Hi Jean-Pierre,

On Tue, 08 Aug 2017 01:34:28 -0600, Jean-Pierre Delange <adeiman...@free.fr> wrote:

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 schweigen".

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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