Picture Theory

Woke up to Amy and Miles having a disagreement. Not the usual kind of disagreement parents have with three-year-olds, like “I don’t WANT to brush my teeth!” or “I don’t LIKE that kind of Cheerios!” This disagreement was of a different order:

Amy: “And this one is a Troodon.”

Miles: “No mommy, that’s a Gallimimus.”

Amy: “But the book says right here that it’s a Troodon.”

Miles: “Well, mommy, I think the author made a misSTAKE, because I know what is a Gallimumus like at the Lawrence Hall of Science and that is a Gallimumus.”

Miles has memorized so many kinds of dinosaurs / dogs / monkies / planets / trains, etc. it makes my head spin. But what really fascinates me about these kinds of conversations is the fact that he’s done so without being able to read. Whereas an adult will trust almost without question what’s written on the page to describe a thing, he relies entirely on the picture. So for him, it’s confusing when we rely on the printed word if that word doesn’t match his picture universe.

From Wittgenstein’s Picture Theory:

2.1 We picture fact to ourselves.

2.11 A picture presents a situation in logical space, the existence and non-existence of states of affairs.

2.12 A picture is a model of reality.

2.16 If a fact is to be a picture, it must have something in common with what it depicts.

2.18 What any picture, of whatever form, must have in common with reality, in order to depict it—-correctly or incorrectly—-in any way at all, is logical form, i.e. the form of reality.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.