Sunday, October 16, 2016

Wittgenstein Again

Welcome to Uru

[ from emails to Nathaniel Bobbitt ]

I haven't read Peter Hacker's book yet, but having studied Wittgenstein, I somewhat get where he's coming from.

In Wittgenstein's philo we're trained to see words gaining meaning through use, not through pointing to phenomena.  "Words do not point" might be the slogan. 

Ergo "understanding" "thinking" and "pain" connect to introspected "mental events" in only tenuous / tangential ways.

Not much temptation on my end to imagine "understanding" as a "brain process" in any direct one-to-one literal sense.

Saying "bacteria respond intelligently to stresses in the environment" is not metaphoric nor anthropomorphic usage, merely an extension of common everyday usage. 

Ergo an "intelligent response" requires no brains at all (bacteria don't have them).

The supposition that "desire" "empathy" "false belief" are "mental states" in the sense of signature brain configurations, is extremely alien to my way of thinking but doesn't mean it won't be useful in motivating pattern matching and ToM reasoning skills.