‘Een mogelijk teken moet ook kunnen betekenen’. Hacker over onzin en verkeerd gebruik in Wittgensteins Tractatus | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
2004
Volume 115, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-5275
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1244

Abstract

Abstract

This paper critically discusses Hacker’s reading of nonsense in Wittgenstein’s in terms of his notion of misuse, which is taken to consist in the violation of rules of logical syntax. I argue that Hacker’s reading relies on an equivocation between sign and symbol: what is ‘misused’ is a mere sign, but the verdict of nonsensicality relies on seeing it as a symbol. Although Hacker seeks to distance himself from resolute readings – according to which nonsense always consists in nothing but a failure to assign meaning to one’s sentences – I argue that his own verdicts of nonsensicality have their ultimate grounds in exactly the same sort of assessment, i.e. whether meaning has been assigned to a sentence. The rules of logical syntax, contrary to his own intentions, do no real work in determining whether a sentence is nonsensical or not.

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