• Posty McPostface
    5.6k
    So, given my adoration for the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, I was wondering if anyone is interested in participating in a reading group of it.

    The text is available in a very nice and convenient format online, which can be found here.

    It's fairly short and not too burdensome.

    Would anyone be interested in such a reading group? I'm not sure if I'm the right person to be the leader of it; but, if all else fails I might be able to assume that role. Although, I feel as though someone more in touch with Bertrand Russell descriptivism would be more qualified to be able to elucidate the starting logical atomist propositions.

    Thanks and looking forward to any interested participants given how prevalent Wittgenstein's name gets dropped around hereabouts.

    EDIT: The reading group has started. Please check here as the commencement point.
  • mcdoodle
    995
    Count me in, I have a relaxing summer ahead of me I hope.
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k
    Well, looks like we got the all-stars of this forum in on this reading group. I'm feeling nervous of even attempting to handle this reading group, given that it could take a week to cover (one) proposition at a time. They're really that dense.

    Anyone with more courage want to handle this reading group?
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    @Posty McPostface @Srap Tasmaner @mcdoodle
    How about we proceed like this:
    We take a smallish chunk at a time - let's say e.g. we start with propositions 1 and 2 and their sub-propositions. My attitude towards philosophical texts is generally negative, so I could start things off by listing the problems I see in it and then others can come in and tell me why I'm wrong/how I've misunderstood? I'm not thin skinned so I can take the pain and will hopefully gain in the process.
    I'll do a skim read of the whole thing this weekend and come back next week with a more detailed plan of splitting it up into chunks (which of course we can modify as we go along) if people are okay with that idea.
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k


    Sounds good.

    Can anyone recommend a good companion to use for the tractatus?
  • John Doe
    161
    Can anyone recommend a good companion to use for the tractatus?Posty McPostface

    Assuming you are looking for clarity and consistency over abstruse technical insight, I would highly recommend you all consider using this book. It is available in PDF on UNESCO's library site, along with many others here. (There is no copyright infringement.)
  • Srap Tasmaner
    2k

    I remember reading at least some of Pears's The False Prison years ago and was impressed (v.1 is early LW, v.2 late). He argues for lots of continuity as I recall, so that's interesting.

    ((I was back then too enamored of the later stuff to study TLP seriously...)
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k
    @Sam26, would you be willing to moderate this reading group? I don't want to ask if you would want to take it under your control, as I don't think you would want to.

    Thanks.
  • Sam26
    1.1k
    What do you want me to do exactly? It's going to be difficult to get people interested enough to actually read the Tractatus. Do you want me to keep an eye on the direction?
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k
    Do you want me to keep an eye on the direction?Sam26

    Yes, please. It's easy to get distracted from the points raised in the Tractatus, as it sort of requires one to have a laser focus and infinite working memory of sorts.
  • Sam26
    1.1k
    I can do that, I'll stop in from time-to-time to check on direction.
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k


    Thanks!

    As I see that I've assumed the role of the orchestrator or sorts, I leave it to other members to decide on how (what companion to use and how many propositions we'll be covering at some rate) and when to start the reading group.
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k
    Before I commit to purchasing a copy of the book mentioned by @John Doe, seen here. It's 35 USD and I will make the companion available for free in ebook format to other members in a private PM. I'm not so worried that someone will come after me over making the ebook available on philosophy to other members.

    Although, I do like the juicy technical analysis offered by any other author if anyone has someone of that sort in mind.

    Thanks.

    I'm thinking something along the lines of Max Black or such.
  • John Doe
    161
    t's 35 USD and I will make the companion available for free in ebook format to other members in a private PM. I'm not so worried that someone will come after me over making the ebook available on philosophy to other members.Posty McPostface

    Hey Posty, sorry I was unclear in my original post! The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has made the PDF publicly available for anyone who wishes to use it for educational purposes. :) It's through a project called Memory of the World. You can find the PDF here. It is also available in ebook format here.

    Other books are available as well, such as Anscombe's Introduction to the Tractatus, Essays on the History & Interpretation of the Tractatus, and Routledge's version of the Tractatus.

    Also, I think that I might possibly have a decent handle on later Wittgenstein works like On Certainty - if such a thing is possible - but I'm really terrible with the Tractatus so please take my suggestions with a mountain of salt.
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k
    Other books are available as well, such as Anscombe's Introduction to the Tractatus, Essays on the History & Interpretation of the Tractatus, and Routledge's version of the Tractatus.John Doe

    If you can could you check if those links are available still? I seem to get a 500 error when trying to view them. Seems to be an issue with the server. I will check back latter and see if I can search those books through the website. Thanks.

    I'm hoping on starting this soon, while there's some interest.

    NVM: A google search gives me the results I was looking for:

    http://traumawien.at/stuff/theory/g-e-m-anscombe-an-introduction-to-wittgensteins-tractatus.pdf
    and
    https://www.scribd.com/document/28696305/An-Introduction-to-Wittgenstein-s-Tractatus
    or
    http://traumawien.at/stuff/theory/g-e-m-anscombe-an-introduction-to-wittgensteins-tractatus.pdf
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k
    Just to give some idea of what an idealized version of this thread ought to look like, here's a syllabus from the University of Chicago. Intense!
  • John Doe
    161
    Just to give some idea of what an idealized version of this thread ought to look like, here's a syllabus from the University of Chicago. Intense!Posty McPostface

    Definitely intense -- that's a course designed for graduate students looking to market themselves as a specialist or competent in Wittgenstein scholarship for tenure-track jobs. And it's Conant, who is the great exponent of what I glean to be your take on Wittgenstein. So if you actually manage to follow some of that you'll be very smart by the end. :)

    I will check back latter and see if I can search those books through the website.Posty McPostface

    Yeah, it's better if you just cruise around memoryoftheworld.org for yourself. A lot of great stuff there and you don't have to hunt around the web each time you want a book.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    Just a quick thank you for that link to an incredible online resource I was not aware of.
    @Posty McPostface Well, I skim read the Tractatus this weekend as I said I would, only to realize that in order to understand any of it, you have to understand all of it. Nevertheless, if we're going for a reading group, and we are not being lead by an expert, one approach is to go through it in bit-sized serial chunks. Any division is going to be arbitrary to some extent, but how about the following division into 10 such slices:
    Session 1: Propositions 1 through 2
    Session 2: Proposition 3
    Session 3: Proposition 4.0
    Session 4: Propositions 4.1 through 4.2
    Session 5: Propositions 4.3 through 4.5
    Session 6: Propositions 5.0 through 5.1
    Session 7: Propositions 5.2 through 5.4
    Session 8: Propositiions 5.5 through 5.6
    Session 9: Propositions 6.0 through 6.2
    Session 10: Propositions 6.3 through 7
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k


    I'm doing my part too. I have some files, I want to share, which you can review and decide if they're any good.

    I think the session idea is good too. I think you have some grasp as to what is being covered in each one.

    One or two preliminary issue(s) that I feel ought to be covered before all this starts, is the concept of the limits of philosophy, personified through the application or import of solipsism. Apart from that, a brief understanding of knowledge by acquaintance, which Wittgenstein elaborates on in great detail (which is basically a critique of Russell's descriptivism), and in some regards refutes the systematization or the ability to reduce concepts to logical simples. This is elaborated on in the Investigations about/with 'family-resemblances'.

    I hope, you're getting my drift because I'm not quite ready to spell it out, as I'm still getting acquainted with these ideas.
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k
    Also, a very deep issue in regards to understanding the Tractatus is knowing, what are facts, at least according to Wittgenstein. Since understanding the first proposition is central to all others.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    Well, perhaps we should just take things a step at a time? I don(t know - we have to start somewhere after all. I'm far from an expert, but I am familiar with the work of Russell and Frege that sits as the background to the Tractatus, and familiar enough with the distinction between knowledge by acquaintance/description to know that the characterisation of Russell's view of knowledge by acquaintance as causal (on the wiki page you link to) is moot. The article on solipsism you link to looks interesting, but I'm wondering if it is the kind of thing that should be looked at during rather than before starting on the reading of the work itself.
    It may be that for your purposes, a reading group of the Tractatus is not the best idea, but rather a reading group based around articles on the Tractatus (such as the solipsism one). That way, the Wittgenstein experts on this forum might have more to contribute?
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k


    Well, you get to call the shots here so, just to be consistent with the intent of the OP, we can start the reading group and then as things go by, play it by ear.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    OK, sounds fair enough. I'll get started on trying to think of some interesting things to say about propositions 1 and 2. I'm going to be out of contact completely for the final week of June, so you may prefer to wait until July to get things started, but otherwise I could have a stab at putting some thoughts together over the weekend.
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k


    Sure, let's start sooner than latter. We might be able to fill each other in based on availability and some common companion we would all follow. Let me know if you have any specific companion in mind so I can premtively prepare for any questions or issues.

    Thanks for offering your time and patience.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    OK. I'll try to take a browse tonight at the suggestions for companions available on the memory of the world site and let you know if I'm going to use one specifically.
  • Arne
    295
    if the world is everything, then why does he keep going on and on? Just asking. :smile:
  • Arne
    295
    seriously, are the proposed itemized sessions agreed upon and is there a proposed schedule for their timely completion? Please advise.
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k
    @Arne

    All will be revealed in due time.
  • Arne
    295
    you can never get me that information too soon. I have started Tractatus a couple of times and just could not get into it. Reading it in a structured way with others could make the difference. At least that is my hope.
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