Workshop mit Brian Klug (Oxford): Wittgenstein and the Divine - Can Nonsense make Sense?

Wittgenstein and the Divine: Can nonsense make sense? – This is how Brian Klug, Senior Research Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Oxford, entitled the workshop that took place at the Research Centre RaT on September 24, 2018. Being an expert on philosophy of religion, Jewish philosophy and anti-Semitic movements, Brian Klug offered an interpretation of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s well-known writings Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1918) and Philosophical Investigations ([Philosophische Untersuchungen], 1953), that accentuates the religious moment in Wittgenstein which distinguishes his approach from other readings of these texts.
Taking into account as well the famous dictum that ‘God’ was a senseless term as the growing interest in the Absolute that Wittgenstein expresses in a more or less subtle way, Brian Klug developed his interpretation not directly based on the question of God, but on the question of the meaning of speaking about God – or, in short: Can nonsense be expressed in a way that does make sense?
It is the religious perspective, which, following Klug, the approach of the Tractatus as well as that of the Investigations rely on. This, of course, does not consist in a regress towards prephilosophical concepts, but it manifests in three experiences which emphasise the distinction between the creator and the created. The attempt to articulate the same tangents the limits of language. These experiences, namely to wonder about the existence of the world, to feel absolutely safe and to experience oneself as guilty, cannot be uttered in the form of propositions or judgements and therefore belong to the sphere that the Tractatus does explicitly not talk about. It is a different form of speaking that allows to express religious experiences, which do not make sense if they are forced into the form of a judgement. As well the Tractatus as the Investigations indicate that – the Tractatus, written in the form of propositions, by explicitly keeping silence concerning this sphere, and the Investigations by accentuating that even though something does not contain sense as a given fact, speaking about it, expressing it as subjectively experienced, may nevertheless make sense.
Following this thought, language is not to be reduced to the form of a proposition that can be measured by the facticity of its sense, but can also consist in the utterance of subjective experience that does indeed make sense – despite a lack of reference to an objective fact which would guarantee a certain ‘sense’.