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Title: The Tractatus paradox
Author: Mosmer, Reza
ISNI:       0000 0004 2741 5126
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2013
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In the penultimate remark of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus Wittgenstein declares that anyone who understands him judges the book to be nonsense. The immediate reaction to this paradoxical statement is to reject the insights of the book that this assessment is based on; that is, to reject the book’s theories of logic and language. Commentators have tried to save the book’s fundamental philosophical ideas by blocking this immediate response. In this thesis I characterise and explore different attempts to do so. I discuss attempts of Russell, Carnap, Max Black, Malcolm, Hacker’s Ineffability interpretation and Conant’s (and Diamond’s) Therapeutic interpretation. I argue that the Therapeutic reading is the most promising attempt in its main ideas. Nonetheless, current versions of the Therapeutic readings do not seem successful. I borrow ideas from Grice’s pragmatic theory of conversation and Davidson’s account of metaphor to explain how the book is to be read therapeutically. I argue that the book is a long conversation between Wittgenstein and his audience which eventually turns out to be a pointless series of remarks. The book, however, works metaphorically in such a way that it affects its readers and helps them to divest themselves of the inclination to do philosophy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: B Philosophy (General)