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A Reductive Reading of the Tractatus
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Modern readings of the Tractatus focus on the concept of nonsense instead of the meta-physics presented in the book. In fact a resolute reading sees the body of the system as mere nonsense and calls it a “ladder that should be thrown away”[1]. Other readings have seen the Tractatus as conveying knowledge-how[2] and some have seen the work as to be illustrating limitation of doctrinal systems such as the Mosaic Law[3]. In this paper it is argued that the Tractatus can be read as leading to a reductio ad absurdum read in its context. A reductive reading is presented that interprets the purpose of the book as conveying a method that can be used to defeat skepticism. The concept of nonsense as developed in the Tractatus is crucial for this understanding. It turns out that you can in fact discard the meta-physics of the book since when you have defeated skepticism you have come to a solid place. There is a way to determine the truth-value of all propositions about the world. Thus a resolute reading of the Tractatus is confirmed, when it comes to the meta-physical content, but the book still conveys knowledge how.

[1] Cora Diamond, “Throwing away the ladder”, Philosophy, Volume 63 (243), pp. 5-27, 1998.

[2] Adrian W. Moore and Peter Sullivan, “Ineffability and Nonsense”, Aristotelian Society Supplementary, Volume 77, pp. 169-223, 2003.

[3] Michael Kremer, “The Purpose of Tractarian Nonsense”, Noûs, Volume 35, pp. 39-73, 2001.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 32 p.
Keyword [en]
Nonsense, Tractatus, reductive
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-108095OAI: diva2:851096
Subject / course
Available from: 2015-09-03 Created: 2015-09-03

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