Ainigma

I do n’t much like introductions.  They far too often appear to be conclusions (and writing another conclusion which resummarized the introduction was…I can’t even conclude that thought).  I was, and remain, resistant to the practice in my writing (that too sounds conclusive).

In introducing another to a process, or to a game, one does not point to what is ‘important’ or speak of ‘conclusions’.

And now we ‘ve segued to Wittgenstein.  Whew.

If Philosophical Investigations were set in the typical format, some flavor would be lost.  The struggle would n’t hang in the air.  I would be wrestling with Wittgenstein’s conclusions, not along with Wittgenstein.  He despaired of channeling such thoughts in book-form, and as such he is far more helpful.  He does n’t have to tell me what is important, just show how he is struggling (would n’t we be better teachers if we did the same).

I should not like my writing to spare other people the trouble of thinking.   But, if possible, to stimulate someone to thoughts of his own.  (preface to Philosophical Investigations)

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Thus I am able to treat his work as a series of notes, useful or unuseful, but cannot quite answer the question ‘Have you read Wittgenstein?’  Instead I am, in some measure, struggling alongside him toward aims not wholly his own.

Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language.  (#109 from Bk. 1, ibid, p. 47)

For his thought, it seems that an appeal to the metaphysical is reprehensible insofar as it denies the fact that it is saying ‘I don’t understand’ but pretends still to be an explanation.

What ‘we’ do is to bring words back from their metaphysical to their everyday use.  (#116, p. 48)

And now to the thought which I ‘ve been struck by: what is this ‘everyday’?  ‘Do all ordinary things strike us so?’ (#600, p. 156)  When we try to leave the metaphysical and obstinately confusing which comprises our language game, the first inclining is to turn towards its opposite.  If the philosophers are confused, let us turn to the un-philosophical or at least the non-philosophical.  Where is that?  We want to say in the ordinary.  But we can’t apply Wittgenstein’s test, ‘can you point to it?’, or can’t we?

Can’t we?  What day can we point to and say ‘this is ordinary’.  It can only be accomplished from a distance.  The ordinary retreats from view.

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And now that we have been introduced to the enigmatic, which leads who knows where:

My aim is to teach you to pass from a piece of disguised nonsense to something that is patent nonsense.  (#464, p. 133)