112. Midwest Studies in Philosophy, XVII. The scientistic inclination to search for a physical account of mental and psychological notions is an expression of the mental discomfort we feel at the thought of being unable to provide reasons for why we are the way we are and why we do the things we do. But if I now wanted to offer reasons against this way of putting things--what would I have to say? What we see in the above figure, of course, is dependent upon that with which we are familiar. To say that we 'see' something can stand on its own two feet, without the need for verification by any further supporting account. This claim is especially troubling. He continues in this manner by asking whether we are actually seeing something different in each instance or whether we are seeing the same thing and merely interpreting it one way or the other. (9). Wittgenstein on Seeing Aspects 3 another, in the sense which Richard Wollheim has given to his notion,4 the change involves moving from seeing one thing in the figure to seeing a different, and incompatible, thing in it-from seeing a duck in the figure to seeing a rabbit in it. "Wittgenstein on Understanding". 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. Most interpretations of this figure, however, are going to be made in terms of what it actually looks like, and suffice it to say, there are a great many things in the world which share the appearance of this figure. Prentice Hall. My doubt, in particular, is that Russell would actually mean such silliness by his use of the word "habit." But few have also recognised how Wittgenstein may in fact challenge enactivist approaches. So, one might now ask, what exactly is 'Wittgensteinian' thought? Seeing Wittgenstein Anew is the first collection to examine Ludwig Wittgenstein's remarks on the concept of aspect-seeing. 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")? Second, the main features of what Wittgenstein called “seeing aspects” are briefly presented. In the following sections we will examine where Wittgenstein seems to believe that the philosophy of psychology, in regard to the senses, has gone astray. What this person spontaneously 'sees' is a bright light in the sky, and then consciously interprets it to be a UFO. However, as already mentioned in the context of 'permanent aspect seeing', this does not mean that every seeing is to be understood as a seeing as, which Wittgenstein points out in various passages. . 2. 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. Therefore, when modern psychology or neuroscience provides us with an empirical account of 'seeing', and tells us that the brain somehow 'organizes' visual data into recognizable perceptions, we tend to associate 'organizing' with 'interpreting', and say that it simply happens spontaneously and without conscious thought. Seeing the duck-rabbit figure as a duck, or as a rabbit, is therefore much like having perfect pitch, in that there are no active inferences being made. 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 … 3. It is like describing how messages from the brain tell one foot to place itself in front of the other in such and such a fashion, in what manner the knees, ankles, and toes bend, etc., etc., and claiming that such an account of the mechanics of human bipedal locomotion is what it is to walk. Click here to search books using title name,author name and keywords. Wittgenstein then goes … Directed by Derek Jarman. If someone says that he knows by introspection that it is a case of 'seeing', the answer is: 'And how do I know what you are calling introspection? etc., then put coins down on the counter, etc. --I couldn't answer: 'I take that to be a . And if all consciousness resides in the brain itself, the conscious act of 'interpreting' can also be ascribed to the brain. 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 … Nor would it be possible to say that they can both be viewed at the same time. One such presupposition is that the brain in itself is the seat of consciousness, and the rest of the body is a sort of mechanistic, organic vehicle in which the brain resides and by which it maneuvers through the world. Modern science, particularly psychology, tries to shed light on the question of how we can be said to see, hear, taste, smell, and feel in terms of theories which explain how sensations become perceptions. Wittgenstein does not have any quarrels with legitimate scientific inquiry or its findings. (The draft of water, the draft of a treaty.) I want to revisit the topic in the hope of gaining some clarity on the matter. This is the introduction to Seeing Wittgenstein Anew, eds. 1980. pp. 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.) According to this traditional picture, my seeing it one way and then another is due solely to whether I interpret it to be one way or the other, since my eyes have apparently done the 'seeing' for me beforehand. I find it to be much more plausible that by the word "habit," Russell is referring to a natural disposition or inclination of the human brain which works at the unconscious level. Philosophical Investigations is divided into two parts, consisting of what Wittgenstein calls, in the preface, Bemerkungen, translated by Anscombe as "remarks". The traditional stance on this issue would, of course, be of the former persuasion. Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychology. Such a person is still, in some degree, making a conscious inference. 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. 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. 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. In both instances the physical appearance of the object does not seem at all to change, but the way that we see it somehow does. (Let us rule out cases such as mental illness and ingestion of mood-altering and hallucinogenic substances, since such instances seem more akin to an overall disfunctioning or alteration of the functioning of the brain or certain regions of the brain, rather than they do to isolated and random "mistakes".) The chief confusions lie in the prevailing and allegedly common-sensical conceptions of the terms 'interpretation' and 'seeing'. 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. For such theoretical reductions regarding psychological concepts, traditional philosophy is indebted at least in part to the influence of the verificationist movement in the early twentieth century, out of which came programs such as logical positivism (or logical empiricism) and Russell's logical atomism. . Then physics allows us to infer that light of certain frequencies is proceeding from the object to our eyes. Up to a point, we can test this hypothesis by experiment: we can touch the cat, and pick it up by the tail to see if it mews. 1980. pp. Due to this failure, he says that the book's structure "compels us to travel over a wide field of thought criss-cross in every direction." Volume I. References to sections in Part I will use a number sign (i.e., #). 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. Any more than I take letters to be this or that when I'm reading a book. Wittgenstein, Ludwig. What is it to see? 16e. We see it as two entirely different, alternating images, despite the fact that the drawing itself does not at all change. To what extent we do this becomes obvious when we make a mistake--for example, when what we thought was an airplane turns out to be a bird. Philosophical Investigations. First, the notion of experience defended by the aforementioned authors is reconstructed. Wittgenstein wants to draw a fine line between 'seeing' and 'interpretation' by showing that there are cases in which we can see things as without making inferences. An examination of the way in which we conceptualize 'interpretation' will do much to shed light on the way in which we conceptualize 'seeing'. In 1908 he began his studies in aeronauticalengineering at Manchester University where his interest in thephilosophy of pure mathematics led him to Frege. R. Tilghman of affairs whereby they are able to express a sense and represent the world. Wittgenstein is particularly troubled by this sort of theoretical reduction of what we can be said to be doing when we say we see something. When we interpret, we make a conjecture, we express a hypothesis, which may subsequently turn out false. . is connected with 'I'm trying to see it as . ): (1) a bundle of specific light frequencies is entering my eyes and is being refracted through the lenses, registering on my rods and cones; (2) the eyes are now sending this data by electrochemical signals along the optic nerve to my brain; (3) such data is now spontaneously interpreted, based upon inductive familiarity with similar bundles of data in the past, and determined to indicate the presence of a cat. Or is that just the way that science attempts to explain how we walk? Click here to navigate to respective pages. Vol. Thus, it is unacceptable to a positivist to allow that 'seeing' can be conceptualized as simply something which we do, as something which can stand on its own two feet, without need of verification by a further supporting account. Introduction Brendan Harrington Wittgenstein, Seeing-As, and Novelty William Child Gombrich and the Duck-Rabbit Robert Briscoe Gestalt Perception and Seeing-As Komarine Romdenh-Romluc Aspect Perception and the History of Mathematics Akihiro Kanamori Seeing-As and Mathematical Creativity Michael Beaney and Bob Clark Prospective versus Retrospective Points of View in Theory of Inquiry: … 93e, 7. It might seem logical or common-sensical to someone like Russell that the duck-rabbit figure is one and the same picture, and that we simply interpret it differently, but as it appears, we simply cannot escape the experience of seeing two entirely unique pictures. Therefore, it seems that in the case of such theoretical reductions of 'seeing', the usage of the term 'interpretation' is terribly confused in that it is characterized by two apparently incompatible elements somehow entangled together into one distorted concept. 9. To see the above image as a duck, and then to see it as a rabbit, is to see two different aspects of the image, just as it is to see the F-figure as an 'F' or a mirror-image of an 'F' (though these can be considered to be two different kinds of aspect perception). University of Chicago Press. This is the trap into which traditional philosophy has fallen: to maintain that the eyes 'see' and the ears 'hear', and that we, as brains, consciously as well as unconsciously interpret the information that we receive from the sensory apparati that are positioned throughout the bodies in which we reside. DOI link for Wittgenstein’s seeing as. Even some prominent thinkers misunderstand Wittgenstein's ideas, as evidenced by the fact that many perceive of him as subscribing to philosophical schools of thought with which he would want no affiliation. The adoption of Wittgenstein’s “seeing-as” for image studies can easily be retraced. Since the aforementioned purpose of this paper is to deal with how human beings are said to experience the world through their senses, I wish to argue that this way of perceiving ourselves is wrong-headed, and this confused conceptualization of the term 'interpretation', as explained above, is symptomatic of such thinking. 1948. pp. Our brains are not conscious, but rather we are, and we make the 'interpretations' concerning what we see when we find it necessary to do so. What do we see when we observe the above figure? Upon Frege’sadvice, in 1911 he went to Cambridge to study with BertrandRussell. 212e, 10. You explain one mystery to me by another.' What is it to maintain a 'Wittgensteinian' position on an issue? Modern philosophers of the traditional vein, in their attempts to align the study of philosophy with the methodological commitments of science, have come under this aforementioned presupposition that the brain is really the "I" and the eyes do the seeing for it.