9 thoughts on “A new use for very clever philosophers

  1. I can’t make out what is going on in the picture. Why is this clever? (sorry, have bad eyesight.)

  2. There’s a Wittgensteinian point here about pictures needing an interpretation. In any case, this is not a picture of philosophical cleverness or other cleverness. This is a picture of the incredibly tedious wait.

    There were two people doing the registration. They seemed to take about five minutes a person. That’s 24 philosopher per hour. At 24 pph, a line of 100 philosophers will take over 4 hours to process.

    I should stress that there’s no reason to blame the program committee. This is down to our beloved APA, who can’t manage to do registration on line. And whose fax machine was not working for 5 days before the pre-meeting registration was closed. Or so frustrated philosophers advowed.

  3. But why would anyone stand on the line that long? I’ve seen the comment on a couple blogs now that one could wait two to three hours, but why actually wait those hours?

  4. Because it was the only way to register, and so to get a badge and the magical piece of paper that told one where things were located. Word was that one would not be allowed in sessions without a badge, a fact about which I was skeptical, but it was true that the talk locations were not otherwise posted.

    It’s also the case, that we do have some obligation to pay for our share of the conference. Leave it to the APA to make that very difficult.

  5. Yikes! In a way I’m glad circumstances prevented me from arriving until Thursday. I walked right up to the counter and picked up my badge immediately. [Of course, I really wanted to attend some of the Wednesday sessions, but missed out…]

  6. Re #3, of course, the idea that pictures need an interpretation was markedly missing from the Tractatus, but clearly put in the later Wittgenstein.

    Just in case anyone was thinking of pointing this out…

  7. Re #7, the idea that pictures need an interpretation is touched on in the Tractatus, at 5.5423.

  8. DS, I’m less sure that it does, at least as I was understanding the idea of a picture needing an interpretation. I don’t really want to say you are wrong, and I don’t think I should say that what I said was very clear as exegesis. So I’ll explain what I meant.

    The Guttenberg Project’s version of the passage you cite is this (with the rectangle supposed to be a Necker Cube):

    To perceive a complex means to perceive that its constituents are combined in such and such a way.
    This perhaps explains that the figure

    necker cube

    can be seen in two ways as a cube; and all similar phenomena. For we really see two different facts.
    (If I fix my eyes first on the corners a and only glance at b, a appears in front and b behind, and vice versa.)

    This seems to be the idea that the picture can contain different facts. I was thinking instead of the idea that the picture contains less in the way of facts than we might think. I think one interpretation of this was something Elizabeth Anscombe used to put as distinguishing between what’s in the picture and what’s in the title.

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