[lit-ideas] Re: "Roughly speaking" (Was: Wittgenstein)

  • From: Henninge@xxxxxxxxxxx (Richard Henninge)
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 27 May 2004 03:55:42 +0200

----- Original Message -----
From: <Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx>
To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2004 2:40 AM
Subject: [lit-ideas] "Roughly speaking" (Was: Wittgenstein)


> In a message dated 5/25/2004 7:51:02 PM Eastern Standard Time,
> Henninge@xxxxxxxxxxx writes:
> Beiläufig gesprochen: Die Gegenstände sind farblos. (Wittgenstein,
original)
>
> Roughly speaking: objects are colourless. (Ogden, trans.  [1922])
> There is a sense in which objects are colorless. (Nichols &  May,
> trans.[1961])
> One might say that objects are colorless. (Mutton  editions, trans.
[2004])
> In a manner of speaking, objects are colourless.  (McGuinness & Pears,
> trans.[1961])
> Dicho sea incidentalmente, los  objetos son incoloros. (Munoz & Reguera,
> trans. [1973])
> Soit dit en  passant: les objets sont incolores. (Pierre Klossowski,
trans.
> [1961])
> Detto approssimativamente: Gli oggetti sono incolori.  (Amadea G. Conte,
> trans. [1964])
>
> More of this may  follow.
> ---
> Okay. So apparently, 'roughly speaking' was Wittgenstein's  choice for the
> English translation of the German expression  'beilaeufig gesprochen'.

Apparently, in Austrian German one can say "beiläufig zehn euro" to mean
"about ten euros." That's a bit idiosyncratic, but Wittgenstein was at home
in that idiom. There's a way in which I can say "Basically, objects are
colorless" that strikes me as approximating the meaning. For all intents and
purposes. There are lots of clues in the Tractatus that explain what he
means by this. One is the distinction between internal and external
properties of the objects. The internal properties are logical, are in his
logical space. Basically, color is an external property. Wittgenstein was
taking a needed "time out" from his normal strictures concerning what one
can and cannot say in order to "roughly" say what, in his mind, is the case.
In the PI he tended to hedge his bets by saying "I am inclined to say
that...."

I believe some insight into "objects are colorless" can be gained by
discussing §31 in _Philosophical Investigations_. If anyone (Robert?) wants
to "play" and could set up the pieces (it's about chess, language games),
i.e. post the text (if this doesn't involve typing, at least in English,
though I've got some lambasting to do and need the German, too), I think
there's a lit-ideas mini-seminar lurking in it.

Thanks for your post, JL.

Richard Henninge
University of Mainz


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