• Posty McPostface
    4.3k
    @MetaphysicsNow, any progress or updates?

    Thanks.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    Hi - yep, sorry, apart from a few off the cuff contributions to other threads, I've been a little bogged down with other stuff. I'll put my thoughts on propositions 1 up to 2.1 together today and will post them later today, for better or for worse.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.3k


    Appreciated MetaphysicsNow. Looking forward to getting this started.

    Did you decide on any companion to the Tractatus or just play it by ear?
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    Playing it by ear to begin with anyway - there's so much secondary literature. I'll have a shot at expressing my understanding/problems without recourse to it for the moment - it'll probably end up being a little bit naive, but it might serve a purpose anyway.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.3k
    Cool. Thanks, I figure more will be gained from freedom from constraints of any companion.

    Thanks again.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    Here we go then - some reflections and remarks on propositions 1 to 2.062.
    A point about terminology first of all - the translation I have uses "facts" as the translation for "tatsachen", and these I just take to be facts of the common-or-garden kind - e.g. the fact that Theresa May is Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, that tap water is mostly hydrogen dioxide. The translation I have uses "state of affairs" to indicate the fundamental truth-evaluable consituents of facts (as per proposition 2). I'll stick with "state of affairs" in this post, but am happy to adopt a different terminology if appropriate. Lastly, "objects" are the things the combinations of which constitute states of affairs (2.01)

    My overall impression is that W is attempting to present us with a mix of rationalism and empiricism. Why? Well, on the rationalism side, taking 2.012, 2.0121 and 1.13 together there seems to be a particularly strong form of the principle of sufficient reason in play, and there is also a form of foundationalism evident in 2.0.2 - 2.0211. Everything that actually exists seems to depend on everything that might possibly exist (2.013) and the modal world is one that outstrips any of our perceptual capacities. Yet when I come to know an object (and I presume that W believes we can know objects) my knowledge encompasses all its possibilities (2.0123) and so has to outstrip what is available from perception. So much for the rationalism, what about the empiricism? Well that for me comes down to what these things called objects, the combinations of which make for states of affairs, actually are supposed to be. I take it that it is no coincidence that at 2.0131 we have W talking about specks in the visual field, and then going on at 2.0251 to say that space, time and colour are forms of objects. My initial inclination - which I admit may be naive - is to suppose that these objects can thus be thought of as elements of the visual field, which would make these objects, which are a basic ontological element of his system, objects of perception, so if we do come to know them it must be on the basis of perception. Of course, there is the somewhat cryptic remark at 2.0232: In a manner of speaking , objects are colourless. But note the hedge with which that begins. I think here that W is saying that objects are colourless in the sense that although a specific object participating in a state of affairs must have some colour - since the state of affairs itself is (on my understanding) the state of affairs that an element of the visual field has a certain specific colour - nevertheless that object could have any other colour - it could have been a constituent of many different possible states of affairs. But, even here there is an element of rationalism in play, since objects do not exist independently of possible states of affairs (2.0122), and the entirety of possible states of affairs is written into the very essence of the object (2.012, 2.0141).
    So, I suppose this at least raises the question of where W stands in relation to rationalism and empiricism - is he trying to offer an alternative way of melding/surpassing them than Kant proposed? After all for W space and time are on the surface at least forms of objects, not forms of perception of objects as in Kant. However, having said that, by adding colour into the forms of objects, W seems to be tying the notion of an object and an object of perception so closely together that making a distinction between them is not easy, and so in stating what the forms of objects are he would also be giving us the forms of perception.
    A few related side questions which occured to me but to which I have no response:
    Why have colour as a form of objects and not shape? Is the latter supposed to be subsumed under the form of space?
    Is a world entirely without colour unimaginable? In 2.0131 we have not just vision but also hearing and touch being gestured to, yet it is colour that wins the prize at 2.0251, not pitch or hardness.

    One point I am having a little difficulty understanding concerns 2.05 - 2.063. If the totality of existing states of affairs determines the non-existent states of affairs, why can we not infer the non-existence of some states of affairs given the existence of other states of affairs (2.062)? Is the determination talked about in 2.05 not logical determination?

    So, as it stands at the moment, given my understanding of the propositions 1 to 2.063, I'm going to be under the impression that the space of possible states of affairs is to be thought of as the visual field. If that is a fundamental error, it would be good to find out before I go any further!
  • Srap Tasmaner
    2k
    So we're going? @Posty McPostface you should change the thread title!

    ((I have a week of vacation coming up, so good timing! My intention is just to read and work and talk -- if we hit some stumbling block or something really really interesting, I'll figure out which box has Cora Diamond and David Pears in it. The Notebooks are in there somewhere too.))

    First incautious thoughts.

    You can imagine a collection of things, but even if you imagined a collection of everything, you would not be imagining a world. A collection of things is only the substance of a world, and it must also have form to be a world. The collection must be structured. Do we say here that it must be structured in a particular sort of way to be a world? Are there ways of structuring a collection that are not world-forming ways? I think the answer to that is "yes". (We'll see. What I am thinking of is structuring the collection conceptually, i.e., by a hierarchy of predicates and class membership, that sort of thing. That's a structured collection, but it's not a world.) There is a special sort of form we're looking for, the arrangement of objects into states of affairs*. A collection of objects arranged into states of affairs is a possible world; the actual world is one of these, the one in which a particular collection of states of affairs is the case.

    Need to go back there a moment. You can have
    (1) A collection of things;
    (2) A collection of things arranged into states of affairs;
    (3) A collection of states of affairs;
    If you add that some states of affairs are the case and some aren't, then you can also have
    (4) A collection of states of affairs that are the case;
    (5) A collection of the holdings of states of affairs.
    And we should go back again, and note
    (2a) A collection of things arranged into possible states of affairs;
    (3a) A collection of possible states of affairs;

    I think we take two steps away from things. We consider them as they could be arranged into states of affairs (logical space), and shift our interest from the things themselves to these possible arrangements. Then we consider whether any individual possible state of affairs is the case; if it is, this is a fact (Tatsache). Now we're looking at collections of facts, not states of affairs, not things -- and this is a possible world, a collection of facts. How the "lower levels" get dragged along is a point of interest.

    Is there anything gained in talking about possible facts? What would that be? A state of affairs is already a possible arrangement of things -- what would be the possible holding of a possible arrangement be except a possible arrangement?

    I'm going to stop right here, so we can nail down how to understand facts. (I've been doing some of this by looking and some by not looking, so maybe I've made a hash of it.)

    There's lots of stuff I haven't gotten to yet -- the gesture toward picturing in 2.0212, which explains why we're doing all this. Geez, why didn't he start here?

    And we need to get to the biggy, which is @MetaphysicsNow's question about the atomicity (!) of facts states of affairs.


    No, I don't think LW is building a sort of phenomenalist world like Goodman in The Structure of Appearance, or like Russell might have been doing around this time. (Don't know Russell well enough to know what he was doing right before the TLP.)

    I would guess color turns up as a key exemplar of the way logical space works. (Hume noticed this with the "missing shade" business, and LW returns to issues of color throughout his work.) When he says in 2.0251 that "Space, time, and colour (colouredness) are forms of objects", I don't think this is meant to be an exhaustive list such as Kant might have given. They are examples of how objects are tied to a particular subspace of logical space, how what states of affairs they can be part of is prejudged.

    I think I see what you're getting at -- the comparison to Kant, rationalism and empiricism -- but it doesn't quite feel true to the text. There's only the one mention of knowledge, at 2.0123-2.01231, and the suggestive variation in 2.0124, where instead of me knowing an object, objects are given. If anything, it seems like LW is specifically avoiding the tradition of starting with a perceiving subject. Instead we're going to start with how representation is possible and get to who does this representing later.

    What do you think?

    * This is Sachverhalt. Pears & McGuinness "state of affairs", Ogden & Ramsey "atomic fact". ((I only have Ogden & Ramsey, but we all have the German, right? I'm happy to follow the P&M terminology.))

    EDIT: Dang it! Wrote "facts" for "states of affairs".
  • Srap Tasmaner
    2k
    I'd like to make a modest proposal about post formatting, namely that we split our posts into three sections.

    1. Interpretation of the sections we're currently working on.

    2. (Optional) Upshot of the proposed interpretation for understanding the book so far.

    3. (Optional) Upshot of the proposed interpretation of the book so far for the philosophical issues it addresses.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.3k
    So we're going? Posty McPostface you should change the thread title!Srap Tasmaner

    Changed it. Currently digesting what both @MetaphysicsNow and you have said.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.3k
    First I'd like to address the terminology of the terms used in the Tractatus.

    Objects and atomic facts are simple.

    Facts are the logical relations between objects and atomic facts in logical space.

    States of affairs are the resulting pictorial form of the relation between atomic facts.

    Logical space is the ontology of where atomic facts and objects reside in.

    Facts cannot depict themselves, only in pictorial form are they apparent.

    I'll leave it there for the moment being... Basically, when we talk about objects, they are atomic facts, correct?

    In case anyone is confused here's the whole thing broken down to its constituents.
  • JimRoo
    2
    I'm interested in following this thread.

    I thought "states of affairs" and "atomic facts" are different translations of "Sachverhalten." Or, are you saying that specifically for this discussion, you will use those terms in that way?
  • Posty McPostface
    4.3k


    No, if memory serves me correctly according to Max Black, the two are distict and separate in meaning.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    2k
    Does anyone have P&M handy? I thought, as @JimRoo says, that "states of affairs" was their translation of what O&R do as "atomic facts".
  • Posty McPostface
    4.3k


    If states of affairs are the pictorial form of logical relations between atomic facts, which are further understood as simples, then they are not one and the same, no?
  • Srap Tasmaner
    2k

    I don't know what you're talking about. "Picture" is "Bild".
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    There's a lot in your main post, and it's late where I am so I'll be replying tomorrow, although I think you might be right that I have overworked the colour angle - space time and colour are forms of objects, but at least the translation I have does not add a definite article. I'll reread the section tomorrow in light of what you say and have another stab at it.
    @Posty McPostface On the terminological points, we should think of "atomic fact" and "state of affairs" as synonyms. Atomic facts are combinations of objects/things. So we have a threefold ontology of facts, atomic facts and objects/things. The relationship of facts to atomic facts is pretty much that the former are just collections of the latter, with atomic facts being things that can exist with absolute independence. The relationship of atomic facts to objects seems to be more complicated, since it is not just one of whole to its parts insofar as the parts (objects) cannot have an existence independent from the whole (atomic facts) whereas typically a part-whole relationship does allow for independent existence of the parts (buildings and bricks for instance). However, at this point I need to have a think about ST's post and a reread of the sections of the Tractatus before saying anything else.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.3k


    Strange, as I've always been under the impression that states of affairs was synonymous with pictorial forms (the basis of Wittgenstein's picture theory of meaning) or depictions of the logical relations of atomic facts in logical space. I might go to my local community college tomorrow to confirm if that is the case and pick up a companion that lead me to my sentiments about this and post about it then with greater confidence.

    Thanks.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.3k
    So, I hope I'm not going too off topic here. I'm just trying to understand if there is any apparent difference between 'Sachlage' (state of affairs) and 'Sachverhalt' (atomic facts).

    Here are some propositions that might eludicate the matter:

    2.0121
    It would, so to speak, appear as an accident, when to a thing that could exist alone on its own account, subsequently a state of affairs could be made to fit.
    If things can occur in atomic facts, this possibility must already lie in them.

    (A logical entity cannot be merely possible. Logic treats of every possibility, and all possibilities are its facts.)

    Just as we cannot think of spatial objects at all apart from space, or temporal objects apart from time, so we cannot think of any object apart from the possibility of its connexion with other things.

    If I can think of an object in the context of an atomic fact, I cannot think of it apart from the possibility of this context.
    Wittgenstein

    and,

    2.014
    Objects contain the possibility of all states of affairs.
    Wittgenstein

    2.0141
    The possibility of its occurrence in atomic facts is the form of the object.
    Wittgenstein
  • Srap Tasmaner
    2k
    The relationship of facts to atomic facts is pretty much that the former are just collections of the latterMetaphysicsNow

    I don't read it that way at all. A fact, Tatsache, is the Bestehen of a state of affairs or atomic fact. Bestehen is in O&R as "existence", but I don't know. I think of it as obtaining or holding. It can even be persistence or insistence, though that's not much better in context than "existence". It's, at root, an emphatic version of "stand", if that helps anyone.

    ((BTW, does anyone here have better German than I do? he asked hopefully.))

    Anyway, I think states of affairs are more or less by definition possibilities, and a fact is such a possibility obtaining. Thus the world (i.e., the actual world) is fully determined by which possibilities happen to obtain.

    My reading here is colored by my sense of the TLP as the link between Frege and Tarski, and then eventually PWS as the fulfillment of this whole approach. Facts are the on/off switches of states of affairs because we'll eventually define a possible world by running down a list of propositions and assigning truth values (Frege's contribution).
  • Posty McPostface
    4.3k
    I just searched my own companion I'm using to elucidate some issues with technicalities here:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=uzY9AAAAIAAJ&q=sachlage#v=snippet&q=sachlage&f=false

    For all intents and purposes, it seems Sachlage (state of affairs) is indistinguishable from Sachverhalt (atomic facts), along with some nuances related to Tatasche (facts).

    So, never-mind my quibbles.

    OK, so Sachlage is the sense of a proposition. Think that narrows it down a little.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    2k

    Yeah, good point. I totally forgot about Sachlage, which O&R render as "state of affairs".

    At a glance, he seems to use Sachlage where there's a sense of the relation to other objects being "external", accidental. 2.0121 reads that way.

    2.014-2.0141 repeats this same pattern of pushing the possible Sachlagen into the object as Sachverhalten.

    It looks like maybe a rhetorical distinction.
  • John Doe
    117
    So, I hope I'm not going too off topic here. I'm just trying to understand if there is any apparent difference between 'Sachlage' (state of affairs) and 'Sachverhalt' (atomic facts).Posty McPostface

    I think that it might sometimes help to break these words apart and refit variations on each word into Wittgenstein's sentences just to see what comes out.

    For Sach-lage, I like to think of "how stuff lies together". It might also mean an "objective situation" or "state of affairs", or even (in limited cases) "cause".

    For Sach-verhalt, I like to think of "how stuff holds together". The dictionary definition is literally "Tatsachen und ihre Zusammenhänge", so it might also mean "facts and their relationships".

    Now, re-reading the sections you quoted, let me re-translate them a bit. Not to improve them, but just to show how monkeying around with the translation can help provide different thoughts about interpretation:

    2.0121
    It would, so to speak, appear as an accident, when to a thing that could exist alone on its own account, subsequently an [objective situation] could be made to fit.
    If things can occur in [facts and relationships], this possibility must already lie in them.

    (A logical entity cannot be merely possible. Logic treats of every possibility, and all possibilities are its facts.)

    Just as we cannot think of spatial objects at all apart from space, or temporal objects apart from time, so we cannot think of any object apart from the possibility of its connexion with other things.

    If I can think of an object in the context of [how stuff hangs together], I cannot think of it apart from the possibility of this context.
    — L.W.

    Objects contain the possibility of all [objective situations].

    (Alternatively:) Objects contain all possible ways stuff might lie together.
    — L.W.

    The possibility of its occurrence in [how stuff holds together] is the form of the object. — L.W.

    What do you think? Is this useful or misleading and overly complicated?
  • Posty McPostface
    4.3k


    It's a semantic quibble over what obtains in reality (Sachverhalt) and what not necessarily so or is otherwise possible (Sachlage). Further complicating the issue is talk about 'complex' and 'simple', facts. I suppose someone more in touch with Frege might be able to better answer the question pertaining that Sachlage has a 'sense' where Sachverhalt does not necessarily do so.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.3k
    For Sach-lage, I like to think of "how stuff lies together". It might also mean an "objective situation"John Doe

    Yeah, that's not how I understand Sachlage. More like a possible configuration of atomic facts giving rise to it having a 'sense'. Please correct me if I'm wrong. The companion I referenced above seems to support this interpretation... Pages 44-49.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.3k
    So, in other words;

    Sachverhalt is what is and Sachlage is what could be.

    Hope I didn't oversimplify it.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    2k

    I don't think so. He uses the word "possible" a lot in the first couple pages, and with both.

    2.0122 is another:
    "The thing is independent, in so far as it can occur in all possible Sachlagen, but this form of Independence is a form of connection with the Sachverhalt, a form of dependence."

    I think it's facts that are the actuality of either.
  • John Doe
    117
    It's a semantic quibble over what obtains in reality (Sachverhalt) and what not necessarily so or is otherwise possible (Sachlage).Posty McPostface

    Sorry, I don't think that I understand what is meant by "semantic quibble" here.

    Yeah, that's not how I understand Sachlage. More like a possible configuration of atomic facts giving rise to it having a 'sense'.Posty McPostface

    I'm not sure if you're objecting to my way of posing things ("how stuff lies together") or the dictionary-definition I provided of "objective situation", or both. But like I said my object was not to present a 'best' way of reading these passages, only to show how different ways of translating the words might provoke different notions of what's going on in those passages.

    Sachverhalt is what is and Sachlage is what could be.Posty McPostface

    As to your suggestion here, let's look at the larger scaffolding for a second:

    1. The World is all that is the case.

    1.1 The world is the totality of facts, not things.

    1.2 The world divides into facts.

    2. What is the case—a fact—is the existence of a state of affairs. [Was der Fall ist, die Tatsache, ist das Bestehen von Sachverhalten.]
    — L.W.

    The world is all that is the case and what is the case is the Bestehen of a Sachverhalten. One way of thinking about this is that the world is "how stuff hangs together". And it is holding together particular ways the facts might lie together--Sachlage.

    So I am tempted to think that it is not semantic quibbling to worry about the best translation of these terms, different ways of rendering them, etc. I am willing to accept your goal of a simplified way of rendering things but I would be wary of doing so at the expense of other avenues.

    Edit: Wow, I am tired and made all kinds of little errors in e.g. singular/plural, and it's amazing how such small mistakes present ideas in a totally different (wrong) light as a result of the acerbic beauty of this book.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    2k

    What's the stuff about sense?

    ADDED: Maybe don't -- it sounds like maybe we'd be getting way ahead of ourselves.
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.