Monday, March 4, 2013

Was Wittgenstein Right?

And was he a de facto pluralist?

Writing the The New York Times, Paul Horwich boils Wittgenstein down to this:
Philosophical problems typically arise from the clash between the inevitably idiosyncratic features of special-purpose concepts — true, good, object, person, now, necessary — and the scientistically driven insistence upon uniformity. Moreover, the various kinds of theoretical move designed to resolve such conflicts (forms of skepticism, revisionism, mysterianism and conservative systematization) are not only irrational, but unmotivated. The paradoxes to which they respond should instead be resolved merely by coming to appreciate the mistakes of perverse overgeneralization from which they arose. And the fundamental source of this irrationality is scientism.
But aren't there matters that cannot be resolved by the sciences, matters of ethics and aesthetics, for example? It's not at all obvious to me, for example, that philosophy has anything particularly interesting to say about consciousness, nor, for that matter, that the various sciences have it nailed down, but how to live one's life: Is that not a cause for concern? Must we not think about that?

See: Facing Up To Relativism and Unity of Being.

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