Wittgenstein on Inconsistency

Michael Wrigleya1

a1 University of California, Berkeley

Professor Charles S. Chihara has criticized the views on the subject of inconsistency which Wittgenstein put forward in his recently published 1939 lectures. Chihara notes that these views are not peculiar to the 1939 lectures, and in fact they are to be found in all Wittgenstein's later writings on mathematics (e.g. WWK pp. 173ff., PR p. 189, PG pp. 303ff., RFM pp. 100ff.). So these ideas about inconsistency appear not to be just a momentary aberration on Wittgenstein's part. One would therefore expect that he had some good reasons for holding them. But Chihara justly complains that the kind of strong argumentation one would hope for is not forthcoming in these lectures. Instead Wittgenstein's usual procedure is to try to defend his views by producing series of rather unconvincing examples.