Argumentative Essay On Wittgenstein's Approach To Religion

Published: 2021-06-21 23:37:36
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Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) is one of the most prominent philosophers of the twentieth century. His philosophy influenced not only the various sections of philosophical knowledge, thereby extending its reach and scope, but also the development of such sciences as logic, mathematics, linguistics, the list of which is not complete. Moreover, if the twentieth century largely passed under the sign of the ideas of Karl Marx and Friedrich Nietzsche, in Wittgenstein's philosophy this century got its most profound understanding. It is all the more ironic that the philosopher did not leave a special essay on social philosophy and philosophy of history. The main subject of his passionate search throughout his life was the thought of thought, and hence the desire to answer the question, what is philosophy. In Wittgenstein's personality impresses everything: his origin and legendary heroic biography, his achievements in various fields of human activity and, of course, his philosophy, the study and understanding of which, apparently, has just begun.
Belonging to a noble aristocratic family and occupying a privileged position in society, Wittgenstein volunteered for the First World War, and no connections of his influential relatives could change his decision. From a purely philosophical point of view, this step can be regarded as a search for the moment of truth: when the bullets fly over your head, each of which can break off your life, the idea is not seeking a compromise with conscience and calls a spade a spade. There, in the trenches of World War I and the ensuing captivity, was born famous, published in 1921, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, which both by form and content, without exaggeration, can be called philosophical masterpiece of the twentieth century (Clack 43). One of the richest men in Europe, Wittgenstein engaged in patronage and charity, gave away all his fortune and became a modest rural teacher, so that later, ending his career as a teacher already in Cambridge, said: "I have lived a wonderful life."
Special relationship Wittgenstein had to Russia. Mastering, among many languages, Russian, he was influenced by the great Russian literature of the nineteenth century and especially LN Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky. With them, he is linked by rejection of the limited, purely rational, narrowly rational, technocratic approach to understanding the world and person. Having negative attitude to the Western civilization, Wittgenstein believed that Russia should play a special role in its spiritual recovery. In the 30s, he even matures plan moving in the USSR. He twice visited the country, was offered to head the department in Kazan, but, fortunately for himself, he returned to his homeland. In recognition of his service to humanity, 1989 - the year of the centenary of the birth of the philosopher - was declared by UNESCO the Year of Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Thus, the individuality and way of life of this philosopher have tremendous ennobling and educating value and his philosophy is inseparable from his personality. It was for him not just passionate research finding, but a way of life, existence, fate. Towards him as one of the few philosophers, the words of Pythagoras are true, who was the first of those who called himself a philosopher and thus explained the meaning of the word. He claimed that life was like a merrymaking: some come to compete in them, others - to trade, and the happiest – to watch. In life, someone, like slaves, are born greedy for fame and profit, while the philosophers - for only a single truth.
Philosophy of the philosophy, or metaphilosophy, is not a special branch of philosophy. It is a problematic field associated with the philosophical understanding of the philosophy, its essence, the main tasks and methods. This range of issues in an explicit or hidden form is present in any particular philosophy, and every philosopher somehow solves them for himself in his own way. In it, philosophy is manifested in its specificity principle unlike any science. For the scientist, whether he is a representative of any science, the question of the nature of his science plays no significant role. As a scientist, he is primarily concerned with the solution of specific research objectives. For the philosopher, the same question about what is essentially a philosophy is of fundamental importance: the solution of this issue directly determines how the philosopher sees the mutual relations of the world and person. It largely determines the philosopher posing particular problems and their solution. It happens with the need for philosophy, unlike any other science, always challenging itself. It always poses a question about the legality of its existence. In this, there is the lifeblood of philosophy, its effectiveness and strength of its further development.
Question, what is philosophy and what it is required to be was constantly in the spotlight of Wittgenstein. However, in this work, I will focus only on some basic principles that are contained in his works. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus belongs to the few philosophical works, where there is literally no superfluous word. It is distinguished by a conceptual rigor and clarity of logic. It consists of aphorisms marked by figures indicating the degree of importance of each of them. A feature of this work is not only that it sets out certain conception of philosophy, but also the fact that in the course of this presentation, it is being tested in its practical application. Thus, this is concept presentation and its demonstration in action. This principle is also manifested in the author’s installation and his understanding of the essence of philosophy: philosophy is not limited to the construction of some complete theoretical system. In an even greater extent, it is an activity. This activity cannot be reduced simply to the process of writing a philosophical text (Wittgenstein 19). Philosophical work is work on oneself, on creation of one’s own point of view, which is expressed not just in words, but rather as finished formulations. In its real essence, genuine philosophical activity is demonstrated by a philosopher in his practical life, expressed in his lifestyle. Otherwise, according to Wittgenstein, philosophy has no value. Therefore, the Tractatus is divided, relatively speaking, into two parts. One of them is expressed in the verbal text. Another part, from the point of view of the author, the most significant, is behind the scenes, as all that can be said, can be said clearly, and what one cannot say, thereof one must be silent.
There can only be clear statements about the individual facts, as they are in themselves such, regardless of the intentions and consciousness of the people voicing their rights. In other words, the right to exist have only statements about actually certified data. On the world of values, one ​​must be silent. Thus, value-normative scope, rationale of ideals, which have always been of special concern for philosophers and where their merits are well known, is being questioned (Wittgenstein 54). Wittgenstein deliberately avoided in the text of the Tractatus any value judgments, because, as he believes, there are no values ​​in the world as such, independently of human consciousness. Indeed, on the basis of the actual situation in the objective world, there is no higher or lower, neither good nor evil, no truth, no love, no beauty. All this is brought into the world just living in it a man who suffers, struggles, estimates, tends, loves and hates. Thus, about the world as a whole, the value and meaning of the world and life, of death, which is not an event of life, and God, who is not obvious, literally nothing definite can be said.
Someone, perhaps, will consider these arguments blasphemous, but the person who wrote it, was a member of four years of active hostilities and four years of powerless captives. Wittgenstein had a huge impression by the absurdity ​​of the fact that the consecrated bread was brought to the front in nickel-plated cars. Because people who believe in an afterlife, in combat conditions did not differ from the others. The absurdity here is that if the consecrated bread has some special qualities - and therefore cannot go wrong - why it should be taken in the nickel-plated cars. Silence of the world of values ​​and the duty should not only be kept because there is nothing clear, specific and unambiguous, but primarily because the religious and moral values ​​depreciate in the word. They turn into the verbiage and open a wide scope for demagogy, hypocrisy, quackery, ideological speculation, become instruments of manipulation of a person. Humanity is literally drowning in irresponsible chatter that is not conducive to moral purification, but on the contrary, leads to moral degradation. The nature of these values, according to Wittgenstein, is that they really work only when you do not speak out and demonstrate in action, behavior, lifestyle, personal example. In fact, words are not enough convincing argument in favor of morality (Wiggins 367). Personal example in this respect is much more convincing. Here, as elsewhere, we have the word, it is better to see once than hear a hundred times.
However, philosophy, religion, ethics, aesthetics, and other areas of regulatory control of the valuable normative existence are busy constantly producing value judgments, which are sometimes mutually exclusive. What, then, are the philosophical judgments and what should be a philosophy, if it is deprived of its traditional subject matter? Both become clearer in the analysis of the concept of peace, which was given in the Tractatus.
As it is known, traditionally philosophy understands the world as a whole and united, as a kind of integrity. Philosophy itself is often defined as the idea of ​​the world as a whole and the world in the whole. In the same way, uncritically, world as a whole appears to ordinary consciousness of the common person. Just as something integral and unified, the world is understood in the religious consciousness. However, Wittgenstein draws attention to the fact that the world as a whole is an illusion of the human mind, so it appears only in the products of human mental activity. In real-life experiences, each of us always has to deal only with certain specific subjects, always unique, circumstances, and not with the world as a whole. Therefore, the judgment of the world in general and the world as a whole can be described neither as true nor as false, because they are meaningless. This is precisely the hallmark of the philosophical judgments. The only thing that can be said with certainty about the world is that the world is the totality of the facts recorded in the set of sentences about these facts.
The world really exists for each person just as much as he understands it, and their level of understanding of a person can only be expressed in their own language. What a person cannot articulate in words, does not exist, because he does not understand it and cannot call, because you can understand just what makes sense. For example, if a person has not studied higher mathematics, all its formulas for him seem a senseless set of some strange squiggles. For him they have no meaning. Therefore, we can say with certainty that the higher mathematics in the border world of this man is not included, and therefore, it does not exist. The same can be said about the perception of classical music by people without basic music education. For a person, devoid of musical taste, this music has no meaning, and, therefore, no value. Wittgenstein points out that all the judgments about what there is, or statements of fact, can be divided into three categories: true, false and meaningless. For example, the statement "five is more than four" within elementary arithmetic is true. "Five is less than four" is false, and the statement "the dog is more than four" does not make sense.
Such, according to Wittgenstein, are most philosophical statements. This happens because the philosophical concepts, called categories, as a rule, have no clear definitions. Categories such as "matter", "consciousness", "peace", "people" by every philosopher understood in his own way and on the basis of this understanding, there is created a holistic system of philosophical views. Therefore, the so-called "eternal" problems of concern to philosophy - such as, for example: "What is the origin of the world?", "What is the purpose of its development?" - are imaginary problems. They make no sense from the point of view of ordinary, everyday consciousness, and from the point of view of science. Attempts to provide answers to such questions need to generate philosophical statements that cannot be classified in terms of "true" or "false". Such philosophical questions cannot specify the domain, even where we should look for an answer, not to mention the fact, to offer their solutions. They are simply logically incorrect. No one can say with absolute certainty where and how to look for answers. (Except, of course, a religion that gives all the answers.)
Wittgenstein concludes that philosophy, if it does not want to multiply the number of meaningless statements, organized in another abstract theoretical system that allows an infinite number of interpretations, activities should clarify meanings. He claims that the purpose of philosophy is the logical clarification of thoughts (Arrington 168). Philosophy is not a theory, but activities. Philosophical work consists essentially of clarification. The result of philosophy is not a certain amount of philosophical proposals. Philosophy should clarify and strictly differentiate thoughts that without this are dark and vague. Thus, philosophy must become intellectual activity in the logical clarification of the meaning of linguistic expressions. Philosophy is neither more nor less than a form of manifestation and realization of intellectual honesty.
Wittgenstein pays special attention to relationship between philosophy and science. Unlike his contemporary, the great German philosopher Martin Heidegger, who put philosophy infinitely superior to any science, as he believed that "science does not think", Wittgenstein does not put philosophy over science. However, he insists on the distinction between their areas of competence. Only science, in his opinion, has the right to claim the truth of its statements.
The subject field of natural science is constantly expanding. Therefore, the problems previously attributed to the philosophical, with the development of science and research are finally assume its decision in a particular area of scientific knowledge. In the past, the early Middle Ages did not mistake, considering astronomy as "philosophical" science, as answers to questions about the stars and planets were not detected in it by any observations or experiments or calculations. Astronomy guided by ab initio concepts type: perfect bodies must follow circular orbits by their goals or inner essence that they are endowed by God or nature. Eventually astronomy questions were formulated in such a manner that clear answers could be found based on the methods of observation and experiment. These methods, in turn, were connected to the system, the consistency of which can be verified by purely logical or formal means. Then, there was created a new science of astronomy.
Philosophical work, according to Wittgenstein, must pass on the border with the natural sciences, helping to establish what may be knowable and unknowable in a given place and time. The philosophy of natural science restricts the disputed area; it should put boundary to both conceivable and unthinkable. It should limit the unthinkable from within through the thinkable. Pathos of Wittgenstein, by his own admission, is directed against psychologism in epistemology. His subject knowledge appears not a single concrete living person with his feelings, prejudices and attitudes, but the subject logical, the transcendental subject, media logic and scientific forms of thought. According to the author of aphorisms, only in this sense philosophy can non-psychologically talk about "I". Logical thinking is impersonal, as a thinking person should be excluded from logical reasoning, and obey the laws of logic in thought and language.
Wittgenstein's arguments and conclusions, in my view, are intended to purify the human mind from anthropomorphism, which inevitably plunges him into the world of illusions and delusions. Anthropomorphism means attributing to natural and social phenomena of human qualities and properties, understanding of the world of nature, society and even God in the image of human. Nature as such is devoid of morality, and when the wolf eats a sheep, he simply quenches his hunger, acts according to the law of nature. However, there are always people who will say that the wolf has no conscience. Anthropomorphism pervades all kinds and forms of human consciousness: mythology, religion, art, wisdom, philosophy, and even some kinds of scientific knowledge. It inevitably occurs for the simple reason that a person looks at the world through human eyes, measures and evaluates it by human standards and assessment. However, anthropomorphism inevitably leads to the fact that it litters space of individual and social consciousness with statements, meaningless, which corresponds to nothing in the world of facts. This is mainly for two reasons: due to slovenliness, illiteracy of thinking and malice. In the second case, a person consciously and purposely is misled regarding the understanding of himself and his position in the world. At the same time, the responsibility for the actual situation can be easily removed from oneself, referring to the action not depending on human will and consciousness of any mythical or mystical entities.
Indeed, the world itself is morally neutral: it is neither good nor evil; values ​​and evaluation are brought into the world by a person. In the world as such, there is no reason either for love or for good or for beauty, or for conscience and moral behavior. All this is based only on the good will and strong human. But the person, according to Wittgenstein, often prefers to hide from his responsibility for the jumble, sometimes perhaps beautiful and seemingly lofty, noble and intelligent, but essentially meaningless phrases. As a result, a person narrows his personal responsibility. Ultimately, this leads to the fact that, in the words of Martin Heidegger, "the more chatter reigns, the more world closes.
Works Cited
Arrington, Robert. "‘Theology as Grammar’: Wittgenstein and Some Critics." Wittgenstein and the Philosophy of Religion (2001): 167-83.
Clack, Brian R. An introduction to Wittgenstein's philosophy of religion. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1999.
Wiggins, David. "Wittgenstein on Ethics and the Riddle of Life." Philosophy 79.3 (2004): 363-391.
Wittgenstein, Ludwig. "Lectures on Religious Belief." Lectures and Conversations on Aesthetics, Psychology and Religious Belief (1953): 53-72.
Wittgenstein, Ludwig. On certainty. Eds. Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret Anscombe, and Georg Henrik Wright. Vol. 174. Oxford: Blackwell, 1969.

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