Talk:Ludwig Wittgenstein

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The mystery of the human heart[edit]

Stephen Fry quotes Wittgenstein in Room 101 TV program: "--And as Wittgenstein quite rightly said, 'When we understand every single secret of the universe, there will still be left the eternal mystery of the human heart.'" (see Stephen Fry quotes or the video). Now, can anyone verify that this, or something along the lines, actually comes from Wittgenstein? I couldn't find anything else but more "second hand quotes".

Wittgenstein quotes from Wikipedia that need to be incorporated[edit]

  • From the introduction to the Tractatus: "...the aim of this book is to draw a limit to thought, or rather — not to thought, but to the expression of thoughts: for in order to be able to draw a limit to thought, we should have to find both sides of the limit thinkable..."
  • "If one tries to advance 'theses' (i.e. theories) in philosophy, it would never be possible to debate them, because everyone would agree to them."
  • "The answer to every philosophical question is a truism."
  • "Philosophy simply puts everything before us, and neither explains nor deduces anything."
  • I think from Philosophical Investigations, there is a variant on 'whereof one cannot speak, nothing should be spoken' which goes "A nothing is as good as a something about which nothing can be said"
  • "Ambition is the death of thought." (Somewhere in the Culture and Value compilation.)

what's with the emboldening and superfluous illustrations[edit]

The World and Life are one. ... Ethics and Aesthetics are one.

It turns it into coffee-table fluff and detracts from the content. It looks embarrassing crap.

—This unsigned comment is by 78.147.251.65 (talkcontribs) .
That seems to be about as nearly a shallow and vacuous an assessment as could possibly be made of them. I do believe that far more people enjoy the addition of images, and find them interesting than are actually inclined to object to them. They were usually chosen to present images which were related to Wittgenstein's life or expressed concepts. As I might only be briefly checking in, and have many other things to do right now, I will simply respond with a few quotes of Wittgenstein — whose ideas I have enjoyed pondering, at least since I was about seven years of age, and who was always alert to the complexities of Life beyond shallow assessments, and those which might seem clever to the most shallow minded.
A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes.
  • Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of our language.
  • Man has to awaken to wonder — and so perhaps do peoples.
  • Philosophical problems can be compared to locks on safes, which can be opened by dialing a certain word or number, so that no force can open the door until just this word has been hit upon, and once it is hit upon any child can open it.
  • Never stay up on the barren heights of cleverness, but come down into the green valleys of silliness.
  • Don't get involved in partial problems, but always take flight to where there is a free view over the whole single great problem, even if this view is still not a clear one.
  • My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.)
  • What I give is the morphology of the use of an expression. I show that it has kinds of uses of which you had not dreamed. In philosophy one feels forced to look at a concept in a certain way. What I do is suggest, or even invent, other ways of looking at it. I suggest possibilities of which you had not previously thought. You thought that there was one possibility, or only two at most. But I made you think of others. Furthermore, I made you see that it was absurd to expect the concept to conform to those narrow possibilities. Thus your mental cramp is relieved, and you are free to look around the field of use of the expression and to describe the different kinds of uses of it.

I feel that images, far from being merely superfluous embellishments can often provide at least a few more rungs to the ladders of thoughts, ideas and associations by which people might climb to greater heights of awareness and attain broader perspectives related to many ideas than they otherwise would. ~ Thursday 22:11, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

A claim that fewer people object than approve carries no weight when made by one who repeatedly argues the same point under multiple names in multiple places. (Not that I wish to call the question of whether the silent majority actually approves, just saying.....) ~ Ningauble 17:58, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Truth carries weight, no matter who declares it or how it is declared. The point I was making, under a name declared to be associated with others I have used, and perhaps previously elsewhere, once or twice, with names that were undeclared prior to this (LONG AFTER the practice was actually quite well established with very little dispute at all), is that there have been images used for years on this wiki, and on this page, and I personally perceive there to have been far more signs of encouragement and approval than disapproval, with most of the disapproval coming from a few people who seem to insist there should be no images at all, or no images not related directly to the subject of the page. With images related to the subjects of the qoutes used extensively on hundreds of pages over the years there have only been a very few complaints made, and thus I have had little indication that this is anything but a very rare opinion, no matter how strongly some of those very few who complain are inclined to insist that images shouldn't be used. ~ Thursday 18:18, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
> That seems to be about as nearly a shallow and vacuous an assessment as could possibly be made of them.
Not a reasoned, philosophical rebuttal, and your habit here and elsewhere in emphasising particular words reminds me of a spiderman comic I flicked through some years ago in a newsagents.
> I do believe that far more people enjoy the addition of images, and find them interesting than are actually inclined to object to them
That might be a good point if you provided any evidence of this. My own preference is for the material to speak for itself. If it requires the presence of over-saturated, 'uplifting' tat then it is intrinsically lacking. Perhaps some dolphins to help things along?
Practically, then, I'd like to make some points:
* Wiki is an encyclopaedia and as such is for the collection and dissemination of information. It is not a playground to one person's aesthetic.
* Of the illustrations, the animated one on Euler's identity is particularly distracting for simple physiological reasons that you should be aware of.
* Not everyone in the world has cheap, good quality internet connections. Your unnecessary illustrations add substantially to the download and in those cases reduce the value of this page (facts, because I'm sure Wittgenstein would have approved of facts - size of html in page: 98K, total size of illustrations: 278K). This matters.
Finally, perhaps you could do a little pondering over Strunk & White.
78.147.177.74 20:05, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
  • I am amused. I take it you believe "Not a reasoned, philosophical rebuttal, and your habit here and elsewhere in emphasising particular words reminds me of a spiderman comic I flicked through some years ago in a newsagents" is a "reasoned, philosophical rebuttal"? The only additional point I would make at this point is that this is NOT Wikipedia, and NOT "an encyclopaedia" — it is a place for the presentation of quotes, and I believe Wittgenstien would agree: The whole world IS "a playground" of aesthetics and sometimes a battleground of various forms of personal, sub-personal and supra-personal forms of awareness and aesthetics. ~ Thursday 20:49, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
> I take it you believe "...[spiderman comic stuff]..." is a "reasoned, philosophical rebuttal"?
No, it was a notable precedent. Ignore it then in preference to addressing the concrete rebuttal points which you appear to have substantially missed, viz. that this is not your personal page for embroidery, it is a community resource which should be treated as such, and by mucking up its accessibility by bandwidth clogging you do a disservice to it and a significant section of its users, perhaps those who need it most.
To the point that this is not wikipedia and not an encylopaedia, you are correct and I was wrong, but that does not alter otherwise alter the argument - it is still a community resource.
Regarding "and I believe Wittgenstien would agree: ...", your belief that Wittgenstien would agree to your claim has no status and no relevance. Usability, community and bandwidth - this is at issue.
As to "...The whole world IS "a playground" of aesthetics and sometimes a battleground of various forms of personal, sub-personal and supra-personal forms of awareness and aesthetics", I really have no idea what this means but I suspect that was the point. I refer you again to Strunk & White, specifically <http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/The_Elements_of_Style> and notably these:
  • Young writers often suppose that style is a garnish for the meat of prose, a sauce by which a dull dish is made palatable. Style has no such separate entity; it is nondetachable, unfilterable. The beginner should approach style warily, realizing that it is himself he is approaching, no other; and he should begin by turning resolutely away from all devices that are popularly believed to indicate style — all mannerisms, tricks, adornments. The approach to style is by way of plainness, simplicity, orderliness, sincerity.
and
  • Although there is no substitute for merit in writing, clarity comes closest to being one.
and
  • No one can write decently who is distrustful of the reader's intelligence, or whose attitude is patronizing.
78.149.148.216 01:57, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

I am quite trustful of most people's intelligence — and their ability to get many of Wittgenstein's points — and much of the quite apparent relevance of many of the selected images as well. But have you even examined the quotes I provided above by Wittgenstein? "Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of our language." That and several of the others are clearly relevant to some of the things being asserted here.

Wittgenstein began as a philosopher who recognized the usefulness of rigorous rules and definitions, to determine certain forms of truth, but ended as one who saw the need to transcend and reject many forms of rules, definitions and suppositions. I definitely agree that this project is a community resource, and for several years I have worked on it, making thousands of edits, with great perseverance to contribute my WORK in ADDING TO it, and NOT by adding RULES to it by which to constrain the rights of others — and working AGAINST the impulses of those I consider among the most bossy and lazy-minded of people, who would seek to have far greater influence than they in any way deserve, out of all proportion to their work or effort, by simply finding ways to hoodwink people and IMPOSE all forms of detrimental and needless rules upon them. I have seen such tendencies growing, and continue to oppose them, though I suspect that there are at least a few people who seek to impose all kinds of further constraints on myself and others in whatever ways they can.

So far as I can determine by your current edit history, you are a person who has used a couple of IPs to do little more than complain about images, and the bolding of quotes, and perhaps might have used some previous ones to make a few complaints about the same. You might well have a greater presence and contribution to the project than is immediately apparent, but I am inclined to doubt that your talk of "community" is little more than an attempt to use words which might appeal to others who actually DO more than complain about the work that has been going on for years here, who have a clear and obvious COMMITMENT to enhancing it in ways far more truly substantial and worthy of respect than simply the desire to impose new rules and constraints on others.

Beyond the images of Wittgenstein and his family, I assert the images are for the most part very well chosen ones, and relate to the quotes well. One of them, the Duck-Rabbit is an image Wittgenstein himself USED to illustrate his concepts and testimonies of the AMBIGUITIES of all assertions. I assert the use of images enhance the interest and the involvement of people's minds, and oppose the DUMBING-down of the presentations to NOT actually engage and challenge the minds and imaginations of people in such ways as many of the great philosophers have done. ~ Thursday (talk · contributions) 03:34, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

Who was talking about making rules? Our IP friend refers to personal preference, and I said I have no wish to call the question. Hurling invectives at unnamed groups of people over an issue that isn't in question hardly seems constructive. ~ Ningauble 18:28, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Hurling invectives was certainly not begun by me here, and the accusative tone of expressions need not be explicit insults to any person or their actions to be very insulting to human dignity and paths of action and response worthy of a human being. I responded to the comment "what's with the emboldening and superfluous illustrations it turns it into coffee-table fluff and detracts from the content. It looks embarrassing crap" with all the civility I thought it deserved. It and further comments might not be specifically a call for rules, but it is clearly an expression of sentiment that indicates a will to create constraints that might prevent the page from having such images, and I responded to it in as honest and sincere a fashion as I found the time to do. I certainly have not sought to constrain my opponents on any issue from expressing their views as clearly and passionately as they wish to, and I don't actually favor any such forms of constraints. Freedom to indicate and express forms of honest disagreement — and to skewer errors, false presumptions and deficient analogies is usually far better than any form of imposed "agreements." I was responding to a passionate expression with some general knowledge of human behavior patterns — including my own— and I don't agree with the assessments that meticulously mantained "mildness" and some of the extremes of self-constraint or socially imposed constraints are always the most "civil" or proper of responses one can make to assertions. ~ Kalki/Thursday (talk · contributions) 19:07, 10 December 2009 (UTC)


okay, piece by piece -
> (quoted)"Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of our language."
I can't see the relevance.
> Wittgenstein began as a philosopher who recognized the usefulness of rigorous rules and definitions, to determine certain forms of truth, but ended as one who saw the need to transcend and reject many forms of rules, definitions and suppositions
er, relevance to this discussion?
> for several years I have worked on it
good for you, seriously. I have been more of a consumer than producer. However that does not invalidate my criticisms here.
> ...NOT by adding RULES to it by which to constrain the rights of others...
As Ningauble has said, I was not making rules. Having free speech implies a degree of discretion in proportion to that freedom. The ability to freely edit wikiquote implies a similar requisite discretion. I dispute that you are using it, and I tried to explain why with concrete facts.
Which you've again not addressed.
Just making vague assertions eg. "I assert the use of images enhance the interest and the involvement of people's minds" would be relevant if it is true. I'm questioning this. If in general people do feel the benefit of these images outweigh their cost then the argument is settled. So far it is not.
> ...seek to impose all kinds of further constraints on myself...
As given above, that constraint -- if necessary! -- should be self constraint.
> ...you are a person who has used a couple of IPs...
You won't get much from these as they are DHCP'd, see <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IP_address#Static_and_dynamic_IP_addresses>
> ...COMMITMENT to enhancing it in ways far more truly substantial and worthy...
Like adding trinket illustrations? Let's see, you say "[excluding Witt.+family]...I assert the images are for the most part very well chosen ones, and relate to the quotes well"
Well, let's ignore the subject + family photos. About the duckrabbit, this is the caption: "Every explanation is after all an hypothesis". The relation between this claim and duckrabbitous ambiguity is unclear to me.
Here are a list of the rest. Tell me how they assist comprehension:
  • A ray of light being refracted in a glass circle - "A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes."
  • An animation of the derivation of pi - "It is one of the chief skills of the philosopher not to occupy himself with questions which do not concern him."
  • Pic of galaxy-thing, Hoag's object - "Don't get involved in partial problems, but always take flight to where there is a free view over the whole single great problem..."
  • Uplifting-type rainbow-in-fields pic - "What do I know about God and the purpose of life? I know that this world exists." (I've noticed that too. Didn't need a picture either)
  • pic of hand in sunlight (with rainbow effect) - "To believe in God means to see that the facts of the world are not the end of the matter. To believe in God means to see that life has a meaning"
  • Some kind of rainbow artefact diffraction round a shadow (a sundog??) - "The World and Life are one. ... Ethics and Aesthetics are one." (used in over 100 other pages! - your doing?)
  • Whirlpool galaxy - "What can be said at all can be said clearly, and what we cannot talk about we must pass over in silence."
  • Another rainbow diffraction pic - "Certain, possible, impossible: here we have the first indication of the scale that we need in the theory of probability."
  • Another sodding rainbow diffraction pic - "Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present. Our life has no end in just the way in which our visual field has no limits."
And I'm only halfway through. Do you want me to finish this list? No, this *is* dumbing down if not self indulgence.
> Hurling invectives was certainly not begun by me here...
Correct, I am responsible. I should not have done so.
> ...that indicates a will to create constraints that might prevent the page from having such images...
Based on the added or not added value, yes, but self-constraints. I repeat, this is based on the utility of these images. You have repeatedly ignored the common consent issues (did you discuss with anyone the pros and cons of adding these images? You imposed them but have I removed them? No) and bandwidth issues (which again you've ignored - I repeat, not everyone has bandwidth to waste, and you have not considered the extra infrastructure load you may be adding on the wikimedia servers - or did you think it comes free?)
> and to skewer errors, false presumptions and deficient analogies is usually far better than any form of imposed "agreements."
Quite. So deal with my points.
modified sentence above, and added this
I've noticed that many of these images are used elsewhere. For example, the hand against the sun with rainbow halo it used in 99 other quote pages. As I asked, is this your doing? Can this same picture hand/sun/rainbow "relate to the quotes well" in other contexts?
  • For confucius - "Only by perfect virtue can the perfect path, in all its courses, be made a fact."
  • for John Stuart Mill - "We are not so absurd as to propose that the teacher should not set forth his own opinions as the true ones and exert his utmost powers to exhibit their truth in the strongest light."
  • for Alexander Pope - "How happy is the blameless vestal's lot!/The world forgetting, by the world forgot./Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!/Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd..."
  • for Heraclitus - "It is wise to listen, not to me but to the Word, and to confess that all things are one."
  • The Neverending Story - "AURYN will protect you and guide you, but whatever comes your way you must never interfere, because from this moment on your own opinion ceases to count."
Give me the common thread that relates these quotes to the picture. In short, clear words please.
I believe I've made my point (probably too many times). I hope to stop about here as I've work to do, lots of it, mundane stuff. I can only ask you reconsider your actions with the clarity that a professional philosopher might bring. You have undeniably brought care to your work here, but that's not enough.
89.241.147.120 10:53, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
wikipedia:Academic elitism, philosophy is about having a good time with your peers. --201.230.179.63 15:21, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

"I don't know why we are here..." unsourced quote[edit]

The quote ""I don't know why we are here, but I'm pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves" can be found all over the internet, but seems likely to be apocryphal: it is always quoted without attribution to a specific source. The source given in the wiki is a 2004 novel that, again, attributes merely to "Ludwig Wittgenstein". If Wittgenstein had really said or written this at any point, surely a biographer or scholar of his would have quoted it, and noted its (even supposed) source? Self-propelled 21:25, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

Tractatus Logico-Philisophicus[edit]

"6.52 We feel that when all possible scientific questions have been answered, the problems of life remain completely untouched. Of course then there are no questions left, and this itself is the answer."