[quickphilosophy] A Contradiction Regarding What Cannot be Said?

  • From: wittrsl@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • To: wittrsl@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 2 Aug 2010 16:00:10 -0700 (PDT)

W. says that the  "internal properties" by some object can't really be 

in a  proposition:
4.124 The holding of an internal property of a possible state  of things will 
not be expressed through a proposition, but rather it expresses  itself in the 
proposition that presents the state of things, through an internal  property of 
this proposition.  It would be equally senseless to ascribe a formal  property 
to a proposition as to deny it.  

4.1241 One cannot distinguish forms from each other by saying  that the one has 
this but the other has that property; because this presupposes  that it makes 
sense to assert either property of either form.
4.125 The existence of an internal relation between possible  states of things 
expresses itself linguistically through an internal relation  between the 
propositions that present them.

But note this  slightly earlier prop.:

4.123 A property is internal if it is unthinkable that its  object should not 
possess it.  (This blue color and that stand in the internal  relation of 
lighter and darker eo ipso.  It is unthinkable that this pair of objects not 
stand in this relation.)
(Here the shifting use of the word "object" corresponds to  the shifting use of 
the words "property" and "relation.")

Mcginn writes about  this, "In the later philosophy, it is clear that W thinks 
that the colour-wheel  is itself a part of the symbolism, in the sense that the 
ordered colour samples  of the colour-wheel constitute an instrument of our 
language, by means of which  the logical order of our colour concepts is 
presented.  However, it is not clear  that he held this view at the time of 
writing the Tractatus, where he sems to  suggest that the logical order of 
colour-space will be revealed through the  logical analysis of colour terms."
What I wonder is how we can SAY (as W does above) that "This blue color and 

stand in the  internal relation of lighter and darker."  For isn't that just 

sort of thing that  he immediately thereafter tells us we CAN'T say?
Furthermore, it is  important to note that unless we construe particular 
instantiations of colors as  objects, it will not be the case that it is 
unthinkable that THIS (which is  darker than THAT) NOT be darker than THAT.  
That is, though this thing is a  darker color than that thing, nobody would 
claim that it MUST be so, unless this  thing is essentially of that color. 

though, that if we hold that some  instantiation of a particular color is 

an object, we will then be debarred from  saying that that "thing" is (in the 
sense of "exemplifies" ) red.  Because, of course, the thing would then  

be, identical to some particular shade of red.  If those are the sorts  of 
things that W wants to take as "atomic objects" the range of predicates that  
can apply to them will thus be quite restricted.
I intend to go back to what objects are in my next post, concentrating on 
Griffin's commentary. 



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