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Philosophie der Informationsgesellschaft Philosophy of the Information Society

Beiträge der Österreichischen Ludwig Wittgenstein Gesellschaft Contributions of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society

Band XV

Volume XV

Philosophie der Informationsgesellschaft

Beiträge des 30. Internationalen Wittgenstein Symposiums

5. – 11. August 2007 Kirchberg am Wechsel


Herbert Hrachovec Alois Pichler Joseph Wang

Herausgeber Herbert Hrachovec Alois Pichler Joseph Wang Gedruckt mit Unterstützung der Abteilung Kultur und

Gedruckt mit Unterstützung der Abteilung Kultur und Wissenschaft des Amtes der NÖ Landesregierung

Band XV

Kirchberg am Wechsel, 2007 Österreichische Ludwig Wittgenstein Gesellschaft

Philosophy of the Information Society

Papers of the 30th International Wittgenstein Symposium

August 5 – 11, 2007 Kirchberg am Wechsel


Herbert Hrachovec Alois Pichler Joseph Wang

Wechsel Editors Herbert Hrachovec Alois Pichler Joseph Wang Printed in cooperation with the Department for Culture

Printed in cooperation with the Department for Culture and Science of the Province of Lower Austria

Kirchberg am Wechsel, 2007 Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society

Volume XV


Die Österreichische Ludwig Wittgenstein Gesellschaft

The Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society

Markt 63, A-2880 Kirchberg am Wechsel Österreich/Austria

ISSN 1022-3398 All Rights Reserved Copyright 2007 by the authors

Copyright will remain with the author, rights to use with the society. No part of the material may be reproduced or utilised in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, and informational storage and retrieval systems without written permission from the society.

Visuelle Gestaltung: Sascha Windholz Druck: Eigner Druck, A-3040 Neulengbach

Inhalt / Contents

Inhalt / Contents

The Semantic Web in a philosophical perspective Terje Aaberge


The balloon effect. Eight problems related to philosophy tyrannized by information Krzysztof Abriszewski


Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber hat Freud nicht geschwiegen José María Ariso


A Database for a Prototractatus Structural Analysis and the Hypertext Version of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Luciano Bazzocchi


Language games of literature Ondrej Beran


Risk and Technoscience in the Information Society Ewa Binczyk


Franz Brentanos philosophisches Werk im digitalen Zeitalter Thomas Binder


Philosophy, Spoken Word, Written Text and Beyond Vaclav Brezina


From HyperNietzsche to Discovery: Digital Semantic Corpora for Virtual Research in Philosophy Katja Brunkhorst


Privileged Access to Information: Dretske’s Accounts of Self-Knowledge Kai-Yuan Cheng


Reading Wittgenstein: Texts, Contexts, and Hypertexts Istvan Danka


Philosophy and Computational Ontologies Stefano David / Cesare Rocchi


Philosophy at the crossroads. Is it possible to love wisdom in the information age? Aleksandra Maria Derra


Substance and Phenomenology in Tractatus Dan Dusa


‚Alles, was der Fall wird’: Wittgenstein und die informatische Wende in der Physik Harald Edelbauer


Utilizing Experiences from Knowledgebay for Digital Wittgenstein Scholarship Christian Eric Erbacher


How could he try to try to whistle it? Lemaire Francis Eric


On Roses, PI, and Understanding Craig Fox


Annihilation der Zeit in der Informationsgesellschaft? Georg Friedrich


Inhalt / Contents

Medien & Bildung Marek Graszewicz / Dominik Lewi ski



Internet as a medium Maurycy Adam Graszewicz


On the Very Idea of an Information Society Hajo Greif


Language Games and Serious Matters: Cultural Pluralism, Relativism and Rituals in the Media Ora Gruengard


Ornamentality: A New Puzzle for the New Media Eran Guter



Nichtsein und Grenze bei Wittgenstein W odzimierz Heflik


Synergetic information society: from analogue to digital mind Marek Hetmanski


Reasonable and Factive Entitlements Jih-Ching Ho


From netocracy to network-shaped thinking Philip Jones


Die Helsinki-Edition der Philosophischen Untersuchungen Peter Keicher


Wittgensteinian Will is Rousseauist Will Laurian Kertesz



There a Second Moral Life? Peter P. Kirschenmann


Understanding Knowledge Society Endre Kiss



Old Patterns, New Bewitchments Zsuzsanna Kondor


Forms of Life as Forms of Culture Kristijan Krka / Josip Lukin


Medienphilosophie als ethisches Projekt? Vilém Flussers Wittgenstein Matthias Kroß


Wittgenstein registrieren Wilhelm Krüger



Wittgensteinian Reflections on the Unavoidability of Gettier’s Counterexamples Lev Lamberov


Wittgenstein’s programme of a New Logic Timm Lampert



The Erosion of Certainty Silvia Lanzetta


Wittgenstein and Logical Analysis Montgomery Link



Digital Turn In Philosophy and Wittgenstein about “Is” Vladimir Olegovich Lobovikov


Wikiwebs für Kommunikationsprozesse Michael Luger / Andrea Adelsburg / Daniel Kuby / Daniel



Farewell to the Resolute Reading of the Tractatus? Tuomas William Manninen


Wittgenstein on the Meaning of Life: From Theory to Therapy Michael Maurer


Inhalt / Contents

(Re)-Constructing the Semantic Architecture of Wittgenstein’s Vermischte Bemerkungen Kerstin Mayr


Logic of finiteness: intellectual systems in the information era: 2. Limits to diversity, exactness, and economy Lidia A. Mazhul / Vladimir M. Petrov


Russell, Wittgenstein, and the Project for “Analytic Philosophy” Nikolay Milkov


Internet: some collateral effects Fábio Jesus Miranda


Wittgenstein versus Mauthner: Two critiques of language, two mysticisms Elena Nájera


The Epistemology of “Text” Meaning:

The Context is the Proof-Conditions Upon Which We Prove the Truth of Our Interpretation of the Text Dan Nesher


Unnatural Nonsense? On the expectancy of consistency in the Tractatus Yrsa Neuman


Ethical Tasks of Media Advocacy in the 21 st Century Giridhari Lal Pandit


PhiloSURFical: browse Wittgenstein’s world with the Semantic Web Michele Pasin


Logic of finiteness: intellectual systems in the information era: 1. Types of structural changes and tendencies Vladimir M. Petrov / Lidia A. Mazhul


The Wikipedia: Knowledge as social, fallible, externalist and holistic Manuel Pinedo-García / Cristina Borgoni-Gonçalves, Granada, Spain


Retrieving Culture from Language Marcos Paiva Pinheiro / Jorge Alam Pereira dos Santos, Brasília, Brazil


Analytische Medientheorie? – Überlegungen zum Verhältnis von Medientheorie und analytischer Philosophie Martin Pleitz


‘Seeing-as’ and forms of life Regina Queiroz


Medien zwischen Medien-, Wissenschafts- und Technikphilosophie Ulrike Ramming


Scepticism and Later Wittgenstein Priyambada Sarkar


Globalisierte Produktion von (akademischem) Wissen – ein Wettbewerbsspiel. Ursula Schneider


Philosophy as Development of Conceptual Technologies Murilo Rocha Seabra / Marcos Paiva Pinheiro


The Possibility and Limits of Communication: A Wittgensteinian Perspective Rui Silva


Re-Discovering Wittgenstein Deirdre Christine Page Smith


Ethics, Language and the Development of Wittgenstein’s Thought in Ms 139a Deirdre Christine Page Smith


Wittgenstein’s Approach to the Language-Reasoning Use of Propositions Alexandr Sobancev


Storing, processing and transmitting linked chunks of structured text Sindre Sørensen


Melvin’s A.I. dilemma: Should robots work on Sundays? Ivan Spaji / Josipa Grigi


Inhalt / Contents

What Do Digital and Linguistic Turns Have in Common? Marcin Trybulec


Sraffa’s Impact on Wittgenstein Matthias Unterhuber


Against the Idea of a “Third” Wittgenstein Nuno Venturinha


Die subjektiven Wirklichkeiten einer Welt Thomas Wachtendorf


Culture and Value Revisited – Draft of a new electronic edition Joseph Wang


Wittgenstein and Kant on Judgments of Taste: Situations versus Faculties Christian Helmut Wenzel


A Note on Wittgenstein and Nietzsche Peter K. Westergaard


Diffidere aude – Wahrheit im Internet und der Konsens der Netzgemeinschaft Christian Zelger


Utilizing OWL for Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Amélie Zöllner-Weber / Alois Pichler


Spontaneous Orders in Social Capital Architecture Gloria L. Zuniga


Language games of literature

Ondrej Beran, Prague, Czech Republic

Language games are bound to particular contexts. An utterance (a move in the game) is made under certain input circumstances and has certain practical purpose. The use of language in a game is governed by rules. They are not explicit (they are learned practically, as a skill) – but perhaps they can be expressed explicitly ex post. I.e.:

(almost) everyone is able to form sentences understood by others in the intended sense and to use them in such situations, in which they are usually (“correctly”) used. But not everyone is able to state explicitly, how a correctly formed expression is to be recognized, and what are the rules of its correct usage. Can we – at least potentially – grasp explicitly the rules of the correct formation and the correct usage of the expressions of any language game? (and are there always any such rules at all? – cf. Wittgen- stein 2005, p. 25)

A popular counterexample – i.e. of a game, that is

no doubt meaningful, but its rules cannot be grasped ex- plicitly (as it seems) – is literature. This is so in two senses. Firstly concerning the rules of the correct formation and the correct usage of literature (i.e.: what can be taken as litera- ture?); secondly concerning the rules of the right usage of value judgments like “This is a beautiful poem”. However, we presume that literature can be distinguished meaning- fully from non-literature, as well as good literature from bad one.

The problem may be trivial: for there is a lot of in- structions for the creative writing, and a lot of theories in aesthetics, philosophy of art, theory of literature. The diffi- culty lies in the abundance. The rules of the correct use of the language game of shopping in a store seem to be rather simple and uniform; whereas the existing “rules” of the right literature production and the right evaluation defi- nitely not.

If we want to keep the view that literature nonethe-

less is a meaningful language game, we must demonstrate that it’s possible to distinguish between literature and non- literature – as well as between “big” and “not big” – even if the borderline wasn’t sharp. But the game of literature is not like the others. So the distinction literary/non-literary will probably differ, too.

The idea, that the language of literature differs from any other use of language, is not unusual. For example Heidegger says that whereas poetry (and art) just shows, “reveals” things in their pure existence, as they are, the ordinary language expresses and shapes the whole of the “interpretation” of this world, which is a system of practical connections and consequences. (Heidegger 1977 § 34; 1954, p. 190ff)

This is surely an impressive view, but also literature (and the theory of literature) has its position in the context of our practical experience (the word “literature” has a more or less definite meaning, that one can learn). “Practi- cal” does not mean that the use of a literary language ex- pression or of an esthetical judgment can bring us some immediate (physical?) benefit. This cannot be said about many linguistic activities, including the non-literary ones. “Practical” means here, that also literature and aesthetics originate in some intersubjective frame of circumstances and consequences and must obey some rough rules in order to get into this frame. What we call “literature” must

fulfill some formal necessities (it is a language unit, either printed on a paper, or traded orally) and is usually received

in a certain manner – it is read or listened to under certain

circumstances: if the recipients have time and mind for it, if they want to evoke some mood or effect, and so on. These criteria are not unlimited: in a certain mood, under certain circumstances, or in order to evoke some effect, literature

is just not used – for example in the army, if a private asks

an officer for/tells him anything, he definitely does not use

a language manner that we usually call “literary”. What we

qualify as “literature”, has a restricted use (let’s say in the sense sketched above).

But if we try to understand literature this way, prob- lems arise. For this is a sketch of the rules of the usage of the literary language game; and the rules of the correct formation of the expressions are not touched. “Bring me sugar” is definitely a correctly formed sentence, that can be used correctly under certain circumstances (and under some others not). “Milk me sugar” seems not to be a cor- rectly formed sentence. But it can be meaningfully used, as well as the seemingly incorrect “sentence” the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe – namely just as literature. And this is the problem. In any other language game – as it seems – the correct formation of the expres- sions is a prerequisite for possible meaningful and correct usage. In the literary language game, the correct usage becomes independent from the correct formation of the expressions. Perhaps the notion of the “correct formation” loses its sense at all within literature? (cf. Wittgenstein 1958, § 498)

Literature seems to be an open and dynamic game. We cannot say in advance, what is a correctly formed liter- ary language expression, we cannot also state easily (if at all), which language phenomena don’t belong into litera- ture. We have seen that – under normal circumstances – a correctly formed expression is one that can be used mean- ingfully in a language game. But imagine the most improb- able expression from the most distant context (mathemat-

) – we can never

say it cannot be used in the literary language game (in a

ics, warfare, chemistry, economy, sport,

literary work, even in a “good” one) – and who knows:

An astonishing result

seems to follow from this: the language game of literature

encapsulates somehow (in potentia?) all the other games.

We can say, in a sense, that the distinction between literary and non-literary differs from most of other distinc-

tions between something and non-something. When something is qualified as “not big”, it cannot be qualified as “big” in the same meaning. This is an idealization, too. The cellular phones in 1995 were not big in comparison with those in the year 1990, but are big in comparison with the present types. The concrete use of almost all concepts changes through time. But this process is extremely rapid in the case of “literature” – it seems to subvert over and over a possible distinction between literary and non- literary. It is noteworthy that this process does not proceed

in both directions. We can state, that some language move

maybe it has already been used

was a non-literary one, but in the very same moment it can be incorporated in a literary work and become literary. Non-literary seems to tend steadily into literature. But not in the reversed direction. From this reason, we cannot state firmly what is literary – is the sentence “I like yellow


Language games of literature — Ondrej Beran

cats” a literary one? Nobody knows (whereas we can

much rather state, whether it can be a “scientific” sentence or an “army” one). But once something is admitted “offi-

”), can it be

non-literary anymore? So we can say what is non-literary, but not always what is literary; and literature seems to occupy more and more the position of non-literature. So:

isn’t there anything paradoxical in what we call “literature”? (One can say: when everything becomes literature, noth- ing will be literature anymore.)

As well as all the language games, literature should have its rules, too – in order to be a language game at all. The rules are established by means of a custom or institu- tion, which is intersubjective (Wittgenstein 1958, § 199). Grammatical sentences (rules) seem to be fixed, whereas the “ordinary sentences” not. Of course, rules change, too. However, the dynamics of their change is much slower. They are almost in all cases implicit – they are often even not perfected. There can be language games that are meaningful only “more or less”. And their rules are “made up (or changed) as we go along”. (Wittgenstein 1958, § 83) In a sense, literature proves itself to be just this type of language game.

The non-literary language moves (like “Two pints of beer, please”) also can be made under very various cir- cumstances and for very various goals. But their use is “more correct” in certain contexts and “less correct” in other contexts. The sentence is uttered “more naturally” by someone sitting in a beer house, having a certain ex- pected result (two pints of beer brought), than – let’s say – by a student in an university lecture about mathematics. But this doesn’t mean, that the latter utterance cannot be meaningful – that it cannot cause the effect, for which it was directly designed and planned by the speaker – the deportation of the speaker from the lecture hall by the uni- versity security guard, for example. The difference be- tween meaningfulness of these two kinds is actually not qualitative, I think (not so Wittgenstein – see 1958, § 498). The first type of use is so to speak a “default” one, whereas the second is “deviant” – but both are meaningful in their appropriate way. We can talk about “default” use of literature, too. A sonnet about moonlight can be foisted into a company annual report or declaimed to the sales- man in a food store (to the question, what I would like) – but this is a less “default” (and in this sense less meaning- ful) use of literature.

cially” as literary (like “To be or not to be

In the case of literature, there is a strong zeal to state explicitly, what is literature and what is not, and also what is its social purpose, so to speak. But once some- thing is stated explicitly, the subversive nature of literature manifests itself – someone uses the definition and tries to create something that can be called “literature”, but is dif- ferent from the view of the theory of literature. Perhaps we can grasp the notion “literature” just by means of this crite- rion of its self-revaluating (hermeneutical) and rules- breaking nature. It is in a sense true; but not fully: literature cannot break all the limits, without measure – otherwise the distinction between literature and non-literature would vanish at all. On the other hand, the distinction between literature and non-literature is not like the distinction be- tween big and not big: anything non-literary can become literary and to state what is literary is not easy.


This paradoxical nature of literature is probably what Heidegger had in mind: our non-literary language games and concepts are ruled by a certain pragmatical respect:

the delimitation of the distinction big/not big can change in time, but not dramatically, it is rather fixed and sharp. This is mainly because “big” is a pragmatical concept, that we use to “cope with” pragmatical needs (cf. Rorty 1980). Literature doesn’t function quite like this. Our literary lan- guage games don’t “cope with” anything, at least not in the same way as the games operating with concepts like “big” or similar. Literature has a certain frame delimiting it from non-literature, and this frame is given intersubjectively, but compared to other “coping-with” games, that are rather “sports” (see Lance 1998), literature is a “pure game”, its notion is given by a “pure” convention (there is a very vague “coping relation” in its case, if any). However, the limit exists.

As this limit is given conventionally, it faces two problems: firstly, the subversive, self-hermeneutical nature of literature is still trying to reinterpret (or break) this limit. This activity is made possible both by the absence of a clear pragmatical “coping-with” function, and by many ex-

) literature is,

purported by the theory of literature. And how can we ex- plain the fact that there are many examples of “officially admitted” literature, not trying to break the definition limits at all? Most of the literary production totally lacks this am- bition, and still is literature. This points to the second prob- lem of the conventional definition of literature. The fact is, that there is no one convention on what is literature, there are many, and each one quite probably has counterexam- ples (including the “subversive/rules-breaking” conception sketched above). The generality of the one word “litera- ture” proves itself to be misleading. We are tempted by our “craving for generality” to believe that there must be one corresponding thing, as there is one word. But it is neither the case of “Beauty” or “Good” (see Wittgenstein 2005, p. 17f), nor of “literature”.

There is no one, but a plenty of games called “litera- ture”, bound with each other by the “family resemblance”. However, the nature of literature is queer – literature, or rather some of the literary games behave parasitic with respect to the theory of literature. Whereas we can clear the darkness about “Good”, if we try to describe all the facets of the use of the word “good” – and sometimes we can show this way that some particular uses of the word don’t make sense – literature behaves contrariwise. The attempts to grasp or describe the sense of “literature” cause a multiplication and some more complications in the “family” of literary language games.

We can conclude with the following remarks: the limit between literature and non-literature exists, but is somehow “unilaterally open” – one can rather distinguish non-literature from literature than literature from non- literature. This is because some (hermeneutical) language games of literature still tend to reinterpret their own rules, or rather to extend them continuously into the realm of non-literature. Literature doesn’t “cope (directly?) with” pragmatical needs like some other games, it is rather a more “purely conventional” game. So there are very many literary language games – of a very large, complicated and diversified family. The activity of the theory of literature proves to be a Sisyphus’ work: it provides a material for further complication and diversification rather than a clear- ing.

plicit definitions of what (real, valuable,

Work on this paper was supported by the grant No. 401/03/H047 of the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic.

Language games of literature — Ondrej Beran


Heidegger, Martin 1954 “Dichterisch wohnet der Mensch”, in Vor- träge und Aufsätze, Pfullingen.

Heidegger, Martin 1977 Sein und Zeit, Frankfurt a.M.

Lance, Mark 1998 “Some Reflections on the Sport of Language”, in James Tomberlin (ed.), Philosophical Perspectives, 12: Language, Mind, and Ontology, Oxford.

Rorty, Richard 1980 Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, Prince- ton.

Wittgenstein, Ludwig 1958 Philosophische Untersuchungen, Ox- ford.

Wittgenstein, Ludwig 2005 The Blue and Brown Books, Oxford.