Saturday, April 01, 2006

Steven Schroeder - Unspeakable

One might read Elfriede Jelinek's 2004 Nobel lecture as a reiteration of Wittgenstein's assertions about the mystical in the Tractatus – particularly as it was interpreted by Bertrand Russell. Russell read it as an impressive exercise in logic culminating in the claim that no language could contain and communicate wholes but that, since such wholes exist, they must be apprehended in and through silence. Russell doubted the existence of such wholes and was inclined to answer Wittgenstein with an infinite matreshka of languages – "wholes" beyond the limits of one language always being accessible to another, meta, language in which one could talk about the other. All of this will be familiar from the mathematico-logical and linguistic discussion that danced around Russell, Whitehead, and Gödel in the first half of the twentieth century. more...


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