We thus end up with an application of the word 'interpretation' which seems to go against its customary usage, namely that we take a word which is used to denote a conscious activity and use it to denote an unconscious one. We would never then say, or it would at least seem very peculiar of us to say, "I see it as a duck," just as it would seem utterly strange to hear someone who is looking up toward the sky at a distant airplane say, "I see it as an airplane!" A verificationist is committed to this type of theoretical conceptualization of 'seeing', because conceptualizing it in any other way would render such statements meaningless. ', or 'I can't see it as . Nor would it be possible to say that they can both be viewed at the same time. My doubt, in particular, is that Russell would actually mean such silliness by his use of the word "habit." When we see the figure one way instead of the other, we are not actively producing an interpretation of it, but rather our seeing it one way or another is an expression of our visual experience. When we look at the above figure, we can interpret it to be any number of things, such as a brick, a lidless box, a glass cube, a wire frame, or even a fallen monolith if we like. 'Seeing-in' is an imaginative act of the kind employed by Leonardo’s pupils when he told them to see what they could - for example, battle scenes - in a wall of cracked plaster. Based upon past experience with similar bundles and through force of habit, we infer or interpret that the resulting perception is in fact that of a cat (he even refers to 'seeing' the cat as a hypothesis, and further suggests a method by which to test it!). Installation view, Paul Chan, Drawings for Word Book by Ludwig Wittgenstein, Greene Naftali, New York, 2020 Seen today in the midst of a global health crisis, and … Wittgenstein pointed to the epistemological significance of puzzle pictures, such as the ambiguous “duck-rabbit” that can be seen either as a duck’s head facing one way or a rabbit’s head facing another way. So, one might now ask, what exactly is 'Wittgensteinian' thought? What science has discovered about the human body has led traditional philosophy, in its attempt to conform to the findings of science, to accept a number of presuppositions. When we say that we see something, we are expressing a belief that a specific perception is apparent to us, wherein no alternative perceptions are relevant. This collection examines the idea of 'seeing-in' as it appears primarily in the work of Wollheim but also its origins in the work of Wittgenstein. There is a distinction to be made here concerning this issue. Those who are not acquainted with the shape and form of a rabbit but are with that of a duck will see only a duck--and vice versa. An interpretation, as we have already established, is a conscious, deliberate act. Therefore, 'seeing', or 'seeing as' is simply an experience which neither has nor needs any kind of theoretical verification. 1980. pp. Some have made the claim, as mentioned in the introduction to this essay, that Wittgenstein is practicing a kind of philosophical anti-science, in that his arguments regarding mind and psychology are seen as an attack on neuroscience and psychology. What is the correct way to see it? Wittgenstein's influential discussion of "seeing as." Is there really an external world? We mentally embellish the object in a way which conforms to what we believe the object is or may be meant to represent. 2020 Internet Infidels Fundraising Drive / $33,018.52 of $40,000.00. . These are the simple brute facts of our existence. Philosophers of psychology, in their efforts to determine theoretically what it is to 'see', or to provide a theoretical account of what it means to speak of 'seeing' something, have become tied up in this empirical, scientific picture. But few have also recognised how Wittgenstein may in fact challenge enactivist approaches. What are we interpreting? Induction allows us to infer that this pattern of light, which, we will suppose, looks like a cat, probably proceeds from a region in which the other properties of cats are also present. New York. Let's say that we can only see the duck, for we are entirely unfamiliar with rabbits. This claim is especially troubling. The basic evil of Russell's logic, as also of mine in the Tractatus, is that what a proposition is is illustrated by a few commonplace examples, and then pre-supposed as understood in full generality. And if they were to be deemed meaningless, then how could any form of empirical verification be meaningful when empirical verification in itself is in fact wholly dependent upon statements which declare sensory observations (i.e., "I see where the optic nerve attaches to the brain")? Where is the inference in this case? Although this passage (like PI 258) is often interpreted as a comment 93e, 7. But you cannot try to see the regular F as a regular F. (6). And unless we wish to say that the unconscious, mechanistic processing of sensory 'data' in the brain can sometimes be "mistaken" in the way that a hypothesis can, we seem to have to admit that this usage of the word does not account for mistakes or ambiguities in perception. Philosophers have always wrestled with the problems of sense and perception. (9). It is not tenable to use the concept to denote unconscious, mechanistic processes in the brain. Goldfarb, Warren. The answer lies somewhere in how the words 'to see' and 'to interpret' are conceptualized. Therefore, it can be said that one of the most important things to keep in mind when reading Wittgenstein's work is that he is concerned with freeing us from traditional, a priori philosophical presuppositions and is attempting to push us to look at philosophical issues in new and different ways. To use the term to denote unconscious processes (such as synaptic or neural functions, chemical balances, etc., as explained by neuroscience) performed by the brain is to confuse the concept of interpretation with something that it is not. Wittgenstein was born on April 26, 1889 in Vienna, Austria, to awealthy industrial family, well-situated in intellectual and culturalViennese circles. If we were to play a specific note, for instance, say E flat, on the guitar for such a person, he will immediately recognize it as E flat, in just the same way that we can immediately recognize the color blue when it is presented to us. We could say, as I understand Russell in his account of 'seeing' a cat, that these inferences are made out of habit, and therefore occur undetected by conscious thought. The point is that we consciously and deliberately drum up ideas concerning what this figure may be meant to represent. If we say 'I see this figure as an F', there isn't any verification or falsification for that, just as there isn't for 'I see a luminous red'. Here, Wittgenstein appears to be addressing our traditional philosophical inclination to search for some essential fact which constitutes our seeing the one way and seeing it another. Again, to 'interpret' is to perform the act of making a conjecture, or to express a hypothesis, which may or may not turn out to be correct. How is that possible? Where is the interpretation in this case? The adoption of Wittgenstein’s “seeing-as” for image studies can easily be retraced. In the case of the aforementioned figure 'F', therefore, this traditional analysis has instilled in many modern philosophers the conviction that there must be some common, essential object of perception between the 'F' and the mirror-image of the 'F', which is interpreted differently in each instance. Goldfarb, Warren. III. . If Russell means this by "habit," he is then treating 'seeing' as if it were a conscious process which we have developed to the point of needing to think little or nothing of while doing and have come to take for granted, like walking, riding a bicycle, or driving a five-speed clutch. What this person spontaneously 'sees' is a bright light in the sky, and then consciously interprets it to be a UFO. (my italics) (2). Directed by Derek Jarman. The concepts themselves are entirely alien to each other. Those who are gifted in such a way have the ability to recognize the pitch of a sound as spontaneously and readily as the rest of us can recognize colors (of those of us who are not colorblind, anyway). Relative to ourselves, it would seem, the essence of the universe around us is to all effects and purposes mere data: lines, shapes, colors, light emissions, textures, etc. Such theories are based upon empirical observations of the workings of the human body. It does in fact seem wrong to say that the picture-duck and the picture-rabbit look the same, because they are two completely different pictures. But if I now wanted to offer reasons against this way of putting things--what would I have to say? "Wittgenstein on Understanding". Russell, Bertrand. --I couldn't answer: 'I take that to be a . This is simply unfathomable, because without the spontaneity of our alleged inferences, we would have been plagued by the constant awareness that we could be mistaken about everything that we see. And since the eyes are the only things doing the actual 'seeing', all that is left for us to do is to infer or interpret what the eyes 'see', and where this interpretation occurs, of course, is in the brain. William Day & Victor J. Krebs (Cambridge UP, 2010), a collection of essays on Ludwig Wittgenstein's remarks on aspect-seeing. Wittgenstein discussed the case of the duck-rabbit figure, which we can see as a duck, or see as a rabbit, but not both at the same time.) Scientific examination is simply not applicable in such a case. Since Wittgenstein's ideas seem to elude classification so thoroughly, it is difficult to refer to them as anything but 'Wittgensteinian'. In the preface, Wittgenstein describes his failure to synthesize his points into a unified work. With such a confused conception of 'interpretation', Russell and other philosophers who argue along a traditional line are trying to have it both ways, so to speak. Our eyes are not simply tools used by the brain which do the 'seeing' for it. If there is, can its ultimate reality be known if all that we have to rely on is our perceptions of it derived from our senses? What is it to see? Rescuing Wollheim's account without the support of Wittgenstein --pt. Wittgenstein's aim is to steer us off of this crooked path of theorizing based on such a priori presuppositions. Second, the main features of what Wittgenstein called “seeing aspects” are briefly presented. All references will be to this volume. These essays show that aspect-seeing was not simply one more topic of investigation in Wittgenstein's later writings, but, rather, that it was a pervasive and guiding concept in his efforts to turn philosophy's attention to the actual conditions of our common life in language. Wittgenstein’s seeing as . Therefore, a theoretical account of 'seeing', such as Russell's, gets a lot of mileage out of this confused conception of 'interpretation', since it seems to use two different applications of the word at the same time. Let us put it another way. 517. It is easy to describe the cases in which we are right to say we interpret what we see, as such-and-such. Let it be this: When we look at the figure, our eyes scan it repeatedly, always following a particular path. To interpret it as a wire frame, we imagine that the sides of the figure are not solid, and that the lines are made out of thin metal wire. Click here to navigate to respective pages. These essays show that aspect-seeing was not simply one more topic of investigation in Wittgenstein's later writings, but, rather, that it was a pervasive and guiding concept in his efforts to turn philosophy's attention to the actual conditions of our common life in …