Well, you seem to want to draw the discussion away from Wittgenstein and the
TLP. My emphatic claims were not about me but about W and his points in his
early work. I don't see any basis for calling him an idealist here. I could see
calling Berkeley, or Schelling, or Fichte, or Hegel an idealist, or Whitehead,
but not Wittgenstein. Not in the TLP. Rationalist? Yes. Idealist? No.
But, it any case, I'm not opposed to metaphysics. It seems like everyone is just
itching to call someone a logical positivist. Kant claimed that we must have God
because without Him we would have no morality. So, his efforts at dismissing
metaphysics didn't quite clear the whole field.
If the TLP was truly the nonsense that Diamond asserts it to be, then it would
not deserve scholarly articles asserting it to be nonsense. There must be,
therefore, some intellectually motivating core within the TLP.
The propositions of the TLP do not have sense, because they are not built up
from logical operations from elemental propositions about states of affairs. It
is an equivocation to say that they are nonsense because of that.
I don't know how many different kinds of statements there can be. I haven't yet
seen all the statements that are possible, so I can't begin to put them into
bins, let alone determine how many bins should be set aside for the universe's
The history of science is an example of logical atomism at work. In designing a
philosophical theory, it would be better to proceed from how something works
rather than from how you, or I, or Wittgenstein might think it should work. So,
epistemology doesn't have an exclusive hold on philosophy; there is a spot for
I'll try to continue this later.
--- On Wed, 8/11/10, Martin Brampton <martin.lists@ uncommercial. co.uk> wrote:
>From: Martin Brampton <martin.lists@ uncommercial. co.uk>
>Subject: Re: [quickphilosophy] Re: 1.12; 1.13; 1.2 & 1.21
>To: quickphilosophy@ yahoogroups. com
>Date: Wednesday, August 11, 2010, 3:22 PM
>Thanks for your comments.
>I'm struggling to see the grounds for your emphatically stated claims.
>Some people seem to derive great pleasure from dismissing metaphysics,
>but I cannot quite see the point. There is a long history of scepticism
>with regard to extravagant metaphysics - Kant devotes much effort to
>dismissing metaphysical arguments about God. But the basis of
>metaphysics is simply questions about what kind of things exist and what
>is their character.
>Is anyone suggesting that it is wrong to change view? W wasn't the only
>one to do that - A J Ayer lived comfortably on the rewards from his book
>"Language, Truth and Logic" but it didn't stop him from asserting in
>later life that logical positivism was simply false.
>There are so many camps of W interpreters, that it seems there is
>someone to support any view you care to take. I'm not advocating
>Diamond's view, merely noting that it is there. Another widely promoted
>view is that W did not change his views nearly so much as is sometimes
>In particular, taking into account the end of TLP, it is not at all
>clear how the early parts were intended to be taken at the time they
>were written. The least one can say is that they are not meant to be
>taken in any straightforward way. If there is a simple interpretation,
>then one would surely be obliged to suppose that it is what W is
>rejecting within the TLP as a whole.
>What do you mean when you say that the TLP statements do not have a
>sense in the same way as propositions about states of affairs? In what
>specific way do they differ? How many different kinds of statements can
>Why is the history of science relevant? Does scientific discovery alter
>the critical philosophical questions?
>The kind of problems I have with the first few sentences are that I
>don't know what is being referred to by "the world" as it seems to be
>used in a philosophical way. Or, I am baffled by what a fact would be
>if it is not simply a true statement. But true statements don't exist
>in any straightforward way.
>I'm not attempting to push W into any particular view, it's just that an
>assumption of idealism would make the introductory statements a lot
>easier to swallow. And we know of W's fascination with solipsism, which
>most interpreters take to mean (for W) much the same as idealism.
>An ordinary person would take facts to be true statements (that's what
>the dictionaries say) but if you want to interpret W in a realist way,
>then aren't you supposing that facts are something different? If so,
>what are they?
>There's a snappy development of some of these misgivings at