Belief, Change and Forms of Life by D. Z. Phillips

By D. Z. Phillips

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He is asking us to reflect on what that comes to. In particular he is asking us to see that it does not necessitate the postulation of a wider system in which the warring beliefs are contradictions. Think of the temptation to assume that when Callicles accused Socrates of passing off on his audience a low popular conception of what is fine, there must be a wider ethical system in which the views of Callicles and Socrates are contradictories. When Wittgenstein says that language-games are complete he is resisting the postulation of a wider system of which they are the parts.

Deep confusions may result from misrepresentations of what this implies. 35 This makes it look as if the significance of the weeping-willow were a function of a rule of association consisting in no more than a constant conjunction decreed by convention. What this obscures completely is the naturalness of seeing a connection between the weeping-willow and the drooping gait. A failure to see this is not a failure of knowledge of an associative rule, but a failure of imagination. The explanation is also misleading in giving the impression that seeing the weeping-willow as we do is a matter of choice, something we could take up or drop at will.

In the last chapter we saw how philosophers have claimed that to say that Wittgenstein's full stop has any application where religious belief is concerned is to put a full stop to many commendable activities: understanding, dialogue, criticism. In this chapter I want to show how these misgivings are unjustified, do not follow from a proper reading of Wittgenstein's remarks, and take us away from the central questions which Wittgenstein was raising. First, however, let us fulfill the promise of the last chapter and see how Wittgenstein's own remarks give rise to the misgivings we outlined there.

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Belief, Change and Forms of Life by D. Z. Phillips
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