According to many believers there is no end to the enlightening things that may be truly said about God. Perhaps there is no end for them either to the useful ways of dividing these things up into illuminating classes. But as fairly traditional theists we suggest a need to stress two basic classes as two indispensable sides to a traditional theist’s coin. We suggest that neglect or rejection of either side can debase the currency under philosophical investigation, can lead a (...) philosopher—or at least his puzzled readers—into costly muddles about the analysis or evaluation of religious discourse and claims. (shrink)
In his well known paper ‘Wittgenstein’s Builders’ Professor Rush Rhees has rightly criticized some appeals that Wittgenstein made to certain so-called ‘primitive languages’ while developing the early sections of the Philosophical Investigations. These appeals are taken by Wittgenstein to expose the shortcomings of an account given by Augustine at Confessions I, 8 of meaning and of learning language. I shall try first in this discussion to make it clear that at least some of Rhees’ criticisms and complaints are made for (...) very dubious reasons. Then I shall try to show that there are much better reasons for dissatisfaction, reasons which may tie up with recurrent muddles in Wittgenstein’s later thought. It will be contended that there is real point in construing several Wittgensteinian appeals to primitive languages as being somewhat vitiated by a systematic mistake. For, if I am right, a curious ambivalence arises in the text which results from confusion about what is largely false, because it is so inadequate, and what is wholly in error, because it is so fundamentally incoherent as to invite the label ‘Nonsense’. (shrink)
NO ANALOGY IS ADEQUATE FOR THE RELATIONS BETWEEN THE PERSONS OF THE TRINITY. A FAMOUS AND HELPFUL ONE OF ST AUGUSTINE’S IS DISCUSSED AND AN INADEQUACY SUGGESTED: TRIPLENESS OF PERSONS IS TOO RESTRICTED. ANOTHER LIMITED, BUT PARTLY OFFSETTING ANALOGY COUCHED IN TERMS OF ’MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES’ IN PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORY IS SPELLED OUT FOR EVALUATION.
In approaching the subject of this symposium we have both worked from an assumption about the future of philosophia perennis. This is that a better general assessment of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s philosophy of language in his Philosophical Investigations is likely to lead to better work in the crucial areas of metaphysics and epistemology. We shall not argue for this assumption here. But we begin by stating it to make clear why we shall attempt some particular assessments of a few passages early (...) in the Investigations and of a few famous remarks offered about them by Wittgenstein’s close disciple and critical commentator, Rush Rhees. For we are flirting with at least two further assumptions. A stronger and riskier one is that the strengths and weaknesses of the Investigations’ initial discussions may well have had a profound effect on the wisdom of the work as a whole. A weaker one is that if we can find sources of error as well as inspiration in some of Wittgenstein’s beginning remarks and in some of his dedicated followers’ comments, then other philosophers will be less intimidated by his philosophical and literary genius or by the obvious talents of many who are called Wittgensteinians. Thus we hope that our particular investigations can contribute to a more effective general assessment of his philosophy of language and so stimulate further hopes among those who believe—as we do—that the most central problems of philosophy can gradually be solved but never be dissolved. (shrink)