When I run my hand across this panel, it feels smooth and solid. I usually have no special difficulty in understanding what I mean when I say a surface feels smooth and solid or ascribe a certain appearance to it. But when I try to analyse these expressions a problem emerges. I don't then understand what the phrase 'a feeling of smoothness' means, or what it means to say that a surface has such and such an appearance. The nature of the relationship between the terms is unclear. Although the words used suggest my experiences are distinct from the things they relate to, I can't isolate a feeling or sensation of any kind without finding a piece of the material world attached to it. Likewise, I can't isolate the surface of a material object which doesn't seem to have an experience attached to it. Yet it seems I should be able to draw a line between my experiences and these objects because there is one - or at least, our habitual modes of thought and behaviour assume such a distinction. [001 Phn Annex, p.11]


Trying to separate a thought from a thing is like trying to separate the grin from the face of the Cheshire cat. But doesn't it seem as though it ought to be possible to separate what can be distinguished? [1/67; 2/196]


Why do we want to draw the wrong sort of line between things? W.B.Yeats; 'How may we tell the dancer from the dance?'[1/67]


When you try to move sentences or paragraphs about in well-written prose isn't it as though part of the sense has been left behind in the context? [2/127]


It seems we might be able take something out of its context unchanged - though we in fact destroy the relation which makes it that thing or idea. [1/169]


Asking whether the 'smoothness' we feel belongs in the verge of things or the senses is reasonable insofar as the capacity to sense something can be distinguished from what is sensed. In asking the question we may be trying to assign the quality to whichever is appropriate. It is absurd if it seems to suggest that what is sensed might be separable from the relationship that yields it. Asked in this form the question (like Yeat's riddle) isn't meant to be answered. Its purpose is served by the failure to illuminate the nature of relation itself. [001 Phn ANNEX, p.5]


Not being able to separate things in the way the capacity to distinguish them suggests we can. What sort of picture makes us feel they are separable? [1/94]


Now I would say that I can tell the dancer from the dance by picking out the aspect with a context (as the riddle does in posing the question). But what idea could I have had of relation to make me think there was any other way of distinguishing the aspects, of drawing a line? [1/67]


Is it perhaps that language, with its discrete components - each individual word related to the next and seemingly easy to dissociate from it - induces us to see separation as a possibility? [1/67; 2/196]


But doesn't this conception of language itself just reflect a certain view of how things are? 'Everything is what it is and not another thing.' As though a clear line of demarcation separated each thing from neighbouring things. [2/309:6]


This metaphysical concept of separateness isn't much like our ordinary notion of separation - where other things or nothing (in the sense of the absence of anything) keep things apart. It is a peculiarly elusive idea to grasp. [2/311:5]


Nor does it entirely ring true, since something holds things together, even binds them together - albeit in a way opaque to the understanding. [2/309:7]


When I think of the form of a thing set in space, its surface illuminated by light; and the inscrutable nature of this relationship, whereby each is a distinct yet an inseparable aspect of the other - I see the truth of this immediately. [2/309:8]


We picture reality as pieces fitting together. But at a certain point the analogy breaks down - for in a sense the pieces do more than fit together; they seem to get inside each other, they become interlocked (some wrongly!). [2/9]


Something else is always caught up in a form of life, something which lies beyond the form of life itself and is both determined by it and independent of it. [-]


This determining relation to what lies beyond the form might be thought of as an 'overlap'. [-]


Overlaps exist in the sense that concepts in a given context possess a quality or significance assigned by other contexts which is reflected in their use. [2/165]


The possibility of things overlapping provides a foundation for meaning, knowledge and change.... [2/87]


The overlap facilitates connections; it doesn't determine whether or not it is appropriate to connect things. They may overlap (be related) without sense. [2/24; 2/363:10]


How can we know this idea of an overlap isn't an arbitrary invention? It seems to be impossible to see - so how can we tell it exists? Doesn't the world work well enough without it; why shouldn't we continue to accept the non-overlapping, non-interlocking view of reality? [2/150]


It isn't enough for forms of language (and life) to abut or verge upon one another. They must be within and beyond each other or nothing works. Nothing can be done from 'outside'; nothing is outside the structure of reality in this sense. [2/219:6]


A context, seen under the aspect of other contexts for the purposes of interpretation, is changed - admitting various possibilities of sense not previously discernible. These are usually conceived to be in the context interpreted, although their appearance there is clearly related to the introduction of the contexts which determine them. [2/151]


The contextual regressions and shifting from ground to ground found in certain kinds of thinking indicate something else is always implicated in the ideas expressed. As though we couldn't get hold of anything without finding the beginnings of something else in our hands. [1/81]


The ideas which constitute a distinction may, by a change of aspect, establish a connection. Seeing ideas as a link excludes the possibility of seeing the distinction underlying the connection - and vice-versa. The exclusiveness of these interpretations determines our understanding of the relationship being pursued and conceals a shift of aspect. [2/158]


A poem, say, has a certain form which I find I must go beyond in explaining its meaning - eg the relation between Marvell's nymph and the Civil War. I have gone beyond a limit - and may talk of what is not said in the poem as though it were said. The meaning of a poem exceeds its limits in a certain way, but this is not to be confounded with the way in which it observes them - so as to bring me to the point of speaking in the same manner of what it does say, as of what it does not say. The limits of the poem (or any form) become an aspect of something beyond it, and to pass beyond them is to speak of something else. This is in order as long as the something else and its bearing on the poem are properly identified. [1/59]


What I lose sight of in endorsing a relationship to what lies beyond the limits of expression (or seeing) is the shift of aspect which constitutes the relationship to something beyond. The act of apprehending or determining what is not expressed in Marvell's poem through the medium of what is, precipitates the disappearance of this link - and with it may go the distinction between what is and what is not expressed in the poem. [2/300:6]


A language form comprises the relationships established between concepts being used to generate a meaning from other forms of life; it is 'about' something beyond itself. Its relationships are thus internal and external. (See 1.13.9.) [1/81]


Does the concept of a form of expression allow for the way a context includes relations between concepts whose meaning extends into other forms - overlaps, that is? Well, perhaps it does in a sense, and perhaps in a sense it can't. [1/81]


It isn't possible to see that the ideas or images which constitute a form of expression simultaneously constitute its links to other forms. Interpretations are exclusive - we can't see the overlap. [2/5]


So in thinking about (for example) the relationships between the ideas in a poem and those between the poem and the forms of language behind the poetry, I can't apprehend the ideas in both contexts at once. This limits my view of the relationship between the two. [1/93]


The form of expression is absolute; but what occurs in it is relative to other forms, sometimes specific forms. [1/81]


Why can't reason cope with a situation in which things are simultaneously related and distinguished? (Why does it seem possible to me it might..?) [1/112]


A relation (or distinction) underlies the aspect seen. The aspect seen is absolute; where a shift of aspect occurs, the shift is absolute. [2/151]


The rational looks one way; if things are distinct they can't be related. At this point (if we listen to reason), the world stops working... [1/55]


Isn't it in the nature of reality that you can't have it both ways? Yet this seems a stultifying conclusion - implying our sense of meaning and change in life and the fact that a form of language or thought is about something else (to which it must remain related) are founded on the defeat of logic. [1/113]


Against logic stands the commonplace paradox that the words of a sentence formed in ordinary language (this sentence, for example) are simultaneously related and distinguished. [2/161]


Similarly a form of expression remains distinct from what is expressed. It isn’t possible to comprehend this relationship. All we can say is that it works, that it provides access to what is beyond expression, conception or experience.... [-]


There must be a link between one word and the next, between a form of expression and what it expresses - for how else could it work? Yet it is nowhere apparent. The principle of connection isn't exhibited in expression. Words and forms of expression ('language games') seem to occupy a discrete place, butting up against the mental and physical entities invoked by expression without actually being linked to them. [2/361:6]


The absence of a concept of a link (and hence a means of mediating conflict, resolution, change and meaning) is of no consequence in respect of the link's function. The commerce between things is a mystery, but not otherwise affected. [2/271:1]


Apropos the onset of an awareness of another possibility - the 'dawning of an aspect'; does this escape from the way of seeing have to be explained? Is the advent of change or difference less logical than stasis? Or does some misconception in our view of things just make it seem so? [2/146]


When we think 'That's foreign!' or 'This seems smooth' don't we already have a sense that something lies beyond this idea or feeling? (We may be wrong of course.) [2/160]


This sense of something else informing our understanding of what is before us is akin to irony, or perhaps is irony. It is related to the ambiguities of the shift of aspect. Both are an indication of the overlapping nature of reality. [2/345:7]


In its familiar form irony allows the mind to disengage itself from what is expressed via an underlying perspective; eg 'It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife'. [2/160]


Our sense of 'wrongness' depends on irony, or something like it. [-]


Don't I have to be able to see beyond and behind what happens to see what is happening, to escape its absoluteness? Doesn't the sense of background or depth yield a sense of foreground, of things existing or standing out? [1/125]


No, that isn't it - saying you have to 'see' misrepresents altogether the point I want to convey here. We don't see the background contexts - in fact it is the whole point that we don't see the background to this foreground - that would be to pass beyond a limit when we didn't intend to. [s1/125]


Still, it seems there is an extra dimension to be brought in, a background to the foreground of what is said, or what is the case; a sense of the 'other possibility' - of what was or what will be - behind what is the case. [1/158]


Knowledge, change, and our sense of meaning all depend on our ability to detect something more than we actually see. Yet it seems not to be logically justifiable. [2/150]


The concept of 'overlapping' places meaning both within and beyond a context, though it can't be seen thus. [2/163]


Even where an expression fails to be about something beyond itself, we interpret it as though it had succeeded - because there is no other possibility. [-]


A context or way of seeing couldn't be exclusive (other than by interpretation) since all forms of expression are an aspect of something else. [2/151:8]


Notes 2.7.1 to 2.10.4 attempt to define the sense in which contexts are exclusive (ideas are interpreted in one context at a time) and the sense in which they are not (contexts are the medium in which aspects of other contexts are expressed and interpreted). These two contextual functions - the exclusion and the inclusion of the sources of meaning - are related by the overlapping of contexts and the shift of aspect. [2/178]


While the overlapping relationship between contexts seems to disclose an illogical state of affairs, the probability is that it is the only possible state. [2/178]


Yet this relationship, though present in language and thought, seems to be without a substantial form; and we are we placed in the position of having to argue for the existence of a link which can't be produced. Why is it impossible to detect a link? [2/248:2]


We want to be able to give a rational account of how ordinary language works; to be able to say how ideas and the things they invoke can simultaneously be within a context and a determinate aspect of something beyond it. We want change and the relations between forms of knowledge and their subject contexts to have a logical foundation... [2/152:3]


How does ordinary language work? Is the principle of overlapping consistent with logic? [2/151:6]


We see 'things as they are' in the context of 'things as they were'. Reason doesn't preclude a thing being both what it is and what it was, but can't comprehend the nature of the link between these distinct states... [2/20]


Reason can't make sense of the changes expressed in ordinary language because what is changed is vanquished by what emerges from the change via the shift of aspect. [2/76]


Rational forms of thought which deal successfully with relation and change take the shift of aspect for granted. [-]


In respect of the continuities of ordinary language, an idea seen in a different context changes to a degree appropriate to the difference made by the context; the change should be logically consistent with the difference of context. [-]


A shared idea linking two contexts cannot be 'identical' in each. It would have to be the same and different to exactly that degree determined by the resemblance and difference of the contexts linked - a state inaccessible to logic. [-]


Ref 1.6.5; 'The problem with attempting to show the same dog can be experienced by each, is that what is actually experienced is determined via the specific relation to either the parent or the child...' We don't want these two views of the dog to be the same (logically identical); we want them to be congruous aspects of a whole (logically consistent). (See 1.9.1.) [2/160]


All change is transformative and is brought about by contexts overlapping (determining) an existing meaning. [2/116]


The view that one context necessarily removes a concept from another's orbit (See 2.22.1) ignores the role of overlaps in extending the meaning of concepts or facilitating a change of aspect from one context to another. (See 1.9.1-5.) [2/132]


In the absence of a rational account of change it becomes difficult to avoid an assumption that contextual determinism and shifts of aspect change things using means as inscrutable as those employed by the illusionist. [2/67]


It isn't strictly true the metaphorical process carries significance from one context to another. The shift of aspect creates this impression of a movement across the contextual divide. [2/166]


The meaning of an idea isn't 'stretched' by the introduction of a hitherto unperceived relation; rather, the idea finds a new dimension in the context of another's meaning - and both are transformed. [1/101]


In thinking, our shifting point of view enables us to achieve transformations and changes of aspect. The absoluteness that governs a context (makes it thus and not otherwise) is transformed by introducing further contexts, their distinctness unaffected by relation. (See 1.10.1-11.) [2/132; s1/126]


Everything is in a context, ie is an aspect of some pattern or structure; and the only way anything is released from the determining influence of any one context is through another. This passage between the contexts is change and it is only conceivable if the contexts overlap. (See also 3.7.3.) [1/133]


Such changes of aspect are conceptually facilitated; concepts make sense of the change (the sense is in the connection) by relating this to this - unlike the duck/rabbit's 'now this/now this'. The shift of aspect supports a continuity embodied in expression, as do the strains which occasion it and the tensions which sustain the relation. [2/32]


‘Change’ is functioning or seeing in this context rather than that; the shift in the pattern of relations is the change, whether brought about rationally or by circumstances. (But not somehow change as we’d conceived it hitherto, which was perhaps as a process going on between fixed states or an effect worked on things from without by such a process.) [2/31]


Language is always signifying this shift of aspect. In that sense we know what happens. [2/27]


It is the function of the overlap in shifting the aspect - putting things in this light and that, transforming ideas and events with a cumulative significance - I mean to bring out. [1/70]


Consider a series of events set down as though they were just isolated states of mind. 'A person looks to the left, sees no car coming; decides to cross the road; hears a screeching of tyres; experiences the shock of an impact....' Yet when they are connected, what is the difference? Nothing we could show, surely? (Because these events, seen under a different aspect, ARE the connections....) [-]


For something to mean something, it must have a sense beyond itself. Perhaps that is just to say the sense it has beyond itself is the sense it contributes as a part of the whole - through the change of aspect. (See 1.14.3.) [2/52]


'Everything is what it is and not another thing'. But a thing must have aspects in common with something other than itself in order to change and to secure change. [1/145; s1/145]


'Life evolves through change - things passing transformed from one set of relations, one form or state to another; and in constituting an aspect of both, establishing a continuity. If it were not so, nothing would alter; one thing could never modify, falsify or become another...' [2/158]


The trouble is that describing the process of change in this way illuminates nothing. An account presented in these terms presupposes what we want explained. It can't do otherwise. The structural embodiment of the shift of aspect in language furnishes it with the means of avoiding the difficulties we want to encounter. [-]


The concept of overlapping is incapable of yielding clarification, other than by reflecting the metaphorical nature of what is expressed. [-]


What we aimed to identify isn't a common entity and can't be isolated for inspection. A line can't be drawn through a metaphor. Hence the inefficacy of logic (see 2.11.6). It seems overlaps elude logical analysis and are undetectable in ordinary forms of thought and language... [2/152]


Everything exists as an aspect of something else.... That is both to assert and deny the limits of identity, and suggests why the concept of form is an obstacle to understanding. We see form as exclusive and characterised by limits; but the very elements which constitute these limits may become at any time aspects of something beyond them by a shift of aspect. Everything is an aspect of something else. [2/7, 2/307:10]


The moves made in any one language game or form of expression distinguish it from others. However, the pieces in a game are drawn from and remain aspects of other games, indeed are the means of relating games (see 1.13.9). [2/69]


The whole point of a move in any one game is that it should impinge on others - by this means one game transforms others. Games are exclusive in the sense we see one thing or another, not in the sense that they exclude the possibility of confounding moves and introducing ambiguities. Moves in themselves definitive may introduce an ambiguity by reaching into the wrong game or situation. [2/301:5]


Sometimes the game is not played successfully; plunges into nonsense are inherent in a 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. [2/69]


Somebody mistakes a large, tan coloured dog moving about in a field for a lion. Evidently certain features of the dog not themselves disputed, perhaps its shape and colour, were mistaken for those of a lion. The difficulty is that this person has confounded aspects of the real and the unreal in one form. The consequences aren't easy to deal with in a way that makes sense. Why should half the county be looking for a dog? 'They were looking for a lion!' 'No it was a dog!' And so on. The truth of the matter is ironical and unless seen thus goes undetected, leaving only the nonsense. Once the peculiar beast (along with the attention it claims) exists, wherever it is placed - in the realm of the real or imaginary, of sense or nonsense - its tenure is bound to be ironical. The threads of sense and nonsense are sustained until the ambiguity is resolved. [1/66]


We might come up with an explanation which eliminated the irony; 'Someone mistook a dog for a lion, and half the county went out looking for it!' 'Looking for what?' 'For the dog they thought was a lion...' But the explanation doesn't come near expressing what was happening at the time, because it doesn't acknowledge the nature of the limitations determining people's perceptions and fixing their understanding of those events - the way in which language and perception bind us absolutely to an understanding of things. [1/66]


The gesture which expresses this understanding ('Look! There it is...!') is invested with an ambiguity arising from the simultaneous location of its object within and (by a shift of aspect forming the link between them) beyond the mind. We don't see this relationship or the link it entails. (See 1.13.4 and 3.10.1-4.) [2/251:8]


Circumstances which oblige us to recognise an error has occurred confront us with evidence of the ambiguity and obliquity of this apparently straightforward relationship between the invocation and what is invoked. It may be difficult to distinguish an experience or idea from what is experienced or conceived once they have become confounded. [2/251:9]


Falsehood (like truth) lies in the relation, rather than in the particulars related. Isn't it the case, though, that it gets into the particulars; isn't that why they become unreal? [1/92]


'Half the county were out looking for a dog!' The logical alternatives 'true or false?' falter here. We may retrieve the distinction later, but here it fails. The false is true and the true false. If it didn't fail, the boundary between sense and nonsense, truth and falsehood couldn't be crossed - and language, as we know it, wouldn't function. [2/69]


The aspect shifts as the expression 'out looking for a dog' is interpreted relative to the object or the intention. [2/327:5]


The 'move' is located in more than one context (game) - but must be seen in one or the other.... [2/166]


The effect of confounding the games in this instance is to limit the sense; but given a sounder judgement the effect of a similar move might have been to extend the game and amplify the sense. And whereas here it remains the case the game can't be played, or perhaps only a sort of parody of the game is played, in more propitious circumstances a similar course of action might have introduced new dimensions of meaning in place of such aberrations of sense... [2/69]


If moves were simply exclusive (didn't involve overlaps) such compounds of truth and falsity, of sense and nonsense and the real and unreal would not be possible. [2/70]


But neither would any of the transformations which commonly occur in language use. The capacity to get things wrong, to make errors and produce nonsense when crossing boundaries is a necessary consequence of being able to get them right. [-]


'Everything is what it is and not another thing.' This implies each form has a limit. In a sense isn't that true? [s1/36]


I picture an exact line defining the limit of each thing. The problem is that each, being a separate entity, must have its own limit; and perhaps I shall then be perplexed by questions of what links them if they are divided - or what divides them if they are linked. Such difficulties may be contrived between any entities, events or domains. [2/29]


Observing a bee land on the head of a clover and watching as the stem dips under the weight of the creature I think how absurd it is to ask 'how' the weight of the bee can affect the plant in this way. Isn't it too obvious to be the subject of serious inquiry? In ordinary language isn't it transparent? The weight of the bee bows the stem of the plant it alights on. Where's the puzzle in that? [2/313:7]


The puzzle is that if 'everything is what it is and not another thing', there's no medium to carry the weight of the bee onto the flower or indeed to permit the insect to alight on it. Nothing connects them; not even gravity - for what conveys the effect of gravity? Language, employing syntax, sets out this relationship, but leaves unrevealed the means whereby these logically discrete entities are united. [2/313:8]


How can I trust words when a different formulation is enough to introduce a doubt about what occurs (or seems to occur) right before my eyes? Is my faith in language any better than a superstitious belief in the efficacy of magical incantations? [2/313:9]


The boundary between things is an aspect of their relationship to other things; they acquire boundaries in the course of developing an autonomy. They acquire exclusive boundaries by becoming dissociated from the things around them. The very success of the mind in establishing a limit for each form persuades us to seek a means of unifying that which is not divided in the way dissociation suggests. [1/117, 2/198 and 2/379:3.]


If I start from the idea of the separateness of each thing's identity ('everything is what it is and not another thing'), I begin from a misconception of how things are, since this distinctness, like any other state, is the product of a determining relation. An entity's limits, like its qualities, are an aspect of its relation to other things. [2/164]


When you begin to reflect on the nature of 'individuality' you see it isn't anything like as unproblematic as it seems; there's not a solitary thing that can be produced as evidence of the state that isn't an aspect of something else. For how can you detach the individual entity from its environment - how separate the mind from the world? And what constitutes this difficulty but the elusive relations between individual entities, mental and physical? It is their inseparability that gets in the way of our endeavour to produce an individuality free of the contingent aspects of other entities... [2/370:5]


'Everything is what it is and not another thing.' We picture each thing as having its own limits; but this is misleading - the limit of a thing transcended becomes the limit of something else by a change of aspect. Everything exists as an aspect of something else. [2/172 and 2/203:8]


It looks as though there should be something (a link) in the middle, but there doesn't seem to be one. It looks as though nothing connects things, yet something must.... [2/8]


'The seed explains the flower; the flower consumes the seed...'


Seeking a bridge to join these realms, I find nothing. [2/55]


If you think enough about the proposition (itself sound) that order isn't disorder and vice-versa, then try to imagine what could link them (presumably by being part of both), you begin to doubt these terms hold the possibilities of sense. [1/80]


Order may be introduced to disorder by the application of a context. But that makes nothing clearer; contextual transformations are themselves mystifyingly opaque. (See 2.17.6.) [s1/80]


Isn't it as though there were a sort of limbo through which a thing passed to emerge (as if by magic) as something else? If everything is itself and not another thing, and if everything is in its place and not some other place - how is it possible to account for change? (See eg 2.12.3.) [2/85]


Not that dispensing with the concepts of identity and uniqueness helps. In this respect it is interesting that in explaining how a thing came about we may have trouble drawing a line between what has happened and what will happen in consequence of it - it may appear everything that is to come about must already be enfolded in some sense (its seeds contained) in what exists or has already happened. This tends to undermine the limits which establish our concept of a thing. [2/85 and 2/149]


It would be pointless if I were able to find new entities in old ones, find the new things before they came. Like finding my sensation before I've had it. Why should I want to? [1/120]


Perhaps because 'Nothing comes from nothing'... [1/120]


'The flower consumes...' This speaks of the way an event can absorb its own origins, making them aspects of its identity - so nothing beyond seems to have had any part in creating the event (a consequence of dissociation). [2/27]


Activities practised at various times and places may resemble those which led to the industrial revolution, but the latter are different because they led to the industrial revolution. Activities common at other times and places take on a different significance as the new pattern emerges and develops and are retrospectively transformed (significance gets into them) through the evolving context. They become factors in the light of what happens afterwards. [2/20]


The straw that broke the camel's back. It looks as though it might have weighed more than straws usually do, doesn't it? (Marginal factors with disproportionate effects...) [2/103]


What makes an entity unique is its context. From this it may seem the context itself is unique, but that could be equally misleading insofar as a context is probably made up of other commonplace entities ('straws'). The combination produces a uniqueness that gets into the individual entity or event. [2/290:3]


The straw is transformed by relation - and itself transforms it. But it is individual and distinct, so how does an influence get into it? (Or out of it...?) [2/295:5]


Why does the power of a context over the ideas which compose it surprise us? Why are we surprised when something new springs from an arrangement of familiar ideas, things, events or activities? Why is there an element of mystery in the commonplace fact that things change from one context to another? We can explain these matters, can't we? The changes themselves, anyway. [2/104]


What we cannot explain, perhaps, is how things which appear to be distinct and separate can act on each other to produce changes. We have no means of relating a context to its parts, and thus no means of explaining how these interact to produce the effects they do produce on each other. The answer to the question 'What links an idea to an idea?' is not 'Ideas'. We know we can explain it on that level. [2/105]


What strikes us as incongruous and absurd in 'the sound of one hand clapping' is just the suggestion that you can take away one element of the relation and nothing is changed. It seems this should be possible if each thing were simply itself and not another thing. That suggests the illusory foundation on which this possibility is based. Events which appear to be distinct are not separable in the way their distinctness seems to imply because everything exists as an aspect of something else. [2/105]


The succeeding notes are primarily concerned with two related themes; (i) overlapping and the limitation of the mind which prevents us seeing it as a link; and (ii) how our picture of reality is affected by this limitation. [2/51]


The limitation is of not being able to conceive that ideas and perceptions point inwards and outwards simultaneously, forming an overlapping link. A shift of aspect working through the overlap, unifies mind and its object in a way not apparent to the mind itself - as a party to the relation. The advantages conferred by the relationship are unaffected by this arrangement. [-]


The hiatus entailed in the shift precludes the formation of any idea of a link between the distinct aspects of a shift. [-]


Things behave as if connected - but we don’t find a link. [-]


The recurrent patterns constituting mind’s relationships to entities and events establish themselves in the mind, becoming associated with its contexts; we recognize such patterns in thinking and acting, in the course of shifting between these domains. But what makes a pattern (any pattern) recur in this way, what binds things together, remains obscure. [-]


Thus does the relationship between distinct things and events (an overlap) form a determining link, a bond between them. ‘Seeing’ excludes this link - and a sense of the determinacy it embodies. [2/73]


In the circumstances we have no grounds to suppose a determining link exists between things conceived distinctly; the nature of reality precludes our forming any notion of the existence of such a connection. See 2.5.1-2. Of course we accept events and so on are determined. But the means is unrevealed. [2/104]


In consequence, our knowledge of reality is fragmentary and lacks sense - embodying insurmountable contradictions, which stem from our inability to apprehend the existence of a link between distinct entities. [2/72]


A knowledge context expresses aspects of other contexts (see 1.13.1-11 for various examples). What is conceived thus can’t be interpreted simultaneously as an aspect of the determining context and the subject determined. Yet for all its seeming not to form a link to any identifiably autonomous subject or object beyond expression, it is generally accepted as the way the mind enters the world and the world the mind. [2/371:3]


The elusiveness of this connection gives rise to confusion and perplexity. It isn't possible to see concepts related to each other in the knower's context simultaneously forming aspects of the object of knowledge to which (all being well) they contribute sense through the shift of aspect. We see them as one or the other. Similarly, it is impossible to apprehend a link between the knowledge context and the structures in which the subjects of this attention are embedded. The shift from one to the other is absolute. (See 3.11.5-7, 4.17.1-14 and Appendix II, 1.7-13.) [2/201:3]


The impossibility of apprehending the nature of these relationships (that their subjects are simultaneously embedded in other relations) underlies the failure to pinpoint what language use is about, to identify the object of what is being expressed. This seems to be distinct, but not separate; present and not present in what is expressed. [2/201:4; 2/227:1]


The absence of any concept of how these determining relationships are mediated inhibits an understanding of how a subject constrains expression and the formation of thought. [2/329:10]


But surely we do apprehend a link between the idea or event and its subject? Isn't there after all the connection it has, the one we can't miss when we understand something in its context - by grasping its meaning? That isn't what I meant. There’s no dispute it is connected; the issue is by what means. The idea in its context exhibits no evidence of a link. (See 2.17.6-7.) [1/75]


The purpose of thinking is to transcend the limits we wanted to show being transcended. The aspect shifts and the limits become a part of something beyond. (See 2.6.4-5.) [2/179]


When I look at the particular words in this sentence, I can't seem to see what holds them together. (Well isn't that because I can't analyse these relationships and at the same time see that they constitute the context?) [2/10]


Inspection suppresses the very connections we wanted to see as linkages in the process of thought. [s2/25]


Why does nothing seem to relate a cause to its effect? [-]


'Hume reasons that since every effect is distinct from its cause, it cannot logically be contained within it. Put more generally, the point is that if two events are distinct, there cannot be any logical contradiction in affirming the existence of either of them and denying the existence of the other.' (A J Ayer, Central Questions of Phil., p 138. [2/71]


Yet a cause doesn't come into existence without the presence of an effect. Though antecedent, the event which forms a cause is transformed retrospectively by its effect. [2/27]


The 'power' associated with causation, when located in the cause, tends to leave the effect isolated and inexplicable. Causation operates through a shift of aspect; the effect is an aspect of the cause and the cause retrospectively of the effect. There is no power separate from the relation of a cause to its effect. Nothing relates them because they are the relation. We can't show a link beyond what is conceived or expressed by the relation itself. [2/28]


This problem of the relation between cause and effect arises when we analyse (and so disrupt) the relation between a cause and its effect. But isn't this true of all relations? [2/71]


Doesn't our belief in the efficacy of ordinary relations as a links have the same insubstantial foundation Hume ascribed to causal relations between things? Nothing can be shown to mediate it. [2/328:3]


So considered the concept of causality exemplifies a misconception that we need something to relate distinct entities - in other words that they aren't related by default. In this respect causality shared the insufficiency of the forms it was meant to explain. [2/370:4]


A link can't be apprehended performing its function. [2/85]


The thing wouldn’t be to account for this situation, but for expecting matters to be otherwise. (See 2.25.10-11.) [1/118]


Ideas and forms are related, not by something we have yet to discover, but something which necessarily eludes us. [2/100]


Where concepts or other media are the means of shifting from one location to another, there is no question of apprehending them at both locations when the purpose of the shift is to achieve a continuity, sequentially.


Similarly with gaining an insight into perceptions. An appearance may constitute the limit of the domain of the senses or things. In appropriate circumstances it might be associated with either in turn. Or its function might be to relate one to the other - providing continuity through a change of aspect. But the link itself isn’t illuminated by this process. [-]


An entity or idea may serve two functions simultaneously - but be seen in each only sequentially; this has to do with observational limits, not the nature of reality. (See last remark at 2.24.3 with footnote.) [2/305:11]


When functioning as a link, the idea will always be subsumed as a limit of the realm into which it is providing admission (like a door bearing the legend 'Reverse!' which revolves with us as we pass through). (See Appendix I.) [2/21]


The primary purpose of relation is to facilitate access or progress - not to enable us to see how either was achieved. How we pass beyond is superfluous. [-]


A link doesn't exhibit the relationship of a conception to what is conceived or an experience to what is experienced. [2/307:2]


If you put the right foot forward (take a step), then bring the left past it (another step), the right foot is retrospectively established as part of step 2 by the left moving past it. Nothing is done with this foot - its significance is just transformed by the movement of the left. [2/133]


The foot can't be in both steps ('contexts') simultaneously. It is in each sequentially, its function being determined by different relations. The foot ceases to be in step 1 in the course of becoming (being seen as) part of step 2. [2/133-4]


We can't afford to place anything (even 'nothing'!) between the steps, because it would not then be possible to account for the fact that we get from one to the other. There isn't anything between a series of steps except the foot linking them. The foot corresponds to the limit or boundary between two entities. It is the point, necessarily indeterminate unless observed*, at which one step becomes (by a shift of aspect occasioned by observation) another. [2/133-4]

*It would have no function outside an observation.


Analysis of the movement reveals two distinct and unrelated steps. This is a consequence of the analysis. Can the 'seed' of step 2 be discerned in step 1? No, how could it? Analysis has necessarily dissolved the link in seeing the foot either in step 1 or 2. It can't be in both. [2/134]


The point about sharing an event or entity sequentially is that there should be no gap in the sequence. It may be analogised to a foot in the stepping sequence, which relates and distinguishes each stride. It is continuous, in that the end is contextually distinct but not separate from the beginning; thus shared events conserve a unity in change. (See Appendix I.) [2/136:1]


The difficulty in detecting where one thing becomes another is simply that one thing becomes another; there is no point at which they merge because continuity abolishes it. That was its function. This illuminates something of relation and the difficulties arising from it. We want things which are united to remain distinguishable so we may 'tell the dancer from the dance'. Indeed they do - but not in the way our misconception of the nature of relation suggests... [2/102]


The aim of reconciliation isn't to make such differences the same (an impossibility) but to make them as one. They can still be distinguished as aspects of a whole. [2/304:6]


I aimed to show why we don't find a link (overlap) between distinct forms. [s2/107]


The paradox of things being at once distinguished and related and of our being able to see them only as one or the other is at the root of the matter. [2/133]


'These two contextual functions - the exclusion and the inclusion of the sources of meaning - are related by the overlapping of contexts and the shift of aspect' (2.10.5). Seeing either function of an overlap excludes the possibility of seeing the other. They are related by the shift of aspect. We don't see the link; the shift of aspect is the link... [2/371:2]


I can distinguish related or relate distinct entities; see a distinction in the context of a relation, or (by a change of aspect) a relation in the context of a distinction. I can't see both (other than sequentially through a shift of aspect) - or see what it is that relates them. The evidence of an overlap is indirect, circumstantial. [2/133]


I seek a connection between distinct entities because I have every reason to think one exists. And indeed it does. What I have to understand is why I can't find the link by looking for it..... [2/199]


Problems develop when I distinguish the parts and then start puzzling over what joined them together. [2/73]


Any attempt to analyse the connection between related events or concepts has already broken the link - by seeing them as distinct entities. [2/133]


Every time I try to distinguish a connection, it disappears - and the attempt to distinguish it is what makes it disappear. [2/108]


It isn't the link that's missing, but the possibility of our being able to see it. [2/109]


But why does it seem to us we might yet be able to uncover a connection between things seen as distinct, or a distinction between things seen as related? Isn't it because objectification, occurring in the first person point of view, induces the impression that the way we see things isn't linked to the point of view we endorse - that this view doesn't determine whether we see things as distinct or related? [2/133]


Objectification - the dissociation of the knower's context from what is known - is the source of the problem isn't it? The mind seems to stand free of the determining act of perception or conception. [2/72]


I am never immediately aware that what I see is being determined by the act of conception itself. And although any enlightened person will know our views are determined by various factors, including the cultural, political and social influences which shape our linguistic acts and perceptions, it is impossible not to feel we are detached from what we see, and equally impossible to escape the impression that what is known is unaffected by being conceived or experienced. [2/125]


The sense that what is known stands free of the contexts which determine our knowledge of it isn't an error we might remedy by taking a little more care. It is inherent in the structure of language and thought, and consequently, of reality. It is how people see things. Most of us presumably are aware in principle of the determinants underlying what we think, see and do; but that doesn't mean we can grasp our own point of view or apprehend these determining influences at work. It just means we know at a remove it happens. The limitation which produces this blind spot necessarily eludes us. (See eg 3.2.8-11.) [2/221:2]


There is and can be no conception of the process which brings about shifts of aspect - beyond that supplied by the contextual transformations themselves. The mind is subordinate to the processes of change accommodated in these shifts. It doesn't look that way to the person doing the thinking. Dissociation creates an impression of my being behind the process of thinking, of my 'standing back of the thought'. (See section 3 passim.) [2/125]


A problem arises when we attempt to relate distinct entities, events or states - in that though one clearly becomes another or has modified another, there is no evidence of how this can have come about because they are distinct. Nothing seems to link one event to another, convey an influence from one entity to another or otherwise constitute the relation said to exist between them. (See 2.18.1-2.) [2/285:1]


The absence of a discoverable principle binding things together leads Hume, in seeking an explanation of the tendency to link cause and effect, to resort to 'custom'. Our capacity to retain a more comprehensive sense of the connections between things than causality embraces might likewise be attributed to custom – but in neither case are we brought nearer an understanding of what induces billiard balls not to disappoint out expectations. [-]


A better prospect of enlightenment presents itself in the guise of a problem which emerges when we try to identify discrete things and events (see eg 2.1.1 and 2.24.6) and succeed only in uncovering an 'inseparability that gets in the way of our endeavour to produce an individuality free of the contingent aspects of other entities' (2.15.8). These are examples of the very connections sought, abundantly present - though they vanish by a shift of aspect. [2/119]


At first sight the claim that connections are present in this form seems to conflict with Hume's observation that 'there appears not throughout all nature any one instance of connexion which is conceivable by us. All events seem entirely loose and separate. One event follows another; but we never can observe any tie between them. They seem conjoined, but never connected.' (Enquiries, VII, ii.) But it doesn't. The facet of reality which exhibits everything as an aspect of something else is consistent with his remark, since this form of connection isn't conceivable as a connection other than in the sense any word, idea or event in a sentence or sequence can be seen as a link, without, in Hume's sense, displaying a 'tie' to what it is said to link. It doesn't display a tie because the shift of aspect vanquishes the connection. (See 2.10.7, 2.11.3 and 2.25.1-11.) [-]


The processes of knowledge, meaning and change aren't really mysterious. They seem so because the operations of the mind and the limitations these entail consign certain critical aspects of those processes to obscurity. [2/195]


The source of our fragmented sense of the world lies in an inability to sustain the continuities underlying the distinctions we make. We have no sense of a link behind the discontinuities introduced by our ideas and experiences of things, between what we do and what we don’t see. [2/106]


The fragmentedness is offset by our sense of a continuity in what we DO see, and by the capacity of ordinary language to distinguish and relate what is expressed. [2/106]


The continuity of forms manifests itself in the way we are able to anticipate events and outcomes; the inexplicable way we feel sure about things without being able to account for this certainty. [1/32]


'Relation' determines the nature and qualities of things. We depend on our knowledge of the relationships between things to plan, arrange and order the world (as far as we are able) and to understand what has gone on in our absence.[2/339:7]


The reassuring aspect of the 'disappearance' of things, of their non-continuous existence, and of other forms of hiatus between knowledge and its objects is that their reappearance, whether in the same or in different forms, doesn't usually undermine our faith in the integrity of the laws which govern their absence. The unwatched kettle will boil - unless there is a power cut; and if there is, that also confirms our sense of the existence of a dependable and autonomous world. Why else are we disconcerted to find things seem to have moved themselves around in our absence? [2/46]


Without the underlying principle of continuity (the unity of creation), these problems of fragmentedness - of not being able to establish connections between what you see and what I see, and the things and events we happen not to be seeing; of not being able to discover connections between distinct and autonomous forms of life, or account for the influences and complexities of the relations concealed from us, would surely overwhelm our understandings. [2/91]