chapter  7
15 Pages

Internal Relations in Wittgenstein and Merleau-Ponty

WithKatherine J. Morris

This chapter offers some initial orientations with respect to the expression 'internal relation', suggests that there is a prima facie ambiguity in it, and prima facie reason to suppose that this ambiguity divides Wittgenstein and Merleau-Ponty. It provides a reflective interlude on this interim conclusion, while the third attempts to confirm the results of this interlude by investigating a number of examples of relations urged to be internal by Wittgenstein, Merleau-Ponty or both. The obvious conclusion at this stage is that Wittgenstein understands internal relations as conceptual internal relations whereas Merleau-Ponty understands them primarily as internal relations of unity between non-concepts; if so, our initial vague hunch might be thought to be ill-founded. In connection with the first possibility, one might take note of the fact that Wittgenstein in the Tractatus suggests that internal relations are not 'relations proper'.