[lit-ideas] Re: Philosophical Investigations - text and comments - The Preface

  • From: "Adriano Palma" <Palma@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 10 May 2012 17:38:29 +0200

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** Reply Requested by 5/10/2012 (Thursday) **

mira al tuo popolo o bella signora, che pien di giubilo oggi t'onora,
anch'io festevole corro ai tuoi pie', o santa vergine prega per me

>>> Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx> 10/05/2012 05:33 PM >>>

From: "palma@xxxxxxxxxx" <palmaadriano@xxxxxxxxx>
> t'adoriam, ostia divina, t'adoriam ostia d'amor.....  
Not sure what the sense of this is - even though I am aware of a
'what-is-said'. (Go figure).
Perhaps it is alluding to the fact that W told his publishers that what
the TLP did not contain was more important than what it did contain. And
perhaps this allusion further implies that, in saying this, W was saying
that what is only implicit in TLP is more fundamental than what is
explicitly stated in TLP:- that his fundamental POV is what is
important, and this hinges on the 'key tenet', but this is something
only shown or implicit - shown [or implicit] by [or in] what, in TLP, is
'said' or explicit. Thus W meant that what is not _explicitly_ contained
in TLP [but is implicit and shown] is more important than what is
explicitly contained in TLP.*
If so, who am I to disgree? Btw it's only Thursday and soon I might be
in Audley. I hope Robert Paul's hand has healed by now.
* A rival school of thought might exegise:- that W meant that 'anything
other' than what is contained in TLP is more important than what is
contained in TLP - so, for example, a Dan Brown novel or book by Sarah
Palin (assuming these are not contained within TLP) would, in W's view,
be more important than what is contained in TLP. This school of thought
might be thought to have the notable advantage that it entirely avoids
the shown-implicit/said-explicit dichotomy, with the mere disadvantage
of being utter bollix.

On Sun, May 6, 2012 at 5:43 PM, Donal McEvoy
<donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Note: The ‘key tenet’ is the sense of ‘what is said’ is never said in
‘what is said’, the sense of ‘what is said’ can only be shown.  
In the Preface to PI, W says various things that indicate that the ‘key
tenet’ will be fundamental in what follows. These, as in the main text,
stop short of explicit statement of the ‘key tenet’. That W might leave
such a ‘key tenet’ only implicit might seem very dubious – except for
the striking (even extraordinary) background against which PI must be
To begin with, the ‘key tenet’ is in the TLP, and W wrote to Russell
that it is the fundamental point of the TLP:- yet even there this
fundamental point is not explicitly emphasised throughout the text. Nor
could one easily recognise the ‘key tenet’ from what W says in the
Preface to TLP. Rather, it is only at the end of TLP that W points out
that, according to the “truth” TLP presents (which “truth” is,
fundamentally, the ‘key tenet’), the TLP’s sequence of numbered
propositions do not say anything with sense but are an attempt to show
what cannot be said. Few are likely to have otherwise considered them as
not saying anything with sense on merely reading them: only in the light
of the ‘key tenet’, and the statements that make this tenet more or less
explicit, is it clear that this is how they are to be read. 
This is so important to understanding the TLP, and W’s later PI, that
it bears close consideration and emphasis. Though on careful examination
we find the ‘key tenet’ is fundamental to TLP, even in TLP the
fundamental role of the ‘key tenet’ is not made that explicit – rather
the fundamental POV it reflects is left largely implicit. It is only in
relative terms that we may say that the ‘key tenet’ is explicit in TLP
whereas it is only implicit in PI: for it is largely left implicit in
TLP; indeed implicit – not explicit – in every single numbered
proposition that makes up the text. It is implicit in every single
proposition not by way of ‘implicature’ from what those propositions
‘say’, but because the doctrine of ‘showing not saying’ that underlies
the work must be implicitly taken as given for understanding every
single proposition of which the work is constituted. And this is what W
more or less explicitly recognises when he concludes TLP: “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
Reasons have been elsewhere given as to why W left the ‘key tenet’
implicit in PI whereas it is (albeit only relatively speaking) explicit
in TLP. It avoids the paradoxical character of appearing to say [though
only actually showing] what cannot be said – a paradox that might be
thought to undermine the TLP’s fundamental POV, as its numbered
propositions turn out to say nothing with sense. In the later philosophy
this ‘paradox’ is avoided by simply showing ‘what cannot be said’
without explicitly ‘saying’ what cannot be said. Thus, in PI, W deploys
a more self-consistent way of showing what is claimed (implicitly) to be
only showable and not sayable.
But there is perhaps a hitherto 

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