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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Wittgenstein's Tractatus logico-philosophicus and Kafka's Oktavhefte: A comparative stylistic and philosophical analysis
by Xin, Yuchen, M.A., University of Colorado at Boulder, 2013, 55; 1552100
Abstract (Summary)

In the mid 1920s, reflecting the concerns of the "Sprachkrise ", Ludwig Wittgenstein and Franz Kafka composed writings deeply concerned with language's ability to express human thought. In his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Wittgenstein attempted to draw the boundary of meaningful language. During the same period, Kafka developed his thoughts on language and ethics in his Oktavhefte. I compare these works, showing that they share an understanding of language as a domain bound within the physical world and incapable of expressing our spiritual being. Presenting itself as rigorous philosophical writing, Wittgenstein's Tractatus constantly reminds its reader of the limitations of its own logical and philosophical language by claiming itself to be "nonsense" and only a ladder the reader should climb and get rid of. Kafka, without constructing rigorous logical arguments, composed a critique demonstrating the unnaturalness of natural language and showing that its poetic nature lets language transcend its own boundaries.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Stimilli, Davide, Pickford, Henry
Commitee: Greaney, Patrick, Pickford, Henry, Stimilli, Davide
School: University of Colorado at Boulder
Department: German/Slavic
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: MAI 52/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Germanic literature, Literature, Philosophy
Keywords: Aphorism, Limitation of language, Octavhefte, Philosophy of language, Sprachkrise, Tractatus
Publication Number: 1552100
ISBN: 978-1-303-71104-6
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