• Wallows
    9.6k
    According to the early Wittgenstein of the Tractatus, the solipsist is one and one and the same with the world. He then makes the claim that solipsism coincides with realism.

    5.64, Wittgenstein asserts that “Here it can be seen that solipsism, when its implications are followed out strictly, coincides with pure realism. The self of solipsism shrinks to a point without extension, and there remains the reality co-ordinated with it.”

    P.M.S Hacker provides the following:

    What the solipsist means, and is correct in thinking, is that the world and life are one, that man is the microcosm, that I am my world. These equations... express a doctrine which I shall call Transcendental Solipsism. They involve a belief in the transcendental ideality of time. ... Wittgenstein thought that his transcendental idealist doctrines, though profoundly important, are literally inexpressible.

    — Hacker, Insight and Illusion, op cit., n. 3, pp. 99-100.

    Can anyone help me better understand this notion of solipsism that Wittgenstein professes in the Tractatus?

    I have never been so captivated by an idea in philosophy that is metaphysical and epistemic solipsism.

    Here is an answer to be found on Reddit:

    (1) Realism maintains that reality exists independently of the mind.

    (2) His solipsism removes the mind from reality.

    (3) For a solipsist without skeptical concerns (Wittgenstein), the world still exists independently of the mind.

    (4) Therefore, his solipsism affirms philosophical realism.

    Wittgenstein’s solipsism removes the subject from the world. In so doing, he shows that the world still exists without the subject being in the world. Therefore, his solipsism is consistent with philosophical realism.
    Reddit

    My question is in regards, if you're still with me here, to the third premise. There's seemingly a joint discontinuity between maintaining a world of one's own and the world at hand. If I am the same as my world, then what becomes of the world?

  • Brett
    1.1k
    and there remains the reality co-ordinated with it.”Wallows

    What does this mean?
  • Wallows
    9.6k
    and there remains the reality co-ordinated with it.”
    — Wallows

    What does this mean?
    Brett

    I really wish I could answer this question, as you seem to have picked out the essential feature of the OP being how is reality "co-ordinated" with the microcosm of the solipsist. Is this like some epsilon-delta ad hoc method at showing that an infinitesimal can reach a limit, or something like that?
  • Brett
    1.1k


    You give me too much credit. Epsilon-delta? I can barely say it.
  • Brett
    1.1k
    Coordinate

    As an adjective they can mean to be the same standing or rank, relating to coordination, or relating to an intersection of indices. As a verb it means for things to work or flow smoothly as a group, or to cause things to work or flow smoothly together as a group.
  • Fooloso4
    1.1k
    If only there was a thread on the Tractatus that discussed this.
  • Fooloso4
    1.1k


    I see my remark went right over your head.
  • Wallows
    9.6k
    I see my remark went right over your head.Fooloso4

    OK, I will review what has been said already. Apologies.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    According to the early Wittgenstein of the Tractatus, the solipsist is one and one and the same with the world. He then makes the claim that solipsism coincides with realism.

    5.64, Wittgenstein asserts that “Here it can be seen that solipsism, when its implications are followed out strictly, coincides with pure realism. The self of solipsism shrinks to a point without extension, and there remains the reality co-ordinated with it.”

    P.M.S Hacker provides the following:

    What the solipsist means, and is correct in thinking, is that the world and life are one, that man is the microcosm, that I am my world. These equations... express a doctrine which I shall call Transcendental Solipsism. They involve a belief in the transcendental ideality of time. ... Wittgenstein thought that his transcendental idealist doctrines, though profoundly important, are literally inexpressible.

    — Hacker, Insight and Illusion, op cit., n. 3, pp. 99-100.

    Can anyone help me better understand this notion of solipsism that Wittgenstein professes in the Tractatus?

    I have never been so captivated by an idea in philosophy that is metaphysical and epistemic solipsism.

    Here is an answer to be found on Reddit:

    (1) Realism maintains that reality exists independently of the mind.

    (2) His solipsism removes the mind from reality.

    (3) For a solipsist without skeptical concerns (Wittgenstein), the world still exists independently of the mind.

    (4) Therefore, his solipsism affirms philosophical realism.

    Wittgenstein’s solipsism removes the subject from the world. In so doing, he shows that the world still exists without the subject being in the world. Therefore, his solipsism is consistent with philosophical realism. — Reddit


    My question is in regards, if you're still with me here, to the third premise. There's seemingly a joint discontinuity between maintaining a world of one's own and the world at hand. If I am the same as my world, then what becomes of the world?
    Wallows

    There must be someone who can write clearly, in a way that makes sense, that has some sort of logical flow to it, and that doesn't seem ridiculously murky and confused. Those examples from Wittgenstein, Hacker and whoever wrote that on Reddit don't qualify.
  • Wallows
    9.6k
    There must be someone who can write clearly, in a way that makes sense, that has some sort of logical flow to it, and that doesn't seem ridiculously murky and confused.Terrapin Station

    Maybe I'm writing in Swahili? Everyone else seems to get the idea, about the ambiguity of stating that pure realism coincides with solipsism in the Witty quote.
  • Valentinus
    625
    The way I read Wittgenstein is that both "solipsism" and "realism" are not about the world but both are evasions of the tortuous life of saying what the "case" is.
    Wittgenstein doesn't like people who cut in line.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    Everyone else seems to get the idea, about the ambiguity of stating that pure realism coincides with solipsism in the Witty quote.Wallows

    Who is "everyone else"? If you're referring to Hacker and the reddit stuff, those don't make any sense either. (As I noted in my post above.)

    Or are you referring to someone else? If someone else gets what any of those folks are saying (Wittgenstein, Hacker, whoever wrote the reddit stuff), and they can think and communicate clearly, maybe we can ask them.
  • Fooloso4Accepted Answer
    1.1k
    Some things is posted in the Tractatus reading group thread page 14.

    5.6
    The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.
    — T

    What is the significance of his shift from language and the world to “my language” and “my world”? The self cannot be found in the world. It can play no part in logical relationships, and propositions about it are nonsense. My world and my language do not connote a relationship between facts or objects.

    My language means not simply English or German but the way in which I represent reality.


    5.61
    Logic pervades the world: the limits of the world are also its limits.
    So we cannot say in logic, ‘The world has this in it, and this, but not that.’
    For that would appear to presuppose that we were excluding certain possibilities, and this cannot be the case, since it would require that logic should go beyond the limits of the world; for only in that way could it view those limits from the other side as well.
    We cannot think what we cannot think; so what we cannot think we cannot say either.
    — T

    The logical relationships within the world are not the only relationships. There is also a relationship between the “I” and the world.

    5.62
    This remark provides the key to the problem, how much truth there is in solipsism.
    For what the solipsist means is quite correct; only it cannot be said, but makes itself manifest.
    The world is my world: this is manifest in the fact that the limits of language (of that language which alone I understand) mean the limits of my world.
    — T

    In what way does the limits of language show that the world is my world? Suppose someone were to reject W.’s claim saying: “There must be more to my world”, to which the response would be: “What more is there”? And of course no answer could be given. If an answer could be given, whatever is said would be within that limit. I take this to be a form of skepticism. He is not denying that there may be more than I can say or think but that it is nonsense to say this because it does not point to anything. It does not mark a limit to the world or to language but to my world and the language I understand. But the same is true for all of us.

    Solipsism - solus "alone" and ipse "self”. That language which alone I understand, is that language which solus ipse is understood. If there is a language I do not understand then even though the propositions are in proper logical order to picture reality, they are for me without sense (sinnlos) because I do not know what state of affairs they represent. They cannot represent if they cannot be understood.

    5.621
    The world and life are one.
    5.63
    I am my world. (The microcosm.)
    — T

    The world is all that is the case (1). The facts that make up the world are not independent of the subject who perceives and represents those facts. This is the point of the cube having two facts. Facts are not independent of their representation. A picture is a fact. (2.141)The facts of the world include the representation of facts.




    5.631
    There is no such thing as the subject that thinks or entertains ideas.
    If I wrote a book called The World as I found it, I should have to include a report on my body, and should have to say which parts were subordinate to my will, and which were not, etc., this being a method of isolating the subject, or rather of showing that in an important sense there is no subject; for it alone could not be mentioned in that book.—

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

    “It alone could not be mentioned”, solus ipse. The I (ipse) alone (solus) that writes the book is not something that is found in the book.



    5.633
    Where in the world is a metaphysical subject to be found?
    You will say that this is exactly like the case of the eye and the visual field. But really you do not see the eye.
    And nothing in the visual field allows you to infer that it is seen by an eye.
    — T

    The subject is metaphysical because it is not a part of the physical world. Propositions about it are nonsense, for it does not represent anything in the world.

    That which sees is not something seen. Just as the eye is not in visual space, the subject is not in logical space. The subject that represents is not something represented.

    5.634
    This is connected with the fact that no part of our experience is also a priori.
    Everything we see could also be otherwise.
    Everything we describe at all could also be otherwise.
    There is no order of things a priori.
    — T

    What is the connection between the metaphysical subject and the contingency of facts?

    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.
    — T

    The I alone which sees the world, that experiences, that describes, has no logical connection to the world. We can only say how things are, not how they must be or will be.

    5.641
    There is therefore really a sense in which the philosophy we can talk of a non-psychological I.
    The I occurs in philosophy through the fact that the “world is my world”.
    The philosophical I is not the man, not the human body or the human soul of which psychology treats, but the metaphysical subject,
    the limit—not a part of the world.
    — T
    My world is the world I see, the world I experience, the life I lead. My limits are its limits.



    The soul is not part of the natural world.

    The “I” plays a role in determining the facts.

    There is a limit to knowledge based on the fact that we cannot identify or name all of the simple objects.

    “My language” means not simply English or German but the way in which I represent reality.

    There is a relationship between the “I” which is not a part of the world it represents factually.

    Solipsism: The “I” alone (solus "alone" and ipse "self”) is a limit of the world, the limit of what I can say and think. This is not a fixed limit, since it is always possible to learn something new, but a limit nonetheless. We cannot step out beyond ourselves.

    The facts that make up the world are not independent of the subject who perceives and represents those facts. Facts are not independent of their representation. My world, the microcosm, is the world as I represent it.

    “It alone could not be mentioned”, solus ipse. The I (ipse) alone (solus) that writes the book (The World as I found it) is not something that is found in the book. The I is a limit of the world.

    The subject is metaphysical because it is not a part of the physical world. Propositions about it are nonsense, for it does not represent anything in the world. That which sees is not something seen. Just as the eye is not in visual space, the subject is not in logical space. The subject that represents is not something represented.

    The I alone which sees the world, that experiences, that describes, has no logical connection to the world. We can only say how things are, not how they must be or will be.

    My world is the world I see, the world I experience, the life I lead. My limits are its limits.


    The self or I or soul or subject is free. It is not a part of the world. The world is for each of us mine - my world, the world as I perceive it, the world as I represent it in my language, the world as I live it. The limits of my world are not the limits of the world. This limit marks a form of skepticism.
  • Wallows
    9.6k
    Who is "everyone else"? If you're referring to Hacker and the reddit stuff, those don't make any sense either. (As I noted in my post above.)Terrapin Station

    So, point out what you're having trouble understanding here; because, I don't know exactly where you're having difficulties in understanding my OP.
  • Wallows
    9.6k
    In what way does the limits of language show that the world is my world? Suppose someone were to reject W.’s claim saying: “There must be more to my world”, to which the response would be: “What more is there”? And of course no answer could be given. If an answer could be given, whatever is said would be within that limit. I take this to be a form of skepticism. He is not denying that there may be more than I can say or think but that it is nonsense to say this because it does not point to anything. It does not mark a limit to the world or to language but to my world and the language I understand. But the same is true for all of us.Fooloso4

    What makes you say this is a skeptical argument? I think it is along the lines of a claim that epistemic closure is absolute for a solipsist (by the very definition of solipsism), and nothing more can be known for him or her.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k


    So first, I have no idea what Wittgenstein would be thinking when he says, "Here it can be seen that solipsism, when its implications are followed out strictly, coincides with pure realism." To me, that seems like Wittgenstein wouldn't really understand what those terms refer to.

    If the sentence after that is supposed to offer some insight, I don't know how. Wittgenstein says, "The self of solipsism shrinks to a point without extension." That just seems like math-fetishist gobbledygook.

    I'll just start with that.
  • Wallows
    9.6k
    To me, that seems like Wittgenstein wouldn't really understand what those terms refer to.Terrapin Station

    If the sentence after that is supposed to offer some insight, I don't know how. Wittgenstein says, "The self of solipsism shrinks to a point without extension." That just seems like math-fetishist gobbledygook .Terrapin Station

    See if @Fooloso4's comment might make more sense or within the context he is offering?
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    See if Fooloso4's comment might make more sense or within the context he is offering?Wallows

    Not really. I think all of that is just as problematic.
  • Wallows
    9.6k


    Hope this helps:

    Wittgenstein--that is, Wittgenstein of the Tractatus--is the last philosopher we shall mention in this regard. Wittgenstein's conception of the "metaphysical subject," the subject that is not part of the world but its "limit," is, I believe, the conception of the personal horizon, the subject matter with which we shall be occupied in this book. [...] In the Tractatus, the deepest truths, like the "truth" in solipsism, are truths that have reference to the personal horizon, to the "limit" of the world (the metaphysical subject). — Dream, Death, and the Self, JJ Valberg, pg.17

    Personal horizon.
  • Wallows
    9.6k
    Or this:

    In exploring the theme of Wittgenstein's view of solipsism, G. E. M. Anscombe describes his contrast between what can be expressed (or thought) through language and what can only be shown but not expressed. Language is a mirror of reality: (page 164)

    All the logical devices - the detailed twiddles and manipulations of our language - combine, Wittgenstein tells us at 5.511, into an infinitely fine network, forming 'the great mirror' - that is to say, the mirror of language, whose logical character makes it reflect the world and makes its individual sentences say that such-and-such is the case. — Anscombe, G. E. M. An Introduction to Wittgenstein's Tractatus. 1971. G. E. M. Anscombe, pg. 164

    This mirroring suggests realism. Something is being mirrored. However, the mirroring not only expresses statements about reality but also shows what cannot be expressed: (page 166)

    Thus when the Tractatus tells us that 'Logic is transcendental', it does not mean that the propositions of logic state transcendental truths; it means that they, like all other propositions, shew something that pervades everything sayable and is itself unsayable. — Anscombe, G. E. M. An Introduction to Wittgenstein's Tractatus. 1971. G. E. M. Anscombe, pg. 166

    What is unsayable is in the "limits" of logic which are the world's "limits" (5.61) and the world is "my world" (5.62 and 5.63). This is where solipsism comes in: (page 166)

    So, it comes out that it is illegitimate to speak of 'an I'. 'From inside' means only 'as I know things'; I describe those things - something, however, I cannot communicate or express: I try to, by saying I speak 'from an inside point of view'. But there is no other point of view. Suppose others too speak of the 'inside point of view'? That is my experience of my supposition of spoken words. — Anscombe, G. E. M. An Introduction to Wittgenstein's Tractatus. 1971. G. E. M. Anscombe, pg. 166

    This leads to Wittgenstein's paradoxical view of solipsism expressed in 5.64:

    Here we see that solipsism strictly carried out coincides with realism. The I in solipsism shrinks to an extensionless point and there remains the reality coordinated with it. — Anscombe, G. E. M. An Introduction to Wittgenstein's Tractatus. 1971. G. E. M. Anscombe, pg. 166

    This can be seen as coming from Wittgenstein's view of language as saying what can be said about my world and showing what cannot be said about my world.
  • Fooloso4
    1.1k
    What makes you say this is a skeptical argument?Wallows

    There are various forms of skepticism. As opposed to modern skepticism the ancient skeptic does not claim that we cannot know, as if this were a thing known, but only that we do not know.

    The limits are knowledge are seen in that we cannot identify or name all of the simple objects, and in the distinction between the world and my world.
  • Wallows
    9.6k
    The limits are knowledge are seen in that we cannot identify or name all of the simple objects, and in the distinction between the world and my world.Fooloso4

    So, to present this issue from calculus, as I approach the limit between "my world" and "the world", there is an infinitesimal joint discontinuity, where "my world" ends and "the world" begins?
  • Fooloso4
    1.1k
    So, to present this issue from calculus, as I approach the limit between "my world" and "the world", there is an infinitesimal joint discontinuity, where "my world" ends and "the world" begins?Wallows

    How could we know how close we get? But this is the wrong way to look at it.

    With regard to the facts of the world we should be able to agree. But my world is not the world of facts. Consider what he says about the world of the happy man. When I die the world as I know it ends, but this does not mean it ends at that point for everyone else.
  • Wallows
    9.6k
    How could we know how close we get? But this is the wrong way to look at it.

    With regard to the facts of the world we should be able to agree. But my world is not the world of facts. Consider what he says about the world of the happy man. When I die the world as I know it ends, but this does not mean it ends at that point for everyone else.
    Fooloso4

    So, this opens a can of worms.

    First, I assume that the only way to address this is through/from an inward-outward view of the matter, as per the G.E.M Anscombe quote from above.
    Second, this raises the issue of the nature of experience, I think.
    Third, what is ethical and mystical are those features of talking about the inward workings of the mind in an intersubjective manner.
  • Wallows
    9.6k
    Tractatus reading groupFooloso4

    In case anyone is wondering here is the reading group Fooloso4 is referring to:

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/3558/ongoing-tractatus-logico-philosophicus-reading-group/
  • Fooloso4
    1.1k
    First, I assume that the only way to address this is through/from an inward-outward view of the matter, as per the G.E.M Anscombe quote from above.Wallows

    I don't follow. Address what? You quoted several things.

    Second, this raises the issue of the nature of experience, I think.Wallows

    Experience is always my experience.

    Third, what is ethical and mystical are those features of talking about the inward workings of the mind in an intersubjective manner.Wallows

    I don't think so. The inward workings of the mind would be the purview of psychology. The ethical and mystical relate to the world - that it is and how it is as it waxes and wanes.
  • Wallows
    9.6k


    'From inside' means only 'as I know things'; I describe those things - something, however, I cannot communicate or express: I try to, by saying I speak 'from an inside point of view'. But there is no other point of view. Suppose others too speak of the 'inside point of view'? That is my experience of my supposition of spoken words.
    — Anscombe, G. E. M. An Introduction to Wittgenstein's Tractatus. 1971. G. E. M. Anscombe, pg. 166
  • Fooloso4
    1.1k


    This is part of what Wittgenstein was getting at regarding solipsism. He is not using solipsism in the sense of doubting the existence of an external world or other minds but rather, but as the metaphysical subject. The I alone, solus ipse, sees the world, experiences, describes, lives my life.
  • Wallows
    9.6k
    This is part of what Wittgenstein was getting at regarding solipsism. He is not using solipsism in the sense of doubting the existence of an external world or other minds but rather, but as the metaphysical subject. The I alone, solus ipse, sees the world, experiences, describes, lives my life.Fooloso4

    Please expand on what you mean by a "metaphysical subject"? Another stipulated term I suppose.
  • Fooloso4
    1.1k
    Please expand on what you mean by a "metaphysical subject"?Wallows

    The subject is not an object.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment