By Robert Hanna
TABLE OF CONTENTS
VIII.5 The Meaning of Life
VIII.6 Three Basic Worries About the Tractatus
VIII.7 Natural Science and the Worry About the Simplicity of the Objects or Things
VIII.8 Natural Science and the Worry About the Logical Independence of Atomic Facts
VIII.9 Tractarian Mysticism and the Worry About Metaphilosophy
IX. Carnap, The Vienna Circle, Logical Empiricism, and The Great Divide
IX.1 Carnap Before and After the Tractatus
IX.2 Carnap, The Vienna Circle, and The Elimination of Metaphysics
IX.3 The Verifiability Principle and Its Fate
IX.4 The Davos Conference and The Great Divide
X. Wittgenstein and the Investigations 1: Preface, and §§1–27
X.1 From the Tractatus to the Investigations
X.2 The Thesis That Meaning Is Use
X.3 A Map of the Investigations
X.4 The Critique of Pure Reference: What the Builders Did
XI. Wittgenstein and the Investigations 2: §§28–242
XI.1 The Picture Theory and the Vices of Simplicity
XI.2 Wittgenstein’s Argument Against The Picture Theory: A Rational Reconstruction
XI.3 Understanding and Rule-Following
XI.4 Wittgenstein’s Rule-Following Paradox: The Basic Rationale
XI.5 Wittgenstein’s Rule-Following Paradox: A Rational Reconstruction
XI.6 Kripkenstein’s Rule-Following Paradox: Why Read Kripke Too?
XI.7 Kripkenstein’s Rule-Following Paradox: A Rational Reconstruction
XI.8 How to Solve The Paradox: Wittgenstein’s Way and Kripkenstein’s Way
XI.8.1 Wittgenstein and The Rule-Following Paradox: A Rational Reconstruction
XI.8.2 Kripkenstein and The Rule-Following Paradox: A Rational Reconstruction
XII. Wittgenstein and the Investigations 3: §§242–315
XII.1 What is a Private Language?
XII.2 The Private Language Argument: A Rational Reconstruction
XII.3 Is Wittgenstein a Behaviorist? No.
XII.4 Wittgenstein on Meanings, Sensations, and Human Mindedness: A Rational Reconstruction
XIII. Wittgenstein and the Investigations 4: §§316–693 & 174e-232e
XIII.1 Linguistic Phenomenology
XIII.2 Two Kinds of Seeing
XIII.3 Experiencing the Meaning of a Word
XIII.4 The Critique of Logical Analysis, and Logic-As-Grammar
XIV. Coda: Wittgenstein and Kantianism
XIV.1 World-Conformity 1: Kant, Transcendental Idealism, and Empirical Realism
XIV.2 World-Conformity 2: Wittgenstein, Transcendental Solipsism, and Pure Realism
XIV.3 World-Conformity 3: To Forms of Life
XIV.4 The Critique of Self-Alienated Philosophy 1: Kant’s Critical Metaphilosophy
XIV.5 The Critique of Self-Alienated Philosophy 2: Wittgensteinian Analysis as Critique
XV. From Quine to Kripke and Analytic Metaphysics: The Adventures of the Analytic-Synthetic Distinction
XV.1 Two Urban Legends of Post-Empiricism
XV.2 A Very Brief History of The Analytic-Synthetic Distinction
XV.3 Why the Analytic-Synthetic Distinction Really Matters
XV.4 Quine’s Critique of the Analytic-Synthetic Distinction, and a Meta-Critique
XV.5 Three Dogmas of Post-Quineanism
XVI. Analytic Philosophy and The Ash-Heap of History
XVI.1 Husserl’s Crisis and Our Crisis
XVI.2 Why Hasn’t Post-Classical Analytic Philosophy Produced Any Important Ideas in the Last Thirty-Five Years?
XVI.3 On Irad Kimhi’s Thinking and Being, Or, It’s The End Of Analytic Philosophy As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
XVI.4 Thinking Inside and Outside the Fly-Bottle: The New Poverty of Philosophy and Its Second Copernican Revolution
This installment contains section VIII.5.
But you can also read or download a .pdf version of the complete book HERE.
VIII.5 The Meaning of Life
The Tractatus is a book about logic, meaning, and transcendental subjectivity.
But there are several different sorts of meaning.
One sort of meaning discussed in the Tractatus is linguistic, and in particular propositional.
This is meaning as referring (naming) or as describing (saying), and the content of such meaning is
either (i) the Fregean reference/Meaning (Bedeutung) of names, predicates, and sentences (namely, objects or things, and atomic facts or states of affairs),
or the sense (Sinn) of propositional signs (namely, how the propositional sign, as correctly used by the language-using subject or ego, pictures facts).
But there’s another sharply different sort of meaning in the Tractatus, namely “the sense of the world” (Sinn der Welt) mentioned in proposition 6.41 and “the sense of life” (Sinn des Lebens) mentioned in 6.521.
This is the same as the value of (my) life, aka the meaning of life, which in turn is the same as the goodness/badness or happiness/unhappiness of my will.
It has two fundamental features.
First, the sense, value, or meaning of (my) life is not in the world, but rather is strictly transcendental to the world (i.e., a fundamental, unique a priori presupposition of the world) in a way strictly analogous to logic’s relation to the world, precisely because the sense/value/meaning of life is a property of the metaphysical subject or ego, not a property of the facts, hence not a property of the objects or things towards which the will is directed.
Second, the sense, value, or meaning of (my) life, although it is unsayable and transcendental, is a genuine kind of sense, value, or meaning: indeed it is the fundamental and most authentic kind of sense, value, or meaning.
And that’s why the point of the Tractatus “is an ethical one.”
Otherwise put, the point of the Tractatus is to get us to recognize the essential irrelevance of the world of facts, propositions, and logic (or what Schopenhauer called “the world as representation”), and to transcend that merely factual-logical sort of sense or meaning, in order to encounter the sense, meaning, or value of (my) life.
So this is the basic respect in which the propositions of the Tractatus are “senseless”: they are intrinsically valueless, and irrelevant to my goodness and/or happiness.
Still otherwise put, the point of the Tractatus is to move the reader from semantics, logic, and natural science, to Wittgensteinian ethics: or, roughly speaking, from the metaphysics of Russellian logical atomism or Carnapian logical empiricism, to Existentialism.
In this respect, the Tractatus is not ultimately a logico-philosophical treatise, but instead ultimately a trigger for personal conversion or transformation, comparable to Augustine’s Confessions, and the logico-philosophical part is only the disposable means — a “ladder” that must be kicked away — to that end.
Those who correctly understand the Tractatus cannot be left personally unchanged and unmoved by it.
— Or at least, that was Wittgenstein’s basic authorial and philosophical intention.
AGAINST PROFESSIONAL PHILOSOPHY REDUX 483
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