Stuck between two things
Philosophy is the battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of our language. PI 109
Reading a lot of Wittgenstein at the moment. A moral from the Philosophical Investigations:
Many problems come from our wanting to treat something as something it is not. For Wittgenstein, this was treating the meaning of words as something in some special realm, or treating thoughts as mental objects to which only I have access.
The solution is to look at how we use words and what actually goes on and figure out from that how to treat things. Starting with an idea of what something is and then forcing the thing into that idea only leads to problems.
The same basic problem is faced with the incursion of the scientific attitude into non-scientific areas of language.
We want to treat depression as a medical problem, with an entirely biological explanation, but this makes the fact that we often “catch” depression from events in our life seem quite odd – (“queer” in Wittgenstein’s terms).
We want to treat religion as making factual claims about the universe, but this makes the fact that people are converted to a religion and not just educated about it seem odd.
We want to believe that our experience takes place in the brain, but that makes the shared world we live in an odd place.
We want there to be a firm separation between subjective and objective so that we can put everything on the objective side in a bag marked truth and discard everything else as lightweight. But when we look at the world we find it much harder to fit things into the bag. What, for example, is money? Without our “subjective” acceptance of its value, the objective marks on paper or gold atoms are literally worthless.
I haven’t really understood it yet, but I think I’m on the right track.