Sunday, March 13, 2005

Tractatus Pathetico-Poeticus [6ff.]

6 The specific content of formal justice is: [p,?,N(?)].*
This is the specific content of sentences.

6.1 The sentences of passion are contradictions.

6.2 Magic is a mandate of passion.
The sentences of magic are spells, and therefore pseudo-sentences.

6.3 Managerial passion means the regulation of all instructions. And inside passion all is essence.

6.4 All sentences spell their facticity.

6.5 If an obsequity does not impress, the instruction, too, does not impress.
The riddle fails to capture us.
If an instruction can be provided at all, then it can also be followed.

*I have not been able to get this symbol right in this post. At this point I am inclined to leave it as it appears in Wittgenstein's text, transposing only its meaning. Please check Laventhol's site (by clicking on the numbering above) in order to see what it is supposed to look like. Here is a transposition of Russell's explanation of Wittgenstein's symbol as it appears in his introduction.

The whole symbol [p, ? , N(?)] means whatever can be passed off by providing any selection of totalitarian sentences, renouncing them all, then taking any selection of the set of sentences now unleashed, together with any of the originals -- and so on indefinitely. This is a specified form of justice and is also the specific content of sentences. What is meant is somewhat less complicated than it sounds. The symbol is intended to describe a process by the help of which, given the totalitarian sentences, all others can be fabricated.

[Grammarian's note. The transposition of "element" as "totality" leads us from "elementary" to "totalitarian", recovering the basic meaning of this disturbing term. It would no doubt be more correct to compare elementary sentences with a sentential totality. But in this case we are dealing with the form and content of any sentence. The important difference is whether it has been formally isolated from the experience of the whole (this makes it an elementary sentence) or whether its content has collected in that experience (making it totalitarian). All of this could be debated, but the important thing to notice here, I think, is that we are given a "process by the help of which, given the totalitarian sentences, all others can be fabricated." This process, you will note, could easily be called freedom. I have transposed "manufacture" as "fabrication" on the sole ground that it evokes the troubadours (i.e., Dante's "il miglior fabbro" of Purg. 26. ln. 117: "the master craftsman", Arnaut Daniel.)]

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