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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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A Resolute Failure

A Resolute Failure

Chapter:
(p.88) 3 A Resolute Failure
Source:
The Fate of Wonder
Author(s):

Kevin M. Cahill

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231158008.003.0003

This chapter examines why the Tractatus cannot fulfill its ethical aim. More specifically, it considers an underlying metaphysics of language, akin in spirit to the early Martin Heidegger's quasi-foundationalist view of the structure of intelligibility, that runs through the fabric of the Tractatus and ultimately vitiates the ethical point that Ludwig Wittgenstein claimed for the book. It argues that the main shortcoming of the Tractatus concerns an important limitation of its method: a fundamentally metaphysical, essentialist view of language that inadvertently underlies the method of clarification employed by the book. In other words, the Tractatus prevents us from having precisely the relationship to language that it seeks to secure for us. The chapter discusses these issues in relation to Sabina Lovibond's analysis of the significance of Wittgenstein's later writings for ethics and Cora Diamond's response to her arguments.

Keywords:   ethics, Tractatus, metaphysics, language, Martin Heidegger, intelligibility, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Sabina Lovibond, Cora Diamond

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