C-55. A Wittgenstein corollary

Wittgenstein reaches a logical conclusion in the seventh and last of his propositions addressing the relationship between language and the world:

What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence (Wikipedia).

In light of our agenda discussion above (C-54), re the relationship of minding (Og) to the observed (Od) and of their relationship to a resultant observation (On), there is a clear corollary:

There is only as much of minding’s cognition (Og(cog)) in the On as language can give it.

Which, to put it bluntly, is to say there has been and is more cognizing going on than we might expect from reports received of observations made. And, if we were to give representation to all that cognizing’s relating and relations might and should do – as via ideational mechanics (X), then there is some urgency to language reform and renewal (C-48) for our forward progress (App. XI, App. XII).

Once humans “got the idea” of the consequentiality implicit in, and promised by, composing — of distinguishing relation and relating, before the fact, from relationship, after the fact – communication’s points ABOUT had more to do functionally, to aid and ally with cognition, than to provide identification and location (points AT). It still does have more to do. Cognition, like behavior more generally, is not well served by language. (That cognition is sometimes regarded simply as a product, synonymous with “knowledge” [itself similarly insulted], or as a property of an entity [e.g., as in "recognized"] is very telling.) Cognition’s potential for composing behavioral molecules, as in the “all that it takes” elaboration of the before-after relation (II, X), is undeveloped.

That we must remain silent in the absence of a way to give expression expresses one kind of conclusion: Wittgenstein’s logical conclusion. But another kind of conclusion is in play here, which is about behavior and human history, past and future (App. XI, App. XII). We do not have to stay stopped just because we have come to a stop (VIII). So, in the interests of humanity, in accord (C-9) with the Nature of Things, and looking toward forward progress (App. XII) through capability development (V) for an improved quality of life via problem solving (0) … so then we would add another proposition:

What we cannot speak about, but need to, we must find a way to speak about.

And, of course, we have! What has been said (weak representation) is just as much a problem as what we are not yet able to say (no representation). We have not been silent. No indeed … and that probably has something to do with our not attending to the problem of no representation.

Functional necessity is a different kind of proposition, though not without logical basis (to be found in the implications of the Nature of Things: i.e., Everything, not just the “world.”) And it is about communication and cognition before as well as after the fact, not just language qua propositions. Nor is it just about language deemed logical in structure – so as to enable and rationalize logic for the analysis and expression of languages. There is more to needed communicative and cognitive linguistic functionality (and thus to their materiality and consequentiality) than just the logic of their propositions (qua relationships, as in the syllogism).

“Language” and “thought” themselves, as linguistic terms, as concepts — like the “mind and body” conception, provide incomplete characterizations of behavior and functionality. Language has to be viewed as technology, as an accumulation of tools, procedures, tool-using procedures (e.g., “correct” usage) and a procedural tool (App. VII). It is a series of inventions. That series of inventions needs to be continued in order to meet composition’s demands (for the future) on cognition and communication capabilities. Language as a gift is a misleading metaphor — however that notion may appeal to strict determinists enamored of an underlying order.

Consider, “The medium is the message.” That point is far more apt with respect to natural language as a communication technology – a very consequential procedural tool (App. VIII) — than to those other technologies of radio, television, Internet, etc. (See C-54: Linguistic expression of a flawed agenda tells us to read particulars [App. IV: primary, secondary and tertiary reads] in terms of object and attribute – to the detriment of behavior and its development.)

A language of words came readily from names for entities and relationships between entities. It provided added expressive capacity and capability, compared to earlier hieroglyphics. The big hang-up for language development is our inadequate understanding of behavior. Names and words came relatively easy for the more apparent (separate) entities and for particular relationships involving them. Behavioral units, especially those within the behavioral molecule, are far less apparent – at least not those critical to compositional capability.

The next linguistic technology might helpfully employ new forms of representation for all the inadequately expressed consequentiality there is to be found – and to be created – within behavior’s molecules. (See App. X, C-57.) Most especially those of composed solutions, for which characterizations of causation have had more to say about sorting out responsibility than developing capability.

By now it must be very apparent that we have not found – invented, actually – ways to talk about many conditions of consequence, especially behavioral conditions. Take, for instance, the tragic case of “peace.” It is seen to pertain to a behavioral product much desired. Yet it has no expression in English as a verb – unlike such consequential terms as “point,” “act,” “picture” and “care” – and “mind.” Is peace only to be found? Never produced? Is “pacifying” the best we can do for behavior – to represent and solve the problem(s) of behavioral dysfunction? (“Community” is similarly handicapped. “Commune” doesn’t do the job.)

(c) 2012 R.F. Carter