Thursday, November 15, 2007

5.633 Where in the world is a metaphysical subject to be found?

You say here it is just as with the eye and the field of vision. But you do not really see the eye.

And nothing in the field of vision allows the conclusion that it is seen by an eye.

Who is “you”? Mirrors don’t justify the conclusion that we see with an eye? Not in the relevant metaphysical sense. After all, the eye in the mirror is just part of the visual field. We do not see the field of vision with the eye. Cf. PI on the visual room §§398-400. See also, perhaps, Moran’s Introduction to Phenomenology p. 43.

David Weiner (p. 60) says that “The ‘you’ he addresses in 5.633 is Schopenhauer. At issue are Schopenhauer’s two basic metaphors for the metaphysical subject, the eye and the limit. Wittgenstein’s point is that the eye metaphor is misleading, while the metaphor of the limit hits the nail on the head.” On p. 64 Weiner explains that “According to Wittgenstein, the eye suggests an empirical necessity that does not exist; the limit, on the other hand captures a logical necessity that does exist.” In a footnote referring to the p. 60 passage just quoted (note 80 on pp. 123-4), Weiner adds: “By introducing the “You” at 5.633, Wittgenstein suddenly shifts from monologue to dialogue. Up to this point, he has simply been making assertions. His voice has been like an oracle that casts out definitive truths to the world at large. Now he suddenly is arguing with an unnamed interlocutor. The reason for this change of voice is that the passage derives from a segment of Wittgenstein’s notebooks in which he is arguing against Schopenhauer. (See Notebooks 1914-16, pp. 79-80.)”


luciano said...

I agree, the passage is against Schopenhauer. But the “you” is not Schopenhauer. In all Wittgenstein’s scripts (see also 20.9.14, 1.6.15 etc.) the “you” is… his alter-ego. Here, it is Wittgenstein himself WHEN HE WAS Schopenhauerian. Cf. June 1916: “I am in the world as my eye in its visual field”

Duncan Richter said...

That sounds right. Thanks.