Wittgenstein was a master of linguistic analysis, and questioned the traditional correspondence theory between the language which we speak and describe about the world, and the objective reality which we encounter on a daily basis. He was the penultimate anti-philosopher who saw philosophy as merely a bundle of confused and confusing conundrums unnecessarily propounded by misuse and abuse of language.
Viewed by many as the successor to Bertrand Russell and English Empiricism, he questioned consistently the role of language, its origins, and confounding complexities which we have created by asking questions of a seemingly profound nature, but which he merely dismissed as containing self-induced mysteries wrapped in a cloak of conundrums.
For Wittgenstein, the problem of pain and “pain language” is of interest; of the person who speaks in terms of “having a pain”, as opposed to the doctor who ascribes the situs of such pain in areas vastly different from where the pain is felt; and the complexities of correlating diagnostic studies with the existence of pain.
For the Federal and Postal employee who is under FERS or CSRS and is considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the relevance of Wittgenstein’s linguistic analysis should not be overlooked. Pain is a personal matter, whose ownership is never in dispute by the person who feels such a phenomena; but how to express is; in what manner to effectively convey the validity of such sensation; how best to “put it into words” is always the problem of effective and persuasive writing.
There is a vast chasm of differences between the ownership of pain and the conveyance of the sensation such that the reader (in this case, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management) will be persuaded of one’s medical condition. The correlative fusion between the world of language and the objective reality of an indifferent universe must be traversed efficiently and effectively; that is the whole point of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire