Page:Wittengenstein - Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, 1922.djvu/26

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INTRODUCTION

to the learner, and proving to him, whenever he made them, that they are meaningless. It is true that the fate of Socrates might befall a man who attempted this method of teaching, but we are not to be deterred by that fear, if it is the only right method. It is not this that causes some hesitation in accepting Mr Wittgenstein's position, in spite of the very powerful arguments which he brings to its support. What causes hesitation is the fact that, after all, Mr Wittgenstein manages to say a good deal about what cannot be said, thus suggesting to the sceptical reader that possibly there may be some loophole through a hierarchy of languages, or by some other exit. The whole subject of ethics, for example, is placed by Mr Wittgenstein in the mystical, inexpressible region. Nevertheless he is capable of conveying his ethical opinions. His defence would be that what he calls the mystical can be shown, although it cannot be said. It may be that this defence is adequate, but, for my part, I confess that it leaves me with a certain sense of intellectual discomfort.

There is one purely logical problem in regard to which these difficulties are peculiarly acute. I mean the problem of generality. In the theory of generality it is necessary to consider all propositions of the form fx where fx is a given prepositional function. This belongs to the part of logic which can be expressed, according to Mr Wittgenstein's system. But the totality of possible values of x which might seem to be involved in the totality of propositions of the form fx is not admitted by Mr Wittgenstein among the things that can be spoken of, for this is no other than the totality of things in the world, and thus involves the attempt to conceive the world as a whole; "the feeling of the world as a bounded whole is the mystical" ; hence the totality of the values of x is mystical (6.45). This is expressly argued when Mr Wittgenstein denies that we can make propositions as to how many things there are in the world, as for example, that there are more than three.

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