Quod Erat Faciendum: Philosophical Investigations and Confessions

I am currently at work on a new essay on Resolute Readings of TLP.  I am coming at the topic sideways, as it were, beginning with a debate over PI between O. K. Bouwsma and Gilbert Ryle.

With that on my mind, I had a brief but useful conversation with my friends Reshef and Dafi Agam-Segal.  We were talking about PI and about Wittgenstein’s comment to his students that he did not want to make them believe anything they did not believe, but rather to do something they would not do.  It occurred to me then that perhaps a useful way of understanding Wittgenstein’s work, PI included, would be to take it to be punctuated by QEFs (quod erat faciendum:  which was to have been done) rather than by QEDs.

Since I have mentioned Augustine here recently, I will note that I think this distinction applies, albeit somewhat differently, to Confessions too.  Augustine said of Cicero’s Hortensius that it “changed his way of feeling”.  That phrase describes the work of Confessions–to change the reader’s way of feeling, to encourage Christian inwardness to flower:  “Be it granted, be it fulfilled, be it opened.”

3 responses

  1. And here is socrates trying to get Polus (in the Gorgias) to do something he just won’t do:

    “You see, Polus, when you compare the two kinds of refutations, how unlike they are. All men, with the exception of myself, are of your way of thinking; but your single assent and witness are enough for me,—I have no need of any other; I take your suffrage, and am regardless of the rest.” (476a)

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