The Absurdity of Philosophy

The Absurdity Of

Philosophy
Jeff Smith-Luedke

Lulu, Inc.
Morrisville, NC

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Preface .

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. Twilight of the Idols and The Antichrist. Friedrich. Page 45.4 The Absurdity of Philosophy 1 1 Nietzsche. London. UK: Penguin Books. 2003.

Page 119. New York.” Camus. NY: Vintage International. Albert. The Myth of Sisyphus. 1991.The Absurdity of Philosophy 5 2 2 2 This opening paragraph is an allusion to the opening paragraph of “The Myth of Sisyphus. .

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Plato. The Republic. PLATO: The Collected Dialogues Including the Letters. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 2002. Pages 747-752.

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Nietzsche, Friedrich. Twilight of the Idols and The Antichrist. London, UK: Penguin Books. 2003. Pages 52-65.

NY: Vintage Books. 1974. .10 The Absurdity of Philosophy 5 6 5 Nietzsche. New York. §125. The Gay Science. Friedrich.

Inc. 2006. New York. . Friedrich.The Absurdity of Philosophy 11 7 6 6 Nietzsche. The Will to Power. NY: Barnes & Noble Publishing. §585.

. NY: Vintage International. Page 3. 1991. The Myth of Sisyphus.12 The Absurdity of Philosophy 7 7 Camus. New York. Albert.

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ed.and death . Søren.consist in not being able to die. Princeton. Robert." Ibid. NJ: Princeton University Press." Kierkegaard. Page 344. "Sickness Unto Death." A Kierkegaard Anthology.16 The Absurdity of Philosophy 8 9 8 "To be delivered from the sickness of death is an impossibility. 9 "[Abraham] did it for God's sake because God required this proof of his faith. for the sickness and its torment .” Page 133. . “Fear and Trembling. 1973. Bretall.

namely.The Absurdity of Philosophy 17 10 9 10 “Instead of the objective uncertainty. “Postscript. held fast in the passion of inwardness." Ibid. there is a certainty. and the Socratic existential inwardness is like the Greek light-mindedness in comparison with the grave strenuosity of faith. . The Socratic ignorance is like a witty jest in comparison with the earnestness of facing the absurd.” Page 220. that objectively it is absurd and that is absurdity. is faith.

” Nietzsche. NE: University of Nebraska Press. All Too Human. 1996. Lincoln. Religions provide abundant excuses to escape the need to kill oneself: this is how they insinuate themselves with those who are in love with life. without the strength to come nearer the actual goal of one’s life: this is far less worthy of respect.18 The Absurdity of Philosophy 11 11 “Conversely. anxiously consulting doctors and accepting the most painful. . the compulsion to prolong life from day to day. Human. §80. humiliating conditions. Friedrich.

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Camus, Albert. The Myth of Sisyphus. New York, NY: Vintage International. 1991. Page 123.

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. Discourse on Method. NY: Barnes & Noble Publishing. Inc. René. 2004. New York. Page 84.The Absurdity of Philosophy 25 13 13 Descartes.

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15 Russell. "Is There a God?" 1952. Bertrand.com/russell10.htm>.1 – 2. in the picture.131. New York.The Absurdity of Philosophy 27 14 15 14 “We make to ourselves pictures of facts. . Page 15. Inc.freewebspace. the existence and non-existence of atomic facts. for the objects. Evan's Experientialism. 1927.” Wittgenstein. <http://evans-experientialism. The picture presents the facts in logical space. §§ 2. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Ludwig. NY: Barnes & Noble Publishing. The picture is a model of reality. The elements of the picture stand. To the objects correspond in the picture the elements of the picture.

<http://www.ibm. . "On Formally Undecidable Propositions in Principia Mathematica and Related Systems.28 The Absurdity of Philosophy 16 16 Gödel.research. Kurt." IBM Research.pdf>.com/people/h/hirzel/papers/canon00-goedel. 1931.

London. 2000. UK: Routledge. Karl. . The Logic of Scientific Discovery.The Absurdity of Philosophy 29 13 17 17 Popper.

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The Absurdity of Philosophy 31 14 18 18 Morningstar. <http://www. "How To Deconstruct Almost Anything: My Postmodern Adventure. ." 1993. Chip.com/chip/deconstr.fudco.html>.

32 The Absurdity of Philosophy 19 19 Derrida. Of Grammatology. Jacques. University Press. Baltimore. 1997. MD: The Johns Hopkins .

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” Ibid. Page 158.34 The Absurdity of Philosophy 16 20 20 “There is no outside-text. .

Derrida.The Absurdity of Philosophy 35 21 17 22 21 22 Waylessness. Jacques. being perpetually lost with no sense of direction. . New York. 2002. Acts of Religion. NY: Routledge.

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this sentence reads something like. Baltimore County. Mazzoni.. Bruce. “The bison from New York that other bison from New York push around. buffalo the animal. NY).” 24 Goldberg.38 The Absurdity of Philosophy 23 24 23 This sentence was first used by William J. . Rapaport in Linguist List. and buffalo the verb. University of Maryland. Philosophy of Mind coursework lecture notes of S. 1972. 1993. Using the place of Buffalo (e.g. themselves push around other New York bison. Dr. Fall term.

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Page 19. ed. 1976. IL: University of Chicago Press. Cora. Chicago. . Wittgenstein’s Lectures on the Foundations of Mathematics.The Absurdity of Philosophy 43 25 25 Diamond. Cambridge 1939.

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August-October 2005.org/americas/brasil/PUBLCNS/ANTHRO/PHGrCult. Summer Institute of Linguistics. PNG Language Resources.pdf>. “Cultural Constraints on Grammar and Cognition in Pirahã. Number 4.pnglanguages. Volume 46. <http://www.” Current Anthropology.The Absurdity of Philosophy 47 29 26 26 Everett. . Daniel.

The Stuff of Thought. Martin. Steven. . 28 Heidegger. Page 67. NY: State University of New York Press.48 The Absurdity of Philosophy 30 27 28 27 Pinker. Page 4. Being and Time. 1996. New York. NY: Viking Penguin. Albany. 2007.

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Ronald. 1984. NE: University of Nebraska Press. Of Grammatology.50 The Absurdity of Philosophy 29 30 33 31 29 30 Suter. Lincoln. Jacques. MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Henry. Baltimore. .” 31 Derrida. This is the argument that Henry Staten put forward and Derrida called “a big step forward in the field. A Drop of Grammar. 1997. Philadelphia. Staten. Interpreting Wittgenstein: A Cloud of Philosophy. Wittgenstein and Derrida. PA: Temple university Press. 1989.

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and in various other works of antiquity on rhetoric. The book itself has unfortunately been lost to posterity.54 The Absurdity of Philosophy 32 32 These three propositions summarize the thesis of Gorgias’s On Nature or the NonExistent. . discussed by Sextus Empiricus in Against the Professors.

The Absurdity of Philosophy 55 33 34 33 Wittgenstein. Ludwig. §454. Publishing. MA: Blackwell . Philosophical Investigations. Malden. 2001.

a saw. (And in both cases there are similarities. –The functions of words are as diverse as the functions of these objects. . §11. pliers.)” Ibid. a rule. glue. a screw-driver. a glue-pot. nails and screws.56 The Absurdity of Philosophy 35 34 34 “Think of the tools in a tool-box: there is a hammer.

” Ibid.both of these being processes resembling language… I will call these games ‘language-games’ and will sometimes speak of a primitive language as a language-game. §7. that is.The Absurdity of Philosophy 57 35 35 “In the practice of the use of language one party calls out the words. And there will be this still simpler exercise: the pupil repeats the words after the teacher . In instruction in the language the following process will occur: the learner names the objects. he utters the word when the teacher points to the stone. the other acts on them. .

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66 The Absurdity of Philosophy 36 37 36 “If you say he sees a private picture before him. §294. . or an empty till. But I don’t know whether it is money. or debts. in spite of that.’” Ibid. that he has something before him? Isn’t it as if I were to say of someone: ‘He has something. which he is describing. you have still made an assumption about what he has before him… If you admit that you haven’t any notion what kind of thing it might be that he has before him – then what leads you into saying.

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68 The Absurdity of Philosophy 39 37 37 Wittgenstein. . Page 4. 1965. The Blue and Brown Books. Ludwig. New York. NY: Harper Torchbooks.

The Absurdity of Philosophy 69 38 38 "For a large class of cases . Philosophical Investigations.in which we employ the word ‘meaning’ it can be defined thus: the meaning of a word is its use in the language" Wittgenstein.though not for all . 2001. Malden. §43. Ludwig. . MA: Blackwell Publishing.

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The Absurdity of Philosophy 75 39 39 Witmer. “Atheism.ufl.” 2006.pdf>. Gene. Reason. <http://grove. Gator Freethought. D. and Morality: Responding to Some Popular Christian Apologetics.edu/~aasa/witmer%20talk%201. .

We must not forget that by listening to someone we display a willingness to eventually accept his point of view… Frivolous discussions that are lacking in apparent interest are not always entirely unimportant.” Perelman.76 The Absurdity of Philosophy 40 40 “It is not enough for a man to speak or write. he must also be listened to or read. IN: University of Notre Dame Press. to have a wide audience. in certain circles. Page 17. Chaim. Notre Dame. . 1969. It is no mean thing to have a person’s attention. Olbrechts-Tyteca. The New Rhetoric: A Treatise on Argumentation. and L. to be allowed to speak under certain circumstances. in certain gatherings. inasmuch as they contribute to the smooth working of an indispensable social mechanism.

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§38. MA: Blackwell Publishing. Philosophical Investigations. Malden.The Absurdity of Philosophy 79 44 45 41 41 Wittgenstein. Ludwig. . 2001.

80 The Absurdity of Philosophy 42 42 Wittgenstein. . MA: Blackwell Publishing. Malden. Ludwig. 2001. §38. Philosophical Investigations.

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1969.” Quine. New York. To switch languages is to switch labels. MA: Harvard University Press. 1980. Page 27. Cambridge. See also: “Two Dogmas of Empiricism.” From a Logical Point of View. Willard Van Orman. . Ontological Relativity & Other Essays.The Absurdity of Philosophy 83 43 43 “Uncritical semantics is the myth of a museum in which the exhibits are meanings and the words are labels. NY: Columbia University Press.

Karl. . London. 2000. UK: Routledge.84 The Absurdity of Philosophy 47 44 44 Popper. The Logic of Scientific Discovery.

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Ronald Suter called this ‘criteriology’ in his Understanding Wittgenstein: A Cloud of Philosophy, A Drop of Grammar (1989), and makes the argument, among others, that this is a more proper understanding of Wittgenstein’s philosophy of psychology and distinguishes Wittgenstein’s approach from the behaviorist approach.

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“We had been picturing the rejection of the law of excluded middle, ‘p or ~p’, mainly as a rejection of classical negation. I have now directed the intuitionist’s case rather at the alteration. Actually the distinction is unreal; once you upset the interrelations of the logical operators, you may be said to have revised any or all. Anyway, the intuitionist’s negation is deviant also on its own account: the law of double negation lapses… The intuitionist should not be viewed as controverting us as to the true laws of certain fixed logical operations, namely, negation and alternation. He should be viewed rather as opposing our negation and alternation as unscientific ideas, and propounding certain other ideas, somewhat analogous, of his own.” Quine, Willard Van Orman. Philosophy of Logic. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 1986. Page 87.

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Lewis. NY: W. .The Absurdity of Philosophy 91 51 47 52 47 Carroll. Page 213. W. The Annotated Alice. Norton & Company. 2000. with an introduction and notes by Martin Gardner. New York.

Page 17. For anyone interested in grammar and other peculiarities of language. 2003. . I highly recommend McWhorter’s Word on the Street: Debunking the Myth of "Pure" Standard English and Language Myths. John. NY: Gotham Books.92 The Absurdity of Philosophy 48 48 McWhorter. Your Own Thing: The Degradation of Language and Why We Should. Care. New York. Like. edited by Laurie Bauer and Peter Trudgill.

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§201. MA: Blackwell Publishing. Malden. . then it can also be made out to conflict with it. Philosophical Investigations.” Wittgenstein. The answer was: if everything can be made out to accord with the rule. And so there would be neither accord nor conflict.The Absurdity of Philosophy 95 49 49 “This was our paradox: no course of action could be determined by a rule. 2001. because every course of action can be made out to accord with the rule. Ludwig.

Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. a child must devise a hypothesis compatible with presented data – he must select from the store of potential grammars a specific one that is appropriate to the data available to him. in our idealized ‘instantaneous’ model.96 The Absurdity of Philosophy 56 50 50 “To acquire language. Pages 36-37. . no evaluation procedure will be necessary as a part of linguistic theory – that is. Cambridge. as an innate property of an organism or a device capable of language acquisition. MA: The MIT Press. Noam. It is logically possible that the data might be sufficiently rich and the class of potential grammars sufficiently limited so that no more that a single permitted grammar will be compatible with the available data at the moment of successful language acquisition. In this case. 1965.” Chomsky.

The Language Instinct.” Pinker. traffic signs. Language is no more a cultural invention than is upright posture. New York. especially as it has been passed down in the canon of the humanities and social sciences. NY: Harper Perennial Modern Classics. Steven. . but is quite incompetent at the visual arts. 2007. religious iconography.The Absurdity of Philosophy 97 51 y x ax b x y a b y x yn 1 yn 1 a b yn ! 0 y1 1 y3 yn 1 yn 2 1 1 yn 2 1 2 y4 3 yn yn 2 y2 1 y3 2 y4 51 “Thinking of language as an instinct inverts the popular wisdom. It is not a manifestation of a general capacity to use symbols: a three-year-old… is a grammatical genius. and the other staples of the semiotics curriculum. Page 5.

pdf>. August-October 2005. Summer Institute of Linguistics.pnglanguages.org/americas/brasil/PUBLCNS/ANTHRO/PHGrCult. <http://www. PNG Language Resources. .” Current Anthropology. Number 4. Daniel. Volume 46.98 The Absurdity of Philosophy 52 ax b 52 y Everett. “Cultural Constraints on Grammar and Cognition in Pirahã.

Willard Van Orman. MA: Harvard University Press. . 1980.The Absurdity of Philosophy 99 a x b 53 53 Quine. “Two Dogmas of Empiricism.” From a Logical Point of View. Cambridge.

What this shews [sic] is that there is a way of grasping a rule which is not an interpretation. §201. 2001.” Wittgenstein. Malden. . but which is exhibited in what we call ‘obeying the rule’ and ‘going against it’ in actual cases. Philosophical Investigations. Ludwig. until we thought of yet another standing behind it.100 The Absurdity of Philosophy 57 54 54 “It can be seen that there is a misunderstanding here from the mere fact that in the course of our argument we give one interpretation after another. as if each one contented us at least for a moment. MA: Blackwell Publishing.

in §202 the conclusion is already stated explicitly: ‘Hence it is not possible to obey a rule ‘privately’: otherwise thinking one was obeying a rule would be the same thing as obeying it. On the contrary. Wittgenstein: On Rules and Private Language. the real ‘private language argument’ is to be found in the sections preceding §243. Page 3. Saul. MA: Harvard University Press. .” Kripke. 1982. Indeed.The Absurdity of Philosophy 101 58 55 55 “In my view. Cambridge. the crucial considerations are all contained in the discussion leading up to the conclusion stated in §202.’ I do not think that Wittgenstein here thought of himself as anticipating an argument he was to give in greater detail later.

Saul. A Drop of Grammar. MA: Harvard University Press. 57 Suter. Wittgenstein: On Rules and Private Language. Pages 56-57. Interpreting Wittgenstein: A Cloud of Philosophy. Suter explains the criteriologist position at length in order to show in just what ways Wittgenstein was not a behaviorist. PA: Temple University Press. Philadelphia. . 1989. Cambridge. Ronald. 1982.102 The Absurdity of Philosophy 59 60 56 57 56 Kripke.

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Robert M. MA: The MIT Press. Page 29. 1987. The Meaning of Language. Cambridge.The Absurdity of Philosophy 109 58 58 Martin. .

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Philosophical Investigations. Malden. .The Absurdity of Philosophy 111 68 69 59 59 Wittgenstein. §303. 2001. MA: Blackwell Publishing. Ludwig.

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120 The Absurdity of Philosophy 60 60 Actually. Some versions have the little pigs being eaten one-by-one and other versions have the pigs rushing off to the next pig’s house. In consideration for my younger readers. this part of the story confuses me. I will bypass the pornographic violence and use the latter version of the story. .

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“My First Lie.com/My_First_Lie. <http://www.mtwain.html>. . 1900. Mark. And How I Got Out Of It.” The Complete Works of Mark Twain.The Absurdity of Philosophy 123 61 Twain._And_How_I_Got_Out_Of_It/0.

there is no way to equate what you find to what I find. See Ludwig Wittgenstein’s private language argument as it regards beetles in boxes in §293 of Philosophical Investigations. There is no public exchange. .124 The Absurdity of Philosophy 77 62 62 And if you do. no language game.

The Absurdity of Philosophy 125 78 79 63 63 Wittgenstein. Page 190. Malden. . Philosophical Investigations. Ludwig. 2001. MA: Blackwell Publishing.

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The Gay Science.148 The Absurdity of Philosophy 100 64 64 Nietzsche. Friedrich. NY: Vintage Books. . §57. New York. 1974.

The Absurdity of Philosophy 149 101 65 65 Wittgenstein. and Kenny Anthony ed. “Lecture on Ethics. 1994. Malden. Ludwig. MA: Blackwell Publishing.” The Wittgenstein Reader. .

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And suddenly something that isn't viable achieves the support of 75 percent of the American people. because you're taxed at death. The public wouldn't support it because the word "estate" sounds wealthy.The Absurdity of Philosophy 151 66 66 “For years.used the phrase ‘estate tax.’ And for years they couldn't eliminate it.who. . political people and lawyers ." Frontline: The Persuaders 15 Dec 2003. but nobody really knows what an estate is. It's the same tax. But they certainly know what it means to be taxed when you die.” Luntz. I argue that is a clarification.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/persuaders/interviews/luntz.html>. <http://www. that's not an obfuscation. by the way. Frank. are the worst communicators . Someone like me comes around and realizes that it's not an estate tax. "Interview with Frank Luntz.pbs. it's a death tax.

Page 291.” The Wittgenstein Reader. Malden. “Lecture on Ethics. and Kenny Anthony ed. Ludwig. MA: Blackwell Publishing. .152 The Absurdity of Philosophy 67 67 Wittgenstein. 1994.

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1994. MA: Blackwell Publishing. Ludwig. .156 The Absurdity of Philosophy 68 68 Wittgenstein. Page 294. and Kenny Anthony ed. “Lecture on Ethics. Malden.” The Wittgenstein Reader.

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and Death. Page 253.162 The Absurdity of Philosophy 106 69 69 Camus. .” Resistance. New York. Rebellion. Albert. “Create Dangerously. NY: Vintage International. 1988.

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The Perpetual Wound (2006). .168 The Absurdity of Philosophy 109 110 70 70 A philosophical tool I developed in my first book. for extrapolating a deeper sense of emotion from a text.

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wikisource. 1872. “The Emperor's New Clothes. <http://en. Hans Christian.” Wikisource. .The Absurdity of Philosophy 171 71 71 Andersen. Wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Emperor's_New_Clothes>.

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. Jeff. “Will to Pride.178 The Absurdity of Philosophy 72 116 72 Smith-Luedke.” 2007.

1965.The Absurdity of Philosophy 179 117 73 73 Camus. New York. NY: The Modern Library. Albert. Notebooks 1935-1942. Page 10. .

. 2004. Mark. Letters From the Earth. NY: Perennial Classics.180 The Absurdity of Philosophy 74 74 Twain. New York.

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Bibliography .

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