Ineffability and nonsense

Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 77 (1):169–193 (2003)
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[A. W. Moore] Criteria of ineffability are presented which, it is claimed, preclude the possibility of truths that are ineffable, but not the possibility of other things that are ineffable—not even the possibility of other things that are non-trivially ineffable. Specifically, they do not preclude the possibility of states of understanding that are ineffable. This, it is argued, 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 Cora Diamond, James 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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Antionette Moore
University of South Florida

Citations of this work

Ineffability: The very concept.Sebastian Gäb - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (5):1-12.
Nonsense: a user's guide.Manish Oza - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
Logical Syntax in Wittgenstein's Tractatus.Cora Diamond - 2005 - Philosophical Quarterly 55 (218):78 - 89.
Mysticism and nonsense in the tractatus.Michael Morris & Julian Dodd - 2007 - European Journal of Philosophy 17 (2):247-276.

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