Why do I see the quote about the Sun and the Earth?
There are two reasons why you see this quote.
First, it is an elegant example that showcases Wittgenstein’s profound reflections on meaning and language.
Anscombe’s own comment of this conversation, in An Introduction to Wittgenstein’s Tractatus (2nd ed., 1963) :
‘The general method that Wittgenstein does suggest is that of ‘shewing that a man has supplied no meaning [or perhaps: “no reference”] for certain signs in his sentences’. I can illustrate the method from Wittgenstein’s later way of discussing problems. He once greeted me with the question: ‘Why do people say that it was natural to think that the sun went round the earth rather than that the earth turned on its axis?’ I replied: ‘I suppose, because it looked as if the sun went round the earth.’ ‘Well,’ he asked, ‘what would it have looked like if it had looked as if the earth turned on its axis?’ This question brought it out that I had hitherto given no relevant meaning to ‘it looks as if’ in ‘it looks as if the sun goes round the earth’. My reply was to hold out my hands with the palms upward, and raise them from my knees in a circular sweep, at the same time leaning backwards and assuming a dizzy expression. ‘Exactly!’ he said. In another case, I might have found that I could not supply any meaning other than that suggested by a naive conception, which could be destroyed by a question. The naive conception is really thoughtlessness, but it may take the power of a Copernicus effectively to call it in question.’
A more recent account which I quite like is by Cora Diamond in Reading Wittgenstein with Anscombe, Going on to Ethics (2019):
‘One of Anscombe’s two discussions of Tractarian criticism of sentences is about her response to a question Wittgenstein once asked her: “Why do we say that it’s natural to think that the sun goes round the earth, and not that the earth turns on its axis?” She had replied that she supposed it was because it looks as if the sun goes round the earth; and Wittgenstein had then asked what it would have looked like if it was the other way. She saw that she had no real reply, and that her use of “It looks as if the sun goes round the earth” rested unthinkingly on a naive picture that had no application to this case. It is part of our talk of its looking as if p, that there is a description that could be given of the different look that things would have had, if not-p. If we talk of its looking as if thus-and-so, when there is (as we can see if we think about it) no available description of the different look things would have, if not- thus-and-so, then we have merely picked up the words from our familiar use of phrases like “It looks as if,” but our use of those words is empty (unless we give them some new use, as Anscombe jokily pretended to do once she realized her previous confusion).’ (My emphasis)
The second reason is that I also have a “profound” relation to Wittgenstein.
If we let “–” denote a teaching relationship, such that “A–B” means “A has taught B”. Then we have:
In terms of philosophical gene, I am 1/16 Wittgensteinian. Way greater than my intelligence as a proportion of his.