[Wittrs] Re: [C] Does The Tractatus Invalidate Itself?

  • From: "College Dropout John O'Connor" <sixminuteabs@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 2 Mar 2010 01:12:07 -0500

Thanks for joining the fray, Sean.

You said:
1. Regarding the AA lecture notes, I would not place too much stock on the 
idea that Wittgenstein was saying that there is only one kind or class of 
"nonsense." If you substitute "sense" for "family" -- a very reasonable 
substitution given the time frame -- the passage you cite is perfectly 
compatible with the idea that gibberish is different contradiction 
or falsehood. Also, compare the same language Wittgenstein uses to Moore 
regarding the term "grammar." Moore had made the point that grammar could only 
exist in the English-professor sense of the idea (syntax and such). 
Wittgenstein responded  regarding his idea of "grammar" (conditions of 
assertability), that it was still the same sort of thing. His point was that it 
belonged to the same family of things, not that it took on an identical sense 
(or were synonyms). So I would not quite read the matter this way.

I don't quite understand what you mean.  You lose me when you say "His point 
was: ..."  I've read that a lot concerning W, and frankly, I usually find it to 
be invalidated by what he has stated elsewhere.  You have probably read more W 
than I, but I still don't see the significance in saying "same sort of thing" 
instead of "same thing"-- nevermind I did not claim they were the same thing, 
but that they were both nonsense.

Just like I might call "The Last Supper" and "The Ninth Symphony" beautiful, I 
am not suggesting that they are the same thing... or even the same sort of 

You said:
2. Also, this seems to be incorrect:

"Thus, in the term of 33-34, W was saying nonsense is nonsense is nonsense.  
Thus, we are left with either showing or speaking clearly."

The post-Tractarian Wittgenstein arrived as early as the Fall term of 1930, as 
Ray Monk beautifully navigates. The distinction of showing versus saying is 
effectively dead at or around the time that meaning-is-use arrives. That's 
clearly here by 33-34. (I'd put money on it being here in late 30 in one form 
or another).  Also, by the time in question, Wittgenstein moved well beyond the 
hopes of Russel, Moore and (I assume) members of the Vienna-circle for seeking 
clarity in expression and embraced the idea that expression needn't 
pass any stimulative or regimented criteria to be meaningful. Rather, meaning 
was what it did in the field of play, not from what format it took. Hence, the 
ends of language were arbitrary, while the ends of cookery were not. (That also 
is well with us in the time period being referenced)

I really don't care to treat W as two people.  But it sounds as if you regard 
the TLP as positivist, which I think is quite easy to refute.  But then, maybe 
you are making a different claim.

My only claim was that W has a lot of clearheaded nonsense.  I don't attach a 
value claim to nonsense.  I'll recant my 'speaking clearly' comment only 
because, in dealing with nonsense, clarity isn't any quality we can speak of.  
That is, I'll stick with nonsense is nonsense is nonsense and grant you that 
the the point of the TLP was clarity and that is not his goal later on.

You said:
(What happened to our friend and First Citizen, J?) 

I don't know.  Actually, I don't even know who you are speaking of.  Was he a 
College Dropout too?  ;P

Have a good night!
He lived a wonderful life.

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