Sunday, April 04, 2010
Ludwig Wittgenstein: Are you sure you know it? You don't doubt you had a pain just then?
Student: How could I?
Ludwig Wittgenstein: If we can't speak of doubt ... we can't speak of knowledge, either ... It makes no sense to speak of knowing something in a context where we could not possibly doubt it therefore to say I know I am in pain is entirely senseless ...
Student: I just can't see it, professor. It somehow just seems natural to me to say I know I'm in pain.
Wittgenstein: Oh, natural. Tell me, why does it seem more natural for people to believe that the sun goes around the earth rather than the other way around?
Student: Well, obviously, because it looks that way.
Wittgenstein: I see, and how would it look if the earth went around the sun?
Student: Um, well I suppose ... yes, I see what you mean.
Source: Derek Jarman's film Wittgenstein, beginning at 34:12, 45:35.
Source: Character of Bertrand Russell in Derek Jarman's film Wittgenstein at 52:30.