Monday, December 03, 2007

6.41 The sense of the world must lie outside of it. In the world everything is as it is and happens as it happens; there is no value in it – and if there were, then it [this value, that is] would be of no value.

If there is a value, which is of value, then it must lie outside all happening and being-so. Since all happening and being-so is accidental.

What makes it non-accidental cannot lie in the world, since otherwise this would again be accidental.

It must lie outside the world.

I’m very close to Ogden here, including the word ‘being-so’. This seems like intentional nonsense to me. Just the kind of Platonism, this time about value, that we see rejected a) throughout the Tractatus, and b) in recent dealings with such things as the law of causality. Contingent value is not what is wanted, so only a transcendent value will do. That is, only a nonsense will do. So nothing will do, in fact. Our desire is for something incoherent.

Stokhof (p. 239): “Neither the Tractatus nor the Notebooks contains any argument or reasoning to establish the existence of values or their absolute character. (Analogously, there is no argument for the absolute status of logic either.) In other words, the entire construction is based on a certain kind of experience.”

Wittgenstein might be thinking of Kant here. Cf. Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals in the chapter on the dignity of virtue (pp. 77-78 in the second edition, p. 102 in H. J. Paton’s translation, Harper Torchbooks, 1964): “Skill and diligence in work have a market price; wit, lively imagination, and humour have a fancy price; but fidelity to promises and kindness based on principle (not on instinct) have an intrinsic worth. In default of these, nature and art alike contain nothing to put in their place; for their worth consists, not in the advantage or profit they produce, but in the attitudes of mind—that is, in the maxims of the will—which are ready in this way to manifest themselves in action even if they are not favoured by success.” Attitudes of mind alone can have dignity, and these might show themselves in behavior, but they are certainly not identical with any particular kinds of behavior. Nor brain-states, etc.


Anonymous said...

Oh, good grief, you don't like what he says so it must be nonsense? You are making the classic mistake of equating the saying-showing distinction with the artificial sense-nonsense distinction. The former is Wittgenstein's, the latter is a false interpretation by others. Have you ever tried to discern what Wittgenstein means by nonsense? Look at 6.51” “Skepticism is not irrefutable, but obviously nonsensical, when it tries to raise doubts where no questions can be asked." The nonsense is the false doubt of your comment, not the statement by Wittgenstein! Issues of sense are a different issue and W. is profound here.

DR said...

He might be profound, but I'm not rejecting his comment because I don't like it. Nor is my doubt false. I gave some of my reasons for doubt in the comment itself, but more simply I could say that "outside the world" makes no sense to me. If the world is all that is the case, then anything outside the world would, it seems to me, not be the case. Perhaps it could be real or true or something of the sort in some other sense, but I can't think what that sense would be. If I'm wrong about this then it's a problem of comprehension, not honesty.