Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Confined to all of it

Pseudonoma has some very good questions in response to yesterday's contextualization of the Wittgensteinian mantra, "The limits of my language are the limits of my world." You may recall that I referred this statement back to the opening statement of the work in which it appears: "The world is all that is the case." Here's part of Pseudonoma's response:

How can a whole be MERELY that which divides into parts? Are we not somehow obliged to account for this prior unity as such? And if, at bottom, propositions are (or even merely signify ---feel free to clarify which--) "what is the case, that is, parts of the world", then what are we to call that "language" which refers to the world and which would otherwise SEEM identical in form to the proposition? Or in other words, how are we to define a proposition if the assertion "The world is not something 'about which' propositions are formed" is not a proposition. And finally, what accounts for its SEMBLANCE as a proposition?

Pseudonoma's confinement of our discussion of Wittgenstein is pretty generous: the point to which he would limit us is the same point to which the Tractatus itself and (by the addition of a sign of negation) Wittgenstein's whole career were confined. In addressing Pseudonoma's questions, I will give myself free range over Wittgenstein's writings which do nothing but clarify and develop the statement that "The world is all that is the case."

I beg you to have patience with this statement, the clear truth of which lies in its eventual renunciation (and now I begin to wonder why Pseudonoma takes it to be 'obvious' that the dialectic of Plato is to be preferred here to that of Hegel). And I do wish this "eventual" to be taken seriously as belonging to the renunciation. The Tractatus tries to renounce the statement ahead of time and this is its most serious error.