Wednesday, December 05, 2007

6.5 If it requires an answer that one cannot articulate, then one also cannot articulate the question.

The riddle does not exist.

If a question can be put at all, then it can also be answered.

The second sentence refers back to 6.4312. 6.5 supports my interpretation of 6.4312. But is even 6.5 meant to be nonsense? What are we told here, after all? In Letters to Ogden, Wittgenstein says (p. 37) that his reference here to “the riddle” “means as much as “the riddle ‘par excellence’”.” Joachim Schulte on p. 132 of his essay in Stern and Szabados eds. Wittgenstein Reads Weininger suggests that the reference here and in 6.4312 might be allusions to Weininger. On pp. 128-129 Schulte quotes Weininger to the effect that “the deepest problem in the universe” is constituted by the riddle of life together with the riddle of the world. The riddle of the world is said to be the riddle of dualism, while the riddle of life is the riddle of time. Weininger links the fact that life is not reversible with the meaning of life, and claims that, “The unidirectionality of time is … identical with the fact that the human being is at bottom a being that wills.”[1] Of course, as Schulte notes, there is a lot of irony and paradox in Weininger. Wittgenstein discusses the unidirectionality of time in Notebooks 12 October 1916.

[1] Weininger On Last Things, p. 89.

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