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

  • From: Sean Wilson <whoooo26505@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 1 Mar 2010 17:13:30 -0800 (PST)


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.   

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)  

Regards and thanks.

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

Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html 

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