Re: [quickphilosophy] Re: 1.12; 1.13; 1.2 & 1.21

  • From: wittrsl@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • To: quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 8 Sep 2010 10:52:35 -0700 (PDT)

My typo: should read Revista Hispanoamericana.

--- On Wed, 9/8/10, Ron Allen <wavelets@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

From: Ron Allen <wavelets@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: [quickphilosophy] Re: 1.12; 1.13; 1.2 & 1.21
To: quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Date: Wednesday, September 8, 2010, 10:48 AM


Hello again Martin:
Let me address some of the points you raise about interpreting the Tractatus.
OK, I misrepresented your stance: You're not calling him an idealist, and maybe 
you're not calling him anything except, perhaps, obscure (I might do so myself, 
in fact). But, in any case, there is a distinction between an idealist 
philosophy and a rationalist philosophy, and I am calling Wittgenstein in the 
TLP a rationalist. And, again, I don't see any clear reason to suggest that 
he's putting out an idealist line of thought here. Someone might make the 
argument that idealism is the only way to make sense of the TLP, but no one 
seems to have ever made great strides in such an exegesis. But, I'm listening.
I don't see W. as being insincere. Looking at the guy's life, I don't see 
anything but integrity and determination within his personality. (You want 
insincere? Derrida's your man.) I think there is a certain irony that is 
reached at the end of the work. I disagree with the interpretation Diamond 
wants to give, and I think that Anscombe spotlights the irony fairly well:
"And now I come to the matter of the penultimate proposition of the 
Tractatus. I think it has not been translated well. I give you what I think is 
a more accurate translation thus: 'My sentences are illuminating in the 
following way: one who understands me rejects them as nonsensical if, using 
them as stepping stones, he has climbed out over them. He must as it were throw 
away the ladder after he has climbed it. Then he sees the world rightly.'
"Notice that this does not say that someone who rejects the sentences of the 
Tractatus as strictly nonsensical [rla: e.g. Diamond and Conant] understands 
Wittgenstein. There is a condition: the rejection as nonsense depends on the 
process of using the propositions of the Tractatus, i.e. climbing on them as on 
the rungs of a ladder; if the climber so climbs out over them and so comes to 
recognize them as nonsensical then they have been enlightening to him." 
[Anscombe, 'The simplicity of the Tractatus,' in Critica: Revista 
Hispanoamerican de Filosofia, vol. 21, no. 63, pp. 3-16, December 1989.]
So, 'nonsense' has a technical meaning inside the TLP. One can't just read the 
word like a guy off the street does. Well, one just might not like neither 
Wittgenstein nor the TLP, and in that case, nonsense is as good a label as any!

--- On Sun, 9/5/10, Martin N Brampton <martin.lists@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

From: Martin N Brampton <martin.lists@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: [quickphilosophy] Re: 1.12; 1.13; 1.2 & 1.21
To: quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Date: Sunday, September 5, 2010, 2:50 PM


Ron Allen wrote:
> Hi Martin:
> Well, you seem to want to draw the discussion away from Wittgenstein and 
> the TLP. My emphatic claims were not about me but about W and his points 
> in his early work. I don't see any basis for calling him an idealist 
> here. I could see calling Berkeley, or Schelling, or Fichte, or Hegel an 
> idealist, or Whitehead, but not Wittgenstein. Not in the TLP. 
> Rationalist? Yes. Idealist? No.

Do I? I'm not "calling" him an idealist, I'm simply looking for a 
reading of TLP that makes sense. It seems to follow from the concluding 
remarks that the TLP is not to be taken at face value, so that leaves us 
looking for an interpretation to show how the book can have significance 
without being so taken. Presumably the bulk of TLP is *not* W's view or 
the closing comments would not be sincere.

Kant is certainly a self proclaimed idealist, although a transcendental 
idealist, and therefore opposed to Berkeley as well as Hume. But the 
point is more to do with whether any sense can be made of claiming a 
relationship between statements and some unspecified other called "facts".

Why do you think of W as a rationalist?

> But, it any case, I'm not opposed to metaphysics. It seems like everyone 
> is just itching to call someone a logical positivist. Kant claimed that 
> we must have God because without Him we would have no morality. So, his 
> efforts at dismissing metaphysics didn't quite clear the whole field.

I haven't called anyone a logical positivist, I mentioned LP only in 
connection with Ayer as an illustration of another philosopher who 
changed his mind quite radically.

Are you sure Kant said that? It's a while since I read the Critique of 
Practical Reason. The involvement of God seems peripheral according to 
the account given at

> If the TLP was truly the nonsense that Diamond asserts it to be, then it 
> would not deserve scholarly articles asserting it to be nonsense. There 
> must be, therefore, some intellectually motivating core within the TLP.

That seems a non sequitur.

> The propositions of the TLP do not have sense, because they are not 
> built up from logical operations from elemental propositions about 
> states of affairs. It is an equivocation to say that they are nonsense 
> because of that.

I have never argued that, but why is it an equivocation? If the 
standard of sense is (and I'm not saying that it is) that a statement be 
built up from logical operations from elementary propositions about 
states of affairs, then what are things that are not so built? Unsense? 
Not sense?

> I don't know how many different kinds of statements there can be. I 
> haven't yet seen all the statements that are possible, so I can't begin 
> to put them into bins, let alone determine how many bins should be set 
> aside for the universe's propositions.

Why do we need to put them into bins?

> The history of science is an example of logical atomism at work. In 
> designing a philosophical theory, it would be better to proceed from how 
> something works rather than from how you, or I, or Wittgenstein might 
> think it should work. So, epistemology doesn't have an exclusive hold on 
> philosophy; there is a spot for methodology too.

Why do you think that?

> I'll try to continue this later.
> Thanks!
> --Ron

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