Friday, March 19, 2010

Philosophical Mission Statement #1

143 Let us now imagine the following kind of language game: when A goes to B and asks him to write down a mission statement.

The first step of this game is to look at the mission statements of other departments. —How does he get to understand their assertions?— First of all, he will be required to copy them. And here already there is a normal and an abnormal learner’s reaction. At first he might simply transcribe them, substituting the phrase “Philosophy and Religious Studies” for the term “Biology; but then the possibility of getting him to understand will depend on going on to independently write a mission statement that is appropriate for philosophy and religious studies.—And here we can imagine, e.g. that he does write the mission statement independently, but he substitutes jargon, saying “In support of the college’s wider excellence, the Department of Philosophy and Religion strives to provide mission with a solid sustainability and diversity.” And then communication stops at that point.—Or again, he makes ‘mistakes’ in adapting the statement to philosophy by writing the mission statement in the style of one or another great philosopher. Here we shall almost be tempted to say that he has understood wrong.


The Modesto Kid said...

...To boldly go, where no ethicist has gone before...

Josh K-sky said...

Can we guess, or is it one of those things where if we have to guess we shouldn't be playing? Anyway, I guess Wittgenstein.

Rob Helpy-Chalk said...

Yeah, it's Wittgenstein. In fact, it is pretty much Philosophical Investigations 143 exactly.

c said...

Bravo. Here's a la Artaud (looking for more)

Philosophy Department Mission:

To confront the metaphysics I created for myself in
accordance with the void I carry within me.


I don't believe in father
in mother,
got no

or god
or being
or nothingness
nothing inside or out
above all no mouth to mouthe Being,
that sewer drilled with teeth
where man, who sucked his substance
from me, looks at me all the time
waiting to get hold of a papamummy
and remake an existence
free of me
over and above my corpse
from the void
and sniffed at
from time
to time.

I speak
from above