Friday, 22 February 2008

Philosophical Notes

1. "By a sophistical refutation and syllogism I mean not only a syllogism or refutation which appears to be valid but is not, but also one which, though it is valid, only appears to be appropriate to the thing in question. These are those which fail to refute and prove people to be ignorant according to the nature of the thing in question, which was the function of the art of examination. Now the art of examining is a branch of dialectic: and this may prove a false conclusion because of the ignorance of the answerer. Sophistic refuations on the other hand, even though they prove the contradictory of his thesis, do not make clear whether he is ignorant: for sophistis entangle the scientist as well with these arguments."

See: W.A.Pickard-Cambridge

Comments: A biographer of Wittengstein said that Wittengstein use to brag that he had never read Aristotle. Having read both, my feeling is that Wittengstein was very close to Aristotle in spirit. Compare the W's Tractatus to A's Sophistical Refutations and we see both are primers in some kind of rule based system which is context free. Both teach to conquer. But the Sophistical Refutations are actually a mid-point to the later W. The later W in his Philosophical Investigations has turned anthropological, probably due to the influence of Malinowski, and his method has turned into sage-like suggestiveness rather than the professorial indicative. Why? Context matters. Substance, like rites, rituals, signs and symbols are relative. I wonder what would the philosophy of law be today if Hart had not been disgusted by W. One spooky thing about W is that he appeared to hold his own at the centre of so-called classical philosophy-- logic, truth, causation were easy pieces to him; and then his bouts with the absolute mystical, which he did not deny, gave him a perspective of the ordinary which is at once austere, serene and deeply in touch with what is. Reminds me of Socrates without a patsy.

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