HomeGroupsTalkExploreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921)

by Ludwig WITTGENSTEIN

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,625382,721 (4.06)58
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)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 58 mentions

English (29)  French (5)  Tagalog (1)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (37)
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
I have read through this one three times: once hastily to get a feel for it; and twice carefully with Bertrand Russell's 1922 introductory text in between. During this last reading I kept some notes and constructed a diagram. It was this diagram that began to homogenize my scattered thoughts. At first, I didn't even realize that I applied Wittgenstein's point 2.1: "We make to ourselves pictures of facts" (9).



Looking at my elementary little diagram, I began to see something familiar. This dualistic metaphysics has its root in Kant's transcendental idealism from [b:Critique of Pure Reason|18288|Critique of Pure Reason|Immanuel Kant|https://d2arxad8u2l0g7.cloudfront.net/books/1348663530s/18288.jpg|1072226]. For Kant, there are two worlds: the noumenal and the phenomenal. As regards my diagram, Kant's noumenal world is the analog of the box labeled WORLD and the phenomental world has its analog in my box labeled CONCEPTUAL MODEL. These names aren't exactly synonymous, but I don't feel like changing them. The main point is that the noumenal world is reality as it is in itself, and we cannot access it. We cannot access, for example, the substance of objects. The phenomenal world, on the other hand, is the reality we experience through our senses.

For Wittgenstein, the main composite object we construct in order to interact with facts in the noumenal world are pictures. We picture facts, as he says early on. But this picture is the amalgamation of thoughts which make up propositions which make up a language. Yet herein lies one of the main thrusts of the tractatus: how do we assert a logically complete and infallible language with which to deal with phenomena? This was a major sticking point for me during my first two readings, because it seemed to me (especially at the very end of the text) that the whole argument ended with the destruction of metaphysics. This I based chiefly on point 6.54: "...he who understands me finally recognizes [my propositions] as senseless...." (82; and, indeed, many critics feel cheated at this point--the end--of the text).

Perhaps, though, this interpretation was due to my heightened skepticism for the usefulness of philosophy these days. I took a note at some point that says "the purpose of philosophy is to clarify thoughts and nothing more." And, indeed, one of Wittgenstein's goals is to use Occam's razor to excise any bit of symbolism/grammar/syntax/etc. deemed unnecessary. Which then causes my question to resurface: what would be left? Towards the end of the work, it seemed to me that Wittgenstein proposed the area of the mystical being the destination for of Occam's shavings.

But for the sake of argument, let's say endeavor to list the totality of things that are the case. We would happen upon Russell's paradox, which proves a self-referential error that occurs when trying to assert a set of all possible sets, because said set would have to include itself. This same type of issue arises when Wittgenstein proposes a language that includes everything that is the case--the facts; the pictures; the symbols. And even disregarding the paradox of Wittgenstein's friend, could we achieve this infinite language of symbols?

One thinks of Borges's story of the Aleph, a symbol and object in the story used to represent a point of infinite knowledge. Of its description, the narrator says:

"And here begins my despair as a writer. All language is a set of symbols whose use among its speakers assumes a shared past. How, then, can I translate into words the limitless Aleph, which my floundering mind can scarcely encompass? Mystics, faced with the same problem, fall back on symbols...."

Couple this with Wittgenstein's point 6.45: "The contemplation of the world sub specie aeterni is its contemplation as a limited whole. The feeling that the world is a limited whole is the mystical feeling." Indeed a "limited whole" is a paradox, an oxymoron. Yet, in another light, it isn't, for the adjective "limited" really describes our finite cognitive ability, while the "whole" refers to the totality we wish to propose as the complete system.

In conclusion, I propose that the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is the endgame for an attempt at a full system of metaphysics. As Kant put forth his [b:Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics|80324|Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics|Immanuel Kant|https://d2arxad8u2l0g7.cloudfront.net/books/1405624515s/80324.jpg|2648679] as an indispensable beginning for any system of metaphysics, Wittgenstein's 82-page tractatus stakes its claim as perhaps the new launching pad. When we consider the very real limitations of our thinking and our ability to establish a system that encompasses such a transendental whole, the very last point is properly fitting: "Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent" (82).

Checkmate. ( )
  chrisvia | Apr 29, 2021 |
6.5 For an answer that cannot be expressed the question, too, cannot be expressed. The riddle does not exist.
  staunchwoody | Oct 30, 2020 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (63 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
Muñoz, JacoboEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muñoz, JacoboTranslatorsecondary 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
Reguera, IsidoroEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Russel, BertrandIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Russell, BertrandIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taurens, JānisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Information from the Finnish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
1. The world is all that is the case.
Quotations
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
The original German title is “Logisch-Philosophische Abhandlung”.
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (4)

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.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
Step one: The world is /
All that is the case. Step two: /
Throw away ladder.
(williecostello)
We're trapped by our words.
Make a ladder of words, then
knock the ladder down.

(Carnophile)

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (4.06)
0.5 1
1 7
1.5
2 17
2.5 5
3 66
3.5 10
4 124
4.5 20
5 150

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 166,290,774 books! | Top bar: Always visible