Last Updated on March 26, 2023 by mishou
I. Ludwig Wittgenstein’s philosophies
I’m reading Richard Rorty, “Keeping Philosophy Pure: An Essay on Wittgenstein (1976). I asked Chat GDP some questions to understand what Richard Rorty said and I draw a rough chart of philosophy and philosophers like this.
II. What I asked ChatGPT
My question 1
Mr Richard Rorty asked “does it make sense to speak of a new philosophical view as bringing an end to philosophy? In particular, does it make sense to say that philosophy as a subject is somehow overcome as the result of some discovery which Wittgenstein made bout something called ‘linguistic facts’?” That is, he asked whether Wittgenstein proposes one more new philosophical theory or stop doing philosophy. What do you think about it?
Richard Rorty’s question about whether Wittgenstein’s work brings an end to philosophy is an interesting one. Wittgenstein’s later work, particularly in his book “Philosophical Investigations,” has been seen by many as a critique of traditional philosophy and a call for a new way of thinking about language and meaning.
Wittgenstein’s idea is that traditional philosophy has been concerned with trying to find the underlying essence of things, and that this search has led to many confusion and paradox. He argues that we should instead focus on the way that language is used in everyday life, and that this will help us to understand the nature of meaning and truth.
In this sense, some philosophers have argued that Wittgenstein’s work does not propose a new philosophical theory, but rather calls for a new way of doing philosophy. This new way of doing philosophy is less focused on finding grand theories and more focused on understanding the details of how language works in practice.
Others argue that Wittgenstein’s work does propose a new philosophical theory, one that is based on the idea of “language games” and the idea that there is no one correct way of using language. This new theory is not meant to be a final answer to all philosophical questions, but rather a new way of thinking about language and meaning, which can lead to new insights.
In summary, whether Wittgenstein’s work brings an end to philosophy or not is a matter of interpretation, but his ideas are certainly challenging traditional philosophy and proposing a new way of thinking about language, meaning and truth.
My question 2
Ok. I have another question. In Philosophical Investigation, Wittgenstein seems to strictly distinguish between linguistic facts versus physical facts, philosophy versus science , convention versus nature, and sense versus nonsense. Wittgenstein seems to have investigated philosophical problems with those distinctions. However, I believe the distinctions are left over from his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Tell me your opinion about whether Later Wittgenstein stuck to the distinctions or threw them away.
Wittgenstein’s later work in “Philosophical Investigations” is generally seen as a departure from his earlier work in the “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.” In the Tractatus, Wittgenstein presents a strict distinction between linguistic and non-linguistic facts, and between sense and nonsense. He also presents a view of language as a representation of reality, where the meaning of a sentence is determined by its relationship to the world.
In contrast, in “Philosophical Investigations”, Wittgenstein presents a more nuanced view of language, in which the meaning of a sentence is not determined by its relationship to the world, but rather by its use within a particular language game. Wittgenstein also argues that there is no one correct way of using language, and that different language games have different rules and conventions.
In this sense, it could be argued that Later Wittgenstein did not throw away the distinctions from his Tractatus, but rather re-evaluated them, making them more nuanced and complex. He also presented a new way of thinking about language, meaning and truth, which is less focused on finding grand theories, and more focused on understanding the details of how language works in practice.
It’s worth noting that Wittgenstein’s later work is often seen as an anti-theory work, he was critical of the traditional philosophical method of trying to provide an overarching theory or explanation of how language works, and instead focusing on the many different ways in which language can be used in different context, and how meaning is constructed in each context.
My question 3
Tell me how Wittgenstein’s later philosophy is related to Kierkegaard’s thoughts.
Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard are both considered to be philosophers of language and meaning, but their ideas and approaches are quite different. Wittgenstein’s later philosophy, as outlined in his book “Philosophical Investigations,” is centered around the idea that language is a tool for communication and that the meaning of words is determined by their use in a language-game. On the other hand, Kierkegaard is known for his existentialist philosophy which emphasizes individual experience and freedom, and the idea that the self is constantly in a state of becoming. While there are similarities between the two philosophers, they have different perspectives and priorities.
My question 4
Tell me how Later Wittgenstein thinks about ethical questions.
Wittgenstein’s later philosophy, as outlined in his book “Philosophical Investigations,” does not provide a direct or systematic account of ethics. He does not offer a theory or a set of moral principles that one should follow. Instead, he focuses on how language is used in different contexts, and how different language-games shape our understanding of the world.
However, Wittgenstein’s later work does touch on ethical questions. For example, he argues that ethical statements, like “murder is wrong,” are not capable of being verified or falsified in the way that scientific statements are. He suggests that these kinds of statements express a particular attitude or form of life, rather than making a claim about the nature of the world. In this way, Wittgenstein’s later philosophy can be seen as a kind of non-cognitivist view of ethics, which holds that ethical statements do not describe objective moral facts, but rather express the speaker’s feelings, attitudes or emotions.
Additionally, Wittgenstein’s emphasis on the importance of language-games and forms of life can also be seen as a way of highlighting the importance of context in understanding ethical questions. He suggests that different language-games and forms of life will have different standards of right and wrong, and that these standards are not fixed or objective, but are shaped by the practices and values of the communities in which they arise. This implies that ethical questions cannot be answered in a universal way, but must be considered in light of the specific context in which they arise.
My question 5
Show me what Wittgenstein said about the words that doesn’t work like derailed gears.
Wittgenstein’s later philosophy, as outlined in his book “Philosophical Investigations,” emphasizes the idea that words and language do not have fixed or objective meanings, but are instead shaped by the way they are used in different language-games. He argues that words can become “derailed” or lose their meaning when they are used outside of the context or language-game in which they are normally used.
One example of this is the concept of “private language.” Wittgenstein suggests that it is not possible to have a private language, one that only one person can understand, because language is essentially a public and shared activity. He argues that if words only have meaning for one person, they are not words at all.
Wittgenstein also writes about the concept of “language-games” which are the different ways that people use language in different contexts. He argues that words can have different meanings depending on the language-game in which they are used, and that we must understand the context in order to understand the meaning of a word.
Finally, Wittgenstein also talks about the “rule-following” and the idea that meaning is determined by the rules of a particular language-game. He argues that when we use a word, we are not simply giving it a meaning, but rather following a set of rules that are established within a particular language-game. If the rules are not followed, the words lose its meaning.
In summary, Wittgenstein’s later philosophy emphasizes the idea that words and language are not fixed or objective, but are instead shaped by the way they are used in different language-games and context. When words are used outside of their normal context or language-game, they can become “derailed” or lose their meaning, like gears that don’t work properly.