• RussellA
    1.6k
    My point is this: which philosophies argue that the world, at least in terms of human communication, is not composed of facts or true propositions?
    For example, the statement "the unicorn is on the mat" is a false proposition because it's an impossibility.
    schopenhauer1

    Yes, there is no dispute that what is important in language are facts and true propositions, but the dispute arises in deciding what is a fact and what is a true proposition.

    I believe that both unicorns and mats can exist, and therefore it's possible that there could be a unicorn on a mat. The statement "the unicorn is on the mat" could well be both a fact and a true proposition.

    Unicorns certainly exist in literature, taking as a an example the book Into the Land of the Unicorns by Bruce Coville. Unicorns certainly exist in language, otherwise we couldn't be talking about them. The fact that no-one has seen or photographed a unicorn in the world is not proof that unicorns don't exist in the world, in the same way that because no-one has seen a particular rock at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, this is not proof that such a rock doesn't exist.

    You believe that the statement "the unicorn is on the mat" is a false proposition. I believe that the statement could equally be a true proposition.

    If I say, "the cat is on the mat," and we observe a cat on the mat, we might call this a true proposition.........................It's a truism. Almost no one disputes it. Well done for stating the obvious.schopenhauer1

    I am sure most are in agreement that "the cat is on the mat" is true IFF (the cat is on the mat), where the proposition "the cat is on the mat" exists in language and (the cat is on the mat) exists in the world. This is a truism that no-one would dispute.

    We know where language exists. What is disputed in where this (world) exists. Does it exist in the mind of the observer, the position of Indirect Realism, or does it exist outside and independently of the mind, the position of the Direct Realist.

    Yes, it is obvious that the cat exists in the world, but it is not obvious where this world exists.

    So, I'm puzzled as to why a philosophy would assert, "My knowledge is made up of independent facts," as if this were a profound statement.schopenhauer1

    When starting the Tractatus, Wittgenstein did think that knowledge was made up of independent facts, but later concluded that his reasoning was unsound. He wrote Philosophical Investigations on the principle that facts cannot exist in isolation from each other.

    According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, "profound" means having intellectual depth and insight.

    On the one hand the statement "my knowledge is made up of independent facts" is philosophically profound, but on the other hand the statement "my knowledge is made up of inter-connected facts". is also philosophically profound.

    What we want to know is which statement is true.

    1) Similarly, stating truisms in philosophy without delving into the mechanisms behind them adds little value.
    2) My broader point is that non-empirical philosophies can also be considered true propositions
    3) If Wittgenstein isn't explaining why a proposition cannot be true, why should we care if the broader claim, "The world consists of true propositions or independent facts," is correct?
    schopenhauer1

    Aren't thoughts 1) and 2) in opposition.

    I cannot justify in words my non-empirical thoughts that "evil is bad" and "beauty is good", yet I believe them to be true. I believe them to be truisms.

    The only mechanism I can think of to explain such beliefs is that they have been programmed by evolution into the human gene for the benefit of the survival of the group.

    As there are only 75 pages in the Tractatus, primarily devoted to Linguistics, I don't think we should also expect a foray into Evolutionary Biology, even if that is what he believed.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    You believe that the statement "the unicorn is on the mat" is a false proposition. I believe that the statement could equally be a true proposition.RussellA

    I was trying to give some relevance to the truism that "My understanding of the world are a set of "true" propositions or "independent facts". Otherwise it is a truism. Hence I brought in ideas of subsistence and existence. You are in fact making my point when you say:

    Yes, there is no dispute that what is important in language are facts and true propositions, but the dispute arises in deciding what is a fact and what is a true proposition.RussellA

    It is this that has relevance, not the truism that the world is what are true propositions. Rather, what COUNTS as factual is the actual interesting part.

    On the one hand the statement "my knowledge is made up of independent facts" is philosophically profoundRussellA

    I contend this. I think that the statement "My knowledge is made up of independent facts" is not profound, but amounts to a TRUISM. Truisms are not profound, almost by default. They are uninteresting things most people already hold.

    Aren't thoughts 1) and 2) in opposition.

    I cannot justify in words my non-empirical thoughts that "evil is bad" and "beauty is good", yet I believe them to be true. I believe them to be truisms.

    The only mechanism I can think of to explain such beliefs is that they have been programmed by evolution into the human gene for the benefit of the survival of the group.

    As there are only 75 pages in the Tractatus, primarily devoted to Linguistics, I don't think we should also expect a foray into Evolutionary Biology, even if that is what he believed.
    RussellA

    This is going on a tangent.

    My last point I added to the last post is relevant here:

    How do we determine that this philosophy is not a true proposition? It only needs to be a true proposition. "Will and Representation" could be token objects that either are or are not the case.

    If Wittgenstein isn't explaining why a proposition cannot be true, why should we care if the broader claim, "The world consists of true propositions or independent facts," is correct? Again, it's a truism that means nothing without a mechanism to determine what is actually true or not.


    From here you can try to tell me that it has to form a picture that models such as the cat on the mat. But at the same time, Will and Representation can also form a picture or model of a state of affairs of the world if it is true. However, it is a metaphysical truth that is not empirically falsifiable. So now it is not the picture but the verification that his notion of meaningful language hinges on. But then that doesn’t answer the question of why true propositions have to be empirically verified to be meaningful. It’s very much just an assertion and discounts “facts” or states of affairs that one cannot necessarily verify empirically. It’s arbitrarily putting a hierarchy on what counts as meaningful language it seems to me.
    schopenhauer1

    Also, you didn't answer my question.. "What philosophy DOESN'T think their understanding of the world comprises independent facts"? I have yet to meet a person, who thinks "This is morally bad, or this is good" is the same as "The cat is on the mat." What problem then is he solving?

    His philosophy implicitly relies on VERIFICATION for making distinctions yet the case would have to be made why empirically verifiable statements are more meaningful, especially if it can be the case that NON-VERIFIABLE propositions CAN BE true.
  • RussellA
    1.6k
    Also, you didn't answer my question.. "What philosophy DOESN'T think their understanding of the world comprises independent facts"? I have yet to meet a person, who thinks "This is morally bad, or this is good" is the same as "The cat is on the mat." What problem then is he solving?schopenhauer1

    The Tractatus and facts

    "The cat is on the mat" is true IFF (the cat is on the mat), where "the cat is on the mat" exists in language, and (the cat is on the mat) exists in the world.

    The fact that (the cat is on the mat) in the world is dependent upon there being a relation between the cat and the mat. What is the nature of this relation?

    Mereological Nihilism, aka compositional nihilism, is the philosophical position that in the world there are no objects with proper parts, in that there are no metaphysical relations that connect parts to a whole.

    For example see:
    1) Wikipedia – Mereological Nihilism
    2) Amie L. Thomasson's video "Do tables and chairs really exist"

    The SEP article on Bradley's Regress discusses the ontological debate between particulars and universals, where FH Bradley specifically outlined arguments against the relational unity of properties.

    The SEP article on Relations notes that some philosophers are wary of admitting relations because they are difficult to locate. As it writes "Glasgow is west of Edinburgh. This tells us something about the locations of these two cities. But where is the relation that holds between them in virtue of which Glasgow is west of Edinburgh?"

    IE, if a fact in the world is dependent upon the ontological existence of relations between parts, then if there are no such things as ontological relations in the world, then it follows that there are no facts in the world.

    As the existence of ontological relations in the world would lead to philosophical puzzles, my belief is that relations don't ontologically exist in the world, thereby agreeing with mereological nihilism and concluding that there cannot be facts in the world.

    In the event that there are no facts in the world, then neither can there be independent facts in the world.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    "The cat is on the mat" is true IFF (the cat is on the mat), where "the cat is on the mat" exists in language, and (the cat is on the mat) exists in the world.

    The fact that (the cat is on the mat) in the world is dependent upon there being a relation between the cat and the mat. What is the nature of this relation?

    Mereological Nihilism, aka compositional nihilism, is the philosophical position that in the world there are no objects with proper parts, in that there are no metaphysical relations that connect parts to a whole.
    RussellA

    I find it funny that I think you have made a better summary than the original :wink:.

    But was Tractatus really aimed to dispute the position of mereological nihilism? Okay, let's say that charitably he was..

    The part that needs explaining so the philosophy doesn't end up (sounding like) a truism and what he has to defend is something against this right here:

    IE, if a fact in the world is dependent upon the ontological existence of relations between parts, then if there are no such things as ontological relations in the world, then it follows that there are no facts in the world.RussellA

    How does he actually do that, rather than simply asserting premises that he thinks is true?
  • RussellA
    1.6k
    But was Tractatus really aimed to dispute the position of mereological nihilism?............................How does he actually do that, rather than simply asserting premises that he thinks is true?schopenhauer1

    In the Tractatus, language shows the logical form of the world, and the world is the totality of facts.

    But where exactly is this world?

    It is said that the Tractatus can be read from both the viewpoint of Idealism, where the world exists in the mind, and from the viewpoint of Realism, where the world exists outside the mind.

    If the Tractatus is attempting to show that language can be analysed into elementary propositions, where each elementary proposition is independent of all other elementary propositions, and where each elementary proposition pictures a fact in the world, then whether this world exists inside the mind or outside the mind is irrelevant

    Therefore, the Tractatus need not pay any regard to Mereological Nihilism, which is is a philosophical idea specifically about a world that exists outside the mind.

    As I can assert that "evil is bad" as a self-evident truth, perhaps the Tractatus can also assert that "the world is the totality of facts" as a self-evident truth. Anyone disagreeing that "evil is bad" or "the world is the totality of facts" then has the opportunity to present their argument.

    After all, most of our statements are assertions, whether "I walked to the supermarket", "stealing is bad", "I admire Monet's aesthetic", "the world is a complex place" or "the play starts at 9pm". Rarely is it expected that we need to justify what seems to be self-evident.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    As I can assert that "evil is bad" as a self-evident truth, perhaps the Tractatus can also assert that "the world is the totality of facts" as a self-evident truth. Anyone disagreeing that "evil is bad" or "the world is the totality of facts" then has the opportunity to present their argument.

    After all, most of our statements are assertions, whether "I walked to the supermarket", "stealing is bad", "I admire Monet's aesthetic", "the world is a complex place" or "the play starts at 9pm". Rarely is it expected that we need to justify what seems to be self-evident.
    RussellA

    But that is just what makes philosophy different than everyday activity. I want from my philosopher reasoning and justifications for their assertions and claims.

    If your claim is "The world is what are the facts", this is either of the following:

    1) A truism- something everyone pretty much holds in everyday life.
    2) A profound philosophical insight- in which case it must give the context for which it is set against, what notion it is overturning or contradicting
  • RussellA
    1.6k
    You mention the supposed colour incompatibility problem, but to my understanding, this issue only crops up if you take the work to operate in a manner similar to Russell.013zen

    Wittgenstein's logical atomism was different to that of Russell's, although they had some similarities (generally referring to SEP - Logical Atomism)

    For Russell, the basic logical atom is the object, which can then be combined with other objects. For Wittgenstein, however, the basic logical atom is a state of affairs. a combination of objects.

    Russell's logical atomism is epistemological. He gives no a priori argument for logical atomism, but can be empirically verified. Wittgenstein, however, gives an a priori argument for logical atomism requiring no empirical verification.

    In the Tractatus is the principle of the logical atom. On the one hand, within language the elementary propositions are mutually independent and can be independently true or false. They are combinations of semantically simple symbols, ie names. On the other hand, each elementary proposition asserts the existence of atomic states of affairs in the world. These are combination s of simple objects, devoid of any complexity.

    The Tractatus was written on the assumption that language may be analysed using truth-functions into elementary propositions that are independent of each other.

    However, Wittgenstein gradually came to the conclusion that his project had failed.

    Wittgenstein's turn away from logical atomism, the independence of elementary propositions, happened in two phases. Phase one with the 1929 article Some Remarks on Logical Form, the colour exclusion problem. Phase two 1931-32.

    The colour-exclusion problem arises from 4.211, that it is metaphysically possible for each elementary proposition to be true or false independently.

    Suppose P = "a is blue at t" and Q = "a is red at t". From empirical observation, P and Q cannot both be physically true. Wittgenstein was aware of the problem, yet thought with further analysis it could be shown not to be logically impossible.

    The fact that we have never observed one object having two different colours at the same time does not mean a logical impossibility, after all, that an apple has the contemporaneous properties of sweetness and greenness is not a logical impossibility.

    Given propositions P "A is blue at t" and Q "A is red at t", if P and Q are independent of each other, this means that object A i) can be blue and red ii) can be blue and not red iii) can not be blue and can be red and iv) can not be blue and not be red.

    But what exactly is being combined in Wittgenstein's logical atomisms

    First, Formal Concepts do not represent but are part of the logical structure and can only be shown.
    4.1272 The same applies to the words "complex", "fact", "function", "number", etc. They all signify formal concepts, and are represented in conceptual notation by variables
    4.1274 "To ask whether a formal concept exists is nonsensical"
    Therefore we cannot say "there are objects", which is not depicting anything, but we can say "there are red objects", which is depicting something.
    As Russell writes in the Introduction "Objects can only be mentioned in connexion with some definite property"

    Second, colour may be read as an object
    From the article On the Nature of Tractatus Objects by Pasquale Frascolla, once objects are identified with those universal abstract entities which are qualia, some statements of the Tractatus become liable to a consistent reading.
    2.0232 In a manner of speaking, objects are colourless
    2.0251 Space, time and colour (beng coloured) are forms of objects

    After all, if all the properties of an object were removed no object would remain, in that no object can exist in the absence of any property.

    Then, using Russell's Theory of Descriptions, proposition P "A is blue at t" becomes "there is something that is the combination of object A with the colour blue" and proposition Q "A is red at t" becomes "there is something that is the combination of object A with the colour red".

    The colour exclusion problem only arises in Wittgenstein' logical atomism, where the logical atom is in language the ontological combination of simple symbols and in the world the ontological combination of simple objects. IE, the incompatibility of the logical atom consisting of object A combined with blue and the logical atom consisting of object A combined with red.

    Colour exclusion is not a problem for Russell's logical atomism, where the logical atom is the simple symbol in language which may then be non-ontologically combined with other simple symbols and the simple object in the world which may then be non-ontologically combined with other simple objects. IE, there is no incompatibility in the non-ontological combinations of object A, blue and red.

    IE, The colour exclusion problem is problematic for Wittgenstein's logical atomism which depends on the combinations of objects, as such combined objects cannot be shown to be logically independent of each other.
  • RussellA
    1.6k
    I want from my philosopher reasoning and justifications for their assertions and claims.schopenhauer1

    The Tractatus is about the nature of language, using language to understand language, which is a logical impossibility. The task becomes that of the mystical.

    6.522 There are, indeed, things that cannot be put into words. They make themselves manifest. They are what is mystical.

    Consider Schopenhauer's quote “The two enemies of human happiness are pain and boredom.” But to understand the quote one needs to understand the words "happiness", "pain" "boredom" which are impossible to describe using other words. So how to know what "happiness" means when it cannot be described.

    6.53 The correct method in philosophy would really be the following: to say noting except what can be said, ie propositions of natural science ie, 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 have the feeling that we were teaching him philosophy - this method would be the only strictly correct one.

    It is only possible to understand language if one can understand the words being used in that language, and one can only understand those words using other words, which in their turn can only be understood by other words, leading to an infinite regress.

    6.54 My propositions serve as elucidations in the following way: anyone who understands me recognizes them as nonsensical, when he has used them – as steps – to climb up beyond them - (He must, so to speak, throw away the ladder after he has climbed up it) He must transcend these propositions and then he will see the world aright.

    Yes, perhaps a statement can be justified, but why stop there, why shouldn't the justification be justified, and then again, why not justify the justification of the justification.

    7 What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    Yes, perhaps a statement can be justified, but why stop there, why shouldn't the justification be justified, and then again, why not justify the justification of the justification.RussellA

    I just think this is loading the question to get this answer. Only if a philosopher believes that they can provide absolute certainty, can this be true. He seems stuck on the idea that philosophers are under the spell that they CAN provide a complete knockdown argument for their claim. I don't think most philosophers work that way.

    You mentioned the mystical. I see Schopenhauer in a way, as being an analytic mystic. The mysticism is first (Will), and the analytic part, (how Will is constructed) is just the "gist" of how Will operates. He is giving his best go at it, but with the idea that it can never be truly completely understood.

    And let's take a philosopher more like Socrates. His questions are generally pretty loosely going in a direction, and thus open for creative destruction and reconstruction. So, not every philosopher is giving "the" most certain view of things NOR are they thinking that they are conveying it in the most absolute certain and accurate way. I don't know anyone who really thought of language as such a perfect system, including other philosophers.

    However, this does bring me to a possible exception- the early analytic philosophers such as Russell. And perhaps with his notion of precise logical constructions of language and proofs, and his own demands on philosophy, and especially ideas like "definite descriptions" and demands for meaning to be fixed in such a way, that Wittgenstein is almost always speaking to this (type of) philosopher in particular. If that is the case, it turns a much more grandiose ambition into a squabble amongst a very specific set of philosophers at a particular place and time rather than saying much about what the project of philosophy was actually getting at. Just my two cents right now.
  • RussellA
    1.6k
    You mentioned the mystical. I see Schopenhauer in a way, as being an analytic mystic.schopenhauer1

    What is there about the writings of Wittgenstein that are so important yet are so difficult to express in words. As if we will be any closer to the value of his thoughts if we were able to put them in writing.

    Can an aesthetic ever be expressed in words.

    Wittgenstein has an aesthetic that is inexpressible in words, as a Derain has an aesthetic that is beyond the ability of language to explain.

    Wittgenstein's value is in the aesthetic of his thoughts and writing, and as with a painting, or a sunset or flower, enables an aesthetic experience on the part of the reader, encouraging their application of taste and judgement.

    For Hume, delicacy of taste is not merely "the ability to detect all the ingredients in a composition" but also the sensitivity to discriminate at a sensory level.

    For Kant, "enjoyment" is the result when pleasure arises from sensation, but judging something to be "beautiful" has a third requirement: sensation must give rise to pleasure by engaging reflective contemplation.

    There may be an aesthetic in both how something is expressed and what is expressed.

    There is beauty in mathematics.

    For Schopenhauer, the aesthetic experience involves a pure, will-less contemplation.

    For Wittgenstein, ethics and aesthetics are the same

    For Nietzsche, the aesthetics of morality establishes a form of life.

    I am sure that part of Wittgenstein's importance is in the aesthetic of his thoughts, and as with Derain's painting of The Drying Sails 1905, can perhaps be described in words but never properly expressed in words.

    His aesthetic cannot be said but must be shown.

    (Using the Wikipedia article on Aesthetics)
  • 013zen
    153


    I'll do my best to address some of the points you make...

    You say:

    If your claim is "The world is what are the facts", this is either of the following:

    1) A truism- something everyone pretty much holds in everyday life.
    2) A profound philosophical insight- in which case it must give the context for which it is set against, what notion it is overturning or contradicting
    schopenhauer1

    As it turns out, what amounts to the second sentence of any philosophical work is rarely, if ever, meant to be a "...profound philosophical insight"; like any argument, the first statements are meant as premises for the conclusion to follow. Typically, these premises are meant to be fairly uncontestable (less we run the risk of being challenged immediately on soundness).

    With that being said, it's hardly a truism, either; especially at a time when there was a rich history of identifying base reality with physical objects having properties. Witt is saying instead that physical objects as we know them cannot exist with their properties independent of the facts; It is at the level of fact that properties are allocated. This is something we can all reasonably agree to, especially now in our modern times, but was certainly something the positivists would have also agreed to, hence why its at the beginning of the text.

    If Wittgenstein isn't explaining why a proposition cannot be true, why should we care if the broader claim, "The world consists of true propositions or independent facts," is correct? Again, it's a truism that means nothing without a mechanism to determine what is actually true or not.schopenhauer1

    A proposition being taken as true requires a couple of things:

    1. Understanding

    "To understand a proposition means to know what is the case, if
    it is true. (One can therefore understand it without knowing whether it is true or not.)" 4.024

    2. isomorphism between proposition and reality its meant to represent

    "In the proposition there must be exactly as many things distinguishable as there are in the state of affairs, which it represents.

    They must both possess the same logical (mathematical)
    multiplicity (cf. Hertz's Mechanics, on Dynamic Models)" (4.04).

    "The propositions show the logical form of reality.
    They exhibit it" (4.121).

    This is simply to say, that if we understand a proposition, we understand its "sense" which illustrates the necessary logical form and multiplicity with the reality we are comparing it against.

    "The proposition shows its sense" (4.022).

    With this understanding, we can construct a world in our mind to compare against reality. If there appears to us to be an isomorphism such that to each element of the proposition there coincides an element of reality, and the relations pictured in the one seem to model the relations we witness in reality, we cannot help but judge the one as true of the other.

    "The proposition constructs a world with the help of a logical
    scaffolding, and therefore one can actually see in the proposition
    all the logical features possessed by reality if it is true. One can draw conclusions from a false proposition" (4.023).

    His philosophy implicitly relies on VERIFICATION for making distinctions yet the case would have to be made why empirically verifiable statements are more meaningful, especially if it can be the case that NON-VERIFIABLE propositions CAN BE true.schopenhauer1

    Verification, or the truth conditions of a proposition is only necessary for understanding. If, for example, you could not say what would have to be true for something to occur, then you simply do not understand it, despite it obviously being a possibility. This happens all the time obviously since we don't understand everything that occurs around us. But, notice that whenever you lack understanding, you also seem to lack truth conditions.

    If the evaporator coil for your air conditioner freezes up, and I ask you why it happened, unless you know the possible causes, such as lack of airflow, being low on refrigerant, or a fault with the metering device, you quite clearly lack any frame of reference regarding understanding the phenomena despite one, or all, of them being true. And if you understand why each of these can cause the issue, then you better understand the phenomena in question.
  • 013zen
    153
    A proposition is a statement capable of carrying a truth value. Examples like:

    "The car is red."
    "The apple is ripe and delicious."

    Elementary propositions are the logical form of the proposition, which is shown in its use.

    "The sign determines a logical form only together with its logical syntactic application" (3.327).

    Witt is clear, that elementary propositions, as he imagines them, are for example:

    "The elementary proposition I write as function of the names, in the form 'fx', 'ϕ(x, y)', etc..." (4.24).

    So, the elementary propositions from the above would be:

    'F(x)' and '∃x: F(x)^G(x)'

    This is why elementary propositions are independent from one another. 'F(x)' is just the general logical form; a function within the words of the proposition. I cannot, for example, infer the other elementary proposition:

    'ϕ(x, y)'

    This is the point about elementary propositions. An elementary proposition is not

    "The car is red"

    This is a proposition capable of being true or false and depending on its veracity or falsity we can infer other propositions from it.
  • RussellA
    1.6k
    An elementary proposition is not "The car is red". This is a proposition capable of being true or false and depending on its veracity or falsity we can infer other propositions from it.013zen

    Hopefully my question is not too far removed from the OP, the history of the Tractatus.

    In the Tractatus, language can be analysed into logically independent components, known as elementary propositions.

    Wittgenstein writes in 4.211 that it is the sign of an elementary proposition that there is no other elementary proposition contradicting it, meaning that it is metaphysically possible for each elementary proposition to be true or false independently.

    However, Wittgenstein later began to realise that the logical atomism of the Tractatus was incapable of dealing with the colour incompatibility problem (aka colour exclusion problem).

    In the colour exclusion problem, it's impossible for two different colours to occur at the same place simultaneously.

    In 6.3751, as he writes that the simultaneous presence of two colours at the same place in the visual field is impossible, he also writes that a particle cannot have two different velocities at the same time.

    Many simple colour propositions, such as "this car is red" and "this car is blue" fail the truth-functional combinations of elementary propositions, in that "this car" cannot be both red and blue simultaneously.

    I agree that the colour exclusion problem wouldn't be relevant if elementary propositions are the logical form of the proposition, such as R(x) and B(x), where R and B are the predicates "is red" and "is blue". It is then the case that R(x) and B(x) are independent of each other.

    But if elementary propositions are the logical form of the proposition, such as R(x) and B(x), then why did Wittgenstein turn away from the logical atomism of the Tractatus because of the colour exclusion problem?
  • 013zen
    153
    Hopefully my question is not too far removed from the OP, the history of the Tractatus.RussellA

    Ha! Like my last thread, we've gotten into tangents concerning the main point, however, since I am the OP and I think its important to work out the tangential points, I have no issue whatsoever discussing other aspects of the work. Also, I haven't had the time to put any serious work into expanding on the OP...hopefully once I have more time. With that being said, this does have a bit of history in it concerning the work....

    However, Wittgenstein later began to realise that the logical atomism of the Tractatus was incapable of dealing with the colour incompatibility problem (aka colour exclusion problem).RussellA

    ... then why did Wittgenstein turn away from the logical atomism of the Tractatus because of the colour exclusion problem?RussellA

    Truthfully, I've never heard the position that this supposed problem was one of if not the reason why Witt wrote the PI.

    In Duty of a Genius, Monk details two sources for Witt "changing" some of his views from the Tract...the discussions Wittgenstein had with Frank Ramsay and Pierro Sraffa, after he returned to Cambridge in 1929.

    Monk specifically suggests that it was Sraffa's influence, noting a comment Witt made to Rush Rhees which identified Sraffa's anthropological method, as being particularly influential in the "forms of life" which are kind of cultural couches we frame our statements within.

    Monk also notes an encounter Sraffa had with Witt wherein the former asked what the "logical form" of a physical gesture could possibly be, despite the gesture clearing displaying meaning.


    Many simple colour propositions, such as "this car is red" and "this car is blue" fail the truth-functional combinations of elementary propositions, in that "this car" cannot be both red and blue simultaneously.RussellA

    I don't see how it fails...or rather, I don't quite take your point. Isn't this the case with, for example:

    1. The ball is large
    2. The ball is tiny

    1. The apple is delicious
    2. The apple is disgusting

    Witt's points with his remarks on a point only being capable of one color, has nothing to do with this supposed color exclusion problem that you're talking about. Again, it only seems to crop up in an atomic theory akin to Russel's...Witt's seems to have elementary props as logical form of propositions, as I've noted above.
  • RussellA
    1.6k
    (the colour exclusion problem)...........I've never heard the position that this supposed problem was one of if not the reason why Witt wrote the PI.013zen

    The colour exclusion problem for the Tractatus
    Ramsey's criticisms of the Tractatus is crucial in Wittgenstein's change from his early to late philosophy.

    Ramsay argued that Wittgenstein's statement that it is logically impossible that a single point in the visual field can be two colours at the same time was contradictory to his statement that elementary propositions are logically independent, a pillar of the Tractatus, This is known as the colour-exclusion problem.

    6.3751 For example, the simultaneous presence of two colours at the same place in the visual field is impossible, in fact logically impossible, since it is ruled out by the logical structure of colour.

    4.211 It is a sign of a proposition's being elementary that there can be no elementary proposition contradicting it

    It is the properties of space, time and matter that determine the non-logical impossibility that at the same place both the general propositions "this is red" and "this is green" can be true, not the logical necessity of the tautology or the logical impossibility of the contradiction.

    On the one hand, the simple colour proposition "this is red" appears to be an elementary proposition because seemingly not a truth-function of other propositions, but on the other hand, the simple colour proposition "this is not green" logically follows from the simple colour proposition "this is red", meaning that such simple colour propositions cannot be independent.

    Wittgenstein's abandoning logical atomism was in large part due to Ramsey's pointing out the colour-incompatibility problem in the Tractatus, and turned away from the Tractatus to that of a family resemblance approach in Philosophical Investigations, which does not use the logical necessity of the Tractatus to distinguish meaningful from senseless propositions.

    What are elementary propositions.
    Note that in Philosophical Grammar, Wittgenstein was treating the expression "this place is now red" as an elementary proposition, not the logical form of the proposition such as F(x) as the elementary proposition.

    In addition, elementary propositions assert a states of affairs, where an elementary proposition is an arrangement of names and a state of affairs is an arrangement of objects. An elementary proposition is true or false dependant upon whether a state of affairs obtains or not. It is the case that the elementary proposition has the same logical form as the state of affairs it asserts, not that the elementary proposition is the logical form.

    Sraffa’s Impact on Wittgenstein - Matthias Unterhuber, Salzburg, Austria

    Ramsey’s criticism (1923) of the Tractatus (Wittgenstein 1922/1933) is essential for the change from Wittgenstein’s earlier to his later philosophy (Jacquette 1998). Ramsey’s influence on Wittgenstein is very easily traceable, as Ramsey (1923) published his criticism of the Tractatus and Wittgenstein modified the approach of the Tractatus to account for the criticism and published his response in Some Remarks on Logical Form (Wittgenstein, 1929). He, however, eventually noticed that his modified approach did not solve the problem suggested by Ramsey.

    The criticism of Ramsey amounts to the fact that Wittgenstein could not explain a statement he accepted: that a “point in the visual field cannot be both red and blue” (Ramsey 1923, p. 473). According to the Tractatus “the only necessity is that of tautology, the only impossibility that of contradiction” (p. 473). The present contradiction, however, is attributable rather to properties of space, time and matter and is not accounted for by the general form of proposition which according to the Tractatus determines all and only genuine propositions. Wittgenstein eventually gave up the thesis that there is a general form of proposition and resumed a family resemblance approach which does not provide necessary and sufficient conditions for the distinction of meaningful and senseless propositions.

    SEP - Frank Ramsey

    Ramsey, as we saw in the previous section, was still an undergraduate when, aged 19, he completed a translation of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (Wittgenstein 1922). Alas, C. K. Ogden got all the credit and it has been known since as the ‘Ogden translation’. Ramsey’s translation is usually considered to be superseded by the Pears-McGuinness translation (1961), but one should not lose sight of the fact that it was carefully scrutinized by Wittgenstein, who gave it his seal of approval. Ramsey then wrote a searching review of the Tractatus (1923) in which he raised many serious objections (Methven 2015, chapter 4) (Sullivan 2005). One such objections is the ‘colour-exclusion problem’ (1923, 473), against Wittgenstein’s claim in 6.3751 that it is “logically impossible” that a point in the visual field be both red and blue. This claim was linked to the requirement that elementary propositions be logically independent (otherwise, the analysis of the proposition would not be completed), a pillar of the Tractatus. Wittgenstein’s recognition in 1929 that he could not sustain his claim (Wittgenstein 1929), probably under pressure at that stage from discussions with Ramsey, was to provoke the downfall of the Tractatus.

    Wittgenstein and the colour incompatibility problem - Dale Jacquette

    What induced Wittgenstein to repudiate the logical atomism

    I want to argue that Wittgenstein's abandonment of logical atomism and the development of his later philosophy was in large part the result of Ramsey's criticism of the Tractatus treatment of the color incompatibility problem, the problem of the apparent nonlogical impossibility of different colors occurring in a single place at the very same time.

    Wittgenstein writes in Philosophical Grammar - "The proposition 'this place is now red' (or 'this circle is now red') can be called an elementary proposition if this means that it is neither a truth function of other propositions nor defined as such...But from 'a is now red' there follows 'a is now not green' and so elementary propositions in this sense aren't independent of each other like the elementary propositions in the calculus I once described - a calculus to which, misled as I was by a false notion of reduction, I thought that the whole use of propositions must be reducible".
  • 013zen
    153
    In Some Remarks on Logical Form, Witt deals closely with the problems of color. In it, he says:

    "Every proposition has a content and a form. We get the picture of the pure form if we abstract from the meaning of the single words, or symbols (so far as they have independent meanings).

    That is to say, if we substitute variables for the constants of the proposition. The rules of
    syntax which applied to the constants must apply to the variables also" (1).


    The analysis of proposition into elementary proposition - replacing of the words of the proposition with variables is intended to show the form of the proposition.

    He goes on to describe how one might analyze the proposition: "The square is red" into the elementary propsition: " [6-9, 3--8] R ", where the square is put on a grid with increasing numbers along the x and y axis which are of equal distance from each point. "3-8 signifies a position along the x axis where the point goes from white to red, and 6-9 the same along the y axis.

    "A simple example would be the representation of a patch P by the expression " [6-9, 3---8] " and of a proposition about it, e.g., P is red, by the symbol " [6-9, 3--8] R ", where " R " is yet an unanalyzed term (" 6--9 " and " 3-8- " stand for the continuous interval between the respective numbers)" (4-5).

    If Witt truly thought that "X is red" was an elementary proposition, why would he attempt to construct an analysis into " [6-9, 3--8] R " in Some Remarks on Logical Form?

    Monk, while suggesting that Frank Ramsay was one influence on the PI, he thinks Sraffa's challenges were the real root. He cites journal entries after Ramsay and Witts weekly discussions wherein Witt says that Ramsay's critiques were shallow.
  • RussellA
    1.6k
    He goes on to describe how one might analyze the proposition: "The square is red" into the elementary propsition: " [6-9, 3--8] R "013zen

    If Witt truly thought that "X is red" was an elementary proposition, why would he attempt to construct an analysis into " [6-9, 3--8] R " in Some Remarks on Logical Form?013zen

    As I understand it, the atomic proposition is of the form - Is red (the patch) - not - Is red (x).

    In Wittgenstein's article Some Remarks on Logical Form, I take atomic proposition to be a synonym for elementary proposition.

    Wittgenstein writes that "Every proposition has a content and form"

    He also writes that any given proposition is the logical sum of simpler propositions, eventually arriving at the atomic proposition. It is in these atomic propositions that contain the material, the subject matter. IE, the content.

    As every proposition has content and form, and as any given proposition is the sum of atomic propositions, atomic propositions must also have content and form.

    As - Is red (x) - has form but no content, it cannot be an atomic proposition. However, as - Is red (the patch) - has both content and form, it may be an atomic proposition.

    Wittgenstein writes that a proposition about the patch can be "P is red"

    Wittgenstein represents this patch by [6-9, 3-8]

    Therefore the expression - Is red (the patch) - may be replaced by - Is red [6-9, 3-8] - or as he writes [6-9, 3-8] R

    Therefore the expression [6-9, 3-8] R is a proposition, and as he says, every proposition has content and form.

    Wittgenstein replaces the proposition - Is red (the patch) - by [6-9, 3-8] R - where both are of the form of an atomic proposition.
  • 013zen
    153
    As every proposition has content and form, and as any given proposition is the sum of atomic propositions, atomic propositions must also have content and form.RussellA

    And here's where I disagree. Witt says:

    "Every proposition has a content and a form. We get the picture of the pure form if we abstract from the meaning of the single words, or symbols (so far as they have independent meanings). That is to say, if we substitute variables for the constants of the proposition." (1).

    Once we are able to successfully substitute the words of a proposition for variables to we get the "pure form of the proposition, but he does not say that we have the content. The material and subject are tied to the form, but the content is provided by its use as an actual proposition. He never says that atomic propositions have content; only that they have form.

    "They, then, are the kernels of every proposition, they contain the material, and all the rest is only a development of this material" (2).

    The development, I take it, being furnishing content to the elementary "parts".

    Imagine I were to present you with the expression:

    "F(x)"

    What would you say is the form and subject matter of this? Clearly a functional relation where x is being taken as argument; we might say in ordinary language of some object falling under some concept. X is falling within the domain of F.

    But, now I tell you:

    "The square is red"

    You immediately have a proposition with form and content. The atomic proposition and the proposition share the same form, but only the proposition has content.


    Therefore the expression - Is red (the patch) - may be replaced by - Is red [6-9, 3-8] - or as he writes [6-9, 3-8] RRussellA

    This would imply that one elementary proposition could be replaced by another that is somehow equal, would it not? Witt says in the Tract that there is only one correct analysis (into atomic proposition) of a proposition:

    "There is one and only one complete analysis of the proposition" (3.25).

    Therefore the expression [6-9, 3-8] R is a propositionRussellA

    Witt clearly is offering this up as an example of an atomic proposition, not a proposition. He starts by saying that he believed that one needed to introduce numbers into atomic propositions, and that he would provide an example of what he means, which was the square example with [6-9, 3-8] R as the elementary proposition:

    "And here I wish to make my first definite remark on the logical analysis of actual phenomena: it is this, that for their representation numbers (rational and irrational) must enter into the structure of the atomic propositions themselves" (4).
  • Shawn
    12.8k
    @013zen, there's this topic that you may be interested in, just pointing it out for you:

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/3558/ongoing-tractatus-logico-philosophicus-reading-group/p23
  • RussellA
    1.6k
    Witt clearly is offering this up as an example of an atomic proposition, not a proposition. He starts by saying that he believed that one needed to introduce numbers into atomic propositions, and that he would provide an example of what he means, which was the square example with [6-9, 3-8] R as the elementary proposition:013zen

    I agree that [6-9, 3-8] R is an atomic proposition, aka elementary proposition.

    Referring to Wittgenstein's Some Remarks on Logical Form, as he writes that any given proposition is the logical sum of simpler propositions, eventually arriving at the atomic proposition, this means that an atomic proposition is still a proposition.

    He writes "the representation of a patch P by the expression [6-9, 3-8]

    The numbers [6-9, 3-8] are introduced to represent the patch, which is the content.

    He also writes "a proposition about it, e.g., P is red, by the symbol [6-9, 3-8] R"

    So we have the proposition "the patch is red", which may also be written as either "Is red (the patch)" or [6-9, 3-8] R.

    As [6-9, 3-8] R is an atomic proposition, then so is "the patch is red".

    "Is red (the patch)" has both form and content, whereas "Is red (x)" has form only. The argument x being a variable is a Formal Concept.
12Next
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.