Tractatus' Failure


In this paper I discuss the role of the nonsensical ‘statements’ of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus and the aims of the book, a topic which has in recent years been the subject of, at times heated, controversy among Wittgenstein’s readers.1 In this debate the so-called ineffability interpretation argues that the role of nonsense in the Tractatus is to make us grasp ineffable truths which ‘strictly speaking’ cannot be said or thought2. By contrast, the interpretation known as the resolute reading emphasises the incomprehensibility of the notion of ineffable truths. According to the latter, nonsense in the Tractatus serves a therapeutic purpose: that of curing us from attempts to put forward nonsensical philosophical doctrines3. By employing a method of juxtaposition I..



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Oskari Kuusela
University of East Anglia

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