of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus"
In recent years there has
been a good deal of debate over the
role of “nonsense” in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus. How are we to understand 6.54, the Tractatus’ famous penultimate remark, in
which the author declares the nonsensicality of his own propositions?
While such discussion is central in framing
an interpretation of this seminal work, it has tended to replace a
consideration of the details of the text.
In this paper, I will argue that 6.54 indeed must be taken seriously,
it is an expression of Wittgenstein’s stated ambition of
dissolving, once and
for all, the problems of philosophy. But
rather than taking the nature of Tractarian nonsense as a question in
right, I will look at Wittgenstein’s radical aim in light of some
apparent doctrines of the text. The
focus in particular will be on the Tractatus’
supposed “fundamental thought” concerning the
non-representative character of
the logical constants and the connection of this idea with the picture
theory. Through a detailed analysis of
these issues, my purpose will be to explicate what it means for
seek to put an end to philosophical inquiry.