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The Fate of WonderWittgenstein's Critique of Metaphysics and Modernity$
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Kevin Cahill

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231158008

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231158008.001.0001

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Interpreting the Tractatus

Interpreting the Tractatus

(p.19) 1 Interpreting the Tractatus
The Fate of Wonder

Kevin M. Cahill

Columbia University Press

This chapter presents an interpretative framework for understanding the Tractatus and what followed it. It first considers the closely related problems of the role of nonsense in the Tractatus and what Ludwig Wittgenstein called the book's “ethical point.” It then provides an overview of the widely held “ineffabilist” approach to reading the Tractatus, according to which Wittgenstein thought that nonsense could be used to help us grasp ineffable truths of logic, ontology, and ethics. It also examines Arthur Schopenhauer's influence on early Wittgenstein and the way such influence can be interpreted as supporting ineffabilist readings. Finally, it looks at Cora Diamond's and James Conant's “resolute” approach to reading the Tractatus, paying special attention to the advantages of resolute readings over ineffabilist readings and the implications of this for the question of the relation between the method of the Tractatus and ethics.

Keywords:   ethics, Tractatus, nonsense, Ludwig Wittgenstein, ethical point, ineffabilist approach, Arthur Schopenhauer, Cora Diamond, James Conant, resolute readings

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