Ineffability investigations: What the later Wittgenstein has to offer to the study of ineffability [Book Review]

While a considerable amount of effort has been expended in an attempt to understand Ludwig Wittgenstein’s enigmatic comments about silence and the mystical at the end of Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus , very little attention has been paid to the implications of Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations for the study of ineffability. This paper first argues that, since Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations problematizes private language, emphasizes the description of actual language use, and recognizes the rule-governed nature of language, it contains significant implications for the study of ineffability, inviting investigations of the ways in which putative ineffability actually gets expressed rather than speculation about whether there are ineffable objects or experiences. It then undertakes such an investigation in the Dionysian corpus, finding therein not only grammatical techniques that express inexpressibility at the referential, illocutionary, and semiotic levels but also rules that underlie and govern these techniques. Finally, it shows how a recovery of the ordinary uses of ineffability might help dissolve the metaphysical problem of ineffability, thereby bringing ineffability back to the everyday.
Keywords Ludwig Wittgenstein  Pseudo-Dionysius (Dionysius the Areopagite)  Ineffability  Mysticism  Religious language  Religious experience
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 22,631
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
George Lakoff (1980). Metaphors We Live By. University of Chicago Press.
David Hume (2007). Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Philosophical Review. Blackwell Pub. Ltd. 338-339.

View all 9 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

55 ( #82,913 of 1,938,810 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #100,512 of 1,938,810 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.