[lit-ideas] "Beilaufig gesprochen: Die Gegenstande sind farblos" (Wittgenstein, TLP 2.0232)

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 18 May 2004 15:02:28 EDT

Thanks to R. Paul for his comments.
I wrote:

>I wonder what's the German for the initial adverbial Wittgenstein used

I note I wrote that before checking yesterday's mailing. My apology.
I note that R. Paul offered a very detailed and useful distinction of the 
sentence in question. R. Paul writes:

>The passage referred to is 2.0232:
>Beilaufig gesprochen: Die Gegenstande sind farblos.
>McGuinness and Pears translate 'Beilaufig gesprochen' not as 'Roughly 
>but as 'In a manner of speaking.'
>'Roughly speaking: objects are colourless,' is the Ogden translation.
>As an adjective, 'beilaufig' could mean 'parenthetical' (a parenthetical 
>but as an adverb (which it is here) it would seem to mean 'casually,' or
>'informally.' In the new Mutton translation (see the forthcoming review by R.
>Henninge, in das Bild) this passage reads: 'One might say that obects are
>colorless.' Nichols and May (1961) translate 2.0232 as 'There is a sense in
>which objects are colorless.' 

---- Aha.

Etymologically, -- cf. 'kitch' -- 'beilaufig' would seem to be composed of 
three elements:

       "bei" -- cognate with English, "by"

       "lauf" -- cognate with English "loaf"?

       "-ig" -- cognate with English "-y" (Old English, '-ig').

The kernel seems to be "lauf" (which I freely translate as "loaf"?).

R. Paul suggests this German word means "informally". 

In any case, it is obvious that the adverb applies to "gesprochen" -- so 
whatever this German word translates to, it is a modification of the _speech_ 

I like "parenthetical". It would seem the phrase is also "metalinguistic" -- 
hence the colon: ":".

As if saying,

"Metalinguistically, objects are colourless."

I wonder if German distinguishes between 'beilaufig' and OTHER types of 
speaking ("unbeilaufig"?). 

I mean: 'informally speaking' contrasts with "FORMALLY speaking". So much so 

    "Informally _said_: objects are colourless."

IMPLICATES -- as J. Krueger and J. M. Geary suggest -- 

     "_But_ formally said: they are kaleidoscopic."


I submit the main objection stands: _things_ are (roughly speaking) 
colourless. Geary's idea (which he draws from J. Krueger) that the perceiver 
infers the 
complementary value in the spectrum is appealing, but hardly solves the 
puzzle. For if a flower is, say, blue (meaning "non-blue", in Krueger's and 
rewrite), why would we say that 'non-blue' is _not_ a colour?

Wittgenstein seems to be trapped in Locke's old dichotomy between PRIMARY and 
SECONDARY qualities. Primary qualities are things like _bulk_. Secondary 
qualities are best represented by _colours_. But to Locke, qualities are 
_phenomenal_ things, and _phenomena_ have them (For Locke, objects are coloured 
-- or 
colourful, even). 

Indeed, for Locke, the idea of a colourless object is a _contradictio in 
terminis_ (He counted black and white as colours, let it be said).



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