If we temporarily put a famous psychoanalytic component of continental philosophy to one side. The work of Jacques Lacan’s linguistic thoughts on the Symbolic, and preferring to discuss a different psychological stance. Then what else can be philosophically described and discussed when faced with the behaviour of Language? In this essay one seeks to describe three Motifs relating to language: The development of Deconstructionism and Logical Positivism as predating speculative realism, behavioural correlates, and correlated behaviours. These initial interests will be written in lieu of developments in a variety of cultures and reference points that allow for one to answer the title question in a serious manner. Thus contributing fresh documentations, gathering paths into, and commenting on language.
Keywords: Behaviouralism, Correlationism, Derrida, Deconstructionism, Wittgenstein, Logical Positivism, language, creative reasoning, speculative realism.
Lingua…Linguistic…Lingual-ism…Language has been a mystery and hopefully will remain so. It’s mysterious for many reasons when you move beyond simplistic definitions. Such as languages are structures and groupings of signs and symbols that enable accurate communication of meaning. You may start to see how this neglects potential for new perspectives to earn our attention. Where to begin? The topic seems too vast for one to write about, yet it is too sweet to be discarded from inquiry. So, the first step appears to be one of acknowledging a strange question. If you had to choose between being a ‘pronoun’, or an ‘adverb’ what would you exist as? This question is posed as bait from which more pertinent questioning may be arrived at. Let one re-iterate, you the reader have been given a choice between two categories: would you choose to exist as a word that substitutes a noun, that replaces a name, or would you prefer to describe an action full of emotive motional motifs?
The purpose of this point of departure and the subsequent writing is not to decipher if you have any grammatical preference. But, to present to you two different philosophical approaches to Language and what could be still learnt from two thinkers. Representing the pronoun we have Jacque Derrida and his creation Deconstructionism, our adverb is the thinker Ludwig Wittgenstein and the idea of ‘Language games’. Both, philosophers have uniquely engaged with Language. Their writings can still serve to offer new perspectives on this a very pertinent and old topic. As we know pronouns are words that ‘stand in’ for nouns, they positively serve us. Yet, there are many of them: subject or object, reflexive, and possessive. Certainly, it would be incredibly bizzare to be trapped repeating nouns. Moreover, one sees this core value, or use of the pronoun – as being a very suitable metaphor for the Post-structuralist French philosopher Jacque Derrida’s work. Deconstructionism sought to overcome a supposed disease of philosophy ‘metaphysics’, through a Heideggerian preference for Being not defined as a weighted duality. That is to say Derrida perceived Philosophy as being too Logocentric, always bound to the logos, the central truth. To overcome this the French philosopher employed undecidability and dualistic opposites as tools to find other meaning contained within existing structures. Interestingly enough, Deconstructionism’s origin is textual and one of literature rather than coming from the spoken word. One can see this clearly in the essay Plato’s Pharmacy, one of Derrida’s undecidables came into being. The Pharmakon (maleficent, and drug-like) perhaps the linguistic Pharmakon, could be a pronoun?
‘the men who are the most free, feel ashamed (aiskhunontai) at “speechwriting” and at leaving sungrammata behind them. They fear the judgement of posterity, which might consider them “Sophists” (257d). The logographer … is a ghost writer, who composes speeches for use by litigants, speeches which he himself does not pronounce, which he does not attend, so to speak, in person, and produce their effect in his absence.  ‘
Are Pharmakons drugs of choice for language? and if we did not regularly dose our sentences with them. Would Language itself become egotistically robotised? Derrida’s choice of words highlight a privileging of speech over written language. This favour-ability demonstrates how ghostly traces, from alternative historians are almost always hidden in a text. Moreover, the above quote also elicits within oneself an awareness of a contemporary point and generally held belief. That there exists a gap, a void, an emptyness internal to our reality itself – in philosophy this could be called Correlationism. Essentially, a theory of human finitude which suggests we can only ever understand the relationship between thinking and being, rather then each thing separately. Usually this notion is accredited to Immanuel Kant and in recent times there has been an attempt, and movement to surpass this idea. One particular good reference point for this is Quentin Melillassoux’s book on contingency ‘After Finitude’ . How do the ideas inscribed into this text contribute to our discussion on the behaviour of the pronoun?
In the first chapter Melillassoux quotes Hegel, ‘we cannot ‘creep up on’ the object ‘from behind’ so as to find out what it is in itself’ (can’t we?) this relational reliance, between perceiver and perceived is important. Referencing primary and secondary qualities one could hastily surmise, that the perceived is primary, and perceiver would be secondary. Reading Melillassoux, one can gain a stronger understanding of the importance of language. Yet, although this essay is a brilliant call to connect thought back to the absolute. It is precisely this re-connection that hones the value of shifting our perspectives on the established existing viewpoints: 1) language as a structure, 2) a phenomenon of communication 3) as a limitation. It is by lining up these three ways of thinking about language we can see something worth acknowledging. Deconstructionism, Wittgenstein and logical positivism, perhaps kick-started current attempts to think differently – in fact one might easily suggest the following view.
The attempt that the speculative realists have been striving to achieve, may have already been touched on by Derrida’s work. Thus the suspicion of truth as it appears to us initially, coupled with an insight that humans tend to privilege one of two equal terms (good/bad). Led this thinker to a way of doing philosophy that reveals the value of the lesser part of the equation. Derrida’s behaviour articulates more things to consider, and calls for an attempt to clarify what is being discussed at greater length. For example, at first glance Deconstructionism has no claims to an absolute. Unless an absolute is defined as, that which is not a limit derived from a relation, but it is that which can be universal. This suggests Deconstructionism to be pronominally inverse – rather than replacing a proper noun does it enable a return to an origin? For what else causes/influences a name, or a new word but an object? Naming is another consideration to be incorporated, does everything have a name? is nameable? Derrida suggested that structure and phenomenon, vis-à-vis one another do behave pronominally.
‘one could perhaps say that the movement of any archaeology … is an accomplice of this reduction of the structurality of structure and always attempts to conceive of structure from the basis of a full presence which is out of play.  ‘
This outside of play may allude to the objects of direct experience favoured by phenomenology. But, one finds this seemingly supplementary nature; or graceful version of reductionism (Derrida’s reduction is not as fierce nor as extreme as Descartes) involved with pronominal behaviour. One confesses, to be not as useful when placed next to adverbial behaviour. The main reasons for one’s leaning towards becoming an adverb, can be explained if we look at a mathematical equivalent for the inverse pronoun like mannerisms of Derrida. In Math you can find Polynomial expressions – a sum of a finite number of variables raised to whole number powers. One’s suspicions of this anchor around the potential to deduce that numerical and word based language are the sole owners, or fathers for meaning, resulting in a syntactic tyranny. That, in the future may absorb more and more social and cultural freedoms.
Such freedoms are often invested culturally and historically in documents, textual bodies that spread written law. One can glimpse Derrida as a precursor for Melillassoux’s positive speculation on philosophy’s next step. When the French thinker comments on a potentially pronoun like behaviour of the ‘scientific method’ as we inherited it from Descartes, and Leibniz. In his book On Grammatology, Derrida writes, ‘Descartes’s analyticism is intuitionist, that of Leibniz points beyond mani-fest evidence, toward order, relation, point of view’ . One is not attempting to make a value judgment and claim that unbridled creativity is somewhat better than fact. Moreover, moving parallel to Derrida’s writing one’s own opinion starts to be formulated. In my opinion the pronoun has one main limitation, ‘Finally, it makes us reason at little cost, putting characters in place of things, in order to ease the imagination. ’. Derrida’s sentence contains the reason why in one’s humble opinion living as a pronoun is impossible*.
Although, one greatly admires the positive functions of the pronoun. The creative potential of adverbial structures are more challenging and widely applicable. Especially when faced with another fact, We humans are the things that create meaning – meaning is not derived from the things we have created. Rather as primary subjects we are constantly active in meaning’s creation. Therefore one has arrived at an initial conclusion: adopting adverbial behaviors are more desirable than those of the pronoun. It is this point of view, that influencing how we do things is more creative than arguing over the replacement of a name. Behaving adverbially, one can assert more demanding suggestions. In the second part of this essay one will explore Ludwig Wittgenstein’s lasting legacy, language games, equations as gestures, politics and some cultural implications. For Wittgenstein once said, ‘ … general notion of the meaning of a word surrounds the working of language with a haze which makes clear vision impossible. ’This lack of visibility infuriated the early Wittgenstein to the extent that he attempted to silence ambiguous utterances.
The above diagrams serve to visualise one’s earlier point that a perspective that is too reliant on physical language (spoken, written, and calculated). Shall find that language becomes stationary and anchored structurally to the phenomenological. They also serve to pay tribute to the early Wittgenstein’s diagrams. So, through creation actions are described, and this is to be thought of as being healthier? Yes, because let us look at a useful example. In a book by professor and linguist David Crystal, discussing the way in which languages die . Crystal describes very clearly not only the obvious answer ‘they die because they are not used’, but goes further into detail regarding a reaction towards this event. Language like biodiversity is becoming extinct at a rate never before seen in history. This makes one recollect a story about the last two fluent speakers of an extinct tribal language. A language that certainly resides in the smaller percentage of active users, certainly endangered. The language was extinct because these two old pensioners had a serious argument, one in which they had not spoken to each other for a decade. This absence of the use of the language in the story is symptomatic of the importance of a behavioural perspective, and way of thinking about language. Both, in how Language behaves outside of oneself, and in the normative sense between humans. Behavioural-ism invites a more political and ethical path into the adverbial section of this text. Indeed Wittgenstein’s behaviour early on was riddled with both ethical desire and depressed periods. Yet, throughout this thinkers collected works one can see very clearly a desire to help. Wittgenstein’s first adverbial act was to help us understand a function of words, they help us build pictures of facts. It is rumoured the philosopher discovered the notion whilst reading an article about a court case in Paris. The event involved a road accident at a crossroads, it was recreated using toy models. Hinting that when reproduced creatively, language inspires in us the creation of pictures of the world, then perhaps behaving adverbially, you would be clarifying the pictures of someone else’s world?
Alas, it’s not as simple as that, firstly qualifying what may or not be a world is not what one aims to do here. Therefore staying with the context of Law and legal behaviour it is easy to encounter a potential corrective to one’s enthusiasm toward adverbs. Lawyers and those trained in legality seem content using the language of law, yet on the other hand members of the public often complain about the heavy jargon of the contract or arrangement . So this seemingly runs in favour of the pro-noun. Yes it does, however not strongly enough for one to forgo a future as an adverb. Here one should consider interesting elements of the court. Elements that help introduce the second of Wittgenstein’s great theories. A court case is indeed a ‘Language Game’; the defence and the prosecution are two competing teams. What is at stake, what is to be won is a verdict. This context is a highly logical one in that the adverbial behaviour one thinks about is the rhetoric and reason used to achieve success.
‘The philosophy of logic speaks of sentences and words in exactly the same way we speak about them in ordinary life when we say … We are talking about the spatial and temporal phenomenon of language, not about some non-spatial, non-temporal phantasm. But we talk about it as we do about the pieces in chess when we are stating the rules of the game, not describing their physical properties. The question “What is a word really?” is analogous to “What is a piece of chess? ”
These two questions do add up to one another, but this quote demands we consider something, the game’s flat surface is what everyone refers to as life. In the quotation again we see a dismissal of ambiguity, and a focusing on space and temporality. Moreover, let us not think phantasmagorically, and instead be realistic. As with the example of a court of law one can say that politics, and anything that has it’s own distinct language is at least minimally game-like. This is no exaggeration, recent events involving the wave of populist opinions, and policies of the Right. Showcase the importance and the high cost of playing the wrong game.
Wittgenstein’s notion is visible when briefly considering the hopelessness of the democratic and conservative parties. Both, failed to defeat those that harbour unacceptable opinions because the so called establishment were not playing the game with an awareness of their oppositions disregard for common decent values. Now, we are in generally new territory, it has been called Post-truth politics. At this point one observes why choosing the adverb is also a choice to ask How? Rather than why, or what? This re-focusing on the manner in which an action is completed is what those that long for a way of improving life, or if your engaged in the political game, need to seize. The route to do this is strewn with many problems, resistance to associating serious political events within the analogy of the game. Match nicely with modern speculative realities found in artificial intelligence, and quantum computing. The words of the character Harold Finch in the drama ‘Person of Interest’ cast a dark forecast.
Mr Finch is the creator of an A.I, that in a flashback to when he taught his creation chess admits, “Kings, Pawns, I don’t think that anyone is worth more than anyone else … Real people are not pieces. You can not assign more value to some of them and not others … The lesson is, if anyone who looks on to the world as if it is a game of chess, deserves to lose. ”. Harold’s words compound the problems in one’s attempt to view language behaviourally. Anyone attempting to cultivate an understanding of language itself. May or may not find themselves at this very impasse: too much structure and you cannot play a game, likewise too little, and there are no parameters to define a result. This is not helpful if we remain anchored to these two oppositions. Let us then look once more at the two prior assertions that led to one favouring an adverbial reality. 1) The absolute is that which can be universal, and 2) Meaning is bound to Human creativity. Two assertions that initially support the thought experiment being described. One still feels that this is not enough, there exists much more to consider.
Attempting to simply re-enforce one’s adverbial desires one will focus toward the behaviour of language, and invite a couple of different voices into ones discussion. The first voice is that of professor Felice Cimmati, who makes Wittgenstein’s articulation more readable. Cimmati begins by referencing the much quoted: if a lion could talk we wouldn’t be able to understand it. Repeating, ‘A lion belongs to a completely different form of life from the human one. ’. Cimmati goes on to complete the logic by presupposing the animal in question can speak English, and arrives at our preposition, ‘What did the lion intend to do when it uttered “That’s a Gazelle”? What does it want to do with such an utterance? ’ The last question one should apply to one’s own understanding of language, and observe clearly how intention takes priority over extension. Universal properties are to be found in the meaning which we are creating, however if a set of objects related to each other by words is too stationary as a structure. How are we to continue asking this question? How to continue our adverbial play? One’s behaviour carries inside it’s act an intention, that pre-empts, and predicts a future event?
One imagines you want to say well that is obvious, of course my actions are intended. Really? Don’t jump to such a belief so quickly. If neuroscience is to be believed, as early as 1964 (Bereitschaftspotential: Readiness Potential experiment ) we have at least scientifically understood that unconscious brain behaviours, such as a neuronal change is the cause of a feeling of conscious intent . One posits that the only way to connect this acknowledgement, and that of language games within the context of this argument. Clearly showcasing that one’s answer to the question at the onset of this writing is not only logical. Choosing to view language from the position, or viewpoint of an adverb is multi-faceted, and hard to resolve. Yet, it has many positives though the main ones have to be: 1) a by-product of focusing on behaviour and action is ethics as first philosophy is truly universal (see Levinas), 2) This is also to be accepted as normative, in that writing directly one has attempted to give a suggestion of how things ought to be, when thinking through the diverse topic of language.
This normativity of thought as a consideration of how things are done should be manifest in the acts one inevitably produces. Another way to show this is to make connections, drawing lines between Wittgenstein’s language game, and one’s ethically behaviour driven perspective. Connecting these back to the problems of rule following and grammar can arouse within the reader support for becoming a fellow adverb. The Finnish philosopher Hanne Appelqvist brilliantly discusses this adverbial compulsion. Appelqvist starts by pointing to how playing a game involves rule following and an aesthetic judgement. Appelqvist argues that Wittgenstein and Immanuel Kant share, that ‘aesthetic judgement as a model for the kind of judgement that is required for the very possibility of rule-following and hence of objective thought. ’. More and more evidence can be collected reading Appelqvist, that supports the contemporary argument that aesthetics and ethics are on the rise. Resulting in new paths we can take when pondering the connection between thought, being, and this a political journey into language. Doubting the validity of observing games as meta-ethical-languages? Then Kant can explain.
‘By contrast to pathologically subjective judgements about the agreeableness of wine and coffee that simply reflect empirical laws of nature, in making a pure judgement of taste I demand agreement from others. That is, I claim that the relation between the form of the representation of the object, and my subjectively felt pleasure in the free and harmonious play of my mental faculties is necessary. ’
Kant’s quote and Appelqvist’s words in her essay, concretely assert the importance of asking the question: how does a person as a subject choose to navigate the above relation in current times? The objective element is a result, a victory, or a loss – but the point is the necessity of playing, and then how the object is perceived. Having the benefit of hindsight, one would potentially think, How did I play? Did I win gracefully, or arrogantly? What in fact did I win? The game’s politics will become increasingly important as humans become ever more dependent on technology, and science as legitimate sources of knowledge. Therefore one is afraid of the very real danger of what comes naturally from us a creative will, a desire to build, will become more and more marginalised next to the march of abstract techno-capital development. Nevertheless, those of us with a leaning towards the left of the political spectrum should insist on playing the game. Seizing awareness of an opportunity to create new rules, or wrestle them away from an evil corrupted influence. How is a rule formulated and how do we follow, in what way should we follow it? These are all questions in need of a game, there are many: geo-politics involving games of diplomacy, business in general involving its infinity of negotiations, and marriage. Although, let us revisit the contemporary reality of an artificial intelligence, earlier one referenced Harold teaching morals to an A.I.
This time rather than an unfavourable judgement this reference is awash with positive evidence for taking more time to consider the language of a game. In a recent article in the magazine Wired, the writer Cade Metz offers up an account of an A.I playing humans at the game Go. Metz starts by describing one move as both being non-human, yet behaving, and having been played intuitively . For a game that has more possible moves/positions than atoms in the known universe the aesthetic judgement is present, ‘The top players play by intuition, not raw calculation… “It seems to follow some kind of aesthetic. ”’. The beauty of this article derives from how the author Metz, provides a clear account of the cultural revolution and paradigm shift. Google is a company that is at the forefront in many ways, yet here in this article what is really strong is the symbiotic relationship, it is a new conversation.
The real world example the article gives us can help expand one’s adverbial proposition. In the match between Alpha-go (Google’s A.I) and the Korean grand master Lee Sedol it is possible to read about our future. There is the usual images and technophobic behaviours one has to ignore to reach very interesting things. The machines are computationally superior, but take for example how the builders of Alpha-go, the Deep Mind duo of David Silver and Demis Hassabis designed the A.I two combine two learning methodologies. This then allowed Alpha-go to learn and surpass it’s human coach. What is made obvious throughout this moment in history is not only are we creating A.I, but we are teaching and thus learning from it reciprocally. Mutually beneficial behaviours then become even more important, and if second generation intelligences become more human. Then we could not wish for setting a better example then that of the defeated champion. Losing apologetically, Mr Sedol demonstrates behaviour we could seek to emulate, he won one match, playing innocently and honestly.
One might add, ‘to the best of his god-like ability’. It seems that re-reading this match between intelligences, Lee’s Move 37 won him one match. An event that aesthetically carries much significance because of it’s rarity in the total decisions made throughout the five games. Furthermore, in this account the reasons for victory are only described from the perspective of Alpha-go, and it’s Google creators. Regarding language, and it’s adverbial behaviour one observes as becoming a twofold choice. As an adverb how should one behave gesturally, or more rationally? Implying one choice offers more reasons for your action, whereas speaking gesturally carries more of a physical bodily image. Analysing their differences it is safe to say one is direct (rational), the other is indirect (gestural). Yet, more importantly neither of these two choices are uncreative, moreover it is not my aim to judge which is more favourable. Rather one hopes that Wittgenstein’s thought can serve precisely as an ethical call to invest more thought into one’s language. Without forgetting the responsibility one has to apprehend that language, and it’s use as a creative game with universal obligations and implications.
Let us observe that there exists this mysterious thing called belief, and how one usually has to justify actions with sufficient reasons. Another thinker John Turri in a discussion on creative reasoning and infinity, offers a strong argument that reasoning can create justification . Turri epistemologically enforces this through describing reasoning as having: uncreative bias, criticality, compatibility, and a creative ground. In the final section of his paper he mentions the context and aesthetic value of the argument. Urging one to imagine that we are a playwright and that in the creation of a story we are presented with opportunities to write a new scene, because the one before was missing sufficient context . Referencing Turri one protects this line of thought by using the analytical philosopher’s reasoning*. Very helpful in explaining one’s own opinion for example this the very act of writing itself describes if existence is confined (or can be confined) to one sentence. Being adverbial is a way to affect the value in what is being done, and this is also something we should see in Wittgenstein.
‘The failure to understand isn’t limited to sentences… we learn to understand these gestures the way we learned as children to understand the gestures and facial expressions of grown-ups – without explanation. And in this sense learning to understand does not mean learning to explain, and so we understand the facial expression, but can’t explain it by any other means. [handwritten remark]. ’
Claiming that Wittgenstein with the deepest understanding of mathematics, would if still alive to day succeed that just because you have a grammar. Rules, which when viewed at face value seem to indicate that language is synonymous with calculation this is not foolproof. Wittgenstein was forced to leave behind his earlier notion, that an adequate explanation leads to understanding. He just like people today had to apprehend that sentential beings equipped with logic alone can not offer a suggestion of how to treat, and approach language. When considering language we have to consider subjectively (doxastically, about one’s own belief), our form of life, but more pertinently there is something else other than the meaning of a word inside a grammatical system … Looking from the perspective of an adverb one can see the social, common, ethical, and creative behaviour that gives language it’s materiality. Our task then is to remain critical whilst at the same time not needlessly dismissing grammar and meaning. How we behave towards these things even perceptually is in need of interpretation.
Finally, what one offers as a conclusion is that if we play this hermeneutical game as an adverb. Then this decent play of interpretations can generate what according to professor Eran Guter was a special thing for Wittgenstein, and subsequently this essay’s strange line of inquiry. Wittgenstein gives us a special German word and one references it to contextualise the questions one asks: Are you a pronoun or an adverb? How language is the phenomenon which calls for the creation of new ethics? The word that one is using creatively as a period is Menschenkenntnis, translated as referring to an acquaintance with ‘humankind’, not a theory but an intuitive skill . One has observed this as being suspiciously absent in recent times, and so one invites you to play this language game, with more consideration for your moves, and the outcome one wishes to create. If need be we shouldn’t hesitate to create new games that support new behaviours, that then allow us to continue learning. This capacity to actively change our behaviour should be cherished. This change does provide a clear distinction between the human animal, other organisms, or objects. A difference that could result in a game truly, mortally, and essentially defining. Lastly, behaving adverbially one has to suggestively edit the Wittgensteinian dictum, Whereof one can speak, thereof one mustn’t be silent. It is not only the meaning you intended to communicate, but also how you behave when communicating. That reveals the parameters for a moment worth creating, a game in which one should want to create and decide how to play?