Understanding Wittgenstein: Studies of Philosophical Investigations

By J. F. M. Hunter | Go to book overview

Seventeen
PICTURES AND THEIR APPLICATION

423. Certainly all these things happen in you. -- And now all I ask is to understand the expression we use. -- The picture is there. And I am not disputing its validity in any particular case. -- Only I also want to understand the application of the picture.

424. The picure is there; and I do not dispute its correctness. But what is its application? Think of the picture of blindness as a darkness in the soul or in the head of the blind man (see also §§374, 427, 589, 657-8; pp. 178, 223).

SINCE the sections of the Investigations that precede the above remarks make no mention of things going on in people, the first question will be what we should take 'these things' that 'happen in you' to be. Presumably they are pictures; but we can have a picture in at least two importantly different senses. A picture can be before the mind in such a way that if we had some artistic talent, we could make a likeness of it on paper; but we also speak of picturing things when there is not necessarily a pictorial representation of them with which we would be happy. If I say I picture minds as places where experiences occur, I might be embarrassed if asked to depict an experience occurring in such a place, without seeing myself as therefore bound to withdraw what I said about how I picture minds.

In the first of these senses, but not, or not so clearly, in the second, pictures can happen. Although some people, including Wittgenstein on some readings, doubt whether there are pictures of this first kind; no one doubts that if there are, they can 'happen'; but if in the second sense I picture minds as places where experiences occur, I only mean that it seems

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