As far as I can see the later Wittgenstein fulfilled the vision of the earlier one and successfully stopped philosophy in some ways. The simple doctrine ‘meaning is use’ when properly grasped unfurls into an attitude that permanently alters your philosophical perspective. The problem is that it doesn’t quite achieve what it looks like it might do. The issue is roughly this: even if we can see that a language game has escaped its home, how can we be sure it does not continue to make grammatical sense in its new territory? So Wittgenstein is right, how can he not be? Words occur in social situations in relation to the various regions of the vector field (the world) that we interact with. Any region of the field that is capable of taking the rules of a given language game can take it. Essences do not evaporate so much as become grammatical. Just because there may be a greater variety of vectors capable of taking a concept doesn’t mean that any vector can take any concept.
On a strange linguistic axis it seems to recreate a desire for the view from nowhere. We need some external power to able to tell us when we have erred in applying a language game to a certain situation and when we have not. The notion of criteria is there to try to do this, however in reality it fails to act as a sufficient curb, as criteria for all manner of beliefs can be generated in all manner of ways. Psychoanalytic type structures clearly are capable of enabling what might look like (to some) strange criteria e.g. many people might consider founding certain beliefs on the contents of a ‘special’ book, not good reasons for beliefs and yet many people think this kind of thing is perfectly reasonable.
None of this means Wittgenstein isn’t correct in his assessment of the situation. If we want to use a word philosophically, we must be capable of explaining it to someone else. This must be possible or the meaninglessness charge comes into force. This kind of accusation is often levelled at some of the notoriously abstruse French philosophy of the last century. Though this seems to me an error. These systems are not incomprehensible, intelligible grammar between two people on them is not impossible, even if there may be some areas of disagreement. However they do require that both persons enter the labyrinthine structure of the language games involved and attempt to understand the criteria that have been used to justify the newly coined terms. The possibility for error is enormous, the likelihood of perfect intelligibility small. Yet still there is some cogent communications there, and maybe this is more akin to ordinary conversation than we would sometimes like to believe.
The correctness of Wittgenstein though has another limiting possibility. As stated, regardless of the various factors that impede our ability to understand the appropriateness or not of a given language game’s expansion, Wittgenstein is basically right. The words can only be social constructs. Designation is just use in certain circumstance. Words feel like they point, but they don’t really.
This would be perfectly correct were it not for the thorny issue of magick. But why is this a problem? Surely this is just outmoded belief. Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. This is scarcely the point. The point is that paranormal phenomena give us a clue as the nature of the general failure to be able to trace the viability or not of a language games territorialization of a new region. Here we must illustrate with the same much trodden synchronicity argument that has appeared many times in these various writings.
So if we want to say some event was synchronicitous and mean by this that something exceptional had actually happened -that it was somehow a message, an engagement, from being itself, or some other numinous nature- then we would have to deny all explanations that would render it simply a product of chance. For if it is only chance then the meaning is ultimately projected onto an unreactive sea of materiality. The strong sense of meaning entails some kind of agency on the part of the external. It doesn’t have to be meaningful in a teleological sense, but it does have to be somehow reactive to the subject experiencing the phenomenon. The issue is that if we deny the phenomenon and state that it must be the projection onto materiality then we are saying that we must know the nature of reality. This means in order to deny the phenomenon we must beg the question -we presuppose the nature of reality in order to say how reality is. This would not be outrageous as of course we have criteria to say this -statistics, evidence of confirmation bias, pareidolia, the apparent continual solidity of the world. What though the experience believer has is that the phenomenon looks exactly what it would look like for existence to have that kind of agency. The appearance of agency and the appearance of solidity are just a duck/rabbit situation (or the agnostic disjunction as I have elsewhere labelled it).
Whilst we largely live our culture in the rationalised side of the disjunction, we should remember how close the other side is and in doing so consider the following. If we accept the agency aspect of the phenomenon then designation in a manner much sought after by analytic philosophy becomes perfectly possible, courtesy of the accretion. The grammar of the accretion is legitimised by the agency aspect perception. Indeed the accretion becomes the agent. Because accretions as particulars can be attached to specific vector regions, the linkage between these is one of identity. When I think of Wittgenstein, under the accretive theory I do not encounter the accidental possibility of thinking of someone else called Wittgenstein for the Wittgenstein accretion I am reaching for is based in a historical vector region that took into it the concept ‘Ludwig Wittgenstein’. It is similar to bundle theories of designation insofar as there is only the endless descriptions of the accretive layers, yet the difference is that because the agency (paranormal) version is accepted, the connection between thought and object (vector with inhabiting accretion) is literal and as such guaranteed. That is, the thought ‘Wittgenstein’ is the same accretion as was attached to the vector. This identity assures the connection of designation.