chapter -1
to Wittgenstein . . . and beyond

Every journey begins with a single misstep.

The limits of metaphors are the limits of language
(or at least one of the limits.)

Let us a metaphor used by Wittgenstein.

And this was, of course, connected with the very nature of the investigation. For this compels us to travel over a wide field of thought criss-cross in every direction. — The philosophical remarks in this book are, as it were, a number of sketches of landscapes which were made in the course of these long and involved journeyings.

— Wittgenstein, Preface to the Philosophical Investigations

In teaching you philosophy I'm like a guide showing you how to find your way round London. I have to take you through the city from north to south, from east to west, from Euston to the embankment and from Piccadily to the Marble Arch. After I have taken you many journeys through the city, in all sorts of directions, we shall have passed through any given street a number of times — each time traversing the street as part of a different journey. At the end of this you will know London; you will be able to find your way about like a Londoner. Of course, a good guide will take you through the important streets more often than he takes you down side streets; a bad guide will do the opposite. In philosophy I'm rather a bad guide.

— reported by D. A. T. Gasking and A. C. Jackson, 'Wittgenstein as a Teacher'
in K. T. Fann (ed.), Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Man and His Philosophy p.52

And already we are lost,
though we may not realize it.
The metaphor itself is vivid and easily comprehensible.
We certainly understand the metaphor.
We all have the experience of finding our way about?

But understanding a metaphor is different than understanding the use of a metaphor.

Consider the following questions:
What is this town we want to find our way about?
Is it philosophy itself? or language? Is it our thinking processes? or our conceptual system?
Why would we need to find our way about?
What exactly is it to find our way about?
What are the important streets?
Are they the famous streets?
the fastest streets?
the hippest streets?
the shortest way?
the quaintest streets?
Would it be all of the above and more?

And how big is this town?
Are there many towns?
Is this the only town that matters?
Are some towns more important than others?

Perhaps there are different cities.
There certainly can be different cities on the same landscape,
as there can be many different gardens created form the same initial plot.

A town exists in some solidity apart from us.
Is the same true of philosophy?
In some sense are we, and our conceptualizations, the town?

In soite of all these questions
and more,
whose answers are far from clear,
why does the metaphor still "ring" true?

Why do we simply get it, understand it,
with the detailed analysis of it being optional?
(Understanding, real or faux, often stops our thinking.)

These metaphors are not identical.
The first is about Wittgenstein's own journeying and discoveries in traversing a landscape,
the second is about Wittgenstein as a guide traversing an urban landscape.
The first is abut inside while the second is more about navigation.

Both metaphors get across the point that there is no one way or one place to start,
and that there is a territory to cover.
Also, one may approach the same location from a number of different directions,
and one will need to, in order to properly navigate the town.

This metaphor, like all metaphors, has its limitations.
And Wittgenstein has many other equally vivid metaphors.
In addition to knowing one's way about, he also speak of "teaching a technique."
There is no implication that this is the only, or even the main, metaphor, for looking at whatever Wittgenstein is trying to do.

Both metaphors suggest that there is something like multiple points of views,
different ways of looking at something like the same thing.
And to speak of a dversity of ways of looking at things,
cut against the traditional binary notion of truth,
namely that something is either true or false.

Metaphysically speaking,
we need to change a large number of things and see things from new perspectives,
to get a sense of the landscapes (or cityscapes.)
(One needs to know one's way around a philosophy.) And we would need to get from one situation to another. Or would there be.

We might say that the power of a metaphor comes from the fact it can apply can apply to all the "landscapes" briefly mentioned above: philosophy, knowledge, and the conceptual world.
Ambiguity, with its ability to be simultaneously a number of interesting and illuminating things is part of its appeal.

And many of these connections are determined unconsciously, or should we say a-consciously?

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