses. Sort of like a newspaper for the language game. No one I know of would credibly say that if a use was meaningfully understood that it couldn't be made because the dictionary didn't yet have it. And so, for the idea of calling Tiger a "bachelor" to be a joke can only be true IN A SENSE OF TALKING. You are observing a fence again. You use the word "bachelor" and "marriage" with a fence in both yards. That's fine. You're allowed. Many people do. Your point is taken. But what you don't understand is that if people use these words without such fences, they too are allowed whatever goals they score

E.g., Being married to yourself is a meaningful idea. So is being married to work, an expression which is widely in play in the language game. (I myself am married to my ideas).

So, the next time you put the Tiger sentence up and call it "logic," you may want to replace that with sense of expression. Once again, the right analysis is this:

1. If the bearer called TIGER is married (in a sense of that word), he is not a bachelor (in a sense of that word). [IT DOESN'T FOLLOW].

You are correct that taking on some senses of expression may alter related ones. But there are a couple of things here: the language room re-arranges itself even after one uses something out of common order. Brains are good at doing this. Besides, if the issue is "logic," none of that matters. You can't moralize your way into logic. You can't say, "you can't use that sense of 'bachelor' or 'married' in my logic proposition analysis because it ignores the true consequences of what Tiger did and makes someone speak differently than Joe Friday." If it's logic, it's logic. (And you can't do logic with family resemblances, at least not very easily).     

The Pope example that you exempt is of the same sort of thing as Tiger. Here is the key to the riddle: the point of "bachelor" in the language game is to denote "dating eligibility." That's what the idea does in the game, which is all tha matters. Question: Did Tiger have a bachelor pad? Answer: he probably did. Does the Pope have a bachelor pad? Answer: no. What's the difference? One is eligible to date, the other isn't.  Asking whether Tiger is a "bachelor" is a language game every bit the same as asking whether a penguin is a bird or a scorpion a bug or a large living-room bean bag a chair. In this language game, the funcion of the idea is present (eligibility to date) but the format isn't right (is married). This language game transposes form and function. The Pope is the opposite: he is not eligible to date but is not married. He has the format of bachelor but not its function. Many family resemblance games do this.

Imagine someone asking inside Tiger's female circle whether Tiger was a "bachelor." What would the inside person say? They'd probably be unsure of what to say. They might say, "he is and he isn't." Or, he is IN A SENSE. Tiger is a family member who you have fenced off with a sharp boundary.

And by way, calling Tiger a bachelor would not upset anything in the culture or the language game. It would overturn nothing. It would simply be another case of mix-and-match.

Regards.

Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html




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[Wittrs] Re: Games with Logic and Bachelor [message #3495 is a reply to message #3492] Tue, 09 February 2010 12:06 Go to previous messageGo to next message
waveletter is currently offline  waveletter
Messages: 13
Registered: February 2010
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Good discussion. Just a couple of notes on some of Sean's points that caught my attention and reminded me of old saws.

(snip)

> 3. I can't agree with several things you have said about what analytic philosophers do with statements like "If Tiger is married, he is not a bachelor." In fact, this is exactly what the fallacy of analytic philosophy of this sort is. It pretends as though the statement is not governed by culture and cognition, and that it presents a question that should be resolved mimicking science or mathematics. For the truth of the matter is, that the statement is only governed by sense of the expression, and that once the sense is shared, there is no other issue other than informational (what Tiger did, what his "marriage" is like).

(rla) But cf. PI 202: "And hence also 'obeying a rule' is a practice. And to *think* one is obeying a rule is not to obey a rule."

> If we would treat married and bachelors only as predicate-calculators, we would have precluded any counter-examples from being shown by virtue of the language game being used. We would have shut them out. You seem to think that logic has some status over language. I sense this in you. You must be a philosophy professor who teaches symbolic logic. Let me help you with this: "I release you." (You like Lord of the Rings?)

(rla) Wow, whatta flame; I didn't think JD was a professor of philosophy, but, even if he is and does go so far as to teach symbolic logic, I'd be inclined nonetheless to vouch for his integrity and basic human decency.

> Here's what I think you aren't getting. Definitions don't prescribe the use of words, behavior does. What are commonly called definitions in dictionaries are nothing but accounts of these uses. Sort of like a newspaper for the language game. No one I know of would credibly say that if a use was meaningfully understood that it couldn't be made because the dictionary didn't yet have it. And so, for the idea of calling Tiger a "bachelor" to be a joke can only be true IN A SENSE OF TALKING. You are observing a fence again. You use the word "bachelor" and "marriage" with a fence in both yards. That's fine. You're allowed. Many people do. Your point is taken. But what you don't understand is that if people use these words without such fences, they too are allowed whatever goals they score
>

(rla) But cf. PI 242: "If language is to be a means of communication there must be agreement not only in definitions but also (queer as this may sound) in judgments. This seems to abolish logic, but does not do so.--It is one thing to describe methods of measurement, and another to obtain and state results of measurement. But what we call 'measuring' is partly determined by a certain constancy in results of measurement."

Thanks!
--Ron

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[Wittrs] Re: Games with Logic and Bachelor [message #3496 is a reply to message #3495] Tue, 09 February 2010 16:28 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
Messages: 793
Registered: August 2009
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Senior Member

Hello Ron.

Regarding 242: "If language is to be a means of communication there must be agreement not only in definitions but also (queer as this may sound) in judgments. This seems to abolish logic, but does not do so.--It is one thing to describe methods of measurement, and another to obtain and state results of measurement. But what we call 'measuring' is partly determined by a certain constancy in results of measurement."

1. I would take 242 as being directed toward the private language argument. I would also think what it really says it this: to understand (and navigate) sense, one must share the operations of language. No one would take the position that this excludes logic, because the language of logic generates meaning the same as, e.g., the language of art. That's the key. What brains do with language and how they come to understand meaning.

(Note also that for two people to use the school-boy sense of bachelor, they would both need to know definitions.)

2. My disagreement is over the value of using symbolic logic statements as though they establish some kind of universal proof. As though they amount to some kind of geometry. Witttgensteinians understand that the sentence, "If Tiger is married, he cannot be a bachelor," is determined by the sense of the words in the language game (including the logical if-then). The languaging culture (and what the brain does in the cognition of words) is what fundamentally determines "bachelor" and "married." And therefore, if you force the logic statement to recognize family resemblance, the statement breaks down on its own terms.

CF: "If Tiger is any sense of "married," he cannot be any sense of "bachelor."

Note also that for Wittgenstein to have reached the idea that dissolving sense dissolves all philosophic controversies, is to say that the achievement of sense-agreement makes disputes become informational. When we know the sense of "bachelor" and of "married," all that is left is either the performance of the logic (if-then) or the gathering of information about what Tiger does in his private life. When sense is resolved, there are no more traffic accidents.

That's what true philosophy really is: someone directing the language traffic so that there are no accidents.        
       
3. I didn't take my message as a "flame" of our friend J. "I release you" was Ghandalf helping Theoden from his spell. It's metaphor and theatrics. The point could really be expressed thusly: a full-blooded Wittgensteinian having a say about the methodology of a three-quarter-blooded one (or whatever fraction it is). See point 2. The goal is over the method and approach to "propositions."   
 
Regards and thanks.

Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html



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[Wittrs] Re: Games with Logic and Bachelor [message #3499 is a reply to message #3492] Tue, 09 February 2010 18:19 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:
>
> Here's what I think you aren't getting. Definitions don't prescribe the use of words, behavior does. What are commonly called definitions in dictionaries are nothing but accounts of these uses. Sort of like a newspaper for the language game. No one I know of would credibly say that if a use was meaningfully understood that it couldn't be made because the dictionary didn't yet have it. And so, for the idea of calling Tiger a "bachelor" to be a joke can only be true IN A SENSE OF TALKING. You are observing a fence again. You use the word "bachelor" and "marriage" with a fence in both yards. That's fine. You're allowed. Many people do. Your point is taken. But what you don't understand is that if people use these words without such fences, they too are allowed whatever goals they score.

Well, I wonder.

If your child says, "Look at the kitty!" and points at a cow,
that must tell us something about indexicals and speech acts and
Wittgensteinian grammars and Quinian empiricism, but does it not
rather get crosswise with what we know of kitties and cows?

In just what game is the goal scored?

We're all supposed to know, from early on, that marks on paper,
sounds in the air, have no _inherent_ meaning but what some person
or persons make of them. Why must we constantly rediscover this?

And then, the lesson once more fresh in mind, then what?

Josh



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[Wittrs] Re: Games with Logic and Bachelor [message #3500 is a reply to message #3499] Tue, 09 February 2010 18:33 Go to previous messageGo to previous message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
Messages: 793
Registered: August 2009
Location: Form of Life
Senior Member

(Josh)

... I can't follow your comment. Kitties are home to the Kitty family and cows to cows. A better one would be: is a puma a kitty. The issue is family resemblance. As to what goals two children can score calling kitties "cows," one would need to know more about what is going on. Is the Kitty really fat? If your point is merely that the kids don't know the language, that's not a point (or a goal) at all. Of course, one could imagine a scenario where the word "kitty" and "cow" were mis-learned, so that each was used for the other. Here, we have the same goals scored as any other member of the language culture, just under warrant of the wrong uniform.
 

Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html



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