Don't read until the future: Did the Irish really save civilization? We have no idea.
We can tell you this. Based on what we've been told by credentialed future anthropologists, today's 9-year-old kids will have to restart our failed civilization at some point in the future.
They will be called to this task in the wake of the global conflagration these despondent future scholars refer to as Mister Trump's War. They'll have to address the decades of intellectual squalor which led our failing society to this current place.
As we've noted in the past, our logicians have abandoned their posts over the course of a great many years. That's been true in the western world as a whole, not just here in this country.
It will fall to today's 9-year-old kids to restore our daily logic.
Give us this day our daily bread? It may be our species' most basic prayer. But our species can't live by bread alone. We also need daily logic.
We plan to leave these daily epistles for today's kids to find. They'll focus on a particular type of meditation which emerges from the later Wittgenstein's seminal book, Philosophical Investigations.
The book itself is an unholy mess, a point Wittgenstein himself acknowledged in his mournful Preface. We won't advise today's kids to (attempt to) read the book, unless they want a Finnegan's Wake-level interpretive challenge.
In our next epistle, we'll look at what Wittgenstein said about his own jumbled book. On the whole, we won't be attempting to tell the kids what Wittgenstein "thought" or "said."
We will be doing this, however—eventually, we'll be outlining Wittgenstein's theory concerning a basic way human reason tends to go astray. Writing for the New York Times, Professor Horwich put it like this:
HORWICH (3/3/13): Wittgenstein claims that there are no realms of phenomena whose study is the special business of a philosopher, and about which he or she should devise profound a priori theories and sophisticated supporting arguments. There are no startling discoveries to be made of facts, not open to the methods of science, yet accessible “from the armchair” through some blend of intuition, pure reason and conceptual analysis. Indeed the whole idea of a subject that could yield such results is based on confusion and wishful thinking.In his later work, Wittgenstein threw much of traditional "philosophy" under the bus. In Horwich's formulation, Wittgenstein said that traditional philosophy's alleged findings were, on the whole, "the misbegotten products of linguistic illusion and muddled thinking."
This attitude is in stark opposition to the traditional view, which continues to prevail. Philosophy is respected, even exalted, for its promise to provide fundamental insights into the human condition and the ultimate character of the universe, leading to vital conclusions about how we are to arrange our lives. It’s taken for granted that there is deep understanding to be obtained of the nature of consciousness, of how knowledge of the external world is possible, of whether our decisions can be truly free, of the structure of any just society, and so on—and that philosophy’s job is to provide such understanding. Isn’t that why we are so fascinated by it?
If so, then we are duped and bound to be disappointed, says Wittgenstein. For these are mere pseudo-problems, the misbegotten products of linguistic illusion and muddled thinking...
Could such a counterintuitive claim possibly be true? In fact, college freshmen have suspected such things for centuries. In an otherwise muddled book, Wittgenstein conjures a meditation which lets us start to see that this counterintuitive view actually may be true.
His meditation leads to clarity in a wide range of undertakings. Our society has been dying on the vine from the lack of daily logic. In the future, will today's 9-year-olds peruse the epistles we leave for them and create a more competent world?