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Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921)

by Ludwig Wittgenstein

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,321352,713 (4.07)53
Perhaps the most important work of philosophy written in the twentieth century, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus was the only philosophical work that Ludwig Wittgenstein published during his lifetime. Written in short, carefully numbered paragraphs of extreme brilliance, it captured the imagination of a generation of philosophers. For Wittgenstein, logic was something we use to conquer a reality which is in itself both elusive and unobtainable. He famously summarized the book in the following words: 'What can be said at all can be said clearly; and what we cannot talk about we must pass over in silence.' David Pears and Brian McGuinness received the highest praise for their meticulous translation. The work is prefaced by Bertrand Russell's original introduction to the first English edition.… (more)



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» See also 53 mentions

English (27)  French (5)  Tagalog (1)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (35)
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
Get your P's and Q's ready, folks, because we're in for the ride of our lives.
Or not.

Wittgenstein was living proof that androids were around and functioning during WWI. That at least this single android had a sense of humor dry enough to turn the Mariana Trench into the Mojave Desert, too.

Or was this a joke at all? Let's see.

Most of the numbered propositions were imminently clear and devoted to a single purpose: describing reality.

Language is the big limiter, which should never be a big surprise, but he insists that all reality that is, can be explained clearly.

Unfortunately, Wittgenstein, the big brilliant man that he is, was fundamentally incapable of describing or CLEARLY STATING his philosophy. Or using any object in his philosophy for the purposes of further elucidation.

The resulting numbered tracts and use of Formal Logic were used to numb the biological minds reading it... but there is good news! It did help out with the translation problems for future AIs reviewing this work!

Difficult to read? You have no idea. Really. Or perhaps you do if you use chalkboards. But THIS work of philosophy is the target for that old joke:

"What's the difference between a mathematician and a philosopher?
Mathematicians know how to use an eraser."

The logical problem of describing only physics in any positive way while never coming down hard on absolute statements -- like the way we only hypothesize that the sun will come up tomorrow -- eventually curled around itself in very strange ways, like the problem of including your own description in with the description itself.

It keeps adding to the problem of description, mathematically, until the recursion explodes your head or makes you divide by zero. (Same difference, really.)

It presages, at least in part, Goedel's Incompleteness Theorem. Also, P=NP. As in, is it possible to include the index to your library in with the library itself, or do you need to make a brand new card catalog system every time to include the original index? The time it takes to prove a thing is disproportionately large (or impossible) compared to the FACT OF THE SOLUTION.

This goes beyond logical fallacy. It's a real thing we still deal with. And yet, Wittgenstein throws out the baby with the bathwater at the very end. He makes a beautiful house of cards and claps his hands, making us wake up after the long novel with a classic, "and it was only a dream."

Am I kinda pissed? First by having been bored to tears and misunderstanding a handful of DENSE and OBLIQUE propositions that refer to undefined and objectless other works, unlike the careful analysis he made at the start? Yeah. I am.

And like his reference to covering your right hand with your left while also covering your left with your right, this text attempts to disprove everything -- firmly.

It makes me believe, once again, that formal logic, while glorious in one way, is an absolute horseradish in another.

I recommend this for anyone in love with highly complicated logical mazes and other computer science majors. YOU MUST HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR OR YOU WILL DIE. Or kill someone. One, or the other. ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
I finished the logic philosophy tract; and am now a Genius.
  theodoram | Apr 7, 2020 |
I cannot rate a book of which I understood so little. Beautiful in parts, 50,000 feet over my head in others. Apparently unless you have some threshold knowledge of Frege and Russell, it is impossible to comprehend. That’s my excuse, at least. I am more interested in the legend of Wittgenstein, as a tormented genius who intimidated other geniuses and legends by his intensity and brainpower, than I am in his philosophy. On the other hand, “That whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must remain silent” is a pretty cool quote which can be used in a number of contexts (like a business negotiation, or as a summary for this review) which would make LW want to threaten my life with a fire poker. Glad I tried to plow through TRACTATUS — will help me better understand his life and not feel like a completely fraud and poser when I read Ray Monk’s biography next (though I have not yet PHILOSOPHICAL INVESTIGATIONS).
  Robert_Musil | Dec 15, 2019 |
An engaging document that requires significant attention span, critical thinking, and insightful observation to grasp the most of what is being read. This is a thick document, not in length-- but in style and connotations. You need to use your full brain for this one.

Nevertheless, recommended for anyone interested in philosophy or who wishes to expand the mind. ( )
  DanielSTJ | May 5, 2019 |
The Mentaculus ( )
  Dumbedore_return | Apr 29, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (66 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wittgenstein, LudwigAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blumbergs, IlmārsIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Favrholdt, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hermans, Willem FrederikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kolak, DanielTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McGuinness, B. F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nyman, HeikkiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ogden, C. K.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ozoliņa, IndraEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pears, David F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Petrović, GajoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rasels, BērtrandsForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rītups, ArnisAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Russel, BertrandIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Russell, BertrandIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taurens, JānisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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1. The world is all that is the case.
6.54 My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.) He must transcend these propositions, and then he will see the world aright.
6.53 The correct method in philosophy would really be the following: to say nothing except what can be said, i.e. propositions of natural science--i.e. something that has nothing to do with philosophy--and then, whenever someone else wanted to say something metaphysical, to demonstrate to him that he had failed to give a meaning to certain signs in his propositions. Although it would not be satisfying to the other person--he would not have the feeling that we were teaching him philosophy--this method would be the only strictly correct one.
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The original German title is “Logisch-Philosophische Abhandlung”.
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Haiku summary
Step one: The world is /
All that is the case. Step two: /
Throw away ladder.
We're trapped by our words.
Make a ladder of words, then
knock the ladder down.


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