Lee Braver on Wittgenstein and Heidegger.
For Heidegger, we don’t infer that that thing is a book; we pick it and read it. We don’t stitch together adumbrations or patches of color into a representation of a chair; we see a yellow chair, even the being-yellow of the chair. Wittgenstein makes the same point with the same example, with an echo of the color exclusivity problem: “I do not see red: rather, I see that the azalea is red. In this sense I also see that it is not blue. It is not that a conclusion is drawn consequential upon what is seen: no—the conclusion is known immediately as part of the seeing.”
Not only is this perceptive reasoning legitimate, it solves the three problems that beset the notion of reasoning all the way down. (1) Immediate responses to solicitations mesh perfectly with the phenomenological absence of explicit thought, as well as with Wittgenstein’s models of tools, games, and know-how, and with Heidegger’s analysis of our absorbed use of tools and circumspection. “The man who makes the move in chess according to rule sees something different from the man who does not. Similarly, the man who understands a word sees more in it than the man who does not. . . . It is not a matter of interpretation; we see something different”. (2) Perceiving the right way to follow the rule halts the infinite regress, connecting the perception directly to the act, thus avoiding the detour through the quicksand of explicit thought. “If. . . you realize that the chain of actual reasons has a beginning, you will no longer be revolted by the idea of a case in which there is no reason for the way you obey the order.” For Heidegger, the fact that we are always already involved in our world means that questions of correctly establishing our relationship to the world always come too late. (3) Since understanding flows through actions rather than through the mind, as traditionally conceived, the notion of private understanding falls away. “We refer by the phrase ‘understanding a word’ not necessarily to that which happens while we are saying or hearing it, but to the whole environment of the event of saying it”.