Seeing Wittgenstein Anew

Seeing Wittgenstein Anew
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Furthermore, our description of what we see as anger and, more generally, as making anothers thoughts transparent are ways we have of describing what we see, no less legitimate than other forms of description. Contemporary philosophers of mind, however, typically fail to respect this pluralism and subscribe to sophisticated versions of [trying] to define the concept of a material object in terms of what is really seen. PI b On their view, we do not -- and cannot -- really see someones anger right out in the open on her face and in her gestures. Beyond such data, whatever else we think we see must await[ At least in part, then, denying that the expression on anothers face gives us a window onto her soul stems from a prejudice that materialists at least hold dear and Wittgenstein would have us reject, namely, the idea that there is one genuine proper case of Describing what is seen -describing reality -- is a matter for all of our linguistic resources, not just those of fundamental physics nor even, more broadly, just those of certain privileged scientific disciplines.

As Cerbone reminds us, Wittgenstein is not hard up for categories. We should not be either. More importantly, in doing these two things, these essays help us appreciate Wittgensteins method of constructing perspicuous representations via telling description and creative arrangement of familiar, ordinary facts. As we come to understand the distinctive way that Wittgenstein tries to engage -and, yes, reason with -- his readers, the ubiquity of his kind of reasoning begins to dawn on us. For though he provides neither deductions nor empirical explanations, his method is a kind of reasoning, much like the reasoning employed by critics of the arts, literature, and music when they help others see or hear meaning in a work.

Consider these remarks of his on method from Investigations Part I: We must do away with all explanation, and description alone must take its place PI Philosophy simply puts everything before us, and neither explains nor deduces anything. PI The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity. One is unable to notice something because it is always before ones eyes. PI And lastly: The concept of a perspicuous representation is of fundamental significance for us.

It earmarks the form of account we give, the way we look at things. A perspicuous representation produces just that understanding which consists in seeing connexions. Hence the importance of finding and inventing intermediate cases. PI That philosophical problems are not to be solved with new information might seem to bolster the case for Wittgensteins quietism. The same goes for his remark that philosophy involves neither explanation nor deduction but only description. However, as his talk of arranging and finding and inventing intermediate cases suggests and the entire Investigations surely attests, Wittgenstein conceives of philosophy as an activity, not something passive or even passively accepting of received wisdom.

Rather, as PI and imply, he wants us to pay attention to what we have always known and to notice aspects of simple, familiar things that may be difficult to see precisely because they are always before ones eyes. Ironically, when Wittgenstein talks of perspicuous representation, what he means may not be entirely clear. But his remarks on aspect-seeing help illuminate his meaning as these passages from Seeing Wittgenstein Anew show:.

Noticing aspects is precisely that understanding that consists in seeing connections -- the very understanding of internal relations that Wittgenstein Krebs, The dawning of an aspect Eldridge, In the dawning of an aspect, after all, one perceives likenesses PI a and internal relations PI a , which have in a sense been hidden not by obstacles in the scene itself, but by barriers in us, by our failure to see connections PI Aspect-dawning is at least a metaphor for the kind of understanding a perspicuous representation Minar, In other words, we might say that perspicuous representations are constructed precisely to induce the dawning -- or seeing -- of aspects.

Thus, a seemingly distinct, peripheral topic -aspect-seeing -- lies at the core of Wittgensteins method. Take intermediate cases and the connections they reveal. Whether we find or invent them, they connect with ordinary, familiar things that, in some sense, we have always known and bring out similarities that we had not -- or at least not fully -- appreciated, enabling us to see these ordinary, familiar things in new ways, under new aspects. So, Wittgenstein is no quietist.

Philosophy, on his view, does produce new knowledge and understanding. Moreover, his remarks on aspect-seeing elucidate how what lies open to view and is always before ones eyes possess the depth to support this kind of knowledge, that is, the knowledge we get when some new perspective on the familiar facts of our everyday lives dawns on us. Of course, the availability and importance of such knowledge has not been lost on novelists, poets, and other creative users of language.

And this leads to the third and perhaps most important theme that recurs throughout the contributions to Seeing Wittgenstein Anew. For regarding how our words have meaning, how they latch on to the world, we tend to polarize our options -conventionalism or realism -- and gravitate towards the latter.

Conventionalism holds that what our words mean is a matter of convention: not just in the superficial sense that we could have settled upon a different word to express this or that category, but in the deeper sense that the classifications effected by our categories and expressed by our words are a matter of our choice, our construction. Realism, by contrast, holds that we have no choice: the classifications effected by our categories and expressed by our words are imposed on us by reality.

Now realism proves attractive, in part, because it elides any role for us. As Cavell puts it:. For, on this view, description is essentially automatic such that -- if our perceptual-linguistic faculties are hooked up to the world correctly -- the conceptual-linguistic response called for by the world is clear, leaving no power or responsibility for us. As several contributors to Seeing Wittgenstein Anew rightly suggest, Wittgenstein has no truck with this passive view of description and his rejection of it relates to aspect-seeing.

As Floyd puts it, Seeing-in implies that there is nothing intrinsically necessary that requires us to apply a concept to a particular situation, and that we therefore bear some responsibility for Moreover, this implies that -- as Iris Murdoch, Stanley Cavell, and especially Cora Diamond have emphasized -- our life with language is everywhere unavoidably an ethical matter, undermining the idea of ethics as a distinct area of study and the related idea that ethical questions only arise when specifically ethical concepts are in play. Though the idea that our life with language is intrinsically ethical -- that how active and engaged we are in making sense of our experience reflects on us, on our interests and values -- receives little explicit attention in Seeing Wittgenstein Anew, several contributors clearly accept this idea.

At the close of his essay, for instance, Avner Baz declares: [W]e are continually in danger of losing our world, by, as it were, taking it as a matter of course The continual danger, in other words, is that, succumbing to habitual and convenient ways of treating, or regarding, things, we will lose our ability to see them. Eliot when, writing about William Blake, he noticed that, [O]rdinary processes of society Eliots words, in turn, recall the Romantic investigations that Affeldt, and now Baz, find allied with Wittgensteins interest in aspect-seeing.

On Bazs view, then, we are responsible for preventing our experience, our world from becoming a rote, lifeless affair, and we fight against this -- that is, we fight habitual and convenient ways of And surely, such a project knows no bounds but encompasses all of our life with language. While Bazs Romantic project no doubt faces great difficulties, it seems capable of succeeding, at least with respect to some of us some of the time.

Wittgenstein is said to have renounced in the later work his early concern with the Unsayable, and to have relocated philosophy within the realm of discourse.

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I argue against that picture of Wittgenstein's later philosophy in this dissertation. I show that the appeal to the precognitive is transcendental, for it involves reference to a synthesis that is prior to discursive articulation and presupposed as a necessary condition of meaning. It also shows that Wittgenstein is not subject to the charge of relativism commonly levelled against him. I argue on this basis that Wittgenstein is closer to intuitive-realists than to pragmatists. In fact, the Unsayable plays a central role in the later work, for it is through non-discursive insight into the Unsayable that philosophy fulfills the therapeutic task that Wittgenstein assigns to it in the Investigations.

Off-campus access. Using PhilPapers from home? Create an account to enable off-campus access through your institution's proxy server. Be alerted of all new items appearing on this page. Editorial team. Restrictions pro authors only online only open access only published only filter by language Configure languages here. Viewing options. Krebs [11]. Victor Krebs [6]. RSS feed. Applied ethics.

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Return to Book Page. Overviews: what are they of and what are they for? Aspect-dawning is at least a metaphor for the kind of understanding a perspicuous representation We should not be either. So, why do philosophers feel compelled to reject aspect-seeing, at least when it comes to seeing others as angry, grief-stricken, or joyful? And surely, such a project knows no bounds but encompasses all of our life with language. The essays in Seeing Wittgenstein Anew are also welcome because, while discussing Wittgenstein's remarks on aspect-seeing, they elaborate three important themes that should interest not just philosophers and Wittgenstein scholars but anyone concerned with how we find meaning in -- or make sense of -- our lives.

In The Dream of a Common Language: poems - New York: W. Rickford, J. Spoken soul: The story of Black English. Rogoff, B. Observing sociocultural activity on three planes: participatory appropriation, guided participation, and apprenticeship. Wertsch, P. Alvarez Eds. Cambridge University Press. Rose, D. Learning to write, reading to learn: genre, knowledge and pedagogy in the Sydney School. Sheffield: Equinox Publishing. Rueda, R.

Seeing Wittgenstein Anew: New Essays on Aspect-Seeing: Reviewed by James C. Taggart

Motivational processes of learning: A comparative analysis of cognitive and sociocultural frameworks. Pintrich Eds. Engaged reading: a multilevel approach to considering sociocultural factors with diverse learners. Scardamalia, M. Martlew Ed.

London: Wiley. Chipman, J. Glaser Eds. Scheman, N. Forms of life: mapping the rough ground. Schneider, H. Schoenfeld, A. Schwandt, T. Constructivist, interpretivist approaches to human inquiry. Lincoln Eds. Semali, L. Community as classroom: Re valuing indigenous literacy. In What is indigenous knowledge? Barriers to the inclusion of indigenous knowledge concepts in teaching, research, and outreach. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 11 2 , 73 — Valuing indigenous knowledges: Strategies for engaging communities and transforming the academy.

Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 10 1 , 91 — Shotter, J. Conversational realities: the constructing of life through language. Talking of saying, showing, gesturing and feeling in Wittgenstein and Vygotsky. Communication Review, 1 4 , — Simon, H. Information-processing theory of problem solving. In Handbook of learning and cognitive processes: human information processing Vol. Smeyers, P. Images and pictures, seeing and imagining. Education as initiation into practices. Smith, P. Wittgenstein on mathematics and games. Smitherman, G. Talkin and testifin: The language of Black America.

Boston: Houghton Miflin. Sparks, D. Interview with Michael Fullan: Change agent. Journal of Staff Development, 24 1 , 55 — Spivey, N. The constructivist metaphor: reading, writing, and the making of meaning. Stern, D. Practices, practical holism and background practices.

Malpas Eds. Dreyfus, Volume 2 pp. Sterrett, S. Wittgenstein flies a kite: a story of models of wings and models of the world. New York: Pi Press. Tomasello, M. The cultural origins of human cognition. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 4 4 , — Constructing a language: a usage-based theory of language acquisition.

Shared intentionality. Developmental Science, 10 1 , — Verhoeven, L. Literacy and motivation: bridging cognitive and sociocultural viewpoints. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Vygotsky, L. Mind in society: the development of higher psychological processes. Cole, V. John-Steiner, S. Souberman, Eds. Wells, G. Dialogic inquiry: toward a sociocultural practice and theory of education. Wertsch, J. Vygostky and the social formation of mind. Wittgenstein, L. On Certainty. New York: Harper Torchbooks. Philosophical Grammar.

Rhees, Ed. Remarks on the Foundation of Mathematics. Rhees, Eds. Remarks on the Philosophical of Psychology, Vol. Nyman, Eds. Last writings on the Philosophy of Psychology. Vol 2. The Inner and the Outer, - Philosophical Investigations 3rd ed. Wolf, M. Proust and the squid: the story and science of the reading brain. Cambridge: Icon Books. Serious word play: how multiple linguistic emphases in RAVE-O instruction improve multiple reading skills.

Perspectives on Language and Literacy, 21 — Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology, 11 3 , — Originally, the site endeavoured to apply Ludwig Wittgenstein's philosophy of language to the domain of literacy. Since then, the site has evolved into something a little less esoteric and a lot more practical; we explore everyday issues pertaining to literacy teaching and learning. We welcome you and look forward to your company. Explore and enjoy! Wittgensteinian Readings Organised Alphabetically The full alphabetical listing is dedicated to sharing readings which are considered to provide Wittgensteinian commentary on language, literacy and learning.

Multicultural issues and literacy achievement. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. The Dialogic Imagination. Austin: University of Texas Press. Bakhtin, M. Speech Genres and Other Late Essays. Bauman, Z. Culture as Praxis.

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The logic of practice. Burgess, A. Enderby outside. London: Heinemann. Knowledge of language: Its nature, origin, and use. On immigration and refugees. Ellis, R. Second language acquisition. Fodor, J. The language of thought. An Introduction to Discourse Analysis: theory and method. The ecological approach to visual perception. The literary Wittgenstein. Glenberg, A. What is memory for? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 20, 1 — Humphrey, N.

Seeing red: a study in consciousness. Klagge, J. Wittgenstein in exile. Ludwig Wittgenstein: the duty of genius. London: Vintage. How to read Wittgenstein.

London: Granta Books. Newell, A. Unified theories of cognition. Human problem solving.

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New York: Prentice-Hall. Norman, D. The design of everyday things. New York: Basic Books. Palinesar, A. Reciprocal Teaching. Instructor, 96 2 , 5 — Pitkin, H. Wittgenstein and Justice. Plebani, M. Polya, G.

How To Solve It. Pylyshyn, Z. Computation and cognition. Mathematical Problem Solving. New York: Academic Press. Social accountability and selfhood. Oxford, UK: Basil Blackwell. Sluga, H. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. Why We Cooperate. Thought and language.