I’m not going to pretend to be an expert here, but I kind of feel like I have something going on.  The other day in lecture, Proops pointed out that in order for Wittgenstein’s Tractatus to be the kind of self-imploding nonsense the new Tractarian school makes it out to be, it needs to be some kind of “seductive nonsense.”  His example of seductive nonsense would be: what if we asked what time it was on the sun?  Clearly, it doesn’t make any sense to ask what time it is on the sun, because the sun is what determines what time we have.  However, you might make an argument that it’s always noon on the sun, because the sun is always at its highest in a time zone where it is noon.

Granted, the absurd response is kind of a simplification (the sun can be seen in two time zones at once.  It’s 3.30 pm here, and it’s 2.30 pm in Chicago, and the sun can be generally said to be seen at both times of day).  I am not sure that the Tractatus needs to contain the kind of absurdity that, on its surface, seems to make some sort of sense in order to be self-imploding.

To me, the Tractatus doesn’t actually carry a clear argument.  Wittgenstein makes claims about what the world is like, but I don’t think he ever really argues for his assertions.  This is the first sign that the Tractatus is something other than a dry, codified system of looking at language

Moreover, I think that there is something remarkably seductive about the Tractatus on the surface.  There is something soothing in the reduction of “logical atomism” as Wittgenstein presents it.  Perhaps it is this meditative tone that is of greater importance than any kind of “seductive absurdity” contained in the work.

Again, I’m not claiming to be an expert, but I’m not entirely sure why “seductive absurdity” is a requirement.  It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.  Proops’s previous arguments against the new Tractarian school are a bit more convincing — especially that Wittgenstein later wrote and said repeatedly that he had made some fundamental mistakes of logic in the Tractatus.  I think I will be developing these ideas further over the semester break, and perhaps doing a little more research into Wittgenstein’s apparent change of heart about the content of  his book.

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