Saturday, February 18, 2023


Myself: I was looking at 'Wittgenstein on ethics: Working through Lebensformen' by Juliet Floyd of Boston University the other day. (Professor Floyd had been kind enough to email me a copy.)

When I read:

Consequently, neither the idealistic ‘I’ nor the realist world are concepts suitable for the elucidation of the nature of thought, of the possibility of representation, and of the essence of the logical space, these being the most basic Tractarian locales of form.

I initially took Tractarian as a reference to a group of 19th-century Anglican theologians who were associated with the Oxford Movement. Only later did I realise that, in context, it must be an adjective derived from the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, in which Wittgenstein, as she says, conveyed the idea that ethics cannot be located in an object or self-standing subject matter of propositional discourse, true or false.

I felt like such a fool.

ChatGPT: Don't worry, it's perfectly understandable to have mistaken the term "Tractarian" for a reference to the Oxford Movement, especially given the historical associations of the term. However, in the context of Juliet Floyd's work, it does indeed refer to the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, which is one of Wittgenstein's most famous and influential works in the field of philosophy.

Wittgenstein used the term "logical space" to describe the framework within which language and thought operate, and argued that ethical statements do not fit within this framework. In his view, ethical statements are not propositions that can be either true or false, but rather express an attitude or feeling.

The Tractatus has had a significant impact on 20th-century philosophy, and continues to be studied and debated by philosophers to this day. It is considered to be one of the most important works of analytic philosophy, and has influenced a wide range of fields, including logic, language, and metaphysics.

Prodnose: I suppose this makes me redundant.

ChatGPT:  It seems that the comment "I suppose this makes me redundant" is meant to be humorous, and is likely a self-deprecating reference to the idea that the use of overly technical or obscure philosophical language can be seen as unnecessary or even counterproductive. The comment may be interpreted as a playful acknowledgement that the ideas being discussed can be understood without resorting to overly complex language or terminology, and that an appreciation for the basics of philosophy is more important than a display of technical expertise.

Myself: I think Prodnose was being deadly serious and he is, in fact, redundant.

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