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how long does it take to know how to go on?

February 10, 2009

If I whistle a tune I know well and am interrupted in the middle, if then someone asks me “did you know how to go on?” I should answer “yes. I did.” What sort of process is this knowing how to go on? It might appear as though the whole continuation of the tune had to be present while I knew how to go on.

Ask yourself a question. “How long does it take to know how to go on?” Or is it an instantaneous process? Aren’t we making a mistake like mixing up the existence of a gramophone record with the existence of the tune? And aren’t we assuming that whenever a tune passes through existence there must be some sort of record of it from which it is played?

–Wittgenstein, The Blue Book

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