Paradigmatic Samples, Self-Reference and the White Knight's Paradox



Year of publication 2016
Type Article in Proceedings
Conference Aesthetics Today. Papers of the 39th International Wittgenstein Symposium
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Field Philosophy and religion
Keywords Ludwig Wittgenstein;Giorgio Agamben;Cora Diamond;Alain Badiou;Bertrand Russell;Paradoxes;Gottlob Frege;Lewis Carroll;Alice in Wonderland
Description The name of the name is not the name. This is the White Knight’s paradox coined by Giorgio Agamben taking up a line from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass. I am going to show that there are rigorous formulations of this paradox in Frege and the early Wittgenstein. However, we can find almost an exact restatement of the White Knight’s paradox in terms of paradigmatic samples in the later Wittgenstein: “one proposition can never describe the paradigm in another, unless it ceases to be a paradigm.” (PG, p.346) I shall argue that such self-referential propositions, which lie on the limit of language, can mark something radically new, something that marks a radical change of our language and the world, something that was inexpressible previously.
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