Wednesday, December 05, 2007

6.522 There is to be sure the unspeakable [unutterable, ineffable]. This shows itself, it is the mystical.

Black (p. 376) offers “the inexpressible” as a literal translation of Unaussprechliches. Does Wittgenstein mean that philosophers want to do something that cannot be done, and that this something is the mystical? Is it mystical that there should be such a problem? Or does he mean that we can call “the ineffable” or “the mystical” whatever it is (although, in fact, he has shown it to be illusory) that philosophers want to try to express? Otherwise 6.522 seems to contradict 6.5, on which it is a comment! In Letters to Ogden, p. 37, he says that das Mystiche here is the same as in the case of 6.44 but not the same as 6.45. So is it not a feeling?

Anscombe (p. 19): “There is indeed much that is inexpressible—which we must not try to state, but must contemplate without words.” See comment on 1.1.

Friedlander (p. 143 note 19) argues that Ogden’s translation of “Es gibt as “There is” is preferable to P&McG’s reference to things that make themselves manifest, since that “makes the ending most problematic.”

Nordmann (pp. 50-51) argues that unaussprechlich should be translated ‘inexpressible in speech.’ It is not the same as ‘unsayable’, since a proposition can say (as in 5.542’s “’p’ says p”), but refers rather to the ability (or inability) of a human subject to get something out in language. 4.115 is the only place in the TLP where Wittgenstein mentions the sayable and the unsayable. Nordmann contrasts the expressible in speech with what is expressible in music, gesture, or conduct. He sees this remark as following from the denial of what needs to be denied (its contrary) in order to avoid the contradiction in 6.41 (see p. 194). Yet he also sees this remark itself as nonsensical because it fails to establish a subject-predicate relation, and is therefore ungrammatical. See p. 198. Nevertheless, he persists. On pp. 198-199 he writes: “That the words “there is indeed the inexpressible in speech” are nonsensical and have no sense makes the point that there is, indeed, the inexpressible in speech.”

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