• Sam26
    1.4k
    I'm glad I made a copy of the thread I wrote from the other forum. I'm not sure if there is enough interest to post some of that here. Maybe I could post it for people to read and comment on. What do you people think?
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.6k
    Welcome back!

    I remember that there was a very good thread on the older forum about Wittgenstein's Tractatus. Was that your thread? In any case, if you can repost the original post, and the date, it ought to be possible to find the old thread on the Wayback Machine.
  • Wallows
    9.6k
    Please do a thread on the Tractatus while referring to the answers already provided in the old thread. That would be heavenly.
  • TimeLine
    2.7k
    I'm glad I made a copy of the thread I wrote from the other forum. I'm not sure if there is enough interest to post some of that here. Maybe I could post it for people to read and comment on. What do you people think?Sam26

    Yeah I actually remember that, and it got somewhat controversial because of a poster who appeared to be taking your ideas. X-) But aside from that, it was actually a great post.
  • jamalrob
    2.2k
    Welcome Sam, good to see you here. Go for it. :)
  • Banno
    6.7k
    Indeed.
  • Sam26
    1.4k
    Thanks for the comments. I hope all of you are doing well. I'm currently living in Florida enjoying the warm weather. As some of you know I'm retired, so in my spare time I study Wittgenstein. Although, I've slowed down a bit in the past couple of years.

    No matter how many times I edit these posts, I always find more mistakes.

    Sam
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.6k
    I am going to use K. T. Fann's book Wittgenstein's Conception of Philosophy as a guide for much of my summary of the Tractatus, because I think it is one of the best summaries written on Wittgenstein's early and late philosophy. If you want to study Wittgenstein I would suggest getting Fann's book. You can get it on Alibris (used) for just a few dollars.Sam26

    Thanks for the recommendation. I noticed that Google Books makes the whole book available for online reading. (I grabbed it and OCRed it so that I could annotate it). This is strange since Google *also* makes available a free sample, and sell the whole book in the Books section of the Google Play Store.
  • Janus
    8.7k
    OCRed it so that I could annotate it)Pierre-Normand

    I'm interested to know what OCRing is...
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.6k
    I'm interested to know what OCRing is...John

    Optical Character Recognition... to convert the raw images in the pdf files that I had generated into searchable text (that can also be underlined, highlighted, copied, etc.) I couldn't find a good freeware to do that, so I downloaded a 7-day trial version of Adobe Acrobat DC. Thus converted, the pdf book looks just the same but it now has a hidden text layer added to it.
  • Janus
    8.7k


    OK thanks. Is it easy to convert the online book to PDF?
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.6k
    OK thanks. Is it easy to convert the online book to PDF?John

    I found an online tool for that. Just PM me.
  • ernestm
    629
    I am so glad to find an expert on this.

    Please could you update me, what is the current thinking on Austin's idea of performative utterances, and Ryle's idea of categorical mistakes?
  • mcdoodle
    1k
    My own view, for instance, is that Wittgenstein is incorrect about the proposition of ethics. I believe that the propositions of ethics do not transcend the world, i.e., in the sense that they are attempts to say what cannot be said. I also believe that there are moral facts, and that they are objective facts that all of us are able to comprehend. They are not senseless in the Wittgensteinian sense.Sam26

    Sam, I am glad to see you here. Your notes on Wittgenstein are very valuable, as is your quiet, deliberate voice.

    There is a copy of the 1929 Lecture on Ethics online, here, in an unformatted version. It ends:

    My whole tendency and I believe the tendency of all men who ever tried to write or talk Ethics or Religion was to run against the boundaries of language. This running against the walls of our cage is perfectly, absolutely hopeless. Ethics so far as it springs from the desire to say something about the ultimate meaning of life, the absolute good, the absolute valuable, can be no science. What it says does not add to our knowledge in any sense. But it is a document of a tendency in the human mind which I personally cannot help respecting deeply and I would not for my life ridicule it. — Wittgenstein
  • Wallows
    9.6k
    According to the Tractatus a proposition pictures reality, so if we are to understand a proposition that refers to unicorns, it is because the proposition displays a picture, and that picture either matches up with reality or it does not. If it correctly mirrors reality, then it is true, if it does not mirror reality, then it is false.Sam26
    From your post "Wittgenstein: The Tractatus Post #5".

    There is a metaphysical assumption lumped into that paragraph that plagues the Tractatus and for the matter the correspondence theory of truth. Namely, that to know if a picture is accurate in depicting reality, we already have to know what reality looks like. In other words, there is a certain unspecified set of criteria that has to be met for a picture to be in accordance with reality, which exhaustively can never be achieved (A central reason why Popper's Fallibilism will always be superior to Verificationism). Wittgenstein does not go into detail about this set of criteria, which is unfortunate. Perhaps, this is just a game of semantics over "correctly" or "accurately"; but, this is where I think Wittgenstein is lacking in his appeal to the scientific process or logical positivism, which would have made his Tractatus a lasting work of philosophy if it already is not one.
  • Sam26
    1.4k
    There is a metaphysical assumption lumped into that paragraph that plagues the Tractatus and for the matter the correspondence theory of truth. Namely, that to know if a picture is accurate in depicting reality, we already have to know what reality looks like. In other words, there is a certain unspecified set of criteria that has to be met for a picture to be in accordance with reality, which exhaustively can never be achieved (A central reason why Popper's Fallibilism will always be superior to Verificationism). Wittgenstein does not go into detail about this set of criteria, which is unfortunate. Perhaps, this is just a game of semantics over "correctly" or "accurately"; but, this is where I think Wittgenstein is lacking in his appeal to the scientific process or logical positivism, which would have made his Tractatus a lasting work of philosophy if it already is not one.Question
    Wittgenstein thinks there is a one-to-one correspondence between the smallest constituent parts of a propositions (names), and the smallest constituent parts of the world (viz., obects). This idea is repudiated in the PI; and you're right he does make metaphysical assumptions that aren't substantiated. He didn't think it was his job to provide examples of names or objects, but he wasn't unaware of the problem.

    I do think there is something to the idea that propositions picture reality, or mirror reality. The problem is that philosophers are always trying to find a precise definition that explains what correspondence means, and precision is not always possible or needed. I think we generally understand what it means for a painting to picture reality, and in many of the same ways we generally understand what it means for a proposition to mirror reality. Is it a model that fits every instance of a proposition? No.
  • Wallows
    9.6k
    I do think there is something to the idea that propositions picture reality, or mirror reality. The problem is that philosophers are always trying to find a precise definition that explains what correspondence means, and precision is not always possible or needed. I think we generally understand what it means for a painting to picture reality, and in many of the same ways we generally understand what it means for a proposition to mirror reality. Is it a model that fits every instance of a proposition? No.Sam26
    Here's the problem. Wittgenstein goes on to assert the validity of pictures depicting reality, without specifying what criteria are being met to accurately or correctly depict reality. It's not a matter of semantics as to what degree are we 'accurately' or 'correctly' depicting reality because if the assumption that either a picture is in accordance with reality (the state of affairs of being 'True') or is not in accordance with reality (the state of affairs of being 'False'), because we are already making the assumption that what we are saying is 'True' as opposed to being 'False' when talking about pictures of reality (or the representation of states of affairs in reality via the use of elementary propositions, eg. names). Otherwise, if we can't specify the meaning of "correctly" or "accurately" in this context, then sad to say the whole thing is nonsense.
  • Sam26
    1.4k
    Here's the problem. Wittgenstein goes on to assert the validity of pictures depicting reality, without specifying what criteria are being met to accurately or correctly depict reality. It's not a matter of semantics as to what degree are we 'accurately' or 'correctly' depicting reality because if the assumption that either a picture is in accordance with reality (the state of affairs of being 'True') or is not in accordance with reality (the state of affairs of being 'False'), because we are already making the assumption that what we are saying is 'True' as opposed to being 'False' when talking about pictures of reality (or the representation of states of affairs in reality via the use of elementary propositions, eg. names). Otherwise, if we can't specify the meaning of "correctly" or "accurately" in this context, then sad to say the whole thing is nonsense.Question

    My understanding is that he does specify what criteria has to be met in order for a proposition to depict reality. And you're correct it's not a matter of semantics, it's in accordance with his understanding of how a proposition matches up one-to-one via names and objects. If the proposition's names match with the objects in reality, then you have a one-to-one correspondence, if not, then you have a false proposition. Correctly and accurately, as you state, is simply determined by the relationship between the proposition (names) and the world (objects).
  • Luke
    533



    To add to what Sam said, I believe this is well summarised by Wikipedia's Tractatus article, particularly in its reference to a geometric projection:

    In order for a picture to represent a certain fact it must in some way possess the same logical structure as the fact. The picture is a standard of reality. In this way, linguistic expression can be seen as a form of geometric projection, where language is the changing form of projection but the logical structure of the expression is the unchanging geometric relationships.

    So, for example, Wittgenstein's law court dolls possess the same logical structure as the facts if they stand in the same relationships to each other as the facts they represent, or if they are are projected in the same way as/from the facts.
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