SOPhiA 2021

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

SOPhiA ToolsDE-pageEN-page

Programme - Talk

The early Wittgenstein's view of nonsense reconsidered
(History of Philosophy, )

In my talk, I will defend the view that Wittgenstein holds the austere conception of nonsense in Tractatus logico-philosophicus. According to this conception, there is only one kind of nonsense, since meaninglessnes always results from our not having assigned a meaning to expressions in a certain context. I will argue that Glock (2004, 2014), Hacker (2004) and Liptow (2018) did not provide effective arguments against this position. In the last part, I will indicate the need for a clarification of the relation between the context principle and the resolute reading of the Tractatus.

The austere conception of nonsense was proposed by Cora Diamond (1978, 1981) as part of new reading of Wittgenstein's philosophy. The resolute reading claims that there are no ineffable truths. The aim of Tractatus was therapeutical, therefore Wittgenstein did not want to present a metaphysical or other theory. His basic tools in this endeavour were the austere conception of nonsense and the context principle. The austere conception of nonsense rejects category clash between meanings of words and allows only for mere nonsense. I defend the austere conception of nonsense against four kinds of arguments:

1. there is no textual evidence in favour of this conception;

2. the restrictive reading of the context principle is untenable;

3. the context principle contradicts the compositional view of language;

4. there is no substantial merits in the austere view of nonsennse.

Notably, I will argue that the recent revival in the philosophy of nonsense and metaphilosohy (Cappelan 2013, Chalmers 2011) speaks in favour of the austere view. However, I will claim that from the point of view of the resolute readers it is hard to explain the kind of category mistakes characteristic for Tractatus. The austere conception of nonsense rejects the standard view of the logical syntax, but then there is no motivation for a claim that, e.g. ``A is object'' is nonsense.

Chair: Silvana Pani
Time: 11:20-11:50, 11 September 2021 (Saturday)
Location: SR 1.007
Remark: (Online Talk)

Krystian Bogucki 
(University of Warsaw, Poland)

I am a PhD student at the University of Warsaw, Department of Philosophy and a member of the Centre for Philosophical Research. My research interests include history of analytic philosophy and philosophy of language.

Testability and Meaning deco