Few people seriously doubt the things and events apprehended in their everyday encounters with the world are 'there', or that they exist independently of the knowledge and experience gained of them. [02a Philwk doc]


Yet every such encounter involves, in some sense, a denial of this independence. Even the most elementary characteristics of the things experienced are determined by factors inherent in or associated with the circumstances in which they occur and are experienced. In the light of our notion that they have an independent existence this is puzzling. [Ibid]


From a philosophical point of view the inconstancy and mutability of the world as it is experienced is considered undesirable in something which is supposed to be independent and autonomous. It seems to undermine our claim to be able to acquire a knowledge of events beyond our experiences. [Ibid]


There must be a doubt whether entities can be said to exist independently when they cannot pass from one mind to another without changing confusingly and even radically; and whether they can be said to exist autonomously when their attributes are determined by the circumstances in which they happen to be apprehended. [Ibid]


Establishing that entities and events have the independence and autonomy ordinarily assigned them would seem to involve reconciling their claim to this status with the equally valid (but apparently conflicting) claims of other circumstances and contexts to exercise a determining influence on them. [-]


'Seeing things in a context' involves seeing them in circumstances which could include light, distance, motion, space, time, other things, ideas, feelings, memories, etc. [2/87]


On a sunny day the foliage is brilliant and luminous with colour; on a cloudy day it seems to be composed of monotones. But we see colour or the lack of it as belonging to things. After all, if these qualities don't belong to things where do they belong? Ayer cites the example of a coin which appears to be round and elliptical; both appearances seem to belong to the coin. [2/115]


It wouldn't make sense to suppose the appearance of something could remain unaltered by distance or other factors. Features which are visible near at hand or from a certain position may not be apparent or may look different at a distance or from a different position. Are the qualities or features there when we don't see them? Are they attributed to the object, when in fact they are only attributable to the object in the context of its relation to other entities? Does an object own all the qualities assigned to it? Or none of them? [2/87]


We have to be careful of nonsense here; nobody who saw an elephant at a distance would make the mistake of thinking it a small animal - unless they had no concept of distance or perspective. But it is hard to think of the stars as anything but twinkling pin-points of light; and difficult to think of the moon as a vast body in space, or of a building or even a moving vehicle as a heavy object. [2/87]


Why should proximity be a more reliable guide to the size of a thing than distance; why should the difference distance makes be regarded as not attributable to the object, when no comparable allowance is made for the effects of proximity? And if proximity is a good thing, how much of it is good; would a millimetre from the surface be good? [2/99]


In some of these instances, size and distance are related to functional factors; for example, size may be related to our ability to cope with a thing, the distance at which we react to it or manipulate it, the distance at which it is normally seen or at which it is fixed, etc. [2/99]


The influence of determining factors is not governed by general principles or the uniformities of logic, but by the variety and complexity of the circumstances, situations and contexts in which entities are encountered, and concepts are arranged. It seems to be easy to overlook this. [-]


The way x appears is related to my seeing it in circumstances which may never exactly be repeated anywhere else. There's a logic to the way these differences affect things, and if there were not we would usually sense something wrong. [2/115]


The problem is to square the apparent independence of things or qualities with the fact that they are tied to the specific contexts or circumstances which determine them. They are both distinct from and related to these determinants. 2/115]


'Seeing' is not the passive reception of an impression in a mind void of intent; something always determines what we see or understand. Yet what we see seems to have nothing to do with us, our ideas or circumstances. [001 Phn ANNEX, p.6]


The ambivalence of this process of engagement and disengagement is a source of perplexity, since it both influences the subject and denies it has an influence. [Ibid]


When people disagree about something seen, the disagreement doesn't arise because individuals hold different views. The views have to become confounded to produce a disagreement. [2/88]


If you say you thought the meal was good and I disagree and say it was bad, it isn't simply that I don't have access to your experience and you don't have access to mine. We seem to have communicated. I understand what you mean by 'good', but fail to consider the consequence of comparing your use of the word to my experience because I assume we're talking about something beyond the experience. [02 Phn NTE; p.4]


The fact that different points of view result in different perceptions need not itself be a problem. For example, when we're sitting opposite each other, the objects on my left should be positioned on your right. Problems arise when we attempt to isolate the objects of the perceptions from their determining factors or contexts and reconcile them with each other - when we take them out of context, or fail to see them in context. Don't we do this because they seem to us independent of (dissociated from) their contexts? That is, they seem to be 'there' in some peculiar way that denies the tangible fact of the physical and mental relations linking us to them... [2/88]


Imagine a dispute between two people of different proportions about whether a certain chair is comfortable or not. Each is convinced he or she is talking about a quality of the chair. (Nobody would challenge the claim to feel comfortable.) The dispute might turn on the depth of the seat or its height from the floor - which most people would see as features of the chair. In relation to a sitter the properties are not constant; yet though determined by an individual's physical characteristics, they may be assigned to the chair. [2/130]


If there is no such thing as a standard size and type of adult, perhaps the world which confronts people is infinitely variable, its characteristics infinitely elastic. Perhaps, to borrow a figure from the physicists, instead of there being a single, determinate chair, there is an amorphous wave of possible chair, which collapses into reality only when some specific determinant (person) sits on it. [2/130]


People often disagree about something seen differently which yet seems to occupy a common space before their senses, or the mental equivalent of this common space before their minds. (Solipsism effectively denies the existence of such spaces, perhaps even between states of selfhood.) [2/88]


An infant and its parent are confronted by a dog; the infant sees the dog as large and threatening - the parent sees it as a boisterous household pet. Qualities determined by specific relations are being assigned to the dog. But do they belong to it? [2/90]


Don't we want to be able to say the dog and its attributes exist independently of the individual's experiences of them? [02a Philwk doc]


In fact this very assumption underlies the failure of parent and child to understand each other. The child's fear and the equanimity of the parent correspond to something they take to have an objective existence. They are reacting to a dog, not to the experience of it. Yet the reality for each is different enough to be irreconcilable in important respects. Can it be said to exist independently of them? [Ibid]


The problem with attempting to show that the same dog can be experienced by each is that what is actually experienced is determined by the specific relation to either the parent or the child. The problem would be resolved if we could resort to a dog independent of either experience - as for example in the common sense view that both experiences share the same dog. But unless there is evidence other than that supplied by experience that the dog exists, it seems we cannot do this. [Ibid]


From a common sense point of view, it is easy to see why an animal which poses no threat to an adult might be a danger to a small child. The problem arises here because qualities belonging to each of these relations are assigned to the dog. Relatively it can be large and threatening or small and harmless; but considered as an autonomous entity, it can't in itself be large and small. [Ibid]


'How does the child's weakness become the animal's strength; how does the adult's strength become the animal's weakness?' What picture of relation enables me to ask such a question? [2/93]


Wouldn't it be absurd to be in the position of having to say 'the dog is only this size when x is in proximity to it'? As though its size were dependent upon the person confronting it, rather than a property of the animal itself... [2/95]


While it is in order for a person's nationality or height to affect the way things are seen, or the significance of their properties, it would be a distortion to suggest such factors in some way become part of an entity. They determine its qualities. [2/86]


But what does that mean? Does the adult (or the child) bring out qualities already there in the dog? Isn't it a commonly held view that knowledge is the discovery of what is already there? The ground for holding this view seems to be that the elements of the relation existed prior to the relation itself. [s2/90]


Both this and the alternative notion that the qualities are imposed or introduced by the context are presumably attempts to accommodate the conclusion that since a relation involves discrete entities the qualities emerging must have originated in one or other party to the relation. [001 Phn ANNEX, p.4]


The dog's potency belongs to the dog relative to the child. Was the dog harmful to the child before this encounter? Does the quality cease when the proximity ceases? The quality did not depend on the proximity, but on the relation. Distance does not alter the relation. [001 Phn ANNEX, p.4]


The dog is dangerous to the child - although it was harmless to the adult. So how can it be said (with sense) that the dog stays as it was? It doesn't stay harmless, and that's how it was! [2/92]


Isn't the dog dangerous to the child because it remains the size it was relative to the adult? [2/92]


Doesn't the size of the dog seem to change as we endorse different contexts in relation to it? [2/90]


The size of the dog doesn't change relative to the size of other things around it. (They may be the context endorsed!) [2/92]


'This bottle is smaller than that one, but larger than this' - nobody would take that for a description of a change in a physical object's size. [2/98]


An observer who could see the relative size of the child and the dog might (depending on the circumstances) say the dog appeared large relative to the child or the child appeared small relative to the dog - where it served some purpose to make one or other observation. [001 Phn.ANNEX p.4]


Qualities are as constant as relations, and as predictable or unpredictable. What remains are the underlying principles, the uniformities governing the relations between things. [s2/95]


An idea or a thing seen in a different context is changed to the degree appropriate to the difference made by the context - and the change should be consistent with the difference of context. The difference between the child's and the adult's view of the dog corresponds to the difference between the determinants. When account is taken of these, there's no conflict. [2/92 and 2/98]


A quality generated by a specific relation is assigned to the dog; differing relations produce differing qualities. The qualities can be reconciled by taking into account the relations that produced them; they don't belong to the dog in itself, but to the dog in the relation. It makes no sense to ask what the dog is 'really like', since properties are not discovered otherwise than by the relations which determine them. (But why does it seem to us that there might be an property NOT so determined?) [2/117]


We fail to make sense of those differences when we take the perception of the dog or its qualities out of the context in which they are realised. It looks then as though the animal might be any size or possess any qualities in infinite combination; there appear to be a multitude of objective states which correlate to no specific contexts. [2/95]


We take the qualities out of the contexts in which they are realised because they seem to be independent of the factors employed to determine them. Our grasp of an entity or event seems to be unmediated by any context or set of determining circumstances. [-]


We need to take things out of context, but we have to take account of the context. This is one of the challenges of sound thinking, isn't it? [2/101]


Endorsing contexts (in relation to things) yields a sense of change. And endorsing contexts is 'seeing'. That's what we mean by 'a way of seeing'. [2/90]


Contextual determinism (along with the shift of aspect dealt with in Section 2) is the transformative principle in relation. [2/165]


Changes or differences in the way a thing looks in various circumstances which may be regarded as mysterious, inexplicable or incomprehensible in philosophical contexts, wouldn't strike people as anything of the sort in ordinary contexts. [2/209:8]


Consider the philosopher's penny seen from different points of view. [2/67]


Applying logic to the product of an ordinary (contextually-determined) observation seems to have generated a problem of perception; the coin can't be elliptical and round. [2/221:4]


Logic takes no account of the role of contextual determinants in this situation - isolating the product of the determinants as a fact, without considering how or why it comes to be the way it is, that is to say, its history. [2/67, 2/221:5]


The perspectives logic introduces are absolute. Either a thing is the same or it isn't; either we see the same thing or we don't. [2/67]


Ordinary language contexts aren't meant to function in that way; they shift the aspect seen by invoking a different (but related) context or perspective. [2/79]


Language aims to make sense of the differences which are the differences of relation. [2/101]


To say everything is context-bound may not be misleading in itself; but the view that each context-bound encounter with the world is unique and must be judged accordingly misrepresents the way we usually deal with reality. [2/142]


A good part of the skill of knowing consists perhaps of being able to anticipate correctly the nature of the changes to be expected in the object of knowledge encountered in any given set of circumstances. It is equally useful in anticipating the likelihood of errors and misunderstandings. [2/156]


I watch a group of people performing an unfamiliar ritual and exclaim, 'That's strange!'. A native of the culture, hearing me, says no - it's quite a common custom. The pair of us are convinced we are observing an objective event; yet apparently it is a different event for each of us. The aspect changes. [1/21]


'That's strange!'. Isn't it the case that this 'strangeness', though contextually-determined, depends on something beyond the knower's context for its sense? [1/61]


Imagine we deliberately interpret this form of activity, intended to be part of a solemn ritual, in a way which makes it appear ridiculous... [1/171]


When we assign the activity to a context in which it appears absurd, isn't the quality of absurdity seen in the activity itself? Can any tangible evidence be offered of the absurdity which isn't an inseparable aspect of the performance of the ritual? [1/171]


How does absurdity get into the solemn ritual? (How does the aspect change?) [1/171]


Does it make sense to assign what is mocked to the original solemn setting - considering the investment of ridicule? Well, though they aren't in touch, it bears both aspects... [-]


In fact isn't the subject of the ridicule still determined by the solemnity of the setting when seen thus? Could it even be absurd without the significance this setting assigns to it? (See Dryden's mockery of transubstantiation in Catholic ritual in 'Absalom and Achitophel'.) [s1/171]


What is seen in the determining context forms an aspect (though only provisionally here) of what is beyond it. [-]


What the context 'pictures' seems to be and usually is beyond the context. The impression that the picture makes no difference to what is pictured (that it merely reflects an aspect of what is 'there') is an illusion - though it might be difficult to point to anything in the picture as evidence of the difference it makes. [2/96:1]


'Knowledge is context-bound'. But does that tell us anything? So too, are ignorance and error. Contexts transform whatever is placed in them. [2/55]


What seems to trouble us is the suggestion that the context determines what is seen or understood, what things look like, what they mean or the significance attached to them. We want something beyond this process that gives sense to the view we discover what is the case. [s2/52]


I mistake the image of a ballpoint pen printed on a magazine page for a ballpoint pen, and reach to pick it up. Seen as an object which can be picked up, it isn't real; seen as the printed image of such an object it is... [1/70]


Do I determine its unreality by trying to pick it up? Isn't its unreality a consequence of applying the wrong context? The interpretation makes it seem unreal because it is at variance with the nature of the object... [2/16]


The context in which an entity is seen determines what it is seen as, not what it is. The 'ballpoint' might be seen by more than one observer - that wouldn't make it real. [2/55]


The fact that a thing may not be what it is seen as indicates other sources of determinacy are operating on it. [2/55]


The context of interpretation determines what is or isn't seen. But the agent has no power - other than that derived from applying contexts and changing relationships - to make a difference to things. Nor a power to change the determining effect of the contexts applied, other than by introducing further contexts to modify these relationships. The concepts used may resist the intention underlying expression because they retain an independence of any particular context employed to determine their meaning. [1/70]


Things don't offer a meaning or significance, they have to be seen as having one in the light of a perspective that relates them to other things. This might mean nothing more than that the piece of the world we relate something to determines what we see - we may not necessarily acquire a knowledge of anything. We can relate things in ways which render them absurd, false, trivial or pointless. [s1/70]


The context I bring to bear on a subject makes a difference to what I see. It is drawn into the orbit of my ideas or perceptions, the aspect shifts and the subject seems to become inseparable from the way I see it. Still, what is seen and the aspects of it that concern me have their independence within the contexts I bring to bear. So do the contexts I bring to bear; I don't invent them, though I may misapply them. [1/84]


I run my hand over the surface of a piece of wood - perhaps because it gives me a feeling of pleasure, or maybe to try to judge whether it is smooth enough to varnish. The quality I experience (smoothness) is constituted by the relationship between the surface of the wood, my physical presence and my senses, not just by the surface of the wood itself. Yet it doesn't seem so to me... [1/118]


The experience I have may or may not reflect the quality of the surface. But it would seem to me, either way, it was the wood that was smooth. 1/118]


I have a notion in my head that 'The exam is at 9.30'. My being certain of it means that I shall miss the exam (it begins at 9.00) because the idea I have is 'of' or 'about' something - ie it relates to a subject or a state of affairs independent of my notion. Again, what I know or believe I know seems not be mediated by my ideas, but to stand beyond them. Doesn't the impression it is dissociated from my knowing or experiencing it, seem to validate it? [12 Phn.NTE, p.28]


Why does claiming to know something seem to amount to a claim to be able to transcend the workings of a context and arrive magically at a certainty about what lies beyond? Why does what I claim to know (that the exam is at 9.30, or that this is smooth...) seem to be beyond the impression that yields the information? [2/169]


Say we are told; 'There's a meeting with X today in Room 31A, at 11.15 a.m.'. The subject of knowledge (which we may have misunderstood or got wrong - or may have been wrong when we were given it) is what we have learned. Yet we have a sense of events beyond what was communicated; an impression we know more than the information given us. Unless we have grounds for doubt (such as a source we suspect may be unreliable, or conflicting information) don't we tend to discount the medium? [2/177:7 and 2/192:4-6]


Properly constituted knowledge contexts relate to something beyond themselves. Though this criteria isn't always satisfied, we can still have the impression it has been. If the exam had been at 9.30, I would have known a fact; but it wouldn't have seemed any different. [2/229:2; 14 Phn.NTE, p.15]


We interpret the content of a knowledge context as a reference to something beyond it because we can't do otherwise. Though distinct from the state or object we seek to know, the picture seems to merge with what it was meant (ie intended) to picture. That was why I tried to pick up the image of a ballpoint pen. [2/208:2]


The statements, 'Iago is an honest man...' 'The exam is at 9.30...' are conjunctions of elements, which may be rightly or wrongly associated. But a truth or falsehood doesn't just depend upon the combination of elements. Imagine somebody is asserting them as propositions and then consider what would be required to disprove them. (What would you need to know?) We'd be looking for something that isn't here, wouldn't we? (Though it doesn't seem to be anywhere else either... See 1.18.1-1.19.5.) [2/176:8]


A context cannot constitute anything in itself. It can only determine a meaning through the relation of its parts, on the basis of meanings extant in other contexts. A context establishes a set of determining relations between entities beyond itself; it has no substance beyond their meanings, and the meaning it aims (and may fail) to introduce by relating them. [1/148]


But if the context is nothing in itself, how can it express non-transcendent meanings, such as 'the exam is at half-past nine today' or 'Iago is an honest man'? Isn't it because a meaning derived from transcendent contexts or situations has been combined in a non-referential whole? The context creates a pseudo entity, which, seeming to have a bearing on reality, hangs over a void. Such entities may become confounded with reality, producing forms which belong in neither realm. (See 1.15.3.) [2/177]


Unless the relations between the ideas that constitute a context take account of other relations they entail, the arrangement is without efficacy in manipulating reality. This suggests the sense in which we do and do not determine the relationships between the ideas expressed. The 'difficulty' of thinking and specifically of achieving knowledge resides in this relationship between the knower's power to determine the arrangement of ideas (or other entities) in a context - and the constraining influence of what the mind does not control, exercised on the context through the mind itself. [2/379:6]


Am I still inclined to ask how I can ever know more than the proposition itself, even where its sense agrees with that of (say) some state of affairs? [-]


Doesn't my doubt go with a mistaken notion of the kind of gap that exists between a context of knowledge and what is known? (See 1.13.4.) [-]


A knowledge context is validated (if at all) by the inclusion of relationships which render its meaning capable of translation into other forms of thought and activity - thus making it an aspect of something beyond itself. Isn't it in this sense (and no other) we see beyond it - and the intended application is achieved? (See 2.12.1-13.) [2/230:6]


I mistake an image of a ballpoint pen for a ballpoint pen. In trying to pick it up I assign the experience to a context which, in effect, determines the status (real or illusory) of what was perceived. In this instance the significance entailed in the interpretation doesn't survive translation into another context. [1/118]


The criteria of achieving transcendence is 'Does the sequence of relationships (eg between ideas and actions) work as an aspect of the intended context?'. The assumption that the exam was at 9.30 am could no more be translated into the realities of that situation, than could trying to varnish what turned out to be a mere impression of smoothness achieve a satisfactory result, or attempting to pick up an image of a ballpoint pen achieve any result at all... [2/216:8]


Sometimes in consequence of errors we make, relationships between ideas and activities become confounded to produce abortive forms which are neither sense nor nonsense - but an ironic affiliation of the two. [-]


Where a wrong word or idea is introduced into a context, the sense of the whole tends to seem wrong rather than that of the particular aspect. Nonsense gets into the form of thought, and only an unstable fleeting possibility of sense remains. [-]


For example; I arrange to see somebody tomorrow, then get the idea I made the arrangement for today. So I go to a meeting that only exists in my head. But it isn't all in my head. I've confounded the real and the unreal. I go to the right place at the right time of day. These aspects can be distinguished from the nonsense they participate in. Without this reservation, my being in the right place at the right time dissolves in the nonsense of the whole business. [1/63]


Distinguishing the aspects; 'I put the book on the table'; 'You put it on the floor'. That rescues what was said from nonsense - the part worth rescuing anyway, the sense in the nonsense. Great confusions can and do arise from failing to see the possibilities of sense in nonsense. [1/63]


Denying the sense in what was said just leads to further confusion; distinguishing it leads to clarification, to pinning down the source of the mischief. Failing to distinguish the aspects of sense in nonsense is itself a kind of nonsense - making nonsense of the word 'wrong' by applying it to what's right as well as what's wrong. [1/63]


Bringing forms together risks confounding them; but were I to insist on preserving a distinction between when I thought the meeting was to be held and when it was to be held I would be unable to act. I have to assume my ideas and reality coincide, make a decision, and go - or impotence sets in. I could go with a certain amount of doubt or a sense of irony - but there's no possibility of my going and not going. [1/63]


When I say 'X seems honest' I am aware of an irony proceeding from my judgement, particularly if I say it only after some deliberation. I want to identify my impression with him, and yet... 'Seems' establishes an ironic fellowship between X and my notion of him; it relates my impression to his character, but distinguishes between them as well. 'Seems' invokes my fallibility even as it bears witness in his favour. [1/65]


By going ahead I abolish a distinction. What I do only has sense if there is no difference between what I suppose to be the case, and what is the case. [1/64]


'All the sentences in our language are in order as they are.' (Wittgenstein.) Including those that aren't? [2/34]


Even the uses that aren't in order ARE in order - since they have their remedies in language. [2/165]


And if it were not so, are we supposed to be able to prevent people thinking and speaking the way they do? [2/7]


Failures of sense and plunges into nonsense are inherent in language and essential to the idea of a language. Excluding them produces an odd and distorted notion of what a language is and what it does. (Not that we could put a stop to people doing that either...) [2/69]


There couldn't have been a language which excluded nonsense. We discover it in expression as we go and transform it into sense. Confusions, ignorance, falsehood, deception, errors, misunderstandings, misconceptions... How much of language is just this working towards clarity? [2/34]


The nonsense and disorder of the world emerge in language. Oedipus' mother is the mother of his children. That makes sense of the reality; the reality is nonsense. [2/38]


The achievement of sense implies an engagement with nonsense. We don't come to terms with the reality of the world without consenting to the expression of its misalliances of sense and nonsense, its confusions and conflicts. [2/102]


'Language determines our view of reality.' Mightn't we see this as part of an account of why we make errors? [-]


'Fresh today!' - imagine how this guarantee might lose touch with the reality. But wouldn't we discover it had lost touch through language? [1/84]


Is the meaning of a word the object it denotes, or its use in the language? [2/284:1]


Isn't that like asking whether the tick confers significance on the interval or the interval on the tick? The meaning of words is inseparable from their relationship to things and to other words. The referents (objects) of words are aspects of the meaning of a language; the definition of 'freshness' may be in language or things. [2/19]


Yet they seem separate. It doesn't seem as though language depends on things - or things on language. [2/19]


The invocation of an event with words can never be more than that. Sometimes we seem to think it can be and is more - that expression is indistinguishable from the event invoked. The word seems to become the thing expressed. [2/170:2]


Propositions don't always take other forms of expression as their subjects, they sometimes aim to be about the things and events themselves; and this entails a distinction, albeit one made in language. [2/183:7]


But wouldn't these things and events have to be expressed before their significance could become the focus of other forms of expression? [2/183:7]


Isn't it difficult to see how a thing or event would ever get expressed if it had first to be the subject of a form of expression? [2/184:1]


'There's the book!' Doesn't this seem to reflect an object before us to which an expression or idea is being attached? [-]


Isn't that the illusion; that the things we see in a context must have existed in this form before they were seen because they seem to stand beyond the context? [2/200:8]


Then you try to think what things might be like in themselves, without the words used to express them and the difficulties emerge. Yet it is oddly conceivable (despite the absurdity) that what is expressed would be unaffected by the subtraction of expression. [2/219:9]


Don't things and events seem to take on a life of their own - dissociated from the forms of expression which introduced them? (Well if so, they are being seen that way!) [2/187]


Isn't it ironical that language seems to dissociate itself from things for the purposes of expressing them? [1/65]


How do other contexts come to exercise an influence on forms of expression (eg 1.13.9-11)? Where are the contexts influencing the formation of these observations? There aren't any other contexts are there? [1/135]


Although what is expressed may sometimes exhibit evidence of these other contexts, it isn't usually a function of the form of expression to show the sources which have influenced what is expressed. Where it does have that function, the sources are specifically invoked. [1/135]


Yet I'm trying to make sense of something beyond these ideas. Where is the subject? Why is this relation to what is beyond the form of expression so difficult to demonstrate? [1/135]


'The exam is at 9 a.m.' Isn't there supposed to be a subject here - a particular association of ideas, actions and events corresponding to the proposition? But can I envisage anything of the sort being so without my having used these (or similar words) to express it? [2/230:3]


I catch myself thinking of things, events and ideas as though they existed beyond my invocation; but there is no subject in that sense, is there - nor a context? [2/185]


Certainly, the examination arrangement exists independently of the proposition that it is at 9 am. But what specifically establishes this relative to the knower's context? Isn't it the context's function to determine that? Our analysis disrupts this process... [2/268:11]


The view that the world comprises a matching set of entities - of ideas, actions, events, circumstances and so on - is an impression obtained from the normal uses of language, which express (or seem to express) just what these are.... [-]


The notion of 'corresponding elements of reality' implies the existence of an identifiable element of reality which can be used as a yardstick in judging the truth of a proposition, permitting a sort of one to one comparison with the parts of reality, or at least their corresponding propositions. But this entity, whether in the form of event, thing, or word remains elusive. Further investigation yields only products of mind or sense similar to those deployed in the search, apparently appendages of the investigation itself. What seemed to exist beyond the context of knowledge, does so in the sense of forming an aspect of other circumstances (or the contexts expressing them) as these are determined by this context. [2/182]


Far from representing a problem this underlines the fact that the aim of propositions and statements isn’t to reflect such elementary components of reality, but to establish determining links comprehending these other forms of expression and their associated activities within the knower's context. [2/268:11]


We have access to the subject only through the context which determines our knowledge of it. (How odd I should know this and constantly lose sight of it...) [2/230:6]


The elusiveness of the focus of these propositions reflects the elusiveness of the world; until determined, it doesn't have the form relation confers. [2/205:4]


The difficulty of expression lies in reconciling within the contextual relationship, elements subject to the determining influence of factors beyond it - influences the context aims to comprehend. [2/31]


The focus of interest here lies in the ability of the mind to assign a role to concepts in a determining context devised for its present purpose consistent with meanings acquired in other contextual relationships. [2/302:7]


In including such links it aims to reconcile the internal and external relationships endorsed. Internal order depends on external order; each transforms the other. [1/81; s1/101]


If a form of expression were simply absolute, it could be neither right nor wrong. Its rightness or wrongness depends on the way it organises other forms of expression or forms of life, the relation it bears to them, and the way it relates them to each other. (See 1.13.9.) [1/81]


A view has consistently been held in philosophy that the only evidence we can have for the existence of physical objects (things) is provided by our senses and experiences, that an experience is not itself a physical object, and further that the existence of physical objects cannot be inferred from it. Since experience (and ideas derived from it) forms the basis of our knowledge of things, we are prohibited from having any direct knowledge of physical objects. [001 Phn ANNEX, p.2]


This idea isn't as remote from common sense as it sounds. When we kick a stone, we feel the resistance of its weight, hear it roll over the paving, see its shape, colour and size. These experiences form part of our idea of a stone. They are sensory experiences. Ordinarily, these are what count as experiences of a physical object. Someone who trips over a stone has the experience of tripping. [001 Phn ANNEX, p.2]


What is tripped over, however, is not an experience. Our ability, in normal discourse, to preserve the distinction between an experience and what is experienced is harder to explain than the ease with which we seem able to perform this feat might suggest. Indeed, to make the distinction clear in words needs a certain amount of care. In the sentence above, for example, it isn't obvious that 'what is experienced' is necessarily anything other than the experience itself. A modest elaboration of these terms would probably bring out the differences of application, but it would not establish the validity of the distinction to the satisfaction of a philosopher; and pointing out that we routinely make this distinction in the course of thinking about the world, doesn't help unless we can rationalise what we do - unless, that is, we can find reasons which justify the distinction we customarily make. [2/179]


Most people would see their experiences as being of physical entities and events, though if interrogated might concede they were experiences as well. The grounds for the distinction we make are less obvious than they appear at first sight. [2/179]


In many respects, physical objects are virtually identical to the corresponding experiences; it is hard to see how reality would work if it were not so. Despite this resemblance we do not usually confound them with experiences, though sometimes we mistake our ideas and perceptions for more solid entities. Such errors require the existence of a realm philosophy has failed to legitimise. [2/180]


Why is it so difficult to distinguish an entity or event from our idea or experience of it; and why is this distinction so precarious, so easily lost? [s2/11]


This is a philosophical problem, isn't it? It doesn't occur in ordinary language. Isn't it related to our inability to resolve the ambiguity of the relationship between the mind and its objects - so that depending on circumstances, these may seem distinct entities that confound our efforts to relate them; or inseparable aspects of each other that defy our efforts to draw a line between them? [s2/11]


Ordinary language easily transcends the difficulties which have baulked philosophical rationalism. In that respect, falling back on the practices of ordinary language users seems to have borne fruit. But at a cost, since it yields no rational insight into why one form of language succeeds, for example, in reconciling mind and matter, where the other, in seeking to explain the relationship, consistently fails. [2/222:1]


Ordinary language and the habits of thinking associated with it make sense of the assumption that things and events exist independently and can be experienced. The question ought not perhaps to be how do we obtain information about these things if not from the effect they have on the mind and senses, but what sort of picture induces us to suppose that neither the mind or senses can conduct us to an experience or a knowledge of entities beyond the realms of sensations and ideas. [2/180]


What lies beyond experience, though inaccessible in the sense implied above (for surely we can only have an experience or idea of it) isn’t a mystery, insofar as the 'beyond' invoked is a determinate location, and includes events and objects which can be identified in relation to determinants other than the mind or senses. [2/145; 2/163]


What other kind of location is there....? [2/163]


Doesn't the knower's context generate an illusion that there could be another kind - a location which is not determinate, and really is beyond any context, any relation? (See 1.13.4, 1.14.1-5 and 3.10.3-4.) [2/163]


The apparently free-standing entity sought through a knowledge context is always located in some other context, situation or circumstance. It just seems weightless and free of all relations, including its relationship to the mind, an impression which is itself generated by its links to the mind. [2/163]


Everything has its origin in some determining relation or circumstance, is sustained by a use or function and experienced in a context. Reality is a structure of such relationships. [2/127]


What we need is a world that endures when we don't experience it in the sense that the relationships between things remain logically constant, whether present to the mind or not. [2/348:5]


A particular relation doesn't cease to operate because we have ceased to know it is operating. We have to distinguish between those things that require the participation of the mind to be as they are and those that don't. [2/105]


The relations between things determined by our conceptions and experiences (including those wrongly determined) aren't otherwise affected by them. This is what gives the world its predictability. [-]


Everything we know of is a product of relation - although not everything is a product of relation to mind alone (even if it takes a mind to realise this). [2/132]


Much of our perplexity stems from the additions of the mind (and senses) which we cannot subtract, but which seem to be subtractable. [2/116]


A similar difficulty besets relations between things. Though an object seems to lay claim to the shape and colour conferred by its relationship to an environment, the qualities aren’t separable from the relationship. [2/212:9]


The notion that an entity could exist in itself, free of all relation, is an illusion produced by the dissociation of what is known from its determinants, including the mind. [2/127]


The confusion inherent in our view of the relationship between an experience and what is experienced is introduced by the dissociation and objectification of properties generated by relation. Entities which acquire properties through relation develop an autonomous claim to them. [2/140]


Dissociation creates an impossible object, one which acquires its presence in physical space from a relationship to the determining mental and physical presence of a beholder. That isn’t to say the mind imposes a structure on the relationship. The process of objectification is the logical consequence of a shift, the inverse effect of which is the creation of a complementary internal (mental) space ‘reflecting’ the object. [2/527:5]


In achieving transitions, the mechanism of the shift defeats attempts to inspect its operations. On the one hand there are the mind-entities; on the other what appear to be, from a behavioural point of view at least, entities not captive to our thought processes. ‘Smoothness’ is ambiguous; it has the aspect of a sensation allied to the mind and a quality attached to the surface of a material object. All relations of this type yield ambiguity as an incidental consequence of their function in shifting perception from mind to object. ‘There’s the book!’ produces the same ambiguity. The concept seems to be in the mind, yet somehow attached to the book itself. There is no evidence of a link between – or even of a gap. [2/527:6]