Ineffability and nonsense

Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 77 (1):195–223 (2003)
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Abstract

[A. W. Moore] There are criteria of ineffability whereby, even if the concept of ineffability can never serve to modify truth, it can sometimes serve to modify other things, specifically understanding. This allows for a reappraisal of the dispute between those who adopt a traditional reading of Wittgenstein's Tractatus and those who adopt the new reading recently championed by Diamond, Conant, and others. By maintaining that what the nonsense in the Tractatus is supposed to convey is ineffable understanding, rather than ineffable truth, we can do considerable justice to each of these readings. We can also do considerable justice to the Tractatus. /// [Peter Sullivan] Moore proposes to cut between 'traditional' and 'new' approaches to the Tractatus, suggesting that Wittgenstein's intention is to convey, through the knowing use of nonsense, ineffable understanding. I argue, first, that there is indeed room for a proposal of Moore's general kind. Secondly, though, I question whether Moore's actual proposal is not more in tune with Wittgenstein's later thought than with the attitude of the Tractatus.

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Peter Sullivan
University of Stirling

Citations of this work

Mysticism and nonsense in the tractatus.Michael Morris & Julian Dodd - 2007 - European Journal of Philosophy 17 (2):247-276.
The Riddle of Understanding Nonsense.Krystian Bogucki - 2023 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 30 (4):372–411.

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On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edited by John Henry McDowell.
Meaning.Herbert Paul Grice - 1957 - Philosophical Review 66 (3):377-388.
Truth.Paul Horwich - 1990 - Oxford, GB: Clarendon Press. Edited by Frank Jackson & Michael Smith.

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