Tuesday, February 06, 2007

3.031 It used to be said that God could create everything, only nothing that would be contrary to the laws of logic. – That is [?], we could not say of an “illogical” world how it would look.

I wonder whether Wittgenstein commented on the translation of this. Both Ogden and P&McG have “The truth is…” for the start of the second sentence, but I see nothing corresponding in the German. It looks literally to be: “We could of course not say of an “illogical” world how it would look.”

We cannot picture it, we cannot conceive of it, even God could not create it. These are all ways of saying (in a misleadingly metaphysical-sounding way) that the idea has no sense. I could add “for us”, but then all pictures are made by us and for us, or so at least it seems so far for Wittgenstein.

McManus (p. 59, note 24) cites the first sentence of this remark as an example (others are in 3.323, 4.002, 4.003, and 5.02) of straightforwardly empirical claims that could not possibly be interpreted as nonsensical, even if they are false. That is, it is evidence that not every sentence in the book is meant to be simply nonsensical.

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