On Tue, 08 Aug 2017 01:34:28 -0600, Jean-Pierre Delange
Hi Idriss, Pablo, Wolfgang and Hans,
It has been a long time since I have read the Wittgenstein
"Tractacus-Logico-Philosophicus". I remember, when I was 20, that I was
very puzzled by this assertion : "Wovon man nicht klar sagen, muss man
That clause comes at the end of a larger assertion:
"Was sich überhaupt sagen lässt, lässt sich klar sagen; und wovon man
nicht reden kann, darüber muss man schweigen."
"What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot speak
thereof one must be silent."
That assertion (as well as the entire Tractatus) involves multiple
epistemic-ontic confusions. For example: It is not the case that what is
clear to one person is automatically clear to another person. Nor is it
the case that a statement which is unclear to the person who hears it is
automatically unclear to the person who stated it.
Unfortunately for Wittgenstein, when held to the standard of his own
benchmark above he often paints himself into a corner. From John Corcoran
(one of the greatest living logicians):
INTERPRETING ARISTOTLE: I took for my principle of interpretation that he
meant what he said: and truly he is a writer who deserves this compliment.
—Augustus De Morgan 1862.
INTERPRETING WITTGENSTEIN: I took for my principle of interpretation that
he meant what he said: and truly he is a writer who deserves this
punishment. —Frango Nabrasa 2002.
I guess Wittgenstein didn't think about coding numbered paragraphs !
Indeed, his system has perplexed most readers of the Tractatus; some of
his commentators consider it perverse, even a joke. The obscurity of his
numbering system has created something of a cottage industry:
Judged by the standard expressed by the assertion you quoted, Wittgenstein
should not have used his own system!
Idris Samawi Hamid, Professor
Department of Philosophy
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80512
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