I defend a new interpretation of Wittgenstein's notion of religious (or ethical) attitude in the Tractatus, one that rejects three key views from the secondary literature: firstly, the view that, for Wittgenstein, the willing subject is a transcendental condition for the religious attitude; secondly, the view that the religious attitude is an emotive response to the world or something closely modelled on this notion of emotive response; and thirdly, the view that, although the religious and ethical pseudo-propositions of the Tractatus are nonsensical, they nevertheless succeed in expressing the religious attitude endorsed by Wittgenstein. In connection to the first, I argue that the notion of willing subject as transcendental condition is abandoned by Wittgenstein in the Notebooks and is no longer a feature of his position in the Tractatus. In connection to the second, I argue that the religious attitude is dispositional rather than emotive for Wittgenstein: it is a disposition to use signs in a way that demonstrates one's conceptual clarity. Finally, in connection to the third, I argue that the religious or ethical attitude is strongly ineffable in that it cannot be described, expressed or conveyed by language at all.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.