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Wittgenstein is painting a fascinating picture in his analysis of Moore's claims
of knowing certain things. It seems to me that he is asking quite simple
questions about matters of certainty, knowledge, beliefs, etc. It flies in the
face of Descartes, at some point (most especially 115). But now that I write
this, Wittgenstein is compelling me to consider what I mean when I say that they
are 'simple' questions. They seem to be the sorts of questions that the idealist
might have perhaps asked of the realists, of people like Descartes or Spinoza,
in arriving at their ideas and claims about the world and how we operate within
it. I know that these are questions I have asked of the same folks. I find
myself nodding a lot while reading this, as if I understand his lines of thought
and the points he's trying to make; the questions of doubting systems, whether
we can actually know if what someone believes is true, are questions I have
grown more and more accustomed to, especially this last year. I spent all of
last semester in my feminist epistemology course learning about ignorance and
how these relate to systems of oppression and to racism. The question of whether
beliefs are well-grounded was something that we started off asking (albeit in a
disguised sort of way). Considering the ways I have been brought up, conducted
myself and been taught throughout my years of education both in schools and out
of, the challenges posed to the status of objectivity and the validity of
science was somewhat shocking. While I had been questioning science myself (as a
budding mathematician I find myself becoming more and more agitated by
physicists and chemists), the idea that objectivity itself is a feature of white
epistemology itself and runs deeply throughout colonialist traditions was
amazing. I guess it is for this reason I find myself agreeing with Wittgenstein
and believing myself to understand where he is going with all of this. I'm not
certain (oops) if he actually will arrive at a final conclusion for all this -
I'm slowly making my way through it, taking digestive breaks that are perhaps
too long - but I feel as though I may already know the answers to some of these
questions reading later stuff. After all, if a lion could speak, we would not
understand him. But does that mean we cannot be certain what he would say is


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