Monday, January 01, 2018

The Hinges Must Stay Put

"That is to say, the questions that we raise and our doubts depend on the fact that some propositions are exempt from doubt, are as it were like hinges on which those turn.  That is to say, it belongs to the logic of our scientific investigations that certain things are in deed not doubted.  But it isn't that the situation is like this: We just can't investigate everything, and for that reason we are forced to rest content with assumption.  If I want the door to turn, the hinges must stay put.  My life consists in my being content to accept many things."
Ludwig Wittgenstein, On Certainty, 1950, Sections: 341-344; published in 1969.  

Ludwig Wittgenstein in 1950

Professor Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) wrote the above quoted words in his notebooks during the last year of his life.  Unfortunately, he was suffering from terminal prostate cancer; and he was certain about that suffering.

What assumptions, taken for granted propositions, or fundamental core principles guide our life and "make us content to accept many things?"  Even though, as I know, few events or circumstances or things, or statements about them, are certain.   

I assume I will be living in 2018, despite facing problems with heart disease.  Lots hinges on my staying alive for me, my wife, my family, my friends, our finances.  If my death causes the hinges to be ripped from my door frame, my acceptance, my questioning, my doubts, and my medical problems will all become irrelevant, non-existent, Kaput, for the passed me.  

Some "hinges," using Wittgenstein's metaphor, are indeed fundamental to my living, to my beliefs, to my knowledge, to my doubts.  Many other assumptions are practical adaptations to issues related to daily life, effeciency, effectiveness, and modern lifestyles, e.g, I have confidence and believe, or I assume, that my 2003 Ford Explorer vehicle will start this morning.  

Many assumptions I have are based on practical/functional daily habits, routines, common sense, adaptive living in our historical circumstances and private lives.  Many assumptions are trivial, ordinary, relatively insignificant.  

A few assumptions are considered undoubted axioms or formal strict standardized procedures that are critical in scientific investigation, legal matters, metaphysics, religion, mathematics, logic, ehtical thought, etc.  Assume some axioms or flounder.  

What are the opposites of "assume?"  or "assuming?" or "assumptions?"

If a woman said "members of our church believe God exists," she might agree to admit that she also "assumes that God exists."  Either way, it is a big hinge issue.  

The Yin and Yang logic of life: no and yes, true and false, soft and hard, dead or alive, past and future, deeper and wider, good and evil, closed and open.  

"The journey of today begins with the first step out your front door."
-  Mike Garofalo, Pulling Onions  

An Old Philosopher's Notebooks.  By Mike Garofalo.


Dried grapes in the winter garden.
Gardening Metaphors

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