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Gjesteforelesning ved FOF: Prof. Dr. Géza Kállay, School of English and American Studies, Loránd Eötvös University, Budapest: Nonsense and the Ineffable: a Contribution to the Re-Reading of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus

Prof. Dr. Géza Kállay, School of English and American Studies, Loránd Eötvös University, Budapest

 

Nonsense and the Ineffable:

a Contribution to the Re-Reading of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus

 

 

ABSTRACT

 

The paper, after a brief account of my encounter with Wittgenstein’s work, wishes to contribute to the debate on the reading of the Tractatus that has variously been called “therapeutic” or “resolute”. Drawing on the writings of especially Cora Diamond, James Conant and, opposing the therapeutic reading, of Peter Hacker, as well as inspired by the “Introduction” by Alois Pichler and Simo Säätelä to the volume Wittgenstein: The Philosopher and his Works (2006), the paper wishes to revisit the problem of nonsense and of the ineffable in the Tractatus. I will argue that although it is very useful to call attention to Wittgenstein’s shift of perspective form the initial Third Person to the First Person (the First Person appearing towards the end in the Tractatus), it is an exaggeration to say that the whole text is nonsense: it is nonsense only from another First Person perspective than the author’s, and one very easily takes her own First Person-perspective to be a Third Person-viewpoint, one of the central problems of philosophy Wittgenstein noticed and linked with the ineffable. Finally, the paper will claim that the “most general” form of the Third Person point-of-view is the “logical form”, which, according to the Tractatus, is there both in our sentences and in the World and which binds together not only language and World but us, speakers, too and guarantees (a minimal) meaningfulness the way various grammatical rules do in culture-specific, various natural languages according to Philosophical Investigations.