‘Whereof one cannot speak…’

 

The Wittgenstein family in Vienna, summer 1917. From left, siblings Kurt, Paul, and Hermine Wittgenstein; their brother-in-law, Max Salzer; their mother, Leopoldine Wittgenstein; Helene Wittgenstein Salzer; and Ludwig Wittgenstein.Ludwig Wittgenstein taught Logic and Language at Cambridge with Bertrand Russell [Principia Mathematica] and was a reluctant founder of Analytical Philosophy.

I always liked Professor Wittgenstein. He was the established star at Cambridge, a serious philosopher who also had a fan-following. [Stranger things happen. Paris shut-down for Jean-Paul Sartre’s funeral.]

And Wittgenstein just turned and walked away from it all once he stopped believing in what he was teaching. That’s intellectual honesty.

In his celebrated phrase of informed and abject capitulation: ‘Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.’


Here he is from one of his later works:

It is of the essence of our investigation that we do not seek to learn anything new by it. We want to understand something that is already in plain view. For this is what we seem..not to understand.

[The].. a priori order of the World, it seems must be utterly simple.. it is prior to all experience, must run through all experience..as it were the hardest thing there is.

The aspect of things that are most important..are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity. One is unable to notice something because it is always before one’s eyes. The real foundation of his inquiry do not strike a man at all unless that fact has at some time struck him.


Tautology And Contradiction