RE: virus: Altruism, Empathy, the Superorganism, and the Prisoner's

Robin Faichney (
Tue, 22 Apr 1997 11:43:00 +0100

D. H. Rosdeitcher wrote:
>Robin wrote:
>>FYI, I have been "devoted" to Wittgenstein's theory of meaning ever
>>I first encountered it about 18 years ago. This says that the meaning
>>a word or phrase is its use in a language game, where "language game"
>>means basically "context". I fully appreciate how malleable is meaning.
> There appear to be several problems with Wittgenstein's theory of
>Wittgenstein said that 1) language is for describing sense data only (as
>well as
>make commands and express emotion), and that sense data is all that exists
>reality--theories, concepts, morals are meaningless. and 2) Language is an
>arbitrary game with arbitrary rules which is used to help us agree on
>things so
>we can get along with others, and get jobs done.

Before we take this any further, are you distinguishing between the
earlier Wittgenstein of the Tractatus, and the later Witt of the
Investigations? Because I don't recognise your story about him,
but I guess it could result from such a confusion.

> Suppose you see Buddhist monks being altruistic by helping poor people.
>Buddhists may call that pure altruism, devotional service, dissolving
>egotistical needs, etc.Buddhists won't be probing into wider contexts by
>questions like, "What is our motivation?" "Who do we work for?" "What
>effects do
>we really make?"

Buddhists ask such questions all the time. You should find out more
about them, if you want to criticise them, rather than relying on
Objectivist or otherwise.

Robin Faichney