Living in Silence: the End of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and Lecture on Ethics

Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus logico-philosophicus starts as a book on logic and (the limits of) language. Initially it was read as a work on logic, aiming to put an end to nonsensical language and all kinds of metaphysical speculation. But the book has also an ethical purpose and mentions the ‘mystical’ several times. Wittgenstein sets out to show that these are subjects we cannot speak (and should be silent) about. So what do these remarks mean? Wittgenstein emphasizes that these are his remarks (‘my propositions’), and this turns out to be crucial for understanding the fundamental paradox in his work.

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