Monday, April 30, 2018


"In order to understand Mr Wittgenstein's book, it is necessary to realize what is the problem with which he is concerned. In the part of his theory which deals with Symbolism he is concerned with the conditions which would have to be fulfilled by a logically perfect language." Bertrand Russell, from Introduction to Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.


However, what we are not told is that the nature of these "conditions" are themselves concepts, that is to say, this is a purely abstract endeavor. The assumption that language can evolve (or exist) irrespective of social conditions (that they are irrelevant to the philosophical program) is the presuppositional fallacy of all analytical philosophy.

It is true that Wittgenstein and Russell would confess that theirs is merely a formal procedure, but this confession is not an argument for the value of their formality.

There is a way of doing philosophy that negates the value of philosophy: when thought turns in on the emphasis of its own abstracting for the sake of abstraction itself. To be concerned with Symbolism inherently means that one must be concerned with society. As the classes collide so do their symbols; as classes evolve, so do their symbols; symbols, in the context of a capitalist society, become the tools of class control; weapons whereby the ruling class can solidify its oppression of society as a whole.

To speak of symbols, without considering the social matrix in which they function, can only lead to an instrumental comprehension of symbols. In other words, one never learns to view the symbol from the vantage of its deceptive function (one never gets behind it), hence, one ends up being deceived by it. Understanding symbols, through a tight logical framework, becomes its own methodology of deception, unconsciously reinforcing social oppression without the ability to 1) comprehend it or 2) change it. Here the logical methodology fosters resignation precisely because it does not comprehend it well enough to be able to resist it (what is worse is that it mistakes it for totality). From the analytical program totality is lacking; dialectical consciousness is nowhere to be found, the formal methodology is assumed to have supreme intellectual authority. Those who do not mimic this form are cast aside as irrelevant and incompetent.

No one is claiming that logic is irrelevant, only that it must not be naive, must not divorce itself from the social world, must not succumb to its own monological temptations (this is an easy but cheap way to obtain power). It comes at a high price, it comes at the price of comprehension and robs one of their power to work through the friction of contradictions. Without dialectical thought resolution remains sectarian and fleeting. The monological sycophants of our time only want the power to deceive with their discourse, they could care less about its quality of resolution. 

Life is allowed to recover itself from abstraction in the name of vitality. Wisdom is suited to life, analytical philosophy is an exercise in vanity.

Life can have but one legitimate concern: the conditions necessary for the propagation of its own quality. Those who understand this understand that analytical philosophy is dead. Analytical philosophy remains an ideology of irrelevance.  

"That philosophical concept of meaning has its place in a primitive idea of the way language functions." Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, Part 1 para.2

This is the affirmation of the abstract. There is also a concrete reality to meaning. In order for meaning to be more than an abstraction it must have substance beyond mere logic. Wittgenstein says meaning is a concept contained in an idea presented in the form of language. But this is merely the abstract expression of meaning! Wittgenstein is only concerned with abstraction; with the formal justification of logical premises! A body requires nourishment in order to thrive, and though this can be represented and facilitated by words, food is a concrete reality to the nourishment of the body. Wittgenstein's problem is always the same: he deals with concepts irrespective of their social context. For Wittgenstein meaning amounts to concepts derived from symbols. But why should we care about the justification of the "philosophical (mere formal) concept of meaning?" By all means, probe for the primitive, but never forget that language has its genesis in social conditions. The danger of mere philosophical concepts is that they have no relevance outside their own assumptions. Wittgenstein wasted his life on concepts that had no bearing on the concreteness of life itself. What Marx said about Hegel so long ago equally applies to Wittgenstein: "...the categories of abstract logic, are made subjects."*

*[See Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right, part 1]



Saturday, April 28, 2018

Analytical Philosopher Tries to Rebuke Jersey Flight

A: I refuse to speak to philosophers who do not define their terms clearly.

Flight: What do you mean by define clearly?

A: I mean the formal statement of the meaning or significance of a word, phrase or idiom. I mean the condition of being definite, distinct, or clearly outlined.

Flight: What then is the significance of a word?

A: It is the act of making it clear.

Flight: I suppose you mean, making it clear to you? How could this not be the case when you are the object which demands the criteria? Surely you are not speaking of the superstition of eternal forms and eternal criteria? Surely this, “clear outline” you demand, is not a law discovered, not a property of nature? Surely words have signification only to the objects that make use of them and are affected by them?

A: What do you mean by objects?

Flight: I mean the thing that finds significance.

A: This is nonsense.

Flight: You mean words are nonsense?

A: I mean you do not know how to communicate.

Flight: You mean I do not know how to conform to your pretentious, authoritarian standards? If you say I must define my definition, once I have offered an outline, do you not say that I must equally define my definition of my definition? Do you not say that I must define my definition of my definition of my definition? How does this qualify as communication? Is the act of communication a form of narrowing? This seems to me like anti-communication. You want to speak at the level of the structure of words, but this is like trying to live at the level of atoms.     

A: Without clearly defining what you mean no one can understand what you say.

Flight: It sounds to me, the act of defining, as you mean it, is an act which presupposes the impossibility of meaning without the aid of eternal categories. You must forgive me if I do not think of words this way. Surely the extinction and evolution of words is all that’s required to prove this?

A: You don’t make any sense.

Flight: It seems you are reaching for an eternal form. I take words on a general level.

A: No one should listen to you.

Flight: Because I reject the sophistry of eternal regression, which amounts to a kind of intellectual game. You say “I must, I must,” do a very specific thing, but how can I do this thing if you have not manifested the reality of eternal forms? If there are no eternal forms, then it seems to me, your criterion amounts to a form of intellectual posturing (an unjustified standard of tyranny you impose on life). Allow me to offer words that make sense: the ingestion of clean water is good for your body. You can, of course, ask what I mean by water, taking discourse to a hyper-sensory-level (attempting to live at the level of microscopic atoms) but I think it might be easier to simply test my statement.            

A: In order for words to have meaning they must be defined.

Flight: Does the act of defining them give words meaning or do words have meaning because they can be eternally defined?

A: What the hell are you talking about?

Flight: I am talking about the nature of words. Do you agree that words exist?

A: Most certainly.

Flight: Then it seems you are looking for agreement, not formality. Indeed, what is formality?

A: It is the act of offering an authoritative definition.

Flight: Oh dear, you mean authoritative in the sense that you agree with it?

A: I am not a subjectivist.

Flight: But what if you never agree with the definition? Here we have it, in order to communicate we must agree, it has nothing to do with the discovery of eternal forms. Even if we agree on a formality, our agreement will not amount to the discovery of an eternal form. To affirm the formality (not to prove) is the act of making meaning. Only when we agree can we communicate. It is up to us to see that this act is not difficult. This is why I loathe philosophers, because they too often strike out for the sake of vanity, not the cause of wisdom.