Re: My top-down strategy is now 100% complete.

From: Tennessee Leeuwenburg (
Date: Thu Mar 17 2005 - 01:48:13 MST

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| I'm no fan of Wittgenstein and I certainly don't think
| that thinking is all language games and idea creation.
| His ides influenced the logical positivists and were
| apparently the beginning the post-modern disease. He
| seemed to think that language had no meaning outside
| it's social context (it's only a small step from there
| is the idea that 'everything is a social construct').

I can see how you get from A to B there, but I don't make the same
connection. I think Wittgenstein was reacting in a valid way to the way
in which humans use language. I don't think he was trying to make claims
about logic, but rather about language use. From there, he tried to
equate human thinking with human language. There is clearly a sense in
which he is correct - language allows us to hear many ideas, including
entire frameworks for thought, that we do not have access to naively.

I never interpreted that as attacking the meaning of language. Rather, I
thought of it as describing how it can be that human can use language in
which ungrammatical ways, and still communicate effectively. I thought
of it like ... different rules for different card games. The cards are
the same, but the rules we use to play the game can vary - sometimes a
lot, and sometimes less so. However, within the context of their use,
the meaning is very precise.

On the other hand, I can see how you could progress from the idea of
language games to postmodernist ideas, which can be quite destructive to
meaning. Sometimes postmodern techniques are useful for breaking down an
accepted morality, but can be quite harmful to someone who is reasoning

| The difference between me and him is probably that I
| think that is an objective reality out there which our
| metaphors can approximate. We have to start with some
| initial metaphors but these get modified as we acquire
| new knowledge and eventually everyone's metaphors will
| start to converge. The internal metaphors and
| external knowlegde are not independent of each other.
| There will have to be a convergence to objective
| reality outside the initial language games.

Yes, that is quite correct. Wittgenstein, meet Rand. Rand, meet
Wittgenstein. :)

| Perhaps in place of the word metaphor I should have
| used the more general term 'analogy'. And I should
| have said that my theory consists of the interactions
| of two systems but both of them are *reasoning*
| systems: one is a system for reasoning about
| morals/values/agents, the other a system for reasoning
| about physics/inanimate things.

No, I'm the one who was interpreting metaphor to carry a cognitive
meaning, I think your use of language was fine.

What is the nature of the interaction between the two systems, in that
case? I think I know, but I would like to hear you give the description
as you see it, rather than responding to particular statements of mine...

- -Tennessee
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