chapter  6
WITTGENSTEIN AS SOIL
ByLAURENCE GOLDSTEIN
Pages 32

In 1929, at around the time when he defended the Tractatus at a PhD viva, Wittgenstein composed ‘Some Remarks on Logical Form’ for presentation at the Joint Session of the Mind Association and the Aristotelian Society in Nottingham. That paper is largely a defence of the Tractarian viewpoint. He abandoned the piece as worthless before the session took place. Subsequently, he told Moore that ‘when he wrote it, he was getting new ideas about which he was still confused, and that he did not think it deserved any attention’ (M 200).1 Perhaps in the next few months his confusion began to clear as a vision for a new philosophy dawned.2 He writes: ‘I myself still find my way of philosophising new, and it keeps striking me so afresh, and that is why I have to repeat myself so often’ (CV 3). But this mood of cheerful self-congratulation was not to last. In late 1930, probably inspired by Weininger, he spoke of the unpoetic mentality characteristic of the semitic races and of his own philosophy By 1931, his antisemitic self-denigration was in full flow.3 His writing, he says, is often no more than ‘stammering’. He, in common with even the greatest Jewish thinker, is ‘no more than talented’, never inventing a line of thinking but only reproducing, always either applying his old ideas or drawing upon ideas provided by someone else. ‘What I invent,’ he said ‘are new comparisons’ (CV 16).