J. L. David (1787) - The Death of Socrates
Today many people seems to feel their personal opinions are somewhat important in a manner exceeding the importance and limited scope of the opinions expressed. This leads to a culture where opinions and discourse is imposed upon others. If we add to this that language, like society, has degenerated to a level where discourse is often done from a personal materialism and political interest this questions the ethos and pathos involved in discourse. What we see is a maze of disagreements and pointless bickering – a battle between formless opinions. At times, when you make clear that you see no use in entertaining dialogue some people see this as a provocation, because they so desperately want to convince themselves by convincing you. I have no interest in debating who is right and who is wrong with anyone, but I do like the good discourse that arises in the field of agreed proposition where the focus is to widen horizon. If a personal opinion is passionately attached to the proposition or even worse – to one of the representations in the field of discourse, chances are that we are wasting time that could have been better used contemplating happiness over a cup of coffee.
Wittgenstein commented upon this complex related to the proposition that this must be able to communicate a new sense in us. This is done better with applying a new use of old expressions. It is crucial that the proposition is a picture of reality by virtue of its representatives and logic inherent in the picture itself. These representatives and what he define as signs must be logically articulated because there can never be representatives of the logic of facts. This means that a proposition equals reality and is judged true or false insofar as it presents a picture of the proposed reality. The impact this has for semantics and language as they take place in a dialogue is as Wittgenstein says in 4.112 in his Tractatus: ‘Without philosophy thoughts are, as it were, cloudy and indistinct: its task is to make them clear and to give them sharp boundaries.”