The Instigator
NiqashMotawadi3
Con (against)
Winning
35 Points
The Contender
Mantizah
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Wittgenstein's "beetle-in-the-box" analogy and the Lockean Interpretation of Language

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Post Voting Period
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after 5 votes the winner is...
NiqashMotawadi3
Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 4/29/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,706 times Debate No: 53536
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (5)

 

NiqashMotawadi3

Con

PREFACE

The full resolution is going to be presented here in the opening statement because it did not fit in the title.


Full resolution: Wittgenstein's "beetle-in-the-box" analogy establishes a difficulty in the Lockean interpretation of language where such difficulty is only limited to inner objects.

In this debate, the burden of proof is only on Pro to prove such resolution, while Con only has to undermine Pro's case to win this debate. I'm taking the Con position on that resolution.

DEFINITIONS

Lockean Interpretation of Language

The general interpretation that says that all words denote private or inner objects in our minds. Those objects are defined as words of quasi-sensory introspection that act as inner samples. For instance, when I say the "apples are red," I'm referring to my inner sample of "red."

Wittgenstein's Beetle-in-the-box analogy

Wittgenstein asks us to imagine a community where everyone has a beetle in a box, but where "no one can look into anyone else's box, and everyone says he knows what a beetle is only by looking at his beetle[1]." In other words, those people could have different things in their private boxes which they happen to commonly call a "beetle," but such reference does not affect their public usage of the word "beetle," provided that nobody can look inside another person's box to check if the object itself is identical or different than the object they have in their box. Similarly, the same can be said about inner or private ideas which nobody else can directly sense. For instance, people cannot directly sense my private idea of sorrow, but only observe my public behavior in the form of reactions, which could mean that my inner idea could be slightly or significantly different from the particular one they personally have. In conclusion, one's public usage of words is not contingent on one's inner samples.

META

Leave a comment if you want to take the challenge.
Voting period: 2 Weeks.

Time to argue: 72 hours.
Argument Max: 10,000 characters.
Voting system: Select the winner.

RULES AND REGULATIONS

This debate is based on the NDRE Lv.1.8 which basically stands for Niqashian Debating Regulations and Etiquette. It is obligatory for my opponent to read the document(http://www.debate.org...) before accepting the challenge. The document is split into two parts, "critical rules" and "etiquette standards."

Additional obligatory rules

The NDRE explains in articles A.1.8 and A.1.9 that the instigator of the debate can present additional rules in his opening statement. Here are my additional rules:

R1- No acceptance round. Pro has to start arguing from the first round.

R2- Burden of proof is solely on Pro.

R3- No Kritiks, and definitions and the resolution must be strictly followed.

---
Because this debate fits the criteria of article A.1.6 of the NDRE, it makes sense to quote article A.1.6 here:

A.1.6 If the initiator of the debate didn't use his first round to argue and allowed the opponent to start without an acceptance round, the opponent must only say "As agreed" in his final round.

CITATIONS

[1] Ludwig Wittgenstein's "Philosophical Investigations" §293.


I wish my opponent the best of luck. I'll answer any questions in the comments.
Mantizah

Pro

They both seem pretty good to me. We do indeed have our own private definitions and things we think of when a word is mentioned, and we cannot see into anyone else's mind. They both say pretty much that. Why wouldn't they work together?
Debate Round No. 1
NiqashMotawadi3

Con

INTRODUCTION

Pro did not satisfy his burden of proof, but instead asked a question he should have probably asked in the comments.

Pro asks, "They both seem pretty good to me. We do indeed have our own private definitions and things we think of when a word is mentioned, and we cannot see into anyone else's mind. They both say pretty much that. Why wouldn't they work together?"

Response: The Lockean interpretation of language claims that when I say "apples are red," I'm basing my claim on my inner samples of the two terms "apple" and "red". Wittgenstein argues that I could be only mimicking the public usage of such terms in the outside world, independently of my inner samples(if we assume they even exist), which means that inner samples do not denote outer objects as Locke claims, but are simply irrelevant to the study of language and meanings. The beetle in Wittgenstein's analogy resembles my inner sample of the word "beetle" which is completely isolated from the outside world; if such an inner sample exists, then the public usage of the word "beetle" is not contingent on an inner sample, and so I can use the word "beetle" exactly like everyone else in my public language and have an inner sample of a "beetle" that is actually different from everyone else. While in the Lockean interpretation, my inner sample decides my public usage of the word "beetle," and so if my inner sample is different than everyone else, my public usage of the word would be also different from everyone else.

MY CASE

Pro has the burden of proof in establishing the resolution of this debate which was presented in the opening statement.

Full resolution: Wittgenstein's "beetle-in-the-box" analogy establishes a difficulty in the Lockean interpretation of language where such difficulty is only limited to inner objects.

In simpler terms, Pro has to show that Wittgenstein's analogy only applies to inner objects, while I have to undermine this argument and show that it could also apply to outer objects. This so far has not been done.

Although Pro has not supported his position with any argument, I will present an argument on why Wittgenstein's "beetle-in-the-box" analogy can also apply to outer objects, which was introduced by Willard Van Orman Quine.

Imagine a world with two people who can communicate with each other, Alpha and Betty. Alpha refers to Dog as Dog, Cat as Cat and Rock as Rock. While Betty refers to Dog as Dog*, which refers to everything in the universe with the Dog erased, much like sets and subsets, where Betty says "Dog" but means Dog* through considering everything in the universe excluding that particular Dog. Betty also does that for every other term in such a way that Betty refers to Cat as Cat* and Rock as Rock* and so on.

Now if Alpha and Betty are communicating, Alpha would look at a beetle and say Beetle, Betty will look at the same beetle and say Beetle, because in her language Beetle is equivalent to Beetle*, where Beetle* stands for everything in the universe excluding that particular Beetle. Therefore, miscommunication will always be avoided although both Alpha and Betty would be referring to different things while they communicate. Therefore, the outer objects would be like the beetle in the box in the sense that they won't affect the public usage of words even if they are different than each other, and therefore Wittgenstein's analogy applies on outer objects in the same vein, adding no special difficulty for inner objects and the Lockean interpretation of language which relies on inner objects.

Professor Arif Ahmed puts it as follows, "So if Wittgenstein's beetle-in-the-box argument establishes the semantical irrelevance of inner objects then it establishes the semantical irrelevant of outer ones. Hence, it establishes no special difficulty for the Lockean interpretation of our language on which words denote private or inner objects. What is wrong with the beetle-in-the-box argument is not that it fails to establish its conclusion. It is that one could travel much further in its direction, from the perspective that one then attains, Wittgenstein's limitation to the private sector looks arbitrary[1]."

CITATIONS

[1] Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations: A Reader's Guide. By Arif Ahmed. Bloomsbury Academic; First Edition edition (September 23, 2010).
Mantizah

Pro

This is not what I agreed to be Pro to. I forfeit. Indeed I could have paid better attention, but I'm afraid I didn't. Sorry.
Debate Round No. 2
NiqashMotawadi3

Con

In my first sentence in the opening statement, I clarified that the full resolution does not fit in the title, so I'm going to present it in the opening statement itself. This seems to have created confusion, although I tried my best to avoid that and made it clear I was offering the full resolution of the debate and clarified that I'm going to be Con on that particular resolution.

Anyhow, I wish my opponent better luck in future debates and I advise him to be more careful. If he is confused about the resolution, he should leave a comment about that before he accepts the challenge.
Mantizah

Pro

Mantizah forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
NiqashMotawadi3

Con

Points extended.
Mantizah

Pro

Mantizah forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Mantizah 3 years ago
Mantizah
I can't really find a good way to argue you in the main debate, so instead of wasting your time, I'm just going to forfeit. It really bugs me that you don't get what I'm saying here though. "And", like you used in the topic, implies connection. That's the key. You are arguing that the two theories indeed go together well, and have a good connection, so you should be Pro. I was tired when I accepted. Keep it straight for poor people like me.
Posted by NiqashMotawadi3 3 years ago
NiqashMotawadi3
"Wittgenstein's "beetle-in-the-box" analogy and the Lockean Interpretation of Language" is neither a positive nor negative claim. I'm not sure what being Pro or Con on it establishes. I clearly stated I took the Con position of the full resolution which I explicitly presented in the first sentence.

Seriously, if you think that is misleading, I'm not sure what to say.
Posted by NiqashMotawadi3 3 years ago
NiqashMotawadi3
The two terms already fill the whole title. So I just named them up there and I explicitly said the "full resolution" is in the opening statement. That's like saying "Evolution and Creaitionism" in the topic and defining your specific resolution below such as "Evolution makes more sense of fossils and shared chromosomes than creationism." Is it that hard to read the first sentence of the opening statement?
Posted by Mantizah 3 years ago
Mantizah
How misleading... you should've put yourself as pro and reworded the full resolution to be an expansion of the topic, rather than the complete opposite of it -_-
Posted by NiqashMotawadi3 3 years ago
NiqashMotawadi3
The full resolution didn't fit in the topic, so it was presented in the opening statement.

The topic therefore is the full resolution, not the headline in the title.
Posted by NiqashMotawadi3 3 years ago
NiqashMotawadi3
Did you even bother reading the opening statement?

I said the following...

"The full resolution is going to be presented here in the opening statement because it did not fit in the title.

Full resolution: Wittgenstein's "beetle-in-the-box" analogy establishes a difficulty in the Lockean interpretation of language where such difficulty is only limited to inner objects."
Posted by Mantizah 3 years ago
Mantizah
Oh. I see what's going on here. You are con to the debate topic, which is "Wittgenstein's "beetle in a box" analogy and the Lockean interpretation of language", which makes it so that I should be the one arguing your points, does it not? I know you are allowed to elaborate and such in Argument 1, but you have completely contradicted yourself here. Doesn't that mean I can extend your arguments?
Posted by Mantizah 3 years ago
Mantizah
Sure, why not. I'll take it.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Wylted 3 years ago
Wylted
NiqashMotawadi3Mantizah
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by lannan13 3 years ago
lannan13
NiqashMotawadi3Mantizah
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture
Vote Placed by Mikal 3 years ago
Mikal
NiqashMotawadi3Mantizah
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: full drop
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 3 years ago
Blade-of-Truth
NiqashMotawadi3Mantizah
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Pro failed to realize his position within the debate. Instead of upholding his BOP and presenting his arguments as the rules instructed, he agreed with Con's position and posed a question. Furthermore, once Con presented his response to the inquiry and presented his case the Pro failed to provide any rebuttals or present his own arguments and instead conceded the debate. Full victory for Con. Best of luck to both in future debates.
Vote Placed by n7 3 years ago
n7
NiqashMotawadi3Mantizah
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Ff. Really hoped for this to be a good debate. :(