Hoe de auteur verdween uit Wittgensteins Tractatus | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
2004
Volume 115, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-5275
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1244

Abstract

Abstract

In this essay, I investigate the status of the written word in the (early, mostly) work of Wittgenstein. In the , Wittgenstein tends to imagine language as written rather than spoken. This focus on writing goes together with a sense that the author is absent from the text. I argue that the problem is not with writing in general but specifically with books, and more specifically with the fantasy of a book of everything, the importance of which to Wittgenstein’s early work was brought out by Eli Friedlander. On my account, such a book, by pretending to contain the whole world, leaves no place for an author. Since the early Wittgenstein imagines subjectivity in the form of a book of everything, he is unable to place subjectivity – subjects: you and I – in the world. I end by briefly suggesting that in his later work, Wittgenstein gives up on the fantasy of a book of everything and is in a better position to address the problem of finding subjectivity in the world.

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