Wittgenstein’s mysticism has been one of the focuses of critics and commentators of Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Two prevailing readings hold different attitudes towards it. The classical reading commits to the mysticism in the Tractatus, while the therapeutic reading rejects it amid its interpretation of Wittgenstein’s later philosophy. In this paper, I will argue against both by discussing how the Chinese reading understands the Tractatus. I will show that the ineffable in the Tractatus is not any type of mysticism, and that the Chinese reading of the Tractatus is a metaphysical one without any mysticism.
Why does Wittgenstein say in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus that the world has as its members only facts, not things? Focusing on this question, I start with the problem, in its general form, “How is it possible to determine something as X?” and establish the excluding-allowing model for determination. From this model, I derive an argument for Wittgenstein’s aforementioned statement. The argument shows that a whole cannot be determined as consisting of components that are determined separately in a strong sense, whereas in a weak sense it can be. This thus demonstrates why the context principle holds. The recommended interpretation places suitable weight on the Tractarian notion of possibility. It provides new insights into Wittgenstein’s conception of logic, and his atomism about facts and states of affairs.
Upon reading the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, readers might be confused about the nature of the book, since there seems to be a paradox introduced by the author’s two claims: a) the book conveys truths; b) propositions in the book are nonsense. Commentators disagree as to how best to resolve this paradox. Some hold that there are ineffable truths conveyed by nonsense propositions. Others deny this kind of truth, arguing that the book is not all nonsense, for there are some propositions in the book expressing at least the therapeutic truth that philosophical propositions are just nonsense. Recently, some interpreters have claimed that there is no truth at all. While the incoherence of the context is genuine, the purpose of the book is ethical. By diagnosing these interpretations, this paper intends to provide a new perspective toward reading the book by resolving the paradox. The truth of the Tractatus is not a propositional truth, but a specific true thought. The nonsense of the Tractatus is a transcending nonsense, rather than a pure nonsense. The book intends to attain the true thought about the mystical ethics by way of transcending nonsense. In this case, the Tractatus is not an incoherent work at all, since the paradox is not genuine. The fact that the nonsense part is a means to fulfill its ethical purpose makes the book a unified whole.
The section on reading occupies quite a large amount of space in the Philosophical Investigations (PI) and Wittgenstein makes little changes to it in the course of composing the book. This shows that the section on reading is important. This paper analyzes Wittgenstein’s treatment of the philosophical problem of reading in detail. It shows that Wittgenstein rejects six philosophical ideas about what reading is and employs three different methods. This paper also shows that the section on reading is not only important for grasping Wittgenstein’s discussion on understanding, but also for comprehending the whole of PI.
In “Wittgenstein and Qualia,” Ned Block presents an inversion argument for qualia. Taking Wittgenstein’s notes as the starting point, Block argues that if we admit the possibility of the “innocuous” inverted spectrum, we will have to accept the “dangerous” inverted spectrum, where qualia are ineffable contents of experience contents that cannot be fully captured by public language. In my opinion, Block’s argument merits suspicion as it begs the question. While claiming to oppose the inner arena model like Wittgenstein, he presupposes its validity in his argument. I will finally examine how Wittgenstein dissolves confusion about qualia by the way of grammatical analysis.
In this paper, I will explore some philosophical implications of Williamson’s thesis that knowing is a state of mind (KSM). Using the fake barn case, I will introduce a way to evaluate Williamson’s KSM thesis and determine whether the Williamsonian mental state of knowing can be plausibly distinguished from certain other similar but epistemologically distinctive states of mind (i.e., accidentally true beliefs). Then, some tentative externalist accounts of the supposed differences between the Williamsonian mental state of knowing and accidentally true beliefs will be critically assessed, implying that the evaluated traditional versions of externalism in semantics and epistemology do not fit well with Williamson’s KSM thesis. Ultimately, I suggest that the extended-mind or extended-knower approach may be more promising, which indicates that active externalism would be called for by Williamson’s KSM thesis.
In this paper we investigate the implications of recent scientific discoveries in animal perception on the philosophical views regarding epistemic entitlement. We show that the predictive processing (PP) model of perception offers new insight into the connection between veridicality and the immediate, instance-individuated perceptual experience; and we argue that the two come apart if we accept that the PP model is on the right track.