Ineffability and Philosophy
By André Kukla
Routledge – 2004 – 184 pages
Presenting a fascinating analysis of the idea of what can't be said, this book ascertains whether the notion of there being a truth, or a state of affairs, or knowledge that can't be expressed linguistically is a coherent notion. The author distinguishes different senses in which it might be said that something can't be said.
The first part looks at the question of whether ineffability is a coherent idea. Part two evaluates two families of arguments regarding whether ineffable states of affairs actually exist: the argument from mysticism and the argument from epistemic boundedness. Part three looks more closely at the relation between mystic and non-mystic stances. In the fourth and final part the author distinguishes five qualitatively different types of ineffability.
Ineffability and Philosophy is a significant contribution to this area of research and will be essential reading for philosophers and those researching and studying the philosophy of language.
Preface Part 1. Ineffability: The Very Idea 1.1 Indescribable Entities 1.2 The Tarskian Approach 1.3 Four of Five Grades of Ineffability 1.4 Untranslatable Languages 1.5 Inexpressible Facts 1.6 Is the Tarskian Criterion of Ineffability Vacuous? Part 2: Mysticism, Epistemic Boundedness and Ineffability 2.1 The Argument from Epistemic Boundedness 2.2 The Argument from Mysticism Part 3: Believing the Mystic Part 4: Five Types of Ineffability 4.1 Unrepresentability 4.2 Unabducibility 4.3 Unselectability and Unexecutability 4.4 Unreportability
André Kukla is a professor in the Departments of Philosophy and Psychology of the University of Toronto. He is the author of Studies in Scientific Realism (1998), Social Constructivism and the Philosophy of Science (2000) and Methods of Theoretical Psychology (2001).