Causality and ‘the Whole Modern World-View’ in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus
|Prof. John Preston
Professor of Philosophy, the University of Reading
4:30 – 6:30 pm
Delivered in English
My paper critiques a recent reading of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s remarks on causality, laws, and what he calls ‘the whole modern world-view’ in his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. The reading in question sees Wittgenstein as pointing to the possibility of, and then endorsing, a non-causal, non-scientific world-view. I argue that it is an error to think that such a world-view is, from Wittgenstein’s point of view, possible, and that the central root of this error lies in a misunderstanding of Wittgenstein’s take on the ‘law of causality’. The Tractatus licences a mystical way of feeling about the very existence of the world, but no thinkable alternative to causal-scientific world-views.