Monday, May 16, 2016

The Last Week

"We make ourselves pictures of the facts."

This sentence from Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus can serve as a fitting start to the last week of this blog's active existence. It aptly summarizes the problem that I have been trying to solve for more than ten years. It identifies the difficulty of representation. For how, after all, do we make these pictures? And who do we think we are? These questions indicate the crisis of modern scholarship. Answering them amounts to learning the language of research.

"What relation must one fact (such as a sentence) have to another in order to be capable of being a symbol for that other?" asked Bertrand Russell in his introduction to the Tractatus. In this blog I have asked a related question. What does it take to become capable of representing a fact in the world? The short answer is that it takes discipline. Indeed, it takes a discipline to represent a fact, just as "it takes a village" to raise a child. Representation is the difficult business of relating one's self to one's peers in one's prose. It is a craft and, sometimes, it is an art.

Friday will be my last post, after which I will complete, if I can, my withdrawal from social media. I'll try to explain why in the coming days.

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