Mysticism and Nonsense in the Tractatus

Morris, Michael and Dodd, Julian (2009) Mysticism and Nonsense in the Tractatus. European Journal of Philosophy, 17 (2). pp. 247-276. ISSN 0966-8373

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This paper presents a new treatment of the paradox of Wittgensteins Tractatus: a paradox resulting from the fact that the work seems to declare itself to be nonsense. Current approaches assume that the Tractatus is concerned to communicate truths, and thus have to treat the paradox in one of two ways. Either the work is supposed to communicate ineffable truths, or some part of the work is taken not to be nonsense and hence capable of communicating truths straightforwardly. According to the view presented in this article, neither approach is credible and, as a result, the assumption on which both approaches rest must be abandoned. The paper argues that the function of the work is not to communicate truths, but to engender in the reader a mystical experience of the limits of the world

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This paper presents a radically new approach to much-disputed issue in contemporary Tractatus scholarship. There has been heated disagreement between so-called 'resolute' and 'traditional' interpreters of the text. The present paper argues that the choice between these two approaches is forced on one if, but only if, a central interpretative assumption is made; the paper then suggests a way of interpreting the Tractatus which arises from the abandonment of that assumption.
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > Philosophy
Depositing User: Michael Morris
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 19:47
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2012 11:56
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