chapter  1
NONSENSE AND COSMIC EXILE
Pages 27

A new approach to Wittgenstein’s philosophy, both early and late, is emerging. This approach I shall call “the austere reading” of Wittgenstein, “austere” because its guiding interpretive claim privileges Wittgenstein’s metaphilosophical remarks above all others. It is a “reading” because it involves considerable hermeneutic ingenuity to render the whole of Wittgenstein consistent with his explicit metaphilosophical commitments. An esoteric reading of the Tractatus and a quietist reading of the Investigations converge in the austere reading. The esoteric reading resonates to the allure that the mystical had for Wittgenstein as a young man. And the quietist reading harmonizes well Wittgenstein’s breaking free of the pull of the mystical to return to the ordinary. An important component of this new reading is its reassessment of the degree of continuity between the early and later Wittgenstein. Goal and method of the early and late periods are held to converge not only nominally but substantively That goal is to establish that language is in order as it is. This goal is achieved by showing that philosophical attempts to ground or justify ordinary language result in the production of nonsense in the strictest sense. If there is a difference, it is that the Tractatus offers an architectonic conception of philosophical theorizing and its deconstruction while the Investigations offers an array of overlapping reminders and arguments directed against specific forms of philosophical theorizing. Importantly on this reading, the Tractatus does not end philosophy by solving the fundamental problem of representationality and the Investigations does not develop any alternative picture of language.