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[Wittrs] It can't be Said; Only Shown [message #662] Tue, 01 September 2009 17:57 Go to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
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I have stumbled upon two ideas recently that I have related to something Wittgenstein asserted early in philosophic life. The idea: some things cannot be said  (as a proposition) , but only shown. The distinction here would seem to be that some things cannot properly serve as a declaration of truth or validity -- because they escape us as something determinable (as a fact) or logical (as a rule or definition) -- but nonetheless can still be shown (as in described). Many people have found this an obfuscation. But as I think about it, I think I have a couple of good examples.

1. Spectrum reasoning. The statement, "X is extreme" (or excessive). Or unreasonable.

This cannot actually be formulated as a rule or fact. Cognitively, it can only exist as a judgment. It might be a structured judgment, but it is still a judgment. And as such, for us to know what each other has in mind in any spectrum reasoning, therefore, we have to SHOW one another. We have to say, "here is what I did, and why." Imagine two kids playing with a doll house. And one says to the other, "but why does mary [a doll] have to have a time out?" And the other player says, "she was mean to the mommy doll" (or what have you). And so there is a showing or a narrative account of the play. So it is with spectrum judgments. One says, "that's extreme," and other says "no it is not." The matter cannot be stated, it can only be shown. You have to say, "show us your narrative." Give us your accounting. All we can do then is like or dislike the story. We can't say "you are incorrect." We can only offer a different story.

2. Pass interference in football or interference in hockey.

Note how peculiar these "rules" are. They are written in ways that require a narrative account of why the ref would pull the trigger. You say "I called it because of such and such." And in fact, in order to make refereeing better, you have to have people instruct and show one another -- "this is interference, this is not." Each year, officials go through this training (what is a good interference call, what is bad). In fact, when they do this, they essentially show one another what is good versus bad TECHNIQUE. And so, to call interference, you need to know good from bad technique. This can only be shown, it can't be stated (in a Wittgensteinian sense).

Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
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Re: It can't be Said; Only Shown [message #1092 is a reply to message #662] Thu, 17 September 2009 21:54 Go to previous messageGo to next message
nobul savage is currently offline  nobul savage
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Spectrum reasoning. The statement, "X is extreme" (or excessive).

I't is true that it is a relative statement but one can add an enthymeme to it to make a propositional statement. e.g.

compare "X is extreme" thefore X cannot b true or false.


"X is extreme"
"Y is less extreme"
therefore X is extreme.


This book is heavy compared to a feather, therefore this book is heavy by comparison.
Re: It can't be Said; Only Shown [message #3698 is a reply to message #662] Wed, 03 March 2010 15:18 Go to previous message
RetroDeathRow is currently offline  RetroDeathRow
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Registered: January 2010
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Mattew 24:5
For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

7. Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.

Revelations 21:7
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

From Culture & Value, page 30:

"The spring which flows gently and limpidly in the Gospels seems to have froth on it in Paul's Epistles. Or that is how it seems to me. Perhaps it is just my own impurity which reads turbidness into it; for why shouldn't this impurity be able to pollute what is limpid? But to me it's as though I saw human passion here, something like pride or anger, which is not in tune with the humility of the Gospels. It's as though he is insisting here in his own person, and doing so moreover as a religious gesture, something which is foreign to the Gospel. I want to ask- and may this be no blasphemy- : "What might Christ have said to Paul?" But a fair rejoinder to that would be : What business is that of yours? Attend to making yourself more honorable! In your present state you are quite incapable of understanding what may be the truth here.

In the Gospels- as it seems to me- everything is less pretentious, humbler, simpler. There you find huts; in Paul a church. There all men are equal and God himself is a man; in Paul there is already something like a hierarchy; honours and official positions. -That, as it were, is what my NOSE tells me.

Let us be human.-"

He had a wonderful life.
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