Month/Year of Graduation
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
Dr. Andrew Newman
In Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (TLP) of 1921, Ludwig Wittgenstein presents his metaphysical account of the logical structure of the world and language. He aims to establish the possibility of the connection between “pictures” of the world—including linguistic constructions as sentences—and the constituent elements of the world. The account Wittgenstein promotes yields, by his own admission, a form of solipsism. Underlying the difficulties in interpreting the details of Wittgenstein’s solipsism (which he does little to explicate), there is a fundamental tension between solipsism of any sort and a metaphysical account that relies on language, something which seems essentially shared and public, and which, according to Wittgenstein, is conditioned by convention. My language is something that I receive from and refine in discourse with others. In what way is this compatible with solipsism? The resolution or principled dismissal of Solipsism is quite important for a thorough understanding of the Tractatus, yet this has not been discovered. In light of what little has been said about Wittgenstein’s solipsism, I present a new framing of the relevant issues, without venturing a conclusive answer to the confounding dilemma. Rather, I consider the ways in which different interpretations of Wittgenstein’s solipsism can be fruitfully set into relief. Furthermore, I bring Wittgenstein’s conception of elucidation (Erlauterüng) to bear on the interpretations of his solipsism, for it clarifies the problems at hand.
Phillips, Jacob, "Elucidation and the Solipsism of the Tractatus" (2020). Theses/Capstones/Creative Projects. 110.