• Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    I used to see some people talk about the 'early' Wittgenstein from the Tractatus to the 'latter' Wittgenstein of the Investigations. In my view, there is no 'early' and 'latter' Wittgenstein. It all seems like a continuation of thought from the Tractatus to the Investigations. In many regards, there is some truth to speaking about a 'different' Wittgenstein of the Tractatus, when one views language as descriptive or relying on the correspondence theory of truth.

    Wittgenstein specifically says that the Investigations was a continuation of thought from the conclusions synthesized in the Tractatus, in his opening statements about the Investigations.

    I feel as though, this is an area of confusion or uncertainty about the totality of what Wittgenstein had to offer to the philosophical community. Namely, that the Tractatus was his way of showing that ethical statements or the realm of the mystical cannot be encapsulated in words alone and that whereof one cannot speak, thereof they ought to remain silent. The Investigations in some ways goes even further than that and denotes that where words derive meaning is from their language game settings, and in some sense, a nativist, cognitivist, and interactionist theory of language is proposed, as seen in:
    If a lion could speak, we could not understand him. — Wittgenstein (PI, p.223)

    So, what am I getting at? Basically, two things. That the Tractatus was a work born out of the heyday of logical positivism and logical atomism, which heavily subscribed to the correspondence theory of truth and Russell's descriptivism, and the Investigations was a work in response to the predominant theories of truth and meaning of the day. I don't know if other people view the two works as such, hence me posting this to clear that ambiguity.
  • Banno
    3.3k
    Of course there is some continuity - he wrote both. But each offers vastly differing accounts of language.

    Perhaps setting out logical atomism so clearly inevitably revealed its inadequacies.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k


    Not really. Wittgenstein was aware of the limitations of logical atomism when he said that the limits of his or our language mean the limits of the intelligible world and that whereof one cannot speak (being at one's own limit) thereof one ought remain silent.

    What I see the Investigations as, was an attempt to explain how one can learn new words to allow one to speak when confronted with said limits.

    Obviously the picture theory of meaning existing in a two dimensional world in logical space is something clearly rejected in the Investigations.
  • Banno
    3.3k
    Obviously the picture theory of meaning existing in a two dimensional world in logical space is something clearly rejected in the Investigations.Posty McPostface

    The picture grew to be a Lebenswelt.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    The picture grew to be a Lebenswelt.Banno

    Yeah, I guess you can call it that, or the logic of language in practice.

    You know, when language goes astray, bewitchment happens. Or speaking about meaning without any context leads to throwing away the ladder.
  • Sam26
    983
    I'm waiting for this analysis, what happened? You need to understand a bit of Frege and Russell, and Wittgenstein's thoughts leading up to the Tractatus, viz., the Notebooks.
  • John Doe
    157
    I feel as though, this is an area of confusion or uncertainty about the totality of what Wittgenstein had to offer to the philosophical community.Posty McPostface

    I don't know if other people view the two works as such, hence me posting this to clear that ambiguity.Posty McPostface

    Indeed they do, that's why it's the perhaps core issue of Wittgenstein scholarship, and certainly the most aggressively contentious one. It doesn't help that people with your reading -- the "mono-Wittgenstein" view -- are derided as "American" readers by UK pedants. Anyway, perhaps James Conant's lectures/papers The Alleged Heresy of Mono-Wittgensteinianism and Wittgenstein's Methods might interest you.

    Here in France they simply publish the Tractatus and Investigations together in one book, though I think they can't do that in the US/UK for copyright reasons. I'd be really curious if anyone knows how they do it in Austria.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    I'm waiting for this analysis, what happened? You need to understand a bit of Frege and Russell, and Wittgenstein's thoughts leading up to the Tractatus, viz., the Notebooks.Sam26

    Not quite ready to do an analysis on both books and how they relate. I'm still an amateur on the topic of Wittgenstein and don't want to spout nonsense.
  • Sam26
    983
    I understand, it's a very difficult work. Have you read any of my analysis of the Tractatus?
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k


    I have, but I don't have the knowledge to understand the logical concept of the Tractatus yet. I do understand the ethical and metaphysical concept though.

    I basically think it (the Tractatus) is best understood under a Two-Dimensional Semantic theory, which I am reading about here:

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/two-dimensional-semantics/

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-dimensionalism
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    Have you read any of my analysis of the Tractatus?Sam26

    I have somewhat, though if you can re-point me in the right direction, I would gladly re-read them.
  • Sam26
    983
    I have somewhat, though if you can re-point me in the right direction, I would gladly re-read them.Posty McPostface

    It's called a Wittgenstein Commentary, under philosophy of language. I start with the Tractatus.
  • Sam26
    983
    Since no one is responding to your thread Posty, I'll post a few things. First, one must keep in mind that the analysis in the Tractatus is an apriori analysis, and that logic is very important to this analysis. In the Preface to the Tractatus Wittgentein tells us that the book deals with the problems of philosophy, and if one correctly understood the "logic of our language," then these problems wouldn't be problems at all. "For there seemed to pertain to logic a peculiar depth--a universal significance. Logic lay, it seemed, at the bottom of all sciences.--For logical investigation explores the nature of all things (PI 89)."

    So the purpose of the Tractatus is to put an end to philosophizing. How does Wittgenstein expect to achieve this? One must remember that Wittgenstein is still under the influence of the idea that words refer to things, so there is a logical identity between signs (e.g., names, but not names in the sense you might think), and what is signified by the signs (for e.g., objects, but objects aren't what you may suppose). So Wittgenstein wants to achieve clarity, and he sets out to do this first with his picture theory of language.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k


    Yes, thank you Sam. I have realized that I now have to study logic to even better understand the Tractatus.
  • Sam26
    983
    You really don't need to study logic to have a good understanding of what the Tractatus is saying.
  • gurugeorge
    517
    The continuity is thus:-

    In his later years, Wittgenstein came to think of the Tractatus as an extended, somewhat more systematic example of an illustrative language-game, a bit like the simple language games with blocks and simple commands that the Philosophical Investigations starts with, only with much more detail, and at a higher level of abstraction.

    That's why he wanted to have them side-by-side for comparison.

    This is different from his view while he wrote the Tractatus, when he thought it was the final word in philosophy.

    You often see people saying the later Wittgenstein was against systematization, and that that's the difference between his earlier and later philosophy. That's not true, he was fine with systematic philosophy, rather it's that he saw philosophers who did it as (usually) being mistaken about what it is they were actually doing.
  • Arne
    295
    Tractatus is prior to Heidegger's Being and Time while the Investigations is post Being and Time. I suspect this is no coincidence.
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