Beyond the World, Beyond Significant Language

Nuno Venturinha


In recent years, mainly due to the work of Cora Diamond and James Conant, there has been a lively debate around Wittgenstein’s conceptions of ethics and nonsense. However, commentators have tended to focus primarily on the Tractatus, disregarding other important sources. One of them is the “Lecture on Ethics”, where Wittgenstein astonishingly writes that “all [he] wanted to do with [his nonsensical expressions] was just to go beyond the world and that is to say beyond significant language”. In this paper, I shall examine the two handwritten versions of the text, MSS 139a and b, in order to shed light on Wittgenstein’s view. But I shall also look at the related remarks in the third manuscript volume, MS 107, as well 36 as at those recorded by Waismann published in Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle. Particular attention will be paid to Wittgenstein’s comments on Heidegger, which reappear in the so-called “Dictation to Schlick” (D 302).


20th century philosophy; philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; ethics; language; language; nonsense; Heidegger Martin; sense; Lecture on ethics; Tractatus logico-philosophicus

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