[hist-analytic] Philosophy as Nonsense

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Tue Oct 11 10:45:49 EDT 2011


Bayne was wondering about Ramsey:

"[T]he chief proposition of philosophy is that philosophy is   nonsense.  
And 
again we must then take seriously that it is   nonsense, and not  pretend, 
as 
Wittgenstein does, that it is   important nonsense."  
Ramsey, Foundations of Mathematics,   p.263.

Of course there seems to be a paradox that Ramsey is wittingly alluding to  
here:
 
i. The chief proposition of philosophy is that philosophy is  nonsense.
 
-----
 
Expanded to:
 
ii. It is a nonsensical proposition that philosophy is nonsense.
 
---
 
iii. Philosophy is nonsense.
 
Grice once wondered, echoing his tutor,
 
"It all depends on what you mean by 'of'".
 
"What do you mean, 'of'"? (Grice recalling his tutor, Hardie).
 
"proposition of philosophy".
 
"of", in English, I never sincerely liked. "von" in German does not fare  
much better. The Latins had it right when they used the 'genitive':
 
"propositio philosophiae"
 
Proposition-of-philosophy.
 
cfr. Proposition-in-philosophy.
 
Proposition-about-philosophy?
 
The paradox springs if we take that
 
iii. Philosophy is nonsense
 
is a philosophical proposition ('the chief proposition of  philosophy').
 
With paradoxes like that, forget about unimportant!
 
Cheers,

Speranza




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