On the Austere Conception of Nonsense

Gisela Bengtsson


In this paper I criticize James Conant’s account of the ”austere conception of
nonsense”. 1) Conant tells us that no distinctions are made within nonsense,
according to the “austere conception of nonsense”. I argue that this is not the case.
2) Conant claims that there can be no fixed answers to whether a remark is
nonsensical or not. He also provides a list of remarks that must be understood as
meaningful. 3) I argue that it follows from Conant’s account that the success of the
philosophical project of the Tractatus depends on the reader undergoing a certain
psychological process. It is however crucial for Wittgenstein, according to Conant,
to follow Frege in the separation between philosophy and psychology.


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; sense; New Wittgenstein; nonsense; experience; elucidation; psychology

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