Remarks on Colour

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Another interpreter like Anthony Kenny, however admits that the apparent mixing of the logical and the empirical entailed by the recognition of a logic of colour may be seen indeed only as the development of Wittgenstein's holding that the truth-functional logic of the Tractatus is fundamentally an applied one. That is to say, logic in Tractatus is not cut off from the world, since it has to recognize the existence of something or the being of facts.

By acknowledging the existence of a colour-space, Wittgenstein strengthened the essential connection between logical syntax and its application in the description of empirical states of affairs. Holding this point of view, Wittgenstein's later conception of logical syntax can be seen as a widening rather than an abandonment of his earlier view:.

Against Wittgenstein's new view [of logical syntax] Schlick protested that the truth functional constants seemed to be more essential to language than the particular rules of syntax. The possibility of constructing conjunctive propositions, he said, seemed to be a much more general, all-embracing fact than the rule of syntax that red and blue could not be in the same place. But Wittgenstein replied that he thought there was non crucial distinction here. The rules for the truth-functions were not to be separated from other rules of syntax. However, according to Marie Macginn, Wittgenstein's commitment to the independence of elementary propositions in Tractatus counts as a commitment to the purity of logic; therefore is difficult to make completely compatible this position with the later positions which insist more on the applicability of logic.

Recognizing that colour exclusion cannot be reduced to a formal contradiction, Wittgenstein takes a closer step towards the persuasion that a pure formal logic is a myth. Indeed, the central distinction between system of representation and its application, put in other words, between form and content, remains intact in the later works of Wittgenstein, even if the concept of form is transformed into social or cultural constraints. Therefore we can say that a there is a certain continuity in Wittgenstein's development, at least as regards to the problems which are at stake when we confront language with the world.

While tackling the problem of colour exclusion in Some Remarks on Logical Form , Wittgenstein is still persuaded that logic has not to deal with the internal construction of elementary propositions:. We can only arrive at a correct analysis [of elementary propositions] by, what might be called, the logical investigation of phenomena, i. In other words, Wittgenstein no longer believes that analysis would arrive at elementary propositions that are logically independent.

On the contrary, we can assert a priori that there are internal or hierarchical relations that exist between elementary propositions belonging to particular logical fields, i. Moreover, he believes that such a hierarchical relationship is to be envisaged in terms of the hierarchy of the number system:.

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For their representation numbers rational and irrational must enter into then structure of the atomic propositions themselves. It is a characteristic of these properties that one degree of them excludes any other. One shade of colour cannot simultaneously have two different degrees of brightness or redness, a tone not two different strengths, etc.

And the important point here is that these remarks do not express an experience but are in some sense tautologies. These [rules of syntax] will have to tell us that in the case of certain kinds of atomic propositions described in terms of definite symbolic features certain combinations of the T's and F's [in the truth-table] must be left out.

This early response to the problem of colour exclusion keeps still alive the myth of a pure a priori, that is to say, the myth of a pure formal syntax able to make clear the internal connections between propositions. However, the idea of a colour-scale represents a development with reference to the Tractatus conception of the logic of our language.

The system of logical syntax that is embedded in our language is now seen to be ineluctably tied up with the existence of descriptive conventions specifically properties of degree whose application is a matter, not merely of there being a world, but of our employing particular modes of describing it. Logic has, in a sense, become more closely tied up with the world than it is in the excessively pure conception of the Tractatus.

Opening Remarks for Color of Surveillance 2017

In this view, Some Remarks on Logical Form can be acknowledged as the first step on the road from logic to grammar. By the end of , the notion of elementary proposition deals no more with the idea of a complete analysis, but simply with surface properties of propositions.

With regard to the system of colours, Wittgenstein believes that it has no longer the same multiplicity as lengths: we cannot, for example, say how many degrees closer to red one orange is than another. The number system therefore is no more the real ground of the internal relations that exist between colours. Wittgenstein's rejection of the completeness and importance of analysis goes along with his abandoning the idea of an essence of depiction.

The preconceived idea of crystalline purity can only be removed by turning our whole examination round.

One might say: the axis of reference of our examination must be rotated, but about the fixed point of our real need. What it matters is aiming at a clear view of the grammar that the everyday use of language makes evident. In the Tractatus prop. Thought is surrounded by a halo. But this order, it seems, must be utterly simple.

It is prior to all experience, must run through all experience; no empirical cloudiness or uncertainty can be allowed to affect it- It must rather be of the purest crystal. But this crystal does not appear as an abstraction; but as something concrete, indeed, as the most concrete, as it were the hardest thing there is. After having introduced some issues concerning colours, we can begin investigating all the philosophical problems connected with the work Remarks on colour written by Wittgenstein in the years In this text, more than in others, philosophy turns out to be an accurate and local analysis of the different uses of languages; he doubts whether a too generalised investigation of philosophical problems might allow to clarify the puzzles that emerge when we encounter the great variety of phenomenon which makes up the reality; instead of it, it may be more reliable a method which doesn't resolve the friction 37 of the reality in theories which in virtue of their pureness lose every contact with the world.

It's an operation of intellectual desublimation 38 which invests every field of culture: we must, according to Wittgenstein, avoid to transfigure the phenomenon belonging to our Lebenswelt hier some assonance with the Husserl of the Crisis , idealizing and objectifying them in some abstracts and a priori forms Sustruktionen in the language of Husserl ; on the contrary, we have only to check the real and effective conditions of that phenomenon, of that Lebensformen , as Wittgenstein would have said.

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We have to think less, and to attend at the real world more; philosophy doesn't aim no more to bring hypothetical arguments, but to trace out descriptions of the investigated phenomenon. Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. It also leaves mathematics as it is, and no mathematical discovery can advance it. It is the business of philosophy, not to resolve a contradiction by means of a mathematical or logico-mathematical discovery, but to make it possible for us to get a clear view of the state of mathematics that troubles us: the state of affairs before the contradiction is resolved.

And this does not mean that one is sidestepping a difficulty. The fundamental fact here is that we lay down rules, a technique, for a game, and that then we follow the rules, things do not turn put as we had assumed. That we are therefore as it were entangled in our own rules. It throws light on our concept of meaning something. For in those cases things turn out otherwise than we had meant, foreseen. The civil status of a contradiction, or its status in civil life: there is the philosophical problem.

Philosophy simply puts everything before us, and neither explains nor deduces anything. For what is hidden, for example, is of no interest to us. Now what makes it difficult for us to take this line of investigation is our craving for generality. This craving for generality is the resultant of a number of tendencies connected with particular philosophical confusions. There is-. I mean the method of reducing the explanation of natural phenomena to the smallest possible number of primitive natural laws. This tendency is the real source of metaphysics, and leads the philosopher into complete darkness.

I want to say here that it can never be our job to reduce anything to anything, or to explain anything. The idea that in order to get clear about the meaning of a general term one had to find the common element in all its applications has shackled philosophical investigations; for it has not only led to no result, but also made the philosopher dismiss as irrelevant the concrete cases, which alone could have helped him to understand the usage of the general term. The problem that at this point of our analysis arises is whether the issues concerning colours constitute a relevant context of philosophical questions.

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Remarks on Colour 3

Colours questions are relevant, in my point of view, because they clear up very important problems of the philosophical and epistemological reflection, such as the kind of relation between logic and experience, or language and perception, or the possible relation between grammatical and empirical propositions. To report e. A language-game: report whether a certain body is lighter or darker than another. Compare with this: Determining the relationship between the lengths of two sticks- and the relationship between two numbers. But in then first it is an external relations and the proposition is temporal, in the second it is an internal relation and the proposition is timeless.

Here we are concerned with linguistic misunderstandings, in other cases Wittgenstein attends to the riddles which pertain to the relation between perception and language or thinking. An example which gets clear of the relation between perception and language is the following one:. I see in a photograph not a colour photograph a man with dark hair and a boy with slicked-back blond hair standing in front of lathe, which is made in part of castings painted black, and in part of smooth axles, gears, etc. I see the finished iron surfaces as iron-coloured, the boy's hair as blond, the grating as zinc-coloured, despite the fact that everything is depicted in lighter and darker tones of the photographic paper.

About the analogy between colours and language-games or their inscription in forms of life, Wittgenstein writes:. We might be inclined to say that the one person had a different colour concept from the other; or a different concept of ' From this passage above we may argue that different men can have different concepts of colour, and when this happens then, according to Wittgenstein, these men live in different practical, theoretical contexts or Lebensformen. It could seem thus that it's impossible to find any bridge-concepts capable of assuring the translation or reduction of a concept belonging to a particular form of life to another one which is proper to a different Lebensform.

We find us so in situations in which the common understanding is very difficult to yield:. There may be mental defectives who cannot be taught the concept 'tomorrow', or the concept 'I', no to tell time. Such people would not learn the use of the word 'tomorrow'etc.


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Now to whom can I describe what these people cannot learn?