[Wittrs] Re: [quickphilosophy] Re: An Anscombe Error Regarding Negation?

  • From: wittrsl@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • To: quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 08 Aug 2010 16:33:49 +0100

Sorry, that wasn't expressed well, and I didn't take the time to look up 
any references.

In trying to come up with a better formulation, I stumbled across an 
interesting sounding paper by Allan F Randall 
(http://www.elea.org/Wittgenstein/) the abstract for which is:

"Wittgenstein's philosophies, from both the Tractatus and the 
Philosophical Investigations, are explained and developed. Wittgenstein 
uses a primitive version of recursion theory to develop his attempt at a 
purely logical metaphysics in the Tractatus. However, due to his 
implicit materialist assumptions, he could not make the system 
completely logical, and built in a mystical division of possible worlds 
into the true and the false. This incoherence eventually lead him to 
reject logic as a method for doing metaphysics, and indeed to reject 
metaphysics entirely. I argue that his move from the Tractatus to the 
Investigations was valid, but only given his materialist assumptions. If 
he had been willing to drop this unnecessary baggage, recursion would 
have played a very different role in his system, since he would then 
have had no need to separate static objects from processes, which he saw 
as purely mental. F.H. Bradley developed such a nonmaterialist 
metaphysics in the nineteenth century, but was crippled by a mentalism 
that Wittgenstein was free of. The anti-mentalism and anti-materialism 
that Wittgenstein considered as given were not so obvious to his 
predecessor, Russell, who revolted against Bradley's idealism in much 
the same way Wittgenstein ended up revolting against Russell's logical 
atomism. In my view, none of these positions was the right approach, 
which would require nonmentalism and nonmaterialism.  But for some 
reason, these things (which seem to go together quite naturally to me) 
have been widely considered to be incompatible. Bradley was 
appropriately a non-materialist, but suffered from mentalism. Russell 
and the early Wittgenstein were appropriately nonmentalists, but 
suffered from materialism. The later Wittgenstein was, I would argue, 
still an ardent materialist and anti-mentalist, in spite of the fact 
that he had long since realized the contradictions to which materialism 
leads; he just had not recognized that it was his materialist 
assumptions that had lead him there, since these assumptions were so 
firmly engrained in his thinking as to be invisible. Hence, he could 
publicly claim to have rejected metaphysics, while continuing to argue 
philosophically from a strongly materialist, and hence deeply 
metaphysical, position."

The comments on W's implicit materialism are consistent with my earlier 
questions about what stance is being taken wrt the idealism/realism 
spectrum, and also with my doubts about the genuineness of W's 
repudiation of any such distinction.

On a quick scan, the nearest this paper comes to helping me to express 
myself is the assertion that the TLP "ultimately leaves truth outside of 

As I remember it, W claims that logic does not tell us anything about 
the world.  This seems suspect, on the grounds that developments in 
science have sometimes suggested that an alternative logic should be 
adopted.  If the development of science can influence the choice of 
logic (which is perhaps another way of saying that it requires radical 
linguistic innovation) then it would seem that there must be a 
connection between logic and empirical considerations.

On 08/08/10 13:33, walto wrote:

> One thing I do want to ask you, though, is why you say that W is thought
> to deny that there are logical truths. His position in the Tractatus
> seems rather to be that every necessary truth must be a tautology (and
> he struggles with those statements like, "If this is green it is not
> red." which seem not to be empirical, but which can't easily be analyzed
> into a "p v -p" form.
> Walto

Other related posts: