Previously I posted to explain what might otherwise appear an extraordinary fact – that W leaves the ‘key tenet’ of PI implicit and not explicit in the text. This fact was explained on the (quasi-logical) ground that leaving it implicit avoids the paradoxical character of making it explicit:- if made explicit, it might appear that W was saying ‘what cannot be said (but only shown)’. Whereas, if left implicit, it is something that may be shown by what is said (though not ‘said’ by what is said), without its presentation having a paradoxical character. Thus PI adopts a more self-consistent way of showing W’s POV than that adopted in TLP. In addition, in W’s view this implicit ‘key tenet’ would be understood by the like-minded to whom the book might be of value, and so need not be ‘said’ to the only audience likely to understand W’s work (those not of like mind would not properly understand W’s POV, in W’s estimation, even if the ‘key tenet’ were made explicit: after all, though taking the TLP as a signature text, the Logical Positivists had not properly understood the TLP – by their failing to see that what was not explicitly contained in TLP was more important than what was explicitly contained in TLP, and by their failing to see that the ‘key tenet’ is the most fundamental aspect of TLP and not its positivistic ‘doctrine of sense and nonsense’). These two points were reinforced by the fact that the same ‘key tenet’ underpins TLP and yet is there left (I suggested) ‘largely implicit’. For if W had no qualms – about appearing to say ‘what cannot be said (but only shown)’ – W might have been explicit about his aims and methods in PI in a way that would have settled doubts as to the role of the ‘key tenet’. That W did not do so in PI is made explicable when we consider that in the TLP this ‘key tenet’ is also not very explicit – because W had similar qualms even earlier. Yet the position is even more striking and extraordinary than this. For it may be put more strongly than that the ‘key tenet’ is left ‘largely implicit’ in TLP: it may be argued that the ‘key tenet’ is not explicit in TLP at all but is left implicit in TLP. Indeed, only in the light of extrinsic evidence (like W’s letter to Russsell) is it clear that the ‘key tenet’ is implicit in TLP, for W does not explicitly state the ‘key tenet’ in the text or Preface. If so, the position is even more striking and extraordinary than previously suggested and further supports the view that the ‘key tenet’ is implicit in PI: in truth, the ‘key tenet’ is implicit not explicit in both TLP and PI. So we find not only a continuity of ‘doctrine’ between TLP and PI but also continuity in presentation of that ‘key tenet’ – by way of leaving it implicit. So by way of clarification:- what, then, is made explicit (and what is left implicit) in TLP as regards the “truth” of the ‘key tenet’? What, in TLP, is not explicitly stated is that ‘every proposition in TLP says nothing with sense but (nevertheless) shows “the truth”’. W does not anywhere make this as an explicit proposition. Yet this is W’s position. This key proposition is, in this sense, implicit – it is a proposition that must be taken as given if we are to properly understand the status (as a matter of ‘philosophical logic’) of each and every single numbered proposition that constitutes the text of TLP. But this key point is only implicit. It is a key point that derives from the ‘key tenet’, which is also left implicit.* Even the striking conclusion of TLP stops short of being utterly explicit as to W’s POV as regards the ‘key tenet’:- “6.54 My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.) He must surmount these propositions; then he sees the world rightly. 7 Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.” What is not made explicit here, but is left implicit, is that these two propositions themselves are “senseless” – as indeed are each and every of the numbered propositions of which the text is constituted: in other words, it is implicit rather than explicit that “[m]y propositions” denotes each and every proposition that constitutes the text of TLP (including the ‘proposition’ that asserts TLP’s propositions are senseless”). Further (and though W does not explicitly say so), the final proposition seems to breach its own ethic: for it is not silent on a matter where it proposes we “must be silent”. Moreover (and though W does not explicitly say so), the whole work – each and every of its propositions – seems to breach this concluding ethic. Most strikingly, nowhere – not even in the TLP’s conclusion – does W make explicit that, while the TLP’s propositions are “senseless”, they nevertheless show what is “the truth”. Instead of explicitly recognising this in its general application to all his “propositions”, W restricts himself to remarks that illustrate examples where ‘what is said’ shows “the truth”: “6.36 If there were a law of causality, it might run: “There are natural laws”. But that can clearly not be said: it shows itself.” The closest W comes to an explicit statement that the propositions of the TLP show “the truth” to which the Preface refers, is “6.522 There is indeed the inexpressible. This shows itself; it is the mystical.” It is here left implicit that W’s own propositions show what cannot be expressed or said [with sense]: and so the ‘key tenet’, according to which the sense of a proposition can only be shown, is here left implicit. That W was uncomfortable with these kinds of ‘paradox’ is, I suggest, reflected in his leaving matters as implicit as he could, consistent with nevertheless making his POV as clear as he could: a tension reflected, for example, between what is said in the Preface about the value of TLP’s clarity of expression [“If this work has a value it consists in two things. First that in it thoughts are expressed, and this value will be the greater the better the thoughts are expressed.”] and TLP’s conclusion that W is expressing thoughts where we “must be silent.” In TLP we see a constant tension between W’s view that he is writing about matters on which we “must be silent” [and where “the truth” may only be shown and left implicit by ‘what is said’] and his view in the Preface that “the truth of the thoughts communicated here seems to me unassailable and definitive. I am, therefore, of the opinion that the problems have in essentials been finally solved.” It is this last estimation – of the importance and definitiveness of “the truth” that TLP presents – that propels W to ‘express’ thoughts that go beyond what can be expressed or said with sense – even though this seems both somewhat paradoxical and to breach its own ethic that we “must be silent”. Nevertheless what is made explicit by the numbered propositions of the TLP falls short of making explicit what most important – the ‘key tenet’. It falls short not as an oversight but as a deliberate act consistent with “the truth” of the ‘key tenet’ – the ‘key tenet’ is left implicit, or as shown, by ‘what is said’ explicitly: for its truth can only be shown and cannot be said [further: in TLP, its truth cannot be said with sense].* The text of TLP is replete with examples where what is stated explicitly can only be understood in terms of what is left implicit. Here we might bear in mind W’s remark to his publishers that what TLP did not contain was more important than what it did contain – which makes sense if we understand W to be saying that what is implicit/shown in TLP is more important than what appears explicit/said. Though it might have been tedious to make it explicit, each and every single numbered proposition can only be understood in terms of what is left implicit – a ‘left implicit’ that could be made more explicit if after each proposition it were added, parenthetically, “(though ‘saying’ this does not ‘say’ anything with sense but shows what is the truth)”. So that the first proposition could be amplified to read: “1. The world is everything that is the case (though ‘saying’ this does not ‘say’ anything with sense but shows what is the truth)” – and so on. Certain other propositions also contain ‘content’ that must apply to that proposition itself – but, crucially, W does not make this explicit but rather leaves this implicit. Indeed, W leaves implicit how that ‘content’ applies to itself. So, for example, it is left implicit that, if ‘6.54’ is “the truth”, then ‘6.54’ must be true of itself, and if it is true of itself then ‘6.54’ must be “senseless”. Or consider “4.022 The proposition shows its sense. The proposition shows how things stand, if it is true. And it says that they do so stand.” W leaves implicit how this applies to itself and, if so, what follows from that. Again, when W speaks at ‘6.54’ of “[m]y propositions” W does not make explicit – but leaves implicit – that these propositions are not propositions at all, in the sense in which he analyses what constitutes the sense of a “proposition” in the text. Rather his “propositions” are pseudo-propositions: because, while they may look like propositions with sense, they are not propositions with sense. Given that the ‘key tenet’ is left implicit in TLP, and left implicit for understandable reasons connected with what is a suitable way to present such a doctrine, then it is only to be expected that the ‘key tenet’ would be left implicit in PI; and, when PI is seen as intended by W against the “background” of the TLP, the wind is taken from the sails of any argument that the ‘key tenet’ is not in PI because it is not made explicit there. ____________ *This key point partly follows from the ‘key tenet’ that the sense of ‘what is said’ is never said in ‘what is said’, the sense of ‘what is said’ can only be shown. It also partly follows from the TLP’s positivistic view that only the propositions of “natural science” have sense. Thus this key point is a conclusion arising from an amalgam of the ‘key tenet’ and of the TLP’s positivistic ‘doctrine of sense and nonsense’. By the time of PI, W had abandoned the TLP’s ‘doctrine of sense and nonsense’ though he retained the ‘key tenet’: and therefore he was not bound to the view that what he shows in PI is “senseless”. In the TLP, W was bound to the view that what his propositions show is “senseless” even though it is “the truth”: hence ‘6.54’. Donal Who is indebted to Karl Popper for much of the above, and would suggest Popper had a much more profound and accurate understanding of Wittgenstein than many so-called ‘Wittgensteinians’ (for whom W’s work becomes a kind of Rorschach blot of their own devising).