Wittgenstein versus Mauthner: Two critiques of language, two mysticisms

Elena Nájera


In the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus Ludwig Wittgenstein
positions his philosophical project against the critique of language developed by
Fritz Mauthner. Both authors are interested in indicating the limits of words, and
they also agree that silence offers the only possibility of going beyond those
limits. The present paper seeks to analyse the two approaches in order to indicate
their point of contact and, above all, their different motivations. The fact is that
Mauthner denounces the epistemological incompetence of language and its gregarious
construction and advises a silent, nominalist scepticism. Wittgenstein reacts to this
approach, alleging the logical capacity of language to reflect the facts of the
world, although this incapacitates it for expressing value. Thus the Tractatus opens up a mystical path with a religious inclination
that contrasts with the confessed atheism of Mauthner’s


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; mysticism; critique of language; mythology; philosophy

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