Ethics and the tractatus: A resolute failure

Philosophy 79 (1):33-55 (2004)
Abstract
The paper assumes for its starting point the basic correctness of the so-called “resolute” reading of Wittgenstein's Tractatus, a reading first developed by Cora Diamond and James Conant. The main part of the paper concerns the consequences this interpretation will have for our understanding of Wittgenstein's well-known remark in a letter to a prospective publisher that the point or aim of his book was an ethical one. I first give a sketch of what, given the committments of the resolute reading, the ethical point of the book will be, and then argue that given these committments and Wittgenstein's own philosophical biases at the time he wrote the Tractatus, the book cannot serve the ethical purpose for which it was written.
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