The self, linguistic and aesthetic : a study in the early philosophy of Wittgenstein and Sartre
The dissertation operates at two levels: an account of a problematic of self in the early philosophy of
Wittgenstein and Sartre - which simultaneously supports a comparative study that claims
convergence is significant, detailed and extensive. The thesis thus disputes the traditional - 'Divide'
- reading of Sartre and Wittgenstein.
The problematic is defined by the view that the self desires an ethical absolute and that this can only
be achieved when a metaphysics of aesthetics is assumed. It is a certain concept of language and
self, based on a saying-showing distinction. that so constitutes the problematic. and which is the
focus of inquiry. This results in the following structure: §l Defines and defends the thesis' Art-andthe-
Ineffable' - and thus the generic principle of the present thesis. §2 Claims, firstly, (and perhaps
for the first time), that Sartre has a philosophy of language that includes a formal principle of the
ineffable and a - (Tractarian) saying-showing distinction: both of which are equally formative in
his own (early) philosophy. Secondly. that the saying-showing distinction is identified with a
concept of self. §3 Exposes the (previously neglected) early account of self in Sartre and
Wittgenstein and, secondly, arh'1leS for four definitive points of convergence: that the self is bi-polar,
non-substantive, eliminated, non-encounterable. ~..j. Presents modalities of the non-substantive self:
as operational intentionality, as programmatic. and as a relation or attitude to the world (clinching
the ethico-aesthetic structure). ~5 Claims convergence on some key aesthetic principles (including
disinterestedness and sub specie aeternitatis), identifying them, in terms of Showing, with the self,
and stating the proposed - dual - solution to the problematic: Aesthetic determination and Aesthetic
deeds. The fonner is the self (a relational attitude) choosing it-self as an aesthetic relation to the
world; the latter. represented here by Tractatus and Nausea, are limited wholes with a
transcendental message that can only be shown: the self disclosing through a work of art the
unsayable solution to the problematic.