Grammar and Silence

Newton Garver


Silence was heralded, if that is not too noisy a word, at the end of Wittgenstein's Tractatus, and Wittgenstein himself then retreated from the philosophical scene, acting out the silence that he advocated. But the silence was neither total nor everlasting. He returned to philosophical discussion in 1928, and subsequently in both his doctrine and his practice he allowed grammar (making grammatical remarks) to replace silence. I will argue that the change is not so great as it might seem, since the Tractarian silence applies only to substantive truth-claims and a grammarian is still debarred from making those.


20th century philosophy; philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; clarity; grammar; language; silence; Philosophical Investigations; Tractatus logico-philosophicus

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