Monday, March 12, 2012

Say what you choose

One of my favorite passages from Philosophical Investigations is from section 79:
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.)
(My Google search to find the location of this passage brought up references to my work more than anything else, which perhaps shows how much I like it and have quoted it. Or it might just be that Google is that personalized.)

It's easy to focus on the "say what you choose" part, in something like the spirit of Richard Rorty or Daniel ("thermostats can think") Dennett, but I now think that the parenthetical caveat is almost more important: Don't say things that will prevent the seeing of the facts. Be true to the facts, we might say. Do justice to the world (Wittgenstein talks elsewhere about doing justice to concepts). This is much easier said than done, or so he seems to believe.

One of the main ideas I came away with from the Wittgenstein Workshop this past weekend, if you can call it an idea, is this sense of honesty as mission in Wittgenstein's philosophy. Possibly more on this in future.

(It reminds me a little of the Confucian idea of the rectification of names, which makes me wish I had an opportunity to make a joke about a women's prison being for the rectification of dames. Sorry. Here's a song that refers to a women's prison as compensation.) 


No comments:

Post a Comment