Monday, October 10, 2016

quote of the day

284. Look at a stone and imagine it having sensations. – One says to oneself: How could one so much as get the idea of ascribing a sensation to a thing? One might as well ascribe it to a number! – And now look at a wriggling fly, and at once these difficulties vanish, and pain seems able to get a foothold here, where before everything was, so to speak, too smooth for it.

And so, too, a corpse seems to us quite inaccessible to pain. – Our attitude to what is alive and to what is dead is not the same. All our reactions are different. – If someone says: “That cannot simply come from the fact that living beings move in such-and-such ways and dead ones don’t”, then I want to suggest to him that this is a case of the transition ‘from quantity to quality.’

286. But isn’t it absurd to say of a body that it has pain? – And why does one feel an absurdity in that? In what sense does my hand not feel pain, but I in my hand?

What sort of issue is: Is it the body that feels pain? – How is it to be decided? How does it become clear that it is not the body? – Well, something like this: if someone has a pain in his hand, then the hand does not say so (unless it writes it) and one does not comfort the hand, but the sufferer: one looks into his eyes.

- Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations (1953)