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35mm Film leader with test pattern #0416/2009 - Satoshi Kinoshita
( Satoshi Kinoshita )

Series: Prints on paper: 35mm Film Leader
Medium: Giclée on Japanese matte paper
Size (inches): 16.5 x 11.7 (paper size)
Size (mm): 420 x 297 (paper size)
Edition size: 25
Catalog #: PP_0166
Description: From an edition of 25. Signed, titled, date, copyright, edition in pencil on the reverse / Aside from the numbered edition of 5 artist's proofs and 2 printer's proofs.

Philosophical Investigations -

This article is about the philosophy of Wittgenstein.

Philosophical Investigations (Philosophische Untersuchungen) is, along with the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, one of the two most influential works by the 20th-century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. In it, Wittgenstein discusses numerous problems and puzzles in the fields of semantics, logic, philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of psychology, philosophy of action, and the philosophy of mind. He puts forth the view that conceptual confusions surrounding language use are at the root of most philosophical problems, contradicting or discarding much of that which was argued in his earlier work, the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. The problems are alleged to be traceable to a set of related assumptions about the nature of language, which themselves presuppose a particular conception of the essence of language. This conception is considered and ultimately rejected for being too general; that is, as an essentialist account of the nature of language it is simply too narrow to be able to account for the variety of things we do with language. Wittgenstein begins the book with a quotation from St. Augustine, whom he cites as a proponent of the generalized and limited conception that he then summarizes (§1): "the individual words in language name objects--sentences are combinations of such names.--In this picture of language we find the roots of the following idea: Every word has a meaning. This meaning is correlated with the word. It is the object for which the word stands." He then sets out throughout the rest of the book to demonstrate the limitations of this conception, including, he argues, many traditional philosophical puzzles and confusions that arise as a result of this limited picture. Within the Anglo-American tradition, the book is considered by many as being one of the most important philosophical works of the 20th century, and it continues to influence contemporary philosophers, especially those studying mind and language. ~

Wittgenstein's beetle:

Another point that Wittgenstein makes against the possibility of a private language involves the beetle-in-a-box thought experiment. He asks the reader to imagine that each person has a box, inside of which is something that everyone intends to refer to with the word "beetle". Further, suppose that no one can look inside another's box, and each claims to know what a "beetle" is only by examining their own box. Wittgenstein suggests that, in such a situation, the word "beetle" could not be the name of a thing, because supposing that each person has something completely different in their boxes (or nothing at all) does not change the meaning of the word; the beetle as a private object "drops out of consideration as irrelevant".[21] Thus, Wittgenstein argues, if we can talk about something, then it is not private, in the sense considered. And, conversely, if we consider something to be indeed private, it follows that we cannot talk about it.

In the book Wittgenstein's Beetle, Martin Cohen dismisses the experiment saying it "does not provide any support for the many different conclusions claimed by psychologists, philosophers and so many others" and suggests that it even seems to reinforce the notion that words have stable meanings.


Wittgenstein’s Beetle -

In his Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein uses an analogy in an attempt to clarify some of the problems involved in thinking of the mind as something over and above behaviour. Imagine, he says, that everyone has a small box in which they keep a beetle. However, no one is allowed to look in anyone else’s box, only in their own. Over time, people talk about what is in their boxes and the word “beetle” comes to stand for what is in everyone’s box.

Through this curious analogy, Wittgenstein is trying to point out that the beetle is very much like like an individual’s mind. No one can know exactly what it is like to be another person or experience things from another’s perspective (look in someone else’s box), but it is generally assumed that the mental workings of other people’s mind are very similar to our own (everyone has a beetle which is more or less similar to everyone else’s). However, it does not really matter – he argues – what is in the box, or whether everyone has a beetle, since there is no way of checking or comparing. In a sense, the word “beetle” – if it is to have any sense or meaning – simply means “what is in the box”. From this point of view, the mind is simply “what is in the box” – or rather “what is in your head”.

Wittgenstein aruges that although we cannot know what it is like to be someone else, to say there must be special mental entity called a mind that makes our experiences private is wrong. Part of the reason he thinks this way is because he considers language to have meaning through public usage. In other words, when we talk of having a mind (or a beetle), we are using a term that we have learnt through conversation and public discourse. Furthermore, the word we have learnt can only ever mean “whatever is in your box” – i.e. your mind – and should not therefore be used to refer to some entity or special mental substance since no one can know that such a thing exists (we cannot see into other people’s boxes).


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Series Prints on paper: 35mm Film Leader
35mm Film leader with test pattern #0116/200935mm Film leader with test pattern #0216/200935mm Film leader with test pattern #0316/200935mm Film leader with test pattern #0416/200935mm Film leader with test pattern #0516/200935mm Film leader with test pattern #0616/200935mm Film leader with test pattern #0716/200935mm Film leader with test pattern #0816/200935mm Film leader with test pattern #0916/200935mm Film leader with test pattern #1016/200935mm Film leader with test pattern #1116/200935mm Film leader with test pattern #1216/2009
35mm Film leader with test pattern #1316/200935mm Film leader with test pattern #1416/200935mm Film leader with test pattern #1516/200935mm Film leader with test pattern #1616/2009
Biography of 'Satoshi Kinoshita'
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