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Wittgenstein's Private LanguageGrammar, Nonsense and Imagination in “Philosophical Investigations”, §§ 243–315$
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Stephen Mulhall

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199208548

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199208548.001.0001

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Wittgenstein's Semi‐Colon: Second Methodological Interlude (§255)

Wittgenstein's Semi‐Colon: Second Methodological Interlude (§255)

(p.89) 6 Wittgenstein's Semi‐Colon: Second Methodological Interlude (§255)
Wittgenstein's Private Language

Stephen Mulhall (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the question: how are we to understand the various possibilities of sense held open by the placing of the semi-colon in §255? The first, most obvious possibility depends upon comparing a philosophical question to an illness or disease: but translating Krankheit as ‘illness’ rather than ‘disease’ holds open a further set of possibilities within this one, in so far as it underlines the fact that the kind of treatment we envisage being required in the philosophical case will be determined by whether we compare the philosopher's question to a medical problem (one affecting, let us say, the body) or to a problem of the mind or soul — the domain of psychoanalysis (not to mention religion). If we prefer the medical interpretation, we will think of philosopher's questions as essentially diseased or abnormal: they can have no intrinsic value or interest, but rather require extirpation — a kind of philosophical surgery — in order to re-establish health. If one interprets the same idea psychoanalytically, this set of conclusions remains open, but is no longer forced upon us.

Keywords:   semi-colon, sense, psychoanalysis, illness

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