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Philosophical Review

Review: [untitled]
Author(s): John V. Canfield
Source: The Philosophical Review, Vol. 109, No. 1 (Jan., 2000), pp. 101-103
Published by: Duke University Press on behalf of Philosophical Review
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2693561
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BOOK REVIEWS

of their greatest philosophical foes, namely Bradley. Linsky's paper defends


Russell against the criticism of the axiom of reducibility leveled by Ramsey,
G6del, and Quine. He argues that the axiom is neither ad hoc nor in
conflict with other aspects of Russell's logical system. Finally, Hylton ex-
amines Wittgenstein's puzzling remarks on the distinction between func-
tions and operations in the 5.2s of the Tractatusand discusses the bearing
of these remarks on Wittgenstein's Grundgedanke(4.0312) that the logical
constants do not name anything.
Overall, Early Analytic Philosophynicely shows how studies in the history
of philosophy can provide valuable insights into the ongoing contemporary
discussion.

0YSTEIN LINNEBO
Harvard University

The PhilosophicalReview,Vol. 109, No. 1 Uanuary 2000)

WIYTJGENSTEIN ON MiNDVAAD LANGUAGE.By DAVID G. STERN. Oxford:


Oxford University Press, 1995. Pp. ix, 226.

This book deals with some large tracts of Wittgenstein's writings concern-
ing representation and the mental. Its defining characteristic, and one of
its main strengths, is an extensive use of material in the background of
Wittgenstein's Tractatusand Investigations.Stern quotes from and discusses
remarks from unpublished manuscripts, including the Big Typescript,little-
studied published writings such as the Tractatus notebooks, "Some Re-
marks on Logical Form," Philosophical Remarks,Philosophical Grammar,as
well as lecture notes by Moore, King and Lee, and others. How much of
these writings the book reproduces is suggested by the fact that its appen-
dix, giving the original German of the previously unpublished matter trans-
lated in the main text, is eleven small-print pages long; and there are far
more quotations from the published part of the corpus. The result is a
work in which, for a run of pages, the ratio of quoted material to comment
can be as high as one to one (84, 85, 106-9, for example); and in which
most pages contain a significant amount of indented quotation. The main
justification offered for the wholesale inclusion of this material is that it
provides a context that can help determine what problem Wittgenstein was
addressing in a given passage from his two main works (6). Stern's mastery
of that material is impressive, as shown for example in his pellucid outline
of Wittgenstein's philosophical development after 1920 (91-98).
Since Stern traces a rather wide range of issues through the whole of
Wittgenstein's philosophical career (with special emphasis on the transi-
tional writings) there is not much space left for considering particular

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BOOKREVIEWS

exegetical issues in depth. Some points touched upon necessarily get short
shrift; and inevitably the reader will at times be left with the feeling that it
doesn't help in understanding Wittgenstein's puzzling ideas to be present-
ed with equally opaque claims from the Nachlass. The Investigationspassage
in which Wittgenstein speaks of "the importance of finding and inventing
intermediatecases" (§122) provides an example of how Stern can seem to
understand things too quickly. The italicized phrase is highly puzzling.
What did Wittgenstein have in mind? Stern passes the issue by, merely
quoting an early version of Wittgenstein's remark from the Big Typescript
and commenting briefly on it (28). The book often stays too close to Witt-
genstein's own vocabulary and remarks to be able to offer satisfactory ex-
egesis. On the other hand the author should not be seen as venturing
analysis in depth of a series of linked exegetical problems. Rather, in his
many relevant citations from the Nachlass, and his elucidatory comments
on them, he provides a useful tour of the book's subject themes. A passage
along the extended surface he provides, an expanse often both novel and
fascinating, has its own distinct value.
The first half of the book deals with issues from the early philosophy.
Stern accepts the traditional interpretation of the picture theory: an ele-
mentary proposition portrays reality by having its simple names related in
the same way as the simple objects in the referred to atomic fact (39).
Adopting Anscombe's example, by placing one name above another we
could claim that the corresponding objects stand in the same relationship.
The trouble with that interpretation, as Carl Ginet has pointed out, is that
immediately the elementary propositions cease to be logically indepen-
dent.1 A fuller presentation than Stern gives would have to address that
problem. I found Stern's account of the famous proof of objects (Tractatus
2.0211, 2.0212) unconvincing (56-60). In explaining why, according to
Wittgenstein, some proposition would have to be true, if there were no
simple objects, and thus why, unacceptably, sense would be dependent on
truth, he argues that without simple objects an endless chain of further
propositions would have to supply the sense of the original proposition;
but that result does not yet make sense dependent on truth. Stern's dis-
cussion of the metaphysical self and related issues in section 3.4 is rich and
informative. In addition, he is certainly right in claiming that Wittgenstein
eschewed the task of saying what simple objects are, and right as well in
emphasizing Wittgenstein's concern at that period, and in his transitional
stage as well, with the notion of immediate experience.
The second half of the book deals with the post-TractatusWittgenstein.
Chapter 4 considers a number of differences between the early and later

1Carl Ginet, "An Incoherence in the Tractatus," CanadianJournal of Philosophy3


(1973): 143-51.

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BOOK REVIEWS

thought, and chapter 5 attempts to say how those changes came about.
Chapter 6 contains, among other things, two brief discussions of private
language, and an interesting consideration of the theme "All is in flux."
The transitional Wittgenstein postulated a primary language dealing
with immediate experience, and a secondary language-our ordinary
one-for speaking of things in space and time. The second language must
be cashed out in terms of the first. In the Tractatusthis distinction is per-
haps implicit in the idea that sentences in ordinary language are under-
stood by projecting them onto their fully analyzed forms, and thus in effect
onto a phenomenal language. Stern makes clear how significant the idea
of a phenomenal language was for Wittgenstein. In particular he establish-
es the importance of Wittgenstein's investigation of the possibility of a
completely nonhypothetical phenomenological language. Stern's eluci-
dates two puzzling points in Wittgenstein's writings, one concerning the
analogy of film strip and projected picture, the other a strange crank-
turned machine Wittgenstein imagined, capable of representing the con-
tent of a stretch of immediate experience, or the remembrance of such.
These deliberations show Stern at his quite striking best. On the other
hand I remained puzzled about several issues, such as why Wittgenstein
wanted a nonhypothetical primary language, what this "nonhypothetical"
means, and how these ideas play out in the Investigations.If here and else-
where the book fails to explain Wittgenstein fully, this is compensated for
by its success in forging connections across the whole of the Nachlass, and
especially by its insightful comment on rewarding material from the un-
published writings or under-studied works like the PhilosophicalRemarks.
JOHN V. CANFIELD
Universityof Toronto

The PhilosophicalReview,Vol. 109, No. 1 (January 2000)

IN DEFENSEOF PURE REASON.By LAURENCE BONJOUR. Cambridge: Cam-


bridge University Press, 1998. Pp. xiv, 232.

This book is an important contribution to the contemporary epistemolog-


ical literature. It is the only available book-length treatment of epistemo-
logical issues associated with the a priori. Moreover, it provides the most
comprehensive articulation and defense of traditional rationalism. The
book is tightly organized, crisply argued, and sets the standard against
which competing accounts must be measured.
Bonjour opens by arguing that a priori justification must be taken seri-
ously. All beliefs directly justified solely by experience are particularin their
content. The justification of beliefs whose content goes beyond direct ex-

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