Philosophy and Social Criticism 33 (2):223-249 (2007)

Authors
Abstract
Using the later Levinas as a point of departure, this article tries to provide an account of the ethics of Wittgenstein's Tractatus . Although there has not been written much on this topic, there seems to be an increasing awareness among philosophers that there are interesting points of convergence between Levinas and the early Wittgenstein. In contrast to most (if not all) other accounts of the relation, however, this article argues that the truly significant convergence emerges only when one abandons the received interpretation of the early Wittgenstein, and instead opts for something more akin to the ‘new Wittgenstein’ interpretation introduced by Cora Diamond and James Conant, among others. On the received interpretation, Wittgenstein places ethics in a realm of ineffable being and truth, and thus remains within what Levinas calls ontology. But on Conant's and Diamond's reading of Wittgenstein, there really are no profound ethical truths that we cannot state, but only ‘show’; all the sentences of the Tractatus that appear to claim otherwise are ultimately completely nonsensical. This article argues that the Tractatus has an ‘ethical point’ in a quite Levinasian sense, precisely because of the way it unveils its sentences as utterly nonsensical; for this can be seen as a Wittgensteinian attempt to ‘unsay’ the ‘said’, in order to let the ‘saying’ itself be heard. Key Words: ethics • Emmanuel Levinas • nonsense • the Other • said • saying • Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/0191453707074141
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 54,536
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Violence and Metaphysics.”.Jacques Derrida - 2005 - In Claire Elise Katz & Lara Trout (eds.), Emmanuel Levinas. Routledge. pp. 1--88.
Ethics, Imagination and the Method of Wittgenstein's Tractatus.Cora Diamond - 2000 - In Alice Crary & Rupert J. Read (eds.), The New Wittgenstein. Routledge. pp. 149-173.
Elucidation and Nonsense in Frege and Early Wittgenstein.James Conant - 2000 - In Alice Crary & Rupert J. Read (eds.), The New Wittgenstein. Routledge. pp. 174--217.
Must We Show What We Cannot Say?James Conant - 1989 - In R. Fleming & M. Payne (eds.), The Senses of Stanley Cavell. Bucknell. pp. 242--83.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Method of the Tractatus.Nikolay Milkov - 2003 - Contributions of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society 11:139-41.
Essays on Wittgenstein.E. D. Klemke - 1971 - Urbana, University of Illinois Press.
Logical Syntax in Wittgenstein's Tractatus.Cora Diamond - 2005 - Philosophical Quarterly 55 (218):78 - 89.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
63 ( #153,755 of 2,385,502 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #267,971 of 2,385,502 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes