Thursday, August 30, 2007

4.115 It will refer to the unsayable by presenting clearly the sayable.

I translate bedeuten as "refer to" and follow the other translations in translating indem as "by," although the result sounds a little odd to me. Indem can also mean "while" or "because." Is the idea really that there is an unsayable that can be meant, signified, or referred to? Or is there some irony at work here?


David McDougall said...

Does 'it' perhaps refer to the unsayablility of the unsayable, rather than to that which cannot be said? Perhaps the limits of sayability, so necessary for clarity, imply the limits beyond which the unsayable lies.

DR said...

Thanks Dave.

I don't think the "it" could refer to the unsayability of the unsayable. 4.113 refers to philosophy limiting the sphere of natural science, then 4.114 talks about this limiting (and so, presumably, its "Its" refer to philosophy). Then comes 4.115, continuing with "It," which I assume again refers to philosophy.

According to Wittgenstein's numbering system, 4.115 should be a comment on proposition 4.11, but he does not always stick to this system. 4.11 is about the totality of true sentences, in other words all of the sayable that is true. This would not be philosophy (although see 6.53) but the whole of natural science.

On the other hand, yes, the limits of sayability would not only imply but be the limits beyond which the unsayable lies.