Wittgenstein on 'Imaginability' as a Criterion for Logical Possiblity in 'The Big Typescript'
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Original versionNordic Wittgenstein Review. 2020, 9, 165–186 10.15845/nwr.v9i0.3536
Throughout his whole work, Wittgenstein seizes on a distinction between logical and physical possibility, and impossibility. Despite this continuity and although, Wittgenstein brings in this distinction in various contexts and from different vantage points, he often solely brushes over it without elaborating in detail. In the so-called Big Typescript, however, he dedicates himself not only to the distinction between logical and physical possibility but also to the distinction between logical possibility and impossibility in particular investigations. In the course of these investigations, another aspect arises and is tossed and turned repeatedly by Wittgenstein – namely, the place of “imaginability” in these considerations. On the basis of three focussed chapters in the Big Typescript, I argue that “imaginability” as an utterance of the form “being able to imagine ‘what it would be like’” can be allocated the place of a criterion for logical possibility. To this end, I will first outline the chapters 96., 27. and 26. in one section each. Although in these chapters, Wittgenstein only indicates rather than claiming explicitly “imaginability” to be a criterion for logical possibility, I will discuss in the last section how this conclusion can be drawn by combining the results of the previous sections.