## Ongoing Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus reading group.

• 172
The tractatus is all about limits: limits to language, to thought, to propositions, and as they play their role in probabilities. However, we dont see limits drawn (or set) to logic: we cannot think illogically, as he writes. And there is no mention of limiting logic either, as it is the case with language and thought. This is what i meant earlier.
• 567
The tractatus is all about limits: limits to language, to thought, to propositions, and as they play their role in probabilities. However, we dont see limits drawn (or set) to logic: we cannot think illogically, as he writes. And there is no mention of limiting logic either, as it is the case with language and thought. This is what i meant earlier.

The limits of logic, world, and language are the same.

Logic pervades the world: the limits of the world are also its limits. — T 5.61
• 172
5.61 says that the limits of logic and the world are the same, the statement does not include language. Limits can be drawn (or set) to language, but not to logic.
• 567

If the limits of logic and the world are the same then by determining a limit to the world we can determine a limit of logic.

Here is the most important case:

The subject does not belong to the world: rather, it is a limit of the world. — T 5.632

As to language:

What any picture, of whatever form, must have in common with reality, in order to be able to depict it—correctly or incorrectly—in any way at all, is logical form, i.e. the form of reality. — T 2.18

The propositions of logic describe the scaffolding of the world, or rather they represent it. They have no ‘subject-matter’. They presuppose that names have meaning and elementary propositions sense; and that is their connexion with the world. It is clear that something about the world must be indicated by the fact that certain combinations of symbols—whose essence involves the possession of a determinate character—are tautologies. This contains the decisive point. — T 6.124
• 8.2k
The subject does not belong to the world: rather, it is a limit of the world. — T 5.632

This quote has been of my interest recently. Does it imply a form of solipsism?
• 172
If the limits of logic and the world are the same then by determining a limit to the world we can determine a limit of logic.

Here is the most important case:

The subject does not belong to the world: rather, it is a limit of the world.
— T 5.632

Yes, presumably. However W says that we cannot determine a limit to either of them (rest of 5.61). We can only say that they have the same limit (because logic fills/pervades the world - so in that sense, they are one and the same), but there isn't any investigation we can make that could lead us finding that limit.

As to language:

What any picture, of whatever form, must have in common with reality, in order to be able to depict it—correctly or incorrectly—in any way at all, is logical form, i.e. the form of reality.
— T 2.18

The propositions of logic describe the scaffolding of the world, or rather they represent it. They have no ‘subject-matter’. They presuppose that names have meaning and elementary propositions sense; and that is their connexion with the world. It is clear that something about the world must be indicated by the fact that certain combinations of symbols—whose essence involves the possession of a determinate character—are tautologies. This contains the decisive point.
— T 6.124

I think what he means by this is that logic rests on its head, so to speak, in a closed circle, a sphere rather, as I quoted T 5.4541 above: that the propositions of logic (and logic in general), being tautologies, can only describe/show/represent the structure, the form of the world, but they do not actually tell us absolutely anything about the world's content.
• 567
... but there isn't any investigation we can make that could lead us finding that limit.

This is where the distinction between saying and showing becomes crucial.
I think what he means by this is that logic rests on its head, so to speak, in a closed circle, a sphere rather, as I quoted T 5.4541 above: that the propositions of logic (and logic in general), being tautologies, can only describe/show/represent the structure, the form of the world, but they do not actually tell us absolutely anything about the world's content.

As I understand it, his main concern is not with what is in the world, its content, but what stands outside of it.
• 172
The subject does not belong to the world: rather, it is a limit of the world.
— T 5.632

This quote has been of my interest recently. Does it imply a form of solipsism?

I think what he means is that for someone to be able to describe the world fully, as philosophers commonly purport to do/have done, he must go the world's limit, exit the world that is, and look at it from the outside, outside looking in, like they say. Which is why he says later:

5.64 Here we see that solipsism strictly carried out coincides with
pure realism. The I in solipsism shrinks to an extensionless
point and there remains the reality co-ordinated with it.

i.e. at the world's limit, at logic's limit, solipsism=realism, but this so-called equality holds only at that limit, and philosophers (the philosophical I) are or are striving to be solipsists.
• 172
As I understand it, his main concern is not with what is in the world, its content, but what stands outside of it.

Yes, but W never says that there is actually something outside the world, I guess this does not make any sense for him. Being outside the world is equivalent to being at the world's limit.
• 567

This is something I want to address but would like to work up to it.
• 8.2k
This is something I want to address but would like to work up to it.

Do you disagree with what @Pussycat has stated in the previous responses?
• 567
Yes, but W never says that there is actually something outside the world, I guess this does not make any sense for him. Being outside the world is equivalent to being at the world's limit.

This is true with regard to objects and facts but the 'I' is not a thing, not an object or thing.

Where in the world is a metaphysical subject to be found? — T 5.633

The philosophical self is not the human being, not the human body, or the human soul,
with which psychology deals, but rather the metaphysical subject, the limit of the world—
not a part of it.
— T 5.641
• 8.2k

Yes, very confusing. I wonder what can that possibly mean, or do we just have to remain silent about the philosophical self?
• 567

I think there are some areas of agreement but some areas of disagreement. I have tried to address the objections he has made.

I would like to go through 4 and 5 before saying more on this. It has been a long time since I read the Tractatus. I will forego a discussion of them except in so far as they address the issues you and Pussycat are anxious to address.
• 8.2k

The philosophical self is not the human being, not the human body, or the human soul,
with which psychology deals, but rather the metaphysical subject, the limit of the world
— T 5.641

See:
https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/4876/the-philosophical-self
• 172
This is true with regard to objects and facts but the 'I' is not a thing, not an object or thing.

Maybe you are confused as I were, still I am a little bit by the way - logic is like this, what can you do! :) - but my take is that Wittgenstein addresses the concept of solipsism to see if it is justified, or pure nonsense, and he finds out the former, that it is. But first you must bear in mind that philosophy and metaphysics deal with the world as a whole, or at least this is what is desirable for them, it is what they are striving to do. I mean, metaphysics does not want to talk about some particular cases, but describe and expose the totality of things. But by dealing with the whole, a peculiar thing happens, in that the self, the philosophical (non-psychological) "I" is taken to the world's limit, to its periphery, the boundaries. This, Wittgenstein says, has to do with how our world is structured, its logical form, the fact that propositions of logic are tautologies, that the world is my world, and so solipsism is directly derivable from all this.
• 172
I don't know nor can I remember how we ended up talking about this in the first place, as I said, I want to take things for the beginning.

https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/242949
• 567
There is a great deal here that I am not addressing. My focus is on trying to understand what W. means in the preface and ending. It may be that one cannot hope to climb the ladder by skipping the rungs but if that is the case I hope someone will be able to identify those rungs by showing how they are necessary for the climb.

4
A thought is a proposition with a sense. — T 4

4.01

A proposition is a picture of reality.
The proposition is a model of the reality as we think (denken) it is.
— T 4.01

3.5
A propositional sign, applied and thought out, is a thought. — T 3.5

Thought and a thought are not the same. A thought is a representation, a picture or model. It is the product of thought, the activity of thinking - representing, picturing and modelling the facts of the world.

4.022
A proposition shows its sense.
A proposition shows how things stand if it is true. And it says that they do so stand.
— T 4.022

4.031
Instead of, ‘This proposition has such and such a sense’, we can simply say, ‘This proposition represents such and such a situation’. — T 4.031
4.12
Propositions can represent the whole of reality, but they cannot represent what they must have in common with reality in order to be able to represent it—logical form. — T 4.12

A proposition is able to picture reality because they share a logical form or structure. Only propositions that point to a state of affairs, that is, to some fact, have a sense. They can, however, only point to a state of affairs it they have the right logical form. Propositions can fail to point because they lack sense (sinnlos) or because they are nonsense (unsinn). The former does not point to a fact, the latter does not represent a fact because it does not have a logical form.

4.003
Most of the propositions and questions to be found in philosophical works are not false but nonsensical (unsinnig) … Most of the propositions and questions of philosophers arise from our failure to understand the logic of our language. — T 4.003

By the logic of our language he means logical form. But logical form cannot be represented, there can be no propositions about logic form.

4.04
In a proposition there must be exactly as many distinguishable parts as in the situation that it represents.
The two must possess the same logical (mathematical) multiplicity.
— T 4.04

4.128

Logical forms are without number.
Hence there are no pre-eminent numbers in logic, and hence there is no possibility of philosophical monism or dualism, etc.
— T 4.128

4.1
Propositions represent the existence and non-existence of states of affairs. — T 4.1

4.11
The totality of true propositions is the whole of natural science (or the whole corpus of the natural sciences). — T 4.11
4.111
Philosophy is not one of the natural sciences.
(The word ‘philosophy’ must mean something whose place is above or below the natural sciences, not beside them.)
— T 4.111
4.112
Philosophy aims at the logical clarification of thoughts.
Philosophy is not a body of doctrine but an activity.
A philosophical work consists essentially of elucidations.
Philosophy does not result in ‘philosophical propositions’, but rather in the clarification of propositions.
Without philosophy thoughts are, as it were, cloudy and indistinct: its task is to make them clear and to give them sharp boundaries.
— T 4.112

4.113
Philosophy sets limits to the much disputed sphere of natural science. — T 4.113

4.114
It must set limits to what can be thought; and, in doing so, to what cannot be thought.
It must set limits to what cannot be thought by working outwards through what can be thought.
— T 4.114
4.115
It will signify what cannot be said, by presenting clearly what can be said. — T 4.115
4.116
Everything that can be thought at all can be thought clearly. Everything that can be put into words can be put clearly. — T 4.116

Tentatively: the limits of thought is where the boundaries of thought loses its sharpness, that is, where it no longer represents a state of affairs.

It should be noted that W. has said nothing about the facts of the world, only their logical form. He has not presented a picture of reality. Philosophy does not picture reality, it clarifies those pictures. It says nothing about the natural world, nothing about the facts of the world, nothing about reality. Philosophy lacks sense (sinnlos). Tautologies and contradictions also lack sense (sinnlos) but are not nonsense (Unsinn). (4.461) They tell us nothing about what is the case.

There are no philosophical propositions, for propositions represents states of affairs, the facts of the world. But as we shall see, W. will refer to his propositions. Since they do not represent a state of affairs they lack sense (sinnlos). Since philosophy’s place is above or below the natural sciences it is not in the logical space of the world/language/thought. What is says then must be nonsense (Unsinn).

This is, of course, not the end of the story. There is still more to be said.
• 172
Yes, very confusing. I wonder what can that possibly mean, or do we just have to remain silent about the philosophical self?

If this confuses somewhat, then maybe, in the relevant propositions we were discussing 5.631-5.641, you could replace the "philosophical" with the "logical", the "metaphysical" with the "logical", so that "metaphysical subject" becomes "logical subject", and re-read the passages again with that replacement in mind and place. e.g.

"The logical (philosophical) self is not the human being, not the human body, or the human soul, with which psychology deals, but rather the logical (metaphysical) subject, the limit of the world".

So where is this logical I/subject to be found?

philosophical I = logical I . Purely logical I mean, unmarred and untarnished by the psyche - whatever that is. Non psycho-logical, as if you take away the psyche from it, only to end up with pure logic. Why then solipsism?
• 172
There is a great deal here that I am not addressing. My focus is on trying to understand what W. means in the preface and ending. It may be that one cannot hope to climb the ladder by skipping the rungs but if that is the case I hope someone will be able to identify those rungs by showing how they are necessary for the climb.

I don't know whether you caught our conversation with dear Wallows from the beginning, but this is what I believe, I wrote it here:

https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/236523

The mystical, or the dionysean aspect of reality, the irrational, in contrast to the logical, the rational and the apollonian, if you know what I mean.
• 567

Yes, I did read it. I don’t think he was trying to “dissolve language”, but to set boundaries to what language does - represent reality, and how it does it - logical form. It sets limits to the sphere of natural science. (4.113) From the inside by clarification and elucidation, and from the outside by marking the limits of the logical space of representation. This leaves what shows itself, what can be seen and experienced as opposed to thought and represented.

I am not sure that reference to the “dionysean aspect of reality” is helpful since it raises questions as to what this means, it presents another layer of interpretative problems.

I also have reservations about calling the mystical “irrational”. I would use the term transrational except it has already been taken and has another meaning. It is outside the logical form or structure of the world and its modes of representation. It is experiential. Attempts to represent such experience in language leads to irrational or nonsensical propositions.

The ethical, aesthetic, and metaphysical are also outside of the sphere of the logical. And so too lead to nonsense when one attempts to represent what is experienced.

philosophical I = logical I

I don't think this is right. It is because logic has nothing to do with an "I" that a logical I or logical self does not make sense.
• 172
The ethical, aesthetic, and metaphysical are also outside of the sphere of the logical. And so too lead to nonsense when one attempts to represent what is experienced.

What is the metaphysical, to you, I mean?

I don't think this is right. It is because logic has nothing to do with an "I" that a logical I or logical self does not make sense.

Whereas the philosophical I or philosophical self makes sense? What does that mean?
• 567

It is not clear whether you are asking what I think is meant by the metaphysical as used by Wittgenstein or by others or my thoughts on the metaphysical. The first is the only question that I think is relevant to the discussion. Here a further distinction needs to be made between the question of whether logical form and simple objects are meant to be a metaphysical ontology he accepts or rejects as nonsense, whether this is saying something metaphysical (6.53), and what he means by the metaphysical self.

I do not think the discussion of form and content is intended as a metaphysical theory, although it might serve as such if one were “doing metaphysics”. But Wittenstein is not. I think his intent is to mark the boundaries of the physical and sayable on the basis of logical structure. They are elucidatory.

As to the philosophical I, it is metaphysical self, the subject who experiences.
• 172
It is not clear whether you are asking what I think is meant by the metaphysical as used by Wittgenstein or by others or my thoughts on the metaphysical. The first is the only question that I think is relevant to the discussion. Here a further distinction needs to be made between the question of whether logical form and simple objects are meant to be a metaphysical ontology he accepts or rejects as nonsense, whether this is saying something metaphysical (6.53), and what he means by the metaphysical self.

I do not think the discussion of form and content is intended as a metaphysical theory, although it might serve as such if one were “doing metaphysics”. But Wittenstein is not. I think his intent is to mark the boundaries of the physical and sayable on the basis of logical structure. They are elucidatory.

I was asking about your own thoughts, as you yourself were not very clearly whether these were your own opinions or the opinions concerning those in the Tractatus, when you said above: "The ethical, aesthetic, and metaphysical are also outside of the sphere of the logical. And so too lead to nonsense when one attempts to represent what is experienced". But why not do both?

Anyway, I think that Wittgenstein wants, maybe unknowingly, to dispose of the old and traditional metaphysics, only to replace it with another, as it is usually the case in the historical process of metaphysics.

As to the philosophical I, it is metaphysical self, the subject who experiences.

But supposedly, metaphysics is void of experience, a priori, just like logic is. Or not?
• 567
I was asking about your own thoughts, as you yourself were not very clearly whether these were your own opinions or the opinions concerning those in the Tractatus, when you said above: "The ethical, aesthetic, and metaphysical are also outside of the sphere of the logical. And so too lead to nonsense when one attempts to represent what is experienced". But why not do both?

I was referring to the Tractatus, what I think W. is saying.

By do both do you mean give my own opinion? If so, the reason is that it muddies the water. Whether or not I agree with W. or anyone else must be secondary to the question of what it is that I am agreeing with. All too often someone will say I agree with this or that philosopher, but what they are agreeing or disagreeing with is their own misconception of what the person they are agreeing or disagreeing with said.

My own opinion is that the Tractarian analysis of simples and compounds is wrong. He himself seems to have come to this conclusion in the Philosophical Investigations.

What I am trying to do at this point, however, is to understand the Tractatus on its own terms.

Anyway, I think that Wittgenstein wants, maybe unknowingly, to dispose of the old and traditional metaphysics, only to replace it with another, as it is usually the case in the historical process of metaphysics.

What is it that you think he is rejecting and what is he proposing in its place? One obvious problem is to explain how such a metaphysics escapes the accusation of nonsense.

But supposedly, metaphysics is void of experience, a priori, just like logic is. Or not?

Not. If there is a metaphysics it is not a theory or doctrine. It is something that cannot be talked for such talk would be nonsense because it does not share the logical structure of the physical world and the language that represents it.
• 172
By do both do you mean give my own opinion? If so, the reason is that it muddies the water. Whether or not I agree with W. or anyone else must be secondary to the question of what it is that I am agreeing with. All too often someone will say I agree with this or that philosopher, but what they are agreeing or disagreeing with is their own misconception of what the person they are agreeing or disagreeing with said.

Yes, this is what happens very often indeed. But there are also cases when one actually agrees with someone else, but thinks he disagrees. And this says something about the world, as Wittgenstein would say. But why is that? Here "why" has two different connotations: 1) the reason for this, as for example "why did the apple fall from the apple tree? 'cause it was heavy and there is this force of gravity bla bla bla", so cause and effect and natural sciences, and 2) as in "why do things like apples have to/are made to fall? why is the world like this and not some other where apples wouldn't fall? Why isn't there an accurate way of knowing whether I agree or disagree with someone? (not from a bio-logical/psycho-logical point of view) Is there a fundamental reason for this? Can we imagine, think of a world where this wouldn't happen? And how would that world be like?", questions like these don't have to do with the natural sciences, but rather relate to philosophy/ontology/metaphysics, and logic. And it so happens that many philosophers - but not only philosophers, everyone apparently, physicists, mathematicians, and other scientists, and the common people of course - conflate the two into one, or take evidence from the physical to "prove" the meta-physical positions, which is of course wrong and absurd, 'cause "everything we see could also be otherwise" (again, why is that - two different why's - and this says something about the world). So, to answer here your question as to what W is rejecting, I think he was trying to separate the two, so that one knows exactly with what kind of questions he would be dealing. And he pinpoints the problem in language, as the example hopefully showed, because even a simple "why" can mean two entirely different things, the "why" sign, I mean. The first "why" points somewhere in the world, whereas the second "why", where does it point? It doesn't point anywhere, it has been taken to the limits, not a part of the world.

So problems arise when we conflate these two different kind of questions into one, when we talk about the second with having the first in mind, and vice-versa.

Oh well, I guess something like that. :meh:

Not. If there is a metaphysics it is not a theory or doctrine. It is something that cannot be talked for such talk would be nonsense because it does not share the logical structure of the physical world and the language that represents it.

Metaphysics has changed significantly since antiquity, since Aristotle first discovered it as a science, so it is difficult to say what it really is, or what it's subject matter is. However, a common characteristic in all its variants is that it is a priori, unrelated to experience, just like logic is, so some say they are essentially the same.
• 567
However, a common characteristic in all its variants is that it is a priori, unrelated to experience,

I do not think that W. thought of it in that way. I will be discussing some of his comments on God.
• 172
But metaphysics, at the time of Wittgenstein at least, was supposed to be knowledge - or something anyway - beyond experience. If W wanted to redefine metaphysics, then why didn't he do so, as he did with logic and philosophy? Since he didn't, we must assume that he saw metaphysics as it had always been seen.
• 567

I think that Wittgenstein's use follows that of Kant. The metaphysical refers to questions of God, soul, and world. They are not objects in the world and thus cannot be known by the natural sciences or by experience of things in the world. Nor can they be known a priori.

Solipsism, the shift from the world to my world, is the turning point. I will have more to say on this. For the moment I would suggest that we keep in mind that what he means by solipsism may not be what others mean.
• 172
Yes, follows Kant, who said that the metaphysical is a priori. So, the metaphysical self cannot be taken to be the subject who experiences, as you said earlier, that is what I've been trying to tell you! And since there are no experiences for the metaphysical self, the self in solipsism (that posits that only one's experiences are real), is shown to be non-existent, as it was taken to the world's and logic's limits and dissolved there. It is actually a dialectical process that W is describing here, in the mode of Hegel's philosophy, his aufheben, if you know what I mean.
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