"For philosophical problems arise when language goes on holiday."
would be interested to hear from more purely Wittgenstein/Cavell folks on what they make of the talk as I come to Witt (don't really get Cavell) via thinkers like Rorty and Mulhall who tie in easily with my background in Heidegger and co.-dmf
If I have time I'll see what I can do. In the meantime (while I grade papers) perhaps someone else will chime in.
thanks and my condelences, should perhaps clarify that i'm wondering what people make of the whole gist of the talk and not just the Witt/StC bits, these styles/thinkers come together for me but not sure if that because I'm not fully commited to the whole of any of them but like Rorty sort of pick&choose and than patch together.
Yes. I'm a bit Rortyish myself but would like to think about the whole talk. I can see that involving listening to the whole thing over again as well as spending time thinking and then writing about it. I hope I find the time, but I'm not sure I will.
sure no rush or necessity really just struck me as rarely philosophical conversation
I was struck that Berkowitz lumped together being a machine and being an animal as if they were two ways of making the same point. And it's easy to see why he might do that: our modern conception of "animal", "organism" etc, comes (it seems to me) via the prism of a mechanistic view of nature. Animals are just complicated machines made out of flesh and blood rather than cogs and wires. If you accept that, but also want to exempt humans from the account, then you have an obvious problem. And the proposed solution typically involves "reason". We have it; animals (and other machines) don't. This solution creates problems of its own, since now reason seems a rather curious - almost supernatural - phenomenon. It unconsciously echoes not just the mind/body dualism of Descartes, but also the soul/body dualism of pre-Renaissance Christian theology. As such, it is (in the context of political philosophy) a metaphysical theory.In Wittgenstein, however, I think the key demarcation is between living creatures and mere mechanistic behaviour. To be sure, there's a further boundary between language-using creatures and non-language-using ones, but over and over Wittgenstein stresses the importance of the fact that language (and, indeed, rationality) is a natural phenomenon. It is part of our natural history. But this does not mean that it's mechanistic. Our attitudes towards each other are simply not the attitudes of one machine towards another - necessarily so, since machines do not have attitudes at all.So while I suspect Wittgenstein would have some sympathy with the appeal to Arendt's human exceptionalism, I think he'd see the way she puts it (or, at least, the way it's discussed in the video) as potentially misleading. His aim is to show how human distinctness can be accommodated without having to resort to metaphysical or magical accounts of Reason (as opposed to reason) or Rationality (as opposed to rationality).
thanks, not sure tho that we aren't a particular kind of "machine" that as of yet hasn't been replicated by our engineering, seems an empirical question and one perhaps that Heidegger (with his work against cybernetics) was more aware of. The parts that I take away from Witt against reductionist accounts in say Freud and co. is that there are aesthetic/creative qualities to human-being/doing that exceed mere repetitions and or utiliarian calculations. -dmf
ps on my reading list:http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/wittgensteins-radiator-and-le-corbusiers-treacherous-knot/
Wittgenstein is not out to dispute any scientific findings about the workings of the human body (or any other scientific findings, come to that). His point is that concepts such as "knowing", "thinking", "meaning", "understanding" - indeed our general conception of our form of life - are not applicable to machines. There is a categorical distinction between a person and a machine. Moreover, this distinction is not a sentimental error on our part, which science will in due course reduce to a materialistic foundation. The non-mechanistic concept of personhood is fundamental to our form of life; materialistic accounts exist within that framework and cannot replace it.
yes not doubting that this is a strong reading of Witt, more pointing out that he is likely in error here, not too far from the post-Witt-enactivist position (DanHutto&co) to something like cyborg-ology or even post-humanism, in principle more a matter of engineering than anything even quasi-metaphysical.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enactivism
Can he be in error on this, i.e. on whether "the non-mechanistic concept of personhood is fundamental to our form of life"? Of course our form of life can change. An argument could be made that it has done so since Wittgenstein's day (although I'm not saying that I would buy such an argument). But so far as Wittgenstein makes any claim about what our concepts are applicable to he is talking about what we do apply them to, not so much what we can apply them to. And we do distinguish between persons and machines. E.g. (but also i.e.), it makes sense to say, "He's more machine now than man." You could argue that this ought not to make sense, that we should stop talking in this way. And you could predict that we will stop talking in this way. And, as I say, that such a change is already underway. But I don't see how anyone could deny that it does make sense right now, and did in the 20th century.
That could have been clearer. When I say that "so far as Wittgenstein makes any claim about what our concepts are applicable to he is talking about what we do apply them to, not so much what we can apply them to" I mean that he isn't speaking hypothetically, in a way that might turn out to be false. It could be false, but as I read him he tries to avoid saying things that are even debatable let alone false.
thanks DR that's helpful, yes as you say that debate is well under way usually in the genre of "freewill" but certainly not limited to that.
"Den, der i Forhold til Skylden, opdrages ved Angesten, han vil derfor først hvile i Forsoningen." Søren Kierkegaard, Begrebet Angest"He who, with respect to guilt, is schooled by anxiety, will therefore first [only] rest in reconciliation."