## Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus

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An object is a unified whole.

I mean by this that why are things beyond the "atomic facts" discrete objects and not some monistic thing, like Schopenhauer's Will, or perhaps Plato's Forms, or Whitehead's "actual occasions"? It's ill defined and only a shill for having something for which the atomic facts can be "attached to", for lack of better words.

And thus...

Where does he say that an atomic fact is about something?

To me, his stuff about objects are to imply that without objects hanging onto each other and arranged in, it would be a picture representing an empty set. A no-thing.

An atomic fact is a combination of objects (entities, things) — 2.01
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By elementary proposition, we naturally think of expressions such as "the apple is on the table ", "grass is red". "the Eiffel Tower is in London", "the house is next to the school".

These are examples of propositions, not elementary propositions; we can go through the difference between the two, a bit more, if you'd like, but for the sake of brevity, I'll just reference:

"The names are the simple symbols, I indicate them by single letters (x, y, z).
The elementary proposition I write as function of the names, in the form 'fx'', 'ϕ(x, y)', etc." (4.24).

This gives us a lot of information, but we can immediately see a couple things:

1. Examples of names (the simple symbols for objects) are: "x,y,z,etc.
2. Examples of elementary propositions are functions such as: "'fx'', 'ϕ(x, y)', etc.

Propositions, such as: "grass is red" analyze into the form: "Fx". "x" here is the domain of the function, or all things which can be accepted as inputs for the function. For example, I can say: "The ball is blue", "The elephant is big", or "The sandwich is soggy". Each of these have the same logical form, or analyze into the elementary propositions: "Gy", "Hz", "Ta", etc. So, the domain of a function is what is meant by: "object".

Presumably, we can infer that to the codomain of the function we can say being either true or false; to which corresponds an actual or possible state of affairs.

From this, we can immediately see that despite each proposition being totally different, the form of both the elementary proposition and the objects remain between each as the elementary proposition that the proposition analyzes into.
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From the above, it might seem somewhat confusing, what exactly is going on here, and what it means for atomic facts.

But, I think that understanding the analysis of proposition into elementary proposition can inform us a bit, what Witt might have in mind for atomic propositions. Consider, the proposition:

"The car is traveling at 60mph."

We might be able to infer that an atomic fact, for something like this, might be something like:

"v=d/t"

I wonder. This could also explain why Witt lists: "time" as a "form of an object".
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1. Examples of names (the simple symbols for objects) are: "x,y,z,etc.
2. Examples of elementary propositions are functions such as: "'fx'', 'ϕ(x, y)', etc.

4.24 - "Names are the simple symbols: I indicate them by single letters (x, y, z). I write elementary proposition as function of names, so that they have the form"'fx'', "ϕ(x, y)', etc."

I believe that he is not saying that the single letters x, y, z are objects, but is saying that these single letters indicate possible objects, such that the variable x indicates the objects ball, elephant or sandwich.

In order for an elementary propositions to picture the world, it needs two parts, representatives such as grass, green, tall, mountain, velocity and logical constants such as and, not, if, then, or.

Logical constants are not objects, they are rules that determine how the objects relate.

Consider the logical function F(x), where F(x) is true if the value x satisfies the function F. But as F and x are not only unknown, don't refer to anything and have no sense, F(x) cannot picture the world, and if cannot picture the world cannot be an elementary proposition.

Consider F(x) is true if x is green, The value x = grass satisfies the function, whilst the value x = strawberry doesn't satisfy the function. As F and x are now known, F being the object green and x being the objects grass and strawberry, the world can now be pictured, meaning that we now have an elementary proposition.

4.0312 - "My fundamental idea is that the logical constants are not representatives – that there can be no representatives of the logical facts"

Logic by itself, functions such as F(x), cannot fulfil the role of representatives, and as representatives are needed in addition to logic to picture the world, functions such as F(x) cannot be elementary propositions.
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We might be able to infer that an atomic fact, for something like this, might be something like: "v=d/t". I wonder. This could also explain why Witt lists: "time" as a "form of an object".

A fact is a state of affairs in the world that obtains. A state of affairs is objects in possible combinations

Which is the state of affairs, d/t or distance divided by time? Which is the object, t or time?

From Russell's Introduction "In Wittgenstein’s theoretical logical language, names are only given to simples. We do not give two names to one thing, or one name to two things."

Therefore, the variable t cannot be the object, as being a variable it names more than one thing, and as Russell says, t cannot be a simple as it names more than one thing, and if not a simple cannot be an object.

2.0251 Space, time, colour (being coloured) are forms of objects.

From 2.051, time is the object, not the variable t.

Therefore, a state of affairs being objects in possible combinations cannot be d/t but must be time divided by distance. If this state of affairs obtains, then the fact is distance divided by time, not d/t.

(Kyle Banick – 1/3 – Necessity and contingency)
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Therefore, a state of affairs being objects in possible combinations cannot be d/t but must be time divided by distance. If this state of affairs obtains, then the fact is distance divided by time, not d/t.

To invoke a bit of Zizek here, Wittgenstein is simply elaborating on his own ideology whereby language can only make "sense" if it is about discrete objects and how they are arranged in certain ways. These would be "state of affairs" that obtain (facts). Propositions of true and false are about this. But the problem is, all of these assertions require a robust epistemology and metaphysics. He knew this when he said it of his own work, which is, however thinly laid out, an epistemology of language and its uses in explaining facts. It's an ideology as much as anything. Why must we buy into Wittgenstein's idea of "sense" and "nonsense"? Why can't more speculative epistemology and metaphysics be discussed intelligently in a language community? Why must we follow or agree with his ideology on the bounds of language use? And ironically, to buy into his ideology, I am saying he should have delved deeper into the epistemology and metaphysics (ala Kant). But he doesn't because he needs to follow his own rules as not to be a hypocrite. But even the little crumbs he provides is hypocritical because it's an epistemology, however bare-boned. And thus he impoverishes his own program by being a series of assertions that cannot be elaborated on, lest he "break his own ideological commitment he is thus laying out". Besides the fact that he is already breaking it anyways, he cannot commit any further into "whys and hows", because "nonsense".

And furthermore, because this may be said to be Wittgenstein's ideology (one ideology amongst a range of possible ones he presumably could have committed to), we must understand that the author has a commitment and thus a value in even propounding on his ideas. Thus, there is value "smuggled" into the whole work, being the author chose to explain his ideas to the reader and had his reasons to do so.
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I believe that he is not saying that the single letters x, y, z are objects, but is saying that these single letters indicate possible objects, such that the variable x indicates the objects ball, elephant or sandwich.

I agree with this, I believe. "x" is the domain, which are all the possible objects which can be taken as inputs to satisfy the function.

Consider the logical function F(x), where F(x) is true if the value x satisfies the function F. But as F and x are not only unknown, don't refer to anything and have no sense, F(x) cannot picture the world, and if cannot picture the world cannot be an elementary proposition.

No, exactly as you said. If we take as a value of x some input which satisfies the function Fx, (with Fx being some value which can be said of x), then it is true, and would correspond with an atomic fact, which could be said of the world. I think Witt is drawing attention to the logical form of elementary propositions, but naturally in practice when we are analyzing specific sentences, as you point out, we do know the values for "x" and we know the form of the function, whether it be Fx, or some other function.

Logic by itself, functions such as F(x), cannot fulfil the role of representatives, and as representatives are needed in addition to logic to picture the world, functions such as F(x) cannot be elementary propositions.

I agree, however it is only when supplied with content that elementary props say anything at all, and can form a picture of the world. To this, would correspond atomic propositions, which can do the work that elementary props, cannot.

They are elementary propositions.
the variable t cannot be the object

I admit, that I was only armchair philosophizing about the atomic facts being something like mechanical laws represented in differential equations.

But, I'd like to point out that Frege took "time" to be an object, and while Witt. never comes down definitively (aside from referencing "time" as a "form of an object", I just wanted to point out, that its not unheard of within the tradition.

At any rate, I agree with, like 90% of your post. Its just specifics we differ on, right now.
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Why can't more speculative epistemology and metaphysics be discussed intelligently in a language community? Why must we follow or agree with his ideology on the bounds of language use?

I'd like to take a moment to step outside the bounds of this topic, and express some personal thoughts regarding the work, in general.

I, actually, take Wittgenstein to be attempting to break away from this tradition; what I mean is... I take him to be an ally to your cause. This, I know, is a somewhat contentious view, but it's one that I believe might hold. I get a sense that the mode of presentation, for the Tractatus, is an attempt to show this from within the very framework he ultimately challenges. Why would he do this? Well, consider for a moment, the setting in which the work was written. It was mostly written while he was actively engaged in world war 1, on the front lines, in the trenches. He finished the work while he was a war prisoner, and only managed to get 3 copies out, leaving himself without a copy of his own. He sent 1 to Russell, 1 to Frege, and 1 to Englemann, and I think its no accident that the first two's frameworks are largely adopted and assumed in the beginning of the text. But he often calls attention to the flaws in this thinking, and attempts to enrich the ideas present. Russell was his teacher, and Russell was taken by the tradition you're referring to - positivism. But, Wittgenstein was no positivist. The work, I think, is written for a positivist reader though - for Russell, perhaps in case he didn't survive the war.

Like any philosophical work, its written within a tradition, and just like any philosopher, it assumes certain manners of conceptualizing, but I take the work to ultimately be arguing against a staunch opposition to metaphysics, in general. I see him to be trying to re-furnish the metaphysics that positivists had stripped to all but "positive facts" or experience.
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I see him to be trying to re-furnish the metaphysics that positivists had stripped to all but "positive facts" or experience.

How is this the case when he clearly is trying to show that anything that is not about objects and how they "hang together" [ atomic facts/propositions.. yadayada, I'm not arguing his particularities so don't picayunish this point.. ] is "non-sense"? Perhaps he finds the non-sense "useful" in some spiritual way, but then again, he doubles down on its inarticulate nature as it (defies language) in his view when he states ""Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent."

One can say that he is castigating all the metaphysicians and epistemologists that came before. Think of The architectonics of Plato, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Leibniz, Spinoza, and the rest. I see this as saying basically, "These guys should have not wasted ink as what they were discussing cannot be stated in any 'meaningful' way". It's inflammatory, not conciliatory towards these philosophies. To me, that is squarely in the milieu of the early analytics, whether or not he disagreed on the value utility of poetry, religion, or whatnot.
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How is this the case when he clearly is trying to show that anything that is not about objects and how they "hang together" [ atomic facts/propositions.. yadayada, I'm not arguing his particularities so don't picayunish this point.. ] is "non-sense"?

Because he is not arguing that anything (i.e. a proposition) is nonsense if its not about how things hang together, etc.

Technical mumbo-jumbo aside, his goal is the logical clarification of thought, and while occasionally he does point out examples of propositions which are logically unclear, he never says that all propositions which don’t relate to objects, etc are nonsense. This is not the work associated with objects and facts, and all that stuff - they play a different role.

You point out the final statement of the work, but I’d like to say that its more succinct in the preface where Witt says:

“What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot speak [clearly] thereof one must be silent”

Positivism developed slowly, but from some basic assumptions, one of which was that metaphysics needed to be put on proper footing. This is what Bacon, Hume, Kant, etc. were concerned with...they thought metaphysics lacked clarity and rigor.

Wittgenstein, is attempting to say with the final statement that any metaphysical statement will have to first and foremost be made logically clear. Until this is done, we should be cautious of wasting too much time talking about it, since language will lead us in circles. Clarity must be established first.

Throughout the work, he tries to offer suggestions on how to do this, and also gives examples of other thinkers formulations and how they are logically unclear, offering methods to reformulate the idea in a more clear manner.
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Positivism developed slowly, but from some basic assumptions, one of which was that metaphysics needed to be put on proper footing. This is what Bacon, Hume, Kant, etc. were concerned with...they thought metaphysics lacked clarity and rigor.

Wittgenstein, is attempting to say with the final statement that any metaphysical statement will have to first and foremost be made logically clear. Until this is done, we should be cautious of wasting too much time talking about it, since language will lead us in circles. Clarity must be established first.

Throughout the work, he tries to offer suggestions on how to do this, and also gives examples of other thinkers formulations and how they are logically unclear, offering methods to reformulate the idea in a more clear manner.

I think this is recasting Wittgenstein as just trying to be a simple corrector of grammar rather than trying to make (anti-)metaphysical commitments. I think that it is the latter that is exactly what he is doing. He clearly thinks that what is "sense" are objects and their arrangements. If they obtain as a state of affairs in the world, they are facts, "true propositions". This to me excludes a lot of other types of metaphysics, and is itself a type of metaphysics- one that is poorly explained but yet he asserts is the only way in which "sensical" language is thus communicated.

Basically, I think you are playing apologetics and putting early Wittgenstein as more heterodox than he was. He was indeed basically a logical positivist. He might protest such a label, and find value in various forms of "non-sense", but he still labeled it "non-sense". He was not laying out simply the correct "syntax" to put language in, but making commitments (by way of objects) to the contents of what sensical language could be about. Everything else is non-sense, and "thereof one must be silent". You first, Witt.
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I think this is recasting Wittgenstein as just trying to be a simple corrector of grammar

This is a recasting of my position :P I take him to be concerned with the logical clarification of thought, which might occasionally involve critiquing how one uses a term, and whether or not it makes sense. This isn't new to philosophy, in any sense, with Socrates objecting to how folks use the word "good", Aristotle to how others use the word "cause", etc. How else are we meant to clarify the thoughts in our heads, except, by occasionally engaging in correction of language. This is not to say that correcting grammar is the goal in and of itself.

I think that it is the latter that is exactly what he is doing.

This is one possibility, and you're certainly welcome to it. As I've said, my personal opinion differs. I can understand, and see reasons to believe your position, I can however also see other evidence which steers my thoughts in another direction.

He was indeed basically a logical positivist.

One might wonder why then, upon returning from the war, and having his work acclaimed by the positivists, that Wittgenstein so vehemently rejected them. Why, Witt considered Russell's atomist interpretation so foreign to his own in spirit that he spent three years of his life trying to get the work published, despite being poor from having given his fortune away - in the hopes that he'd find someone that understood the work. That's a pretty strong response to a bunch of people basically understanding what you were trying to do.

He might protest such a label, and find value in various forms of "non-sense", but he still labeled it "non-sense"

The two groups are using the expression in two different manners. Again, without getting too in the weeds, the Tract uses three expressions:

1. nonsense
2. senseless
3. meaningless

these are not interchangeable. The positivists saw no distinction between these at the end of the day, they were all what you'd call meaningless. Wittgenstein, however, distinguishes these, and there's good reason to believe that Witt is using the expression nonsense similar to Frege in that its tied to elucidations which accomplish definite pre-scientific work in terms of settling terminology.

Basically, I think you are playing apologetics and putting early Wittgenstein as more heterodox than he was.

Rather, I am doing what we do in philosophy, which is try and furnish a reading of another's work with as much context as possible, whether it be historically or contextually. This is why there exist "readings" of philosopher x, and certain topics are discussed and debated. Why there are conferences, people researching and writing papers, etc.

You know, historically, positivism was actually very pervasive in society. What I mean, is that it had real "pull" in the scientific community. Einstein's theory of special and general relativity was influenced by positivism, believe it or not. Einstein says that concepts like "space" and "time" were not clear at all, and he prepossess redefining them in a relativistic fashion ala Ernst Mach. He argued that absolute space and absolute time were meaningless concepts, in that they were in no manner tied to reality. That's how we arrived at space-time today. But, Einstein was a student of not only positivism but also its main competitor, exemplified by people like Boltzmann and Hertz which was typically referred to as "bild theories" or "picture theories".

Boltzmann argued that positivism left science bankrupt, unable to furnish true understanding. He posited the existence of 'atoms' claiming that science could move past experience by developing "pictures" to represent reality based on logic. Ernst Mach was against the atomic theory, saying there was no evidence for the existence of such things, and for most of the early 1900s the atomic theory was ridiculed, and Boltzmann actually committed suicide from depression.

Einstein, younger than the old Mach and Boltzmann, took Boltzmann's picture theory as permissible and developed his own conception of the atom which was later proven to be the case. I don't think it's any accident that Wittgenstein also develops what he calls a "picture theory" and furnishes it with Frege's logic in a manner that echoes Hertz's development of pictures as logical pictures in his Principles of Mechanics. Witt also says that he was influenced by Boltzmann and Hertz, and he studied to be a mechanical engineer prior to studying philosophy, so he was no doubt familiar with the contemporaneous argument between positivism of Ernst Mach and the up and coming "picture theory" of Boltzman and Hertz that challenged it in an attempt to provide science with metaphysical speculation once again.
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This is a recasting of my position :P I take him to be concerned with the logical clarification of thought, which might occasionally involve critiquing how one uses a term, and whether or not it makes sense. This isn't new to philosophy, in any sense, with Socrates objecting to how folks use the word "good", Aristotle to how others use the word "cause", etc. How else are we meant to clarify the thoughts in our heads, except, by occasionally engaging in correction of language. This is not to say that correcting grammar is the goal in and of itself.

Would you say what Socrates was doing and what Wittgenstein were doing were equivalent? This is itself some clever word-play.

One might wonder why then, upon returning from the war, and having his work acclaimed by the positivists, that Wittgenstein so vehemently rejected them. Why, Witt considered Russell's atomist interpretation so foreign to his own in spirit that he spent three years of his life trying to get the work published, despite being poor from having given his fortune away - in the hopes that he'd find someone that understood the work. That's a pretty strong response to a bunch of people basically understanding what you were trying to do.

This is hipster fandom talk. I don't care that Wittgenstein felt misunderstood. Poor Witty. I'm just saying how it looks to me, and it looks pretty stereotypically logical positivist. It doesn't have Russell's exact approach, but why do all logical positivists have to be the same? A lot of people don't like being grouped with others of a similar ilk. It's called "narcissism of small differences".

these are not interchangeable.

Of course not, neologisms have their place in philosophy! Analytics are not exempt! Schopenhauer's Will, and Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, Kant's thing-in-itself and transcendental and empirical apperception.. Let's add Wittgenstein's clever distinction between nonsense, senseless, and meaningless! Why the hell not! We can have a dictionary for schopenhauer1 terminology too and splice it between Nietzsche and Wittgenstein. I got plenty of neologisms to add, but unfortunately, I won't have the acolytes to endlessly determine what I meant by them. :sad:.

You know, historically, positivism was actually very pervasive in society. What I mean, is that it had real "pull" in the scientific community. Einstein's theory of special and general relativity was influenced by positivism, believe it or not. Einstein says that concepts like "space" and "time" were not clear at all, and he prepossess redefining them in a relativistic fashion ala Ernst Mach.

Yes, I remember reading this in an Einstein biography. To a lesser degree, he was also influenced by Schopenhauer, who, oddly enough would have been much more in line with Einstein's theories than the positivism of the time. He had a bust of Schop I believe on his mantle.

Witt also says that he was influenced by Boltzmann and Hertz, and he studied to be a mechanic prior to studying philosophy, so he was no doubt familiar with the contemporary argument between positivism of Ernst Mach and the up and coming "picture theory" of Boltzman and Hertz that challenged it in an attempt to provide science with metaphysical speculation once again.

This comes out in spades. This is an engineer or programmer doing philosophy like an engineer and programmer. I think if this book instead of being about "reality" was a primer for object-oriented programming, it would be different. No doubt, different philosophies will speak to different mindsets and methodologies.

Anyways, I actually admire the project of the positivists/analytics/Vienna circle. It's quite nice and tidy to think that what is captured through defining best how philosophy of science and parsing the world via analytic statements and logic are all the philosophy that can discussed, but even Wittgenstein himself saw the flaw in this straightjacket. However, I don't think his Investigations necessarily corrected himself.

I get why Wittgenstein is appealing. I just don't find it as much.
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One can say that he is castigating all the metaphysicians and epistemologists that came before.

I, actually, take Wittgenstein to be attempting to break away from this tradition (epistemology and metaphysics)

Perhaps the following is relevant.

It may not be the case that Wittgenstein was trying to break away from the tradition of epistemology and metaphysics, but rather that he didn't know much about the tradition in the first place. From IEP Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889—1951)

His early work was influenced by that of Arthur Schopenhauer and, especially, by his teacher Bertrand Russell and by Gottlob Frege, who became something of a friend.

His philosophical education was unconventional (going from engineering to working first-hand with one of the greatest philosophers of his day in Bertrand Russell) and he seems never to have felt the need to go back and make a thorough study of the history of philosophy. He was interested in Plato, admired Leibniz, but was most influenced by the work of Schopenhauer, Russell and Frege.

He was influenced by Leibniz's logical form. From The Problem of Logical form: Wittgenstein and Leibniz by Studia Philosophiae Christianae

The article is an attempt at explaining the category of logical form used by Ludwig Wittgenstein in his Tractatus logico-philosophicus by using concepts from Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’s The Monadology.

He was influenced by Schopenhaur's division of reality into the phenomenal and the noumenal. From Schopenhauer's Influence on Wittgenstein by Bryan Magee.

Schopenhauer was the first and greatest philosophical influence on Wittgenstein, a fact attested to by those closest to him. He began by accepting Schopenhauer's division of total reality into phenomenal and noumenal, and offered a new analysis of the phenomenal in his first book, the Tractatus Logico‐Philosophicus.

IE, it is difficult to consciously break away from a tradition if one doesn't know much about the tradition in the first place.
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At any rate, I agree with, like 90% of your post. Its just specifics we differ on, right now.

Conversational research. As the architect Louis Kahn said "The street is a room by agreement".
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Would you say what Socrates was doing and what Wittgenstein were doing were equivalent? This is itself some clever word-play.

Now you're not even trying to be charitable to what I'm saying, if you take that bit to be me simply saying, "Witt and Socrates were doing exactly the same thing in every regard" :P

This is hipster fandom talk

Idk what that means. Providing historical context is this "hipster fandom talk"?

I don't care that Wittgenstein felt misunderstood.

Then it sounds like you don't care to try and understand him, or the difference between his view and the other. If, when a philosopher says: "I don't mean x", the response is: "whatever, idc, sounds like you're saying x" then where else can one go? Seems the discussion is over.

This is an engineer or programmer doing philosophy like an engineer and programmer.

I'm sure you wouldn't want to say the analytic tradition is nonsense, despite being the result of logicians and scientists "doing philosophy " like logicians and scientists.

These folks were interested in what science could say about reality and how we can ensure that our theories map to reality. So, naturally they start from the assumption that our words should somehow tie back to reality in some guaranteed fashion.

Thank goodness we had physicists like Helmholtz, Hertz, and Boltzmann engaging in philosophy otherwise the atomic theory would have continued to be ridiculed by positivists and younger thinkers like Einstein would have never engaged with the concept of atoms, particles, fields, etc. In the first place since they lacked empirical evidence.
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Perhaps the following is relevant.

It may not be the case that Wittgenstein was trying to break away from the tradition of epistemology and metaphysics, but rather that he didn't know much about the tradition in the first place. From IEP Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889—1951)

:up:

He was influenced by Schopenhaur's division of reality into the phenomenal and the noumenal. From Schopenhauer's Influence on Wittgenstein by Bryan Magee.

Yes, there was a conversation a while back where I believe @Banno asked what Wittgenstein got from Schopenhauer, and I believe it was as you quoted. If anything, Tractatus can be a sort of linguistic-based version of Schop's Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, but taking only the two of the four roots as able to be conveyed linguistically. The rest (intention/inner states/psychology/will) he seemed to relegate to "Thereof one must not speak". If it's noumenal or transcendent, it cannot be stated, as there is no sense to it, as it has not objective form.

The problem here is where Schopenhauer (and previously Leibniz) actually laid out their reasoning for their premise and built a foundation, Wittgenstein simply asserts it to build his linguistic project of atomic facts and propositions that can be stated clearly.
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Now you're not even trying to be charitable to what I'm saying, if you take that bit to be me simply saying, "Witt and Socrates were doing exactly the same thing in every regard" :P

What I meant by this is that Socrates was not clarifying language itself but the notions and ideas of people, or its content. Wittgenstein is trying to determine what is in the bounds of language. It might be said, Socrates would not even be deemed worthy of his discussions on Forms, The Good, and a whole range of other things, because they are not corresponding to a "State of Affairs" that can be determined as true (presumably through empirical means, but then again, since Witt offers us such a bereft explanation of objects and states of affairs, we can interpret it to mean any entity, ones that are not material etc, and go around in circles trying to fit it together instead of it being clearly stated from the beginning.). The only thing Witt can take from Socrates is the questioning, which he uses to death in the PI in order to showcase how fluid and ambiguous language is, countering his former self and other analytics of the early 20th century.

Idk what that means. Providing historical context is this "hipster fandom talk"?

No that is fine, I like historical context. I was commenting on the idea that he was such an outlier that he was wholly different from the projects of other analytics of the time. As I stated before, I disagree. Rather it is the "narcissism of small differences". But if he is misunderstood so thoroughly, this whole project of trying to interpret the "right" Wittgenstein itself is insipid to me because it just speaks to the lack of good communication of the author; it's a lack of quality explanation of ideas. A defense of any ambiguously phrased sentence can always be said, "No, THIS is what the author TRULEY meant", and so on infinitum. And to make him a rebel and outsider, is to weirdly make him a sort of mythologized hero and Prophet.

I'm sure you wouldn't want to say the analytic tradition is nonsense, despite being the result of logicians and scientists "doing philosophy " like logicians and scientists.

You are extrapolating that, but I did not say that. Logicians and scientists "doing philosophy" like logicians and scientists is fine and dandy, but it's more than that. They are committing to a form of philosophy whereby any metaphysical or epistemological claims cannot be stated without being non-sense. It is limiting the field of play to their own preferences for being the explainer and referee of the sciences. The problem is, once you make statements about the world (objects, states of affairs), you ARE doing metaphysics, and all you are doing is being abbreviated in your explanations so as to try not to violate your own premises about non-sense. But objects are and states of affairs need explanation besides being simply posited as to their nature, their necessity, etc. The only necessity it has in Tractatus, is because without it, the theory cannot be true. That is circular reasoning.

These folks were interested in what science could say about reality and how we can ensure that our theories map to reality. So, naturally they start from the assumption that our words should somehow tie back to reality in some guaranteed fashion.

Naturally. If philosophy started with "Naturally this that and the other..." that begs the question and is simply taking one's assumptions as given by fiat.

Thank goodness we had physicists like Helmholtz, Hertz, and Boltzmann engaging in philosophy otherwise the atomic theory would have continued to be ridiculed by positivists and younger thinkers like Einstein would have never engaged with the concept of atoms, particles, fields, etc. In the first place since they lacked empirical evidence.

I didn't say otherwise. But if philosophy is simply the handmaiden for the sciences and thus should be nothing else, it isn't complete. Some things are not useful for scientific theory, they are just explanatory, investigative, speculative, etc..
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What I meant by this is that Socrates was not clarifying language itself but the notions and ideas of people, or its content. Wittgenstein is trying to determine what is in the bounds of language.

I hear you...What I am saying is that just as it isn't uncommon to flip through a Socratic dialogue, and see Socrates challenging what others say about certain things (such as the good), and through dialogue shows how the thought leads to problems, we see Witt doing the same. In the preface to the Tractatus, Witt says his concern is first and foremost thoughts, not language...he just happens to concede that it is through language that the analysis has to be conducted since that's how we communicate our ideas with one another.

Socrates would not even be deemed worthy of his discussions on Forms, The Good, and a whole range of other things, because they are not corresponding to a "State of Affairs" that can be determined as true

It's commonly accepted that we engage in metaphysics in order to arrive at an understanding of reality.
From the pre-socratics to today we have engaged in metaphysics, and our ideas have evolved with us. I wouldn't argue that studying Plato's forms isn't useful academically, but I wonder if its in any way equipped to be a supplement to the science of today.

My point is, let's assume that you're right and Witt is saying that metaphysics such as Plato's theory of forms, really doesn't belong in a modern day metaphysics. Wouldn't you agree? (I, personally, wouldn't necessarily take Witt to be committing to this view)

I was commenting on the idea that he was such an outlier that he was wholly different from the projects of other analytics of the time.

I am not saying that his project was different, but rather his approach, and some of his conclusions.

Is it so strange that someone that:

1. Graduated from a mechanical engineering program
2. Enrolled in an aeronautics doctorate program with the intent to design his own plane
3. Designed and patented his own propeller (tbh it was kinda a stupid design though lol)

And only after 5-6 years of this, when trying to manufacture his propeller, did Witt become interested in extremely complicated mathematics and learned about Frege and Russell.

After another 6~ years he wrote the Tractatus.

So, to the original point, I don't find it even remotely odd that someone that worked in mechanical engineering for 5-6 years and then worked on philosophy for another 6 years wrote something that was somewhat of an outlier when compared to a lot of the other analytics at the time. He explicitly references Heinrich Hertz in the Tractatus, and is quoted elsewhere saying that his line of thinking was influenced heavily by Ludwig Boltzmann alongside Frege and Russell.

Just as I would be surprised if someone were to tell me that some analytic philosopher from the 1920s developed some of his philosophy from physicists who were, for example, proving the existence of electromagnetic waves, and postulating theories of atoms in an attempt to explain thermodynamics, I am equally unsurprised that just such a philosopher came to some different conclusions than your standard philosopher. (This is not a value judgement, btw).

A defense of any ambiguously phrased sentence can always be said, "No, THIS is what the author TRULEY meant"

You've just summarized, like, 75% of the philosophy papers that I have read. xD

But, while I agree that its particularly bad in Witt's case, there is I think a reason that Witt considered philosophy, in some sense, a personal activity.

But if he is misunderstood so thoroughly, this whole project of trying to interpret the "right" Wittgenstein itself is insipid to me because it just speaks to the lack of good communication of the author; it's a lack of quality explanation of ideas.

Here I'd like to point out that, again, in the preface to the Tractatus, Witt literally says:

"Here I am conscious that I have fallen far short of the possible. Simply because my powers are insufficient to cope with the task. May others come and do it better."

He was well aware that he wasn't the most articulate, but he thought there was something of value in his thoughts. I'd like to say that just as each of us is articulate to differing degrees, that being less articulate than another neither preclude one from engaging in philosophy, nor does it inherently suggest that the ideas are wrong, or not useful at their core.

I've read plenty of philosophers that I couldn't make heads nor tales of (I'm looking at you Hegel), but others are able to discover some merit within. There is a reason that Witt says:

"This book will perhaps only be understood by those who have themselves already thought the thoughts which are expressed in it - or similar thoughts."

You are extrapolating that, but I did not say that.

Truthfully, I was being a bit tongue in cheek :P

They are committing to a form of philosophy whereby any metaphysical or epistemological claims cannot be stated without being non-sense.

Positivists are. Not all analytic philosophers are positivists... it just so happens that historically, a lot of them have been.

Naturally. If philosophy started with "Naturally this that and the other..." that begs the question and is simply taking one's assumptions as given by fiat.

This is hardly the case. All philosophy, from Aristotle to Putnam has always started with some set of basic assumptions before moving forward. Its a perennial belief that can be endlessly quoted, and pointed out, whether it be a scientist assuming materialism or Aristotle assuming first principles.
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5.62 "The world is my world: this is manifest in the fact that the limits of language (of that language of which I alone understand) mean the limits of my world

What you added by parenthesis is not in the text.

It is in the text. My bad.
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I'm sure you probably already know, but the edit facility is quite useful.

At the bottom of one's own post - left clock on three dots - left click on edit - make changes to text - save comment.
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The problem here is where Schopenhauer (and previously Leibniz) actually laid out their reasoning for their premise and built a foundation, Wittgenstein simply asserts it to build his linguistic project of atomic facts and propositions that can be stated clearly.

Wittgenstein uses an apodictic style

On the one hand, considered by some to be the greatest philosopher of the 20th century, and on the other hand, the Tractatus is notorious for its interpretative difficulties.
(SEP – Ludwig Wittgenstein)

On the one hand, the Tractatus employs an austere and succinct literary style. The work contains almost no arguments as such, but rather consists of declarative statements, or passages, that are meant to be self-evident, and on the other hand, the Tractatus is recognized by philosophers as one of the most significant philosophical works of the twentieth century.
(Wikipedia Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

A proposition may have value even if the words are ambiguous

It makes sense to say that what is important in the world are facts (objects in combinations) rather than objects, even if no-one can agree what an object is, and no-one can agree how objects combine.

IE, the statement "what is important in the world are facts (objects in combinations) rather than objects" has a value that everyone may agree with, even though there is no agreements as to what "object" and "combination" actually mean.

Similarly, everyone may agree with the statement "in the world postboxes are red", even if the Indirect Realist and Direct Realist don't agree where exactly does this world exist.

Even though the Tractatus uses a didactic style, everyone may agree that the remarks are of value, even if everyone disagrees with what the remarks actually mean.

Where is the value in the Tractatus

The question is what substantive philosophical lessons can we extract from the Tractatus. According to Facts, Possibilities, and the World. Three Lessons from the Tractatus, Hans Sluga:

One is the concept of fact, on which Russell and the Wittgenstein of the Tractatus relied so much, is philosophically brittle and that we must turn our attention, instead, to the broader notion of the factuality of the world.

Two is that we can and must think about the world in both factual and modal terms but that in doing so we must treat the idea of possibility, not that of necessity, as primary and we must conceive of possibilities as merely virtual, not as factual.

Three is that we must consider the world as a whole, if we are to make sense of logic, science, and ethics.

However, I need to research this further.
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I hear you...What I am saying is that just as it isn't uncommon to flip through a Socratic dialogue, and see Socrates challenging what others say about certain things (such as the good), and through dialogue shows how the thought leads to problems, we see Witt doing the same. In the preface to the Tractatus, Witt says his concern is first and foremost thoughts, not language...he just happens to concede that it is through language that the analysis has to be conducted since that's how we communicate our ideas with one another.

Well, of course it's done through language. But that is not his major point. That is just a truism. His major point is that it is invalid to attempt to talk about the world outside certain bounds, that he sets out to limit.

My point is, let's assume that you're right and Witt is Saying that metaphysics such as Plato's theory of forms, really doesn't belong in a modern day metaphysics. Wouldn't you agree? (I, personally, wouldn't necessarily take Witt to be committing to this view)Is it so strange that someone that:

1. Graduated from a mechanical engineering program
2. Enrolled in an aeronautics doctorate program with the intent to design his own plane
3. Designed and patented his own propeller (tbh it was kinda a stupid design though lol)

And only after 5-6 years of this, when trying to manufacture his propeller, did Witt become interested in extremely complicated mathematics and learned about Frege and Russell.

Then what view is Witt taking? What's the point of Tractatus if not to criticize theories just like Plato of things like "The Good" and "Forms" above the "divided line", and levels of knowledge like "gnosis", etc. This is all written words about things that are not necessarily "objects" that can be put in propositions of true or false. Of course you can say, "No, he meant any object, not just material ones", then he needed to explain that point more rather than it be deduced from various cobbling of his claims. So this difference here may be how we are reading Tractatus, which I had alluded to earlier. That is, you seem to be giving Witt a more open view of previous metaphysics, when I think that he thinks himself demolishing previous metaphysics. It's not just a matter of how they are grammatically phrasing their words. It's not just that Plato could have kept his theory coherent if he had just worded his ideas of Forms more syntactically correct, but rather, that the content of his thoughts are non-sense, and thus are beyond the bounds of language.

I am not saying that his project was different, but rather his approach, and some of his conclusions.

Right so we are debating here really is subjective to how we group this, but to my view of Tractatus, it is just his peculiar spin on the ideas Russell and Frege and others were working on. He is allowed to have his own take on it without it being wholly different in kind. The same then can be said to Russell's response to Frege, and others response to Russell, etc. I think Wittgenstein has just particularly been mythologized. A similar phenomenon has happened to the character of Nietzsche, great mustache that he had.

So, to the original point, I don't find it even remotely odd that someone that worked in mechanical engineering for 5-6 years and then worked on philosophy for another 6 years wrote something that was somewhat of an outlier when compared to a lot of the other analytics at the time. He explicitly references Heinrich Hertz in the Tractatus, and is quoted elsewhere saying that his line of thinking was influenced heavily by Ludwig Boltzmann alongside Frege and Russell.

Yes, as I admitted earlier, his philosophy indeed resembles that of an engineer or programmer. I'm not sure why you are reiterating what I already characterized as thus (he wrote in a manner perhaps appealing to engineers).

However, what I don't really agree with is just because he was an engineer, this confers greater approaches to philosophy. As @RussellA quoted:

Perhaps the following is relevant.

It may not be the case that Wittgenstein was trying to break away from the tradition of epistemology and metaphysics, but rather that he didn't know much about the tradition in the first place. From IEP Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889—1951)

Perhaps that gave him more freedom to do his own thing without being encumbered by tradition, but it also seemed to lack epistemological considerations, as if by replacing epistemology with the structures of language, you can bypass epistemology altogether. But doing this is a sort of epistemology. You cannot just bypass it, and thus, this approach must be explained (not ignored or worse, assumed). Russell, for example, wrote a whole history of philosophy, so he was well-aware of traditions that came before and what he was trying to do (away with).

You've just summarized, like, 75% of the philosophy papers that I have read. xD

It is exhausting to have philosophers not explain themselves well. There are many reasons for this. Obviously, ancient philosophers didn't necessarily have the amount of refutations written down in the form of essays that developed later. It was oral more than anything. There are commentaries on previous philosophers, for sure, but then we just get certain ones. There obviously weren't as many academics and so on either and the writings that are there are scant or lost to history if they existed at all. For modern day philosophers, it is about academic credibility. It is slow chess versus speed chess. We can answer quickly to our interlocutor in an philosophy forum with little repercussion other than hurt feelings or pride. For professional philosophers in the ivory towers of academia, they must worry about every word they published and so are much more careful to provide responses to commentary. The less you respond to interlocutors, the more the original work has to stand on its own. Then acolytes and mythos form around certain works and philosophers, and it becomes its own thing, with commentators and commentators of the commenters of the original.

He was well aware that he wasn't the most articulate, but he thought there was something of value in his thoughts. I'd like to say that just as each of us is articulate to differing degrees, that being less articulate than another neither preclude one from engaging in philosophy, nor does it inherently suggest that the ideas are wrong, or not useful at their core.

I've read plenty of philosophers that I couldn't make heads nor tales of (I'm looking at you Hegel), but others are able to discover some merit within. There is a reason that Witt says:

"This book will perhaps only be understood by those who have themselves already thought the thoughts which are expressed in it - or similar thoughts."

:up:

Perhaps it's the acolytes that are more to blame.

Truthfully, I was being a bit tongue in cheek :P

:up:

Positivists are. Not all analytic philosophers are positivists... it just so happens that historically, a lot of them have been.

Where do you think Witt stands? I present as evidence the "Whereof.." quote.

This is hardly the case. All philosophy, from Aristotle to Putnam has always started with some set of basic assumptions before moving forward. Its a perennial belief that can be endlessly quoted, and pointed out, whether it be a scientist assuming materialism or Aristotle assuming first principles.

But they are doing metaphysics by expositing what they think of reality. Wittgenstein is trying to quickly move past that to facts. Objects are there behind the facts, but they are only useful for his idea of facts and propositions. Why doesn't he delve deeper into these initial beliefs? He certainly could have. And if you answer in a way that I already addressed (his demolishing of metaphysics as proper content of language), then I will simply point back to that.
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Well, of course it's done through language. But that is not his major point. That is just a truism.

I wholly agree with this. This line of discussion came up in order to clarify my original statement that Witt is concerned with is the logical clarification of thoughts, because I cited him as doing so through language, to which you cast me as calling him a simple grammatician. Later on you say:

It's not just a matter of how they are grammatically phrasing their words. It's not just that Plato could have kept his theory coherent if he had just worded his ideas of Forms more syntactically correct, but rather, that the content of his thoughts are non-sense, and thus are beyond the bounds of language.

and I also agree with this. I, personally, do think that Plato’s theory of forms is nonsense – and I suspect that the framework presented by the Tractatus would label it as such. But, its important to note, that while it might be nonsense, it is not meaningless according to Witt. We can still talk about Platos theory of forms in meaningful language, but its wholly unclear.

His major point is that it is invalid to attempt to talk about the world outside certain bounds, that he sets out to limit.

While I can understand why you draw this conclusion, I think it’s slightly off in a few important ways.

1. Its not so much that its invalid to attempt to talk about the world outside of certain bounds, rather, it is unclear; that is, it lacks logical clarity.

2. He is not setting out to limit language. He thinks language is already limited, and those limits impose themselves on our understanding. Rather, he is attempting to investigate those limits, and show what needs to be the case in order for language to be clear. With this, one can draw an internal limit within the wider bounds of possible, meaningful, language. This is what science does, manufacturing more precise terminology than the wider sphere of language.

However, what I don't really agree with is just because he was an engineer, this confers greater approaches to philosophy. As RussellA quoted:

I agree with this, which is why I originally qualified my statement with:

(This is not a value judgement, btw).

I don’t think it makes him any better or worse, it just makes him different in how he presents and thinks about certain issues.

Perhaps it's the acolytes that are more to blame.

This is a tale as old as time, my friend. Lol That’s why its best to focus on as much primary literature as possible, I feel.

Where do you think Witt stands? I present as evidence the "Whereof.." quote.
To circle back to my pointing out the version of the quote in the preface, wherein Witt ties the statement directly to the main project of “logical clarification”:

“What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot speak thereof one must be silent. The book will, therefore, draw a limit to thinking, or rather not to thinking, but to the expression of thoughts; for, in order to draw a limit to thinking we should have to be able to think both sides of this limit (we should therefore have to be able to think what cannot be thought). The limit can, therefore, only be drawn in language and what lies on the other side of the limit will be simply nonsense.”

The spark notes on my take is this:

1. Around the time of Bacon, metaphysics began getting criticized for allowing things like religion into proper discussion meant to explain reality.

2. Little by little, philosophers stripped metaphysics of this, that, or the other thing.

3. By the second wave of positivism (Mach, etc), metaphysics was considered totally irreparable, and not fit to aid in meaningful scientific inquiry and explanation. This left us in a position where we could only talk about facts – ie experiences in science.

4. Some scientists formed an opposing view, saying that we could, in fact, speak meaningfully in science about things that we have no directly experienced of. They developed “picture theories” which supposedly were justified insofar as they followed logically from experience. Hertz’s only complaint about these “pictures” was that they contained useless aspects due to language.

5. Wittgenstein, familiar with this opposition via Boltzmann and Hertz, developed his own “picture theory” of language, which elucidated why one can be justified in using “pictures” in science (and what it even means for something to logically follow from experience), as well as tried to suggest ways to circumvent those useless aspects due to language that Hertz had commented on.

6. Picture theories were justified, Witt argued insofar as the pictures it was presenting were a possible arrangement of elements of experience, not simply whole experiences. What do I mean, what's the difference?

Consider the question:

“Does the sun orbit the earth or visa versa?”

Positivists, if placed in 600 BCE with no prior knowledge of the answer, could only report what is seen, and would have to concede that its a topic we can’t speculate regarding until we have more evidence. They would call the speculation of their contemporaries useless metaphysics.

A picture theory, however, would allow speculation, as long as you’re positing possibilities that logically follow from experience, and don’t introduce new elements without justification.

This difference is exemplified in the discussion between atomists and positivists, with the former saying they were justified in imagining atoms because atoms:

1. explained their experiences
2. were constructed using elements of experience, ie they had a shape, size, constitution (they were solid), they were movable, and they had properties like mass, all things science would expect something to have.

And by assuming some of these properties, we could explain what we experienced at the macroscopic level regarding gas expansion.

Positivist recoiled at this suggestion, with Mach calling them “useful fictions” – useful on paper, but in no manner suitable within serious scientific discourse.

7. Witt disagreed with this. Some metaphysics was admissible if it tied itself to reality by only using elements which we can make sense of, which as it turns out, means they are only constructed out of things we know are necessary from past experiences. Things like mass, weight, size, shape, etc.

This is, however, my personal line of thinking.
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Objects are there behind the facts, but they are only useful for his idea of facts and propositions. Why doesn't he delve deeper into these initial beliefs?

And his ideas regarding facts and propositions is only useful insofar as it facilitates his goal of logically clear thoughts. I can't think of an object in space without a shape, for example so if I want to argue that some objects exists beneath my facts to explain it, I better construct them out of elements that have explanatory power, and tie back to reality. When I talk to others, explaining my ideas regarding what I think could account for the experience, if I can explain it by appealing to simple, necessary, elements of experience such as shape if it exists spatially and that shape must help to explain how it brings about the phenomenon in question.
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It is exhausting to have philosophers not explain themselves well..................I think Wittgenstein has just particularly been mythologized.

Perhaps Wittgenstein didn't think of himself as a philosopher, and was working out his ideas more for himself than others. A kind of conversational research with himself.

There are philosophers that I respect such as Kyle Banick who do say that Wittgenstein had "big ideas", so perhaps Wittgenstein deserves to have been mythologized, even if that wasn't what he wanted himself.
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Trying to make sense of the Tractatus from the useful conversation between @schopenhauer1 and @013zen:

A picture theory, however, would allow speculation, as long as you’re positing possibilities that logically follow from experience

If I see a shadow I picture a shadow, and have learnt nothing, because I am picturing a picture. This leads to the problem of infinite regress, what pictures the picture.

However, as you say, if I picture a shadow, from past experience I can picture possible causes of the shadow, such as a cat, or a horse, or a cloud. Though none of these pictures of possible causes by themselves can tell me the true cause, for that I need further observations. If from further observation I do see a picture of a cat and not a picture of a horse or a cloud, then I can infer that the cause of the shadow was in fact a cat.

IE, it is not possible to learn from a picture of reality, but it is possible to learn from pictures of possible realities.
===============================================================================
I can't think of an object in space without a shape

Within the Tractatus an object is indivisible, a simple.

This is not what the Neutral Monist thinks of an object, a simple. They think of an elementary particle such as a fermion or boson. This is not what the Indirect or Direct Realist thinks of an object, as for them an object such as an apple can be divided into the top of the apple and the bottom of the apple.

However, if the apple is thought of as a logical object, then it can be indivisible, simple, and as a logical object it can exist in a logical space. But where does this logical space exist?

The outside world is inherently logical, in that one thing is always one thing and if thing A is to the left of thing B then thing B is to the right of thing A. If the mind pictures a logical outside world then it follows that the picture in the mind will also be logical.

Noting, however, that the logical relation in the outside world between thing A and thing B is not the same as any ontological relation between thing A and thing B.

Logical objects in logical space puts a limit on what is possible, in that because one thing being two things is not logical it is not possible. Only logical objects are possible. Logic puts a limit on what is possible.

Objects such as apples and tables as logical objects are possible and therefore simples. Relations such as to the left of, taller than, heavier than or on top of as logical relations are possible and therefore simples.

A logical object can only exist in a logical space. Within this logical space exist other logical objects. This means that a logical object cannot exist in the absence of other logical objects. The consequence is that each logical object exists in some combination with other logical objects. A logical object in combination with another logical object is called a "state of affairs".

Between each logical object and all other logical objects are possible states of affairs

If within this logical world are logical possible states of affairs, and the mind can picture this world, then the mind in picturing logical possible states of affairs of necessity also becomes logical.

4.112 “Philosophy aims at the logical clarification of thoughts.”
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:clap: :halo: :razz:
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Logical objects in logical space puts a limit on what is possible

There are no ‘logical objects’ (4.441)

Objects such as apples and tables as logical objects are possible and therefore simples.

As part of a propositional analysis apples and tables can function as simples. Whether they do does not depend on their being possible, but on whether further analysis is needed in order for the proposition to make sense, that is, to know what is the case if it is true. If the proposition is about seeds or legs then apples and tables are not simples, but if the proposition is "The apple is on the table" no further analysis might be necessary.
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At 4.126 Wittgenstein introduces the term "formal concepts". He distinguishes formal concepts from concepts proper.‘Book’ is a proper concept. It makes sense to ask where the book is. The answer “on the table” makes sense. It does not make sense to ask where the object is or to get the answer “the object is on the object”. ‘Object’ and other formal concepts are “pseudo-concepts”.Other examples he gives are: ‘complex’,‘fact’, ‘function’, ‘number’. (4.1272)
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There are no ‘logical objects’ (4.441)

The expression "logical objects" may be read in two ways. It can be referring to either 1) objects that are logical or 2) logic can be an object.

As regards sense 1), in logical space are objects in combination. In order for this to be the case, these objects must be logical and their combinations must be logical. For example, a blue apple is a logical object, whilst an unhappy apple is not a logical object. An apple on top of a table is a logical combination, whilst an apple inside the sun is not a logical combination.

As regards sense 2), Frege treated relations and universals as objects. FH Bradley in treating a relation as an object concluded that relations don't ontologically exist in the world. Wittgenstein disagrees with Frege, and concludes in 4.441 that "There are no logical objects". This means in particular that relations, such as "to the left of " or "on top of" logical cannot be treated as objects, and in general that logical form, such as i) all H are M ii) S is H iii) therefore, S is M is not an object, in the sense that "grass" is an object.
===============================================================================
As part of a propositional analysis apples and tables can function as simples.

Apples and tables as names in a proposition are concepts. Some think that concepts are simples, including myself, and fall within the theory of Conceptual Atomism.

From the SEP article on Concepts
Conceptual atomism is a radical alternative to all of the theories we’ve mentioned so far is conceptual atomism, the view that lexical concepts have no semantic structure (Fodor 1998, Millikan 2000). Conceptual atomism follows in the anti-descriptivist tradition that traces back to Saul Kripke, Hilary Putnam, and others working in the philosophy of language (see Kripke 1972/80, Putnam 1975, Devitt 1981).

If concepts weren't simple, when we thought of a concept such as grass as a set of other concepts, such as a low green plant, we would have to think of each of these concepts, such as a plant, as a set of other concepts, such as a living organism. But sooner a later a concept must be a simple otherwise our thought would be never-ending.

Therefore, thought requires that some concepts must be simples.

In the Tractatus picture theory, a proposition such as "grass is green" pictures the state of affairs grass is green.

The state of affairs grass is green exists in a logical space.

As concepts can be simples, the concept "grass" could be a simple, and as words such as "grass" logically picture an object such as grass existing in a logical space, this suggests that objects such as grass are also simples.

It is true that actual grass is divisible, for example into the top of the blade of grass and the bottom of the blade of grass, but objects aren't actual objects but rather logical objects, and logical objects such as grass can be simples.

Ir objects such as grass are not actual objects but logical objects, then logical objects such as grass can be simples.
===============================================================================
At 4.126 Wittgenstein introduces the term "formal concepts".

In the function T (x), where T is on a table, the function T (x) is true if the variable x satisfies the function T (x). For example, T (x) is true if the variable x is a book.

As I understand it, the variable x is what Wittgenstein is defining as a formal concept.

4.126 (I introduce this expression in order to exhibit the source of confusion between formal concepts and concepts proper, which pervades the whole of traditional logic)...................so the expression for a formal concept is a propositional variable in which this distinctive feature alone is constant.
4.127 The propositional variable signifies the formal concept, and its values signify the objects that fall under the concept.
4.1271 – Every variable is the sign for a formal concept
4.1272 Thus the variable name "s" is the proper sign for the pseudo-concept object.
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