An Approach to Wittgenstein’s Philosophy by Derek Bolton

By Derek Bolton

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Ordinary sentences are abbreviations of fully analysed ones; instead of marking out a structure by names, we write a single word for its general description, and this word usually functions grammatically, and misleadingly, as a name. But the paradox was: how can what is not a picture represent a state of affairs, if this can be done only by picturing? The answer must be that sentences of ordinary language cannot be directly projected onto the world, but only indirectly, via what they abbreviate.

We have seen that thought requires no thinking subject, and this, so far as I can see, is as much as to say that language requires no understanding subject. Going by this argument, there is no sense in which 'I' understand language, no sense in which language is'my' language, and hence no sense in which the world which language describes is 'my' world. Wittgenstein defines the solipsistic self by considering the language which the I understands, concluding that the world which that language describes is 'my world'.

Secondly, the world is bounded so far as the metaphysical subject is concerned. The subject is not inside logical space, but outside, and it can be outside only what is limited. If the subject is defined as the limit of the worlp, clearly no inference to the limitation of the world is required. The notion that the world, and hence language, is limited, belongs with the Tractatus conceptions of objects in space, time, and subject. An Approach to Wittgenstein's Philosophy I said above that language is limited in two senses, in its nature, and in its extent.

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