WITTGENSTEIN, Ludwig--Alexander Bryan JOHNSON (1786-1867). A Treatise on Language. Edited, with a Critical Essay on His Philosophy of Language by David Rynin. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1947.
8° (234 x 154mm). Half-tone portrait frontispiece. Illustrations and diagrams in the text. Original red cloth, lettered in gilt on the spine. (Very light fading on spine and upper edge of lower board, corners very lightly rubbed). Provenance: Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951, presentation inscription on front free endpaper 'To Ludwig Wittgenstein , With the respect and admiration , of , David Rynin'; presented by Wittgenstein to:) -- Calvin Dwight Rollins (b. 1918, inscription on front free endpaper 'To Mr C. Rollins , with kind regards from , Ludwig Wittgenstein'; Department of Philosophy, University of Connecticut inkstamp on upper pastedown, with pencilled inscription 'Returned to CR , by Dave S , Jan 24 '90').
FIRST EDITION OF RYNIN'S RESCENSION. INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR TO WITTGENSTEIN, AND FURTHER INSCRIBED BY WITTGENSTEIN TO ROLLINS. Described by David Rynin as 'the most important early American work on semantics' (p. vii), Johnson's work was first published in 1828 as The Philosophy of Human Knowledge, before it was revised, expanded, and re-issued under the present title in 1836. Rynin had previously published a translation of Moritz Schlick's Fragen der Ethik in 1939; in his introduction to his critical edition of Johnson's text (which 'finds a very recent echo' in Schlick's work, p. 23), he draws parallels between Johnson's work and Wittgenstein's statements on the truth of propositions and the distinction between falsity and senselessness in propositions; the function and/or futility of questions; the possibilities, parameters, and imperfections of language -- 'My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless' (quoted from: Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, p.23). These parallels doubtless prompted Rynin to inscribe the volume to Wittgenstein, who in turn presented it to C.D. Rollins (who would have been 19 at the time of the book's publication, and so, presumably, was one of Wittgenstein's students at Trinity College, Cambridge in the late 1940s), the editor of Oberlin Colloquium in Philosophy (Pittsburgh, PA: 1962) and co-editor of Contemporary Philosophy in Australia (London and New York: 1969).