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  • Aristotle's Metaphysics
    Speculation about first things is not knowledge. The reason is simple. We have no experience of the beginning or origins. Knowledge begins with the senses, aided by memory in some animals, and by art and reasoning in the case of human beings. Knowledge and art result from experience. (981a)Fooloso4

    Speculation about first things is not knowledge.Fooloso4

    Knowledge does begin with the senses, but it does not end there. As Aristotle says:

    "Such and so many are the notions, then, which we have about Wisdom and the wise. Now of these characteristics that of knowing all things must belong to him who has in the highest degree universal knowledge; for he knows in a sense all the instances that fall under the universal. And these things, the most universal, are on the whole the hardest for men to know; for they are farthest from the senses. And the most exact of the sciences are those which deal most with first principles; for those which involve fewer principles are more exact than those which involve additional principles, e.g. arithmetic than geometry. But the science which investigates causes is also instructive, in a higher degree, for the people who instruct us are those who tell the causes of each thing. And understanding and knowledge pursued for their own sake are found most in the knowledge of that which is most knowable (for he who chooses to know for the sake of knowing will choose most readily that which is most truly knowledge, and such is the knowledge of that which is most knowable); and the first principles and the causes are most knowable; for by reason of these, and from these, all other things come to be known, and not these by means of the things subordinate to them. And the science which knows to what end each thing must be done is the most authoritative of the sciences, and more authoritative than any ancillary science; and this end is the good of that thing, and in general the supreme good in the whole of nature. Judged by all the tests we have mentioned, then, the name in question falls to the same science; this must be a science that investigates the first principles and causes; for the good, i.e. the end, is one of the causes."

    Wisdom is the knowledge of universals, which are the furthest from the senses and therefore hardest to know.

    But, knowledge of first principles and causes, Aristotle says are most knowable.

    Democritus gave a more plausible account of material causes but Aristotle's inquiry extends to the good of each thing and the whole of nature. (982b) A full account should not only address the good of each thing and the whole, but it should be good, that is, beneficial to human beings. Even if the account fails to satisfy the former it can aim to satisfy the latter.Fooloso4

    I also quoted that passage because, you're right, Aristotle does classify the "good" as something tangible, accounting for reality to some degree. But, one should wonder if a metaphysical account of reality ought to include any account of the "good" in our times. Obviously, it's still relevant and insightful to work in ethics.

    All kinds of knowledge, then, are more necessary than this one, but none is better.
    (983a)

    Between these statements he questions whether such knowledge is appropriate for human beings. It is divine knowledge, both in the sense that it is knowledge of the divine as cause and knowledge that a god alone or most of all would have. Above the entryway to the temple of Apollo are inscribed the words "know thyself". One way in which this was understood is that man should know his place. He is not a god and does not possess knowledge of the gods in the double sense of knowing the gods and knowing what the gods know. Knowledge of the source and cause of the whole is not something that human beings possess. We do not even know if the divine is a cause or if the divine knows the cause.This should be kept in mind when Aristotle turns to theology.
    Fooloso4

    Yea, this is a good point, and one that I didn't notice before. It's weird then because immediately after saying this, he goes into what wisemen have speculated the first causes are. So, does he believe that knowledge of such things is or isn't suitable for the human mind to comprehend?
  • Aristotle's Metaphysics
    Well, he begins by saying a few things:

    1. Humans have an innate desire to know
    2. This knowledge takes different forms
    3. Regardless of the form, knowledge begins from the senses

    According to Aristotle, philosophy begins when we look at the world around us with a sense of wonder. This sense of wonder he characterized as a desire to know ‘why’ things happen as they do, and not simply ‘how’ things happen. The latter of these two forms of knowledge is, according to Aristotle, primarily concerned with utility, and is given to us through the senses. We see how things occur, and over time, through the use of our memory, we can say how they will likely occur in the future. With this knowledge, we can predict and manipulate future events by recreating past conditions. Knowledge of ‘why’ things occur is ancillary in some sense, contributing little in terms of utility. Therefore, this form of knowledge, which Aristotle called ‘wisdom’ was only sought once humans had afforded themselves comfort and security from the harshness of nature. Knowing ‘why’ a seed grows into a tree isn’t required to know that it will, and you only need the latter to grow an orchard.

    This kind of knowledge, Aristotle calls “connected experience”, which is when we call many experiences under a single theory, and form a judgment regarding a class of objects, as opposed to an individual object, and attempts to explain why they occur by appealing to causes and principles.

    He then notes the differing thoughts philosophers (or wise men) have held regarding the first cause and principles of reality.

    He notes that the “first philosophers” thought that these principles were only matter; that is, there was an original matter that changes and modifies itself through time and eventually became all we see today. They thought the universe was eternal, and had within it all the matter already, with no more being created or destroyed.

    He then notes that despite various opinions of this sort, none agree on exactly how many “original causes” there are. Some thought there was “one”, others that there must be “two” primary types of matter that became everything we see now...others thought “four” and folks like Democratus that thought the primary matter was “atoms” of differing shapes and sizes that connect together to form macroscopic objects thought there was countess primary atoms.

    Aristotle then criticizes each of these and offers his own take on the number and nature of the original causes or principles that lead to macroscopic reality.

    -----

    This raises several questions regarding wisdom and the possible limits of what is and can be known.Fooloso4

    But, you're right given the historical evidence. We know that Aristotle was wrong, and an idea more akin to Democratus' was more right...there is serious concern regarding the method Aristotle employs to reach "metaphysical knowledge". He uses reason to try and challenge other ideas, and furnish his own account, and it lead us in the wrong direction for generations until folks like Descartes, Bacon, Newton began challenging Aristotle's ideas and considering the atomic mechanical principle of his predecessors.
  • Aristotle's Metaphysics
    I have thoughts on Aristotle's metaphysics, but I don't believe that I fully understand the issue that you're trying to articulate in the OP.

    Would you be willing to try and clarify it a bit?

    I am not well acquainted with the entirety of the text, by any means...but, I am familiar with the first few bits as it relates to another interest. This might be a good opportunity to dig into it a bit more.
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
    Where he does not make a distinction must be looked at in light of where he does. The text hangs together as a whole.Fooloso4

    While, I agree with the second part...the first part I don't catch your meaning. I have cited several examples where it does seem as though Witt is making a distinction.

    How are we to understand this? Clearly the world does not literally cease to exist. Wittgenstein is dead. The world has not ceased to exist. There is more to this than can be seen by focusing on a part to the exclusion of the whole.Fooloso4

    Exactly right - how are we to understand this? Was Witt an idiot? I think not. By pointing out that Witt is using the word "world" in a stipulative sense which sets itself apart from how he's using the word "reality", and justifying it by citing examples where we see him say one thing about the world and another about reality, the confusion vanishes. No longer is it something which seems contradictory.

    One way, which I am advocating for is that insofar as the world is made up of pictures that furnish the playing field of logical space in my mind, the world does cease when I die, despite reality continuing.


    It does not supplant what is said, it attempts to explain it in light of what else is said, that is, with regard to its place in the whole of the text. It is not as if he is rejecting what he said previously about the world being the totality of facts.Fooloso4

    Certainly not, and I'd hope that it wouldn't supplant what you'll eventually say. I don't take him to be rejecting it, I take him to be building on and clarifying it with latter statements.

    The totality of facts determine the world, but only insofar as the world is made up of pictures of facts.


    That "the world is my world" means that the world of the metaphysical subject ends when the metaphysical subject does.Fooloso4

    That the metaphysical subjects ends...when it ends? I'm guessing this is a typo, because, well, yea.

    It is like the eye and the visual field. It does not alter what is in the world, but rather the ability of the metaphysical subject to see it, to experience it, to live it.Fooloso4

    See, this is what I mean when I say:

    Again, I'd like to reiterate that it seems that you and I agree on many of the salient points, and I think draw similar conclusions013zen

    This I agree with, but the only change I would make is that I would say:

    It is like the eye and the visual field. It does not alter what is in [reality], but rather the ability of the metaphysical subject to see it...[which determines the world they see]Fooloso4

    As Witt says:

    "(A proposition can, indeed, be an incomplete picture of a certain state of affairs, but it is always a complete picture)" (5156).

    and insofar as:

    "In the proposition the thought is expressed..." (3.1).

    The sum total of our thoughts, which are pictures of the facts we have acquired, despite being incomplete insofar as we are limited in what we can experience, still form a cohesive whole "world". When Witt says that the world is determined by the facts and by them being all the facts, what he means is those are all the facts we have access to. Each instance of a world is a limited but complete picture of reality. Everything still makes sense to us according to our world. If this wasn't the case, we couldn't make sense of anything unless we had every piece of the puzzle already given to us by reality.
  • A Summary of the "Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus"
    Wittgenstein wants us to be silent about the propositions of metaphysics.Sam26

    I would say that, perhaps, he wants us to be silent about certain kinds of metaphysics. Like Hume before him which said to "cast into the fire" all metaphysics devoid of quantification or qualification, this reduces the sphere substantially. Hume didn't, for example, consider folks like Newton wrong in their metaphysics that investigated space, time, and force. I don't know if Witt would disparage this manner of metaphysics, but most would inevitably be thrown to the wayside.

    These propositions include, but are not limited to, religion (praying for e.g.), poetry, music, and art, so there are many ways to express the inexpressible.Sam26

    Have you read Witt's "Lecture on Ethics"? It's very short, only like 7 pages. I think it would help you flesh this out a bit. Witt's views regarding ethics were, I think, more robust than simply somehow through, say praying, we are able to show what we cannot express clearly. But, this is certainly, I think, part of it. The question is, what does it show?

    After all, he says in the Preface that the truth of the propositions outlined in the Tractatus is unassailable and definitiveSam26

    Consider why he said this, especially in light of what else he says in the preface:

    "Here I am conscious that I have fallen far short of the possible. Simply
    because my powers are insufficient to cope with the task. May others
    come and do it better".


    He says:

    "...the truth of the thoughts communicated here seems to me unassailable and definitive"

    He says that to him the thoughts seem unassailable and definitive, not that they simply ARE such.

    Just as each of us has certain beliefs which seem definitive to us, but we'd admit might not be, I think Witt is being humble here and simply saying, "This is the best I could do, and I can't make sense of it any other way".

    That's just my take, though.
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus


    I can see you no longer want to focus on the quotes wherein Witt does not make a distinction between the world, and "my world". Where he literally says, when death occurs THE world ceases to exist. As well as where despite reality being the same, THE world is quite another - waxing and waning, as he says.

    I appreciate you directing me to another post, but truthfully if you can't admit how your interpretation requires you to supplant what's literally said with slight modifications in order to maintain it, that's indicative that - while you might be right in many regards - that your theory needs reworking.

    An interpretation is only viable if it can account for what is said...this is why the positivistic interpretation fell to the way side, because while in isolation some quotes seem to suggest a pro-positivism inclination, but taken as a whole, it runs into difficulties.

    Again, I'd like to reiterate that it seems that you and I agree on many of the salient points, and I think draw similar conclusions, so when I say I don't see the "work" your interpretation of this area of the text does, what I mean is, it's hard for me to see how it isn't superfluous to try and maintain the point given the fact that I can maintain seemingly similar views to yours despite disagreeing on this point.
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
    The propositions ‘p’ and ‘∼p’ have opposite sense, but there corresponds to them one and the same reality.
    (4.0621)

    If 'p' exists in the world then 'not p' does not. If If 'p' exists in reality then 'not p' does not. That 'not p' does not exist is a negative fact. It is true that 'not p' does not exist.
    Fooloso4

    Okay, so a couple of things...

    Your example is not so much an example of a negative fact, as simply a tautology...which is Witt's point.

    But, a negative fact would be something like:

    "The moon is not made of cheese".

    This would still be portrayed as "P"

    While, perhaps, seemingly silly, there was serious debate at the time regarding the status of negative facts. Like:

    "There is not an elephant atop the Eiffel tower".

    If traditionally how we think of a positive fact, like: "The earth is fairly round in shape" is that something obtains in this case. To this fact corresponds a reality. But, this got folks like Russell wondering, what exactly corresponds to negative facts?

    Even supposing your example, despite being a tautology, we can see that

    If P then not P and visa versa, depending on what obtains, either P or not P will have to be true at some point in many instances. Imagine the fact:

    "It is raining in Manhattan"

    If it turns out to not be raining, then not P is true. But, what exactly obtains here? Russell said a negative fact "It is not raining in Manhattan" is a negative fact which corresponds with reality in the true way or the false way if it turns out to be false.

    This is what Witt is critiquing here...right before the part you quote, he says:

    "One could then, for example, say that "p" signifies in the true way what "∼p" signifies in the false way, etc".

    He's saying that the solution is found in applying Frege's notion of sense and refence. Both P and not P are pictures with different senses, but to each corresponds the same reality, regardless of whether true or false. If not P turns out true, then a negative fact does obtain, and its the same facts as the positive fact, just in opposite senses.

    They do not differ with regard to the facts of the world. In both cases the facts remain the same.Fooloso4

    Correct - the same reality, despite the worlds being "quite another" entirely.

    “In brief, the world must thereby become quite another. It must so to speak wax or wane as a whole. The world of the happy is quite another than that of the unhappy” (6.43).013zen

    He makes a distinction between the world and my world.Fooloso4

    No, you do.

    He says:

    "The world and life are one" (5.621).

    Which is why:

    "As in death, too, the world does not change, but ceases" (6.431).
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus


    I’ll try again...Witt says,

    “The totality of existent atomic facts [(states of affairs)] is the world” (2.04).

    in 2.06, he then goes on to say:

    “The existence and non-existence of atomic facts [(states of affairs)] is the reality. (The existence of atomic facts we also call a positive fact, their non-existence a negative fact.)”

    The world is the totality of positive facts, while reality is the totality of positive and negative facts.

    Without going into it further, for the moment...consider that other comments in the text also seem to suggest that there must be a distinction between the world and reality. How else could the world of the happy man be different from the world of the sad man? On Witt account they are, despite them being pictures of the same reality.

    “In brief, the world must thereby become quite another. It must so to speak wax or wane as a whole. The world of the happy is quite another than that of the unhappy” (6.43).

    This is because I am my world. Which is why:

    “...In death, too, the world does not change, but ceases” (6.431).

    The world...my world, is in my mind and is made up of pictures of reality.
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
    Compare this to:

    The totality of existing states of affairs is the world.
    (2.04)
    Fooloso4

    Compare this to:

    "The existence and non-existence of states of affairs is reality (2.06).

    Even in the Pears version, there is a distinction between

    1. Reality all existing and non-existing state of affairs
    and
    2. The world all existing states of affairs.
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
    In order to conflate them there must be some pertinent distinction that is not understood. I do not see how or where Wittgenstein makes such a distinction. It is a distinction you impose on the text.Fooloso4

    Then what is the purpose of Witt saying:

    "The total reality is the world" (2.063).

    If there is no distinction being made, and he's using the expressions synonymously, this statement would make no sense.
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
    If I want to eat, a picture is not going to do the job. You do not make up a pizza from pictures of dough and cheese. This seems so obvious that I think you must mean something else, but I can't figure out what that is.Fooloso4

    Correct lol That's why there is a distinction between "The world" and "reality". In reality, I make my pizza out of dough and cheese xD In logical space, however, I can picture the process of making a pizza, without it actually obtaining in reality.

    At any rate, again reading through your comments I am stricken by similar thoughts:

    1. We don't disagree on much
    2. I am having trouble parsing out, exactly, why we are disagreeing besides how we are interpreting logical space.

    3. I do disagree with certain manners you characterize things.

    Like, you're seemingly outright conflating the world and reality, and having the world do all the work. Perhaps, if you told me more about what work you think

    A) the world does
    B)Reality does

    I feel like we are talking past each other on some things, but I could be wrong. I'm having difficulty parsing why you make certain points in response to my points.

    Does that make sense?

    Idk perhaps I'm dense lol
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
    Thank you for the comment.

    I'd appreciate some quotes from the Tractatus that shows that this is, in fact, the case.

    I know that Witt mentions "idealism" once, in direct reference to Kant's manner of thinking, suggesting that it won't do. But, he offers an alternative which is exactly what I am referring to. He critiques the notion that we see reality through some predetermined form of space, that we bring to bear upon the the experience. He critiques it because logically, this lacks the correct "multiplicity". It fails to account for different spatial relations that we encounter. If there were no space out there in reality, and we were just wearing "glasses" that tinted what we experienced, there wouldn't be inherently distinct spatial relations, which there clearly are.

    Again, what bridges the gap and ties our experience to reality? Logic. There must be the correct logical multiplicity between pictures I make of facts, and those things out there in reality. Of this, I can be certain.

    At any rate, I don't see any direct denigration of the distinction made in the work, but I could be mistaken.
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
    All facts are in logical space.Fooloso4

    What is the point, on your reading, of telling us:

    "We make to ourselves pictures of facts.
    The picture presents the facts in logical space, the existence and non-existence of atomic facts" (2.1-2.11).


    That it is pictures of facts that present those facts in logical space, if the facts are already in logical space?

    and why does this comment immediately follow:

    "The total reality is the world" (2.063).

    Right after Witt tells us:

    1. Reality is the existence and non-existence of atomic facts
    2. The world is only existent atomic facts

    Logic underlies and makes possible both fact and pictures or representation of facts.Fooloso4

    I don't disagree with this.

    'Atomic fact' is an infelicitous translation from the Ogden translation.

    The Pears/McGuinness has:

    What is the case—a fact—is the existence of states of affairs.(2)

    In German "das Bestehen von Sachverhalten".

    The term 'Sachverhalt' simply means a fact, what is the case, a state of affairs, not an atomic fact.
    Fooloso4

    I agree that the there is a certain complication caused due to the fact that one translator heavily uses the expression: State of affairs while the the other uses Atomic facts. But, whether you translate it as one or the other, it still is the case that a fact, which is what is the case, breaks down into something simpler which has the role we are speaking of- namely the logical necessity of the object being a part of it. A fact does not have this necessity - it's objects and their relations are merely accidental.

    The world is determined by the facts, and by these being all the facts. (1.11)

    Yes, they do determine the world, but they do not make up the world. Pictures do, and insofar as pictures are pictures of facts, the facts ultimately determine the world.

    Again, we don't disagree on many core points - I don't think...we disagree over the role of logical space and its location as opposed to the role of reality.

    Witt is thinking, I believe, of the realist/idealist/, empiricist/rationalist debate.

    On the one hand, we have reality, and on the other we have our "picture" of reality. What bridges that gap? Well, I think Witt's answer is the logical relations.
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus


    Sorry for the late reply. Work has been busy, lately, and I've needed time to parse your comment. Truthfully, however, it has still been quite difficult to determine, exactly, why we're at loggerheads. With that being said, I believe it's regarding how we are interpreting the notion of "logical space".

    As you point out:

    a) Wittgenstein does not say that the picture that presents the facts is something in the mindFooloso4

    I agree that he does not explicitly say this; this is how I am making sense of the notion of "logical space". Would you admit that there is a clear distinction being made between, on the one hand:

    1. Pictures - in logical space
    2. Facts - not in logical space

    b) A fact does not present the world. The picture presents the facts.Fooloso4

    I do not disagree with this.

    A Picture does present the facts, in logical space. A fact, is simply that, a fact. It is a fact, for example, that I am typing this comment. That fact does not exist in logical space, it just is...it can, however, be pictured in logical space, and the picture is what presents the fact.

    The space in which it occurs is logical space.Fooloso4

    And where is that space, exactly? It's certainly not physical reality. Physical reality is only what is the case, namely positive atomic facts.

    1. Wittgenstein is making a distinction between facts and things or objects. The world is all that is the case. Facts and not things determine what is and is not the case. That a thing can exist in a state of affairs is not accidental. The possibility of it occurring in states of affairs is necessary. This necessity is logical necessity.Fooloso4

    I don't disagree with your main points, you and I have similar understandings, which isn't wholly strange...but, I find your point here a bit muddled, and doesn't appreciate the depth of the notion of logical space. Let me see if I can explain...

    There are three things that are pointed out about facts:

    1. They determine what is and what is not the case.
    2. The existence of a fact means the existence of an atomic fact.
    3. The world is determined by them.

    When you say:

    "That a thing can exist in a state of affairs is not accidental. The possibility of it occurring in states of affairs is necessary. This necessity is logical necessity"Fooloso4

    You are conflating facts and atomic facts. The possibility of a thing occurring in an atomic fact is a logical necessity.

    Note that Witt says that the existence of a fact means the existence of an atomic fact.

    Later, he says:

    "The existence and non-existence of atomic facts is the reality.
    (The existence of atomic facts we also call a positive fact,
    their non-existence a negative fact.)" (2.06)


    This is important. Reality, is the existence and non-existence of atomic facts, while the world is only the existence of an atomic fact.

    This is because the world is limited in a manner that reality is not. The world, that is determined is determined by a possible arrangements of objects. But reality is made up of only what obtains. This is because, you cannot know, for example, that I am not a sophisticated a.i. that you've been conversing with this whole time.

    Your view fails to appreciate the common sense aspects of Witt's view without being - in my opinion - wholly wrong. But, by understanding the distinction between on the one hand, reality, and on the other the world, you see that reality isn't determined by facts it is all facts...positive and negative. The world, however, is determined by positive facts, things we've experienced, and with it comes all possibilities left open to it. But, reality, is simply what is and isn't.

    Logical space is the playing field of those possibilities, but they are lacking insofar as epistemologically it gets us only possible knowledge.
  • Our Idols Have Feet of Clay
    That is Steven Pinker's positionisomorph

    but we have not progressed as far as we think we have because we have the ability to alleviate much of the suffering that continues in the world, and much of it is autogenic, not just from natural catastrophes.isomorph

    It's interesting that you mention Pinker, because his overall thesis is simply that the world is getting better, and that this is quantifiable. A subset of his argument is that the upward trend of science is one factor. But, we are also bringing people out of poverty faster and faster, and if we accept the more general thesis, the world does seem to be working out those "autogenic" issues that you mention.

    With that being said, by referring to these issues as "autogenic", it suggest that they are in some sense intractable, and therefore the claim that us being unable to solve them is indicative of our shortcomings, doesn't make much sense...especially if we admit that by and large, some of these issues are in fact becoming better.

    With that being said, I don't think anyone is willing to admit that we couldn't perhaps do better in a number of areas, but that might always be true. I think you are right that many issues are "autogenic", and therefore one can only elevate them to a degree given certain variables. Some idealistic paradise is only as possible as having infinitely attainable resources, otherwise there will always be disparages among the population. Lessening that is obviously the goal, and its one we seem to be moving towards.

    Science has learned, I agree with you, but, humans, in their core, have not changed that much. "Technical sophistication, misprision and convoluted errors" is what I said earlier, and I still think that is a true characterization of humanity, past,
    present, and future.
    isomorph

    The degree of each has improved, though. Remember, evolution takes time. You say humans haven't changed much since the time of Socrates, and I'll happily grant that, but we both admit that we have changed in some manners for the better, and we can both I'm sure admit that evolutionarily speaking, that's quicker than a bone becoming vestigial.

    That is a truly idealistic thought. I am not an idealist, and I think we are already all human with our science, conspiracies, warts, and all.isomorph

    I'm sorry, I don't take your meaning. I, too, believe that we are human, but I also admit that, like anything, we are changing and evolving, simply conceding that typically change takes time on scales much greater and the fact that we've improved at all at the rate we've done is not negligible. We obviously have much to improve on, though.
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
    I do disagree, but gave you a chance to clarify what you meant.Fooloso4

    I see now what you meant; I was just confused because I had already been attempting to clarify all along the way :sweat:

    At any rate, yes, you disagree...and I can appreciate your perspective, I'm just not certain that its correct. I don't outright disagree with you, however. You make some claims that I agree with. For example, you said:

    What is presented "by" pictures are not the facts themselves that are presented in the picture. The picture re-presents what is pictured. It is an image of it.Fooloso4

    I agree with this. This is the same in my view.

    I previously said:

    “We make to ourselves pictures of facts” (2.1).
    “The picture presents the facts in logical space” (2.11)


    So, here there is a distinction being made between “facts” and “pictures of facts”.
    013zen

    We both make the distinction between facts, and pictures which re-present the facts.

    Something I disagree with, is when you say:

    Your use of the term 'presented' is ambiguous.Fooloso4

    If you read the comment, I am only using the term insofar as I am quoting the text wherein Witt uses the expression "presented" here:

    "The picture presents the facts in logical space" (2.11)

    So, while I understand that you disagree with me that the world is made up of pictures, we need to somehow make sense of the fact that:

    1. Fact in logical space make up the world
    2. Facts are presented in logical space by pictures

    What I take Witt to be saying is: The fact is re-presented as pictures in logical space. An exhaustive collection of all the facts re-presented in logical space, as pictures, form the world.
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
    What do you mean by constitute?Fooloso4

    What else could I possibly mean by constitute? :razz: And, your next response shows that you take my meaning.

    The world is not made up of pictures.Fooloso4

    You just disagree.

    I gave quotes which seem to suggest that the world is, in fact, made up of pictures. Let's talk a bit about them.

    We both can agree that in the Tract, the world is composed, or constituted by all the facts in logical space.

    1.13 The facts in logical space are the world.

    Witt, later says:

    ""We make to ourselves pictures of facts" (2.1).
    "The picture presents the facts in logical space" (2.11)


    So, the facts in logical space that make up the world are presented in logical space by pictures.

    A fact, can only "exist" in logical space and present the world insofar as it is a picture.

    I'm interested to hear what your take on the relation between:

    1. Reality
    2. Facts
    3. Pictures
    4. The world

    How does it all coherently fit together and to what purpose?
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
    The world is not made up of pictures. Nowhere does Wittgenstein say this.Fooloso4

    Witt tells us that:

    “The world is determined by the facts, and by these being all the facts” (1.11).

    “The facts in logical space are the world” (1.13).


    So, all of the facts, IN logical space constitute the world. But, in what sense is a fact in logical space?
    Well, later Witt says:

    “We make to ourselves pictures of facts” (2.1).
    “The picture presents the facts in logical space” (2.11)


    So, here there is a distinction being made between “facts” and “pictures of facts”. The latter presents facts in logical space, and thereby constitute the world.

    A fact itself cannot be presented in logical space, only pictures of facts can be presented in logical space.

    There are not "pictures of the world" and "pictures of reality", with one being in the mind and the other not.
    — 013zen

    Isn't that what you said?

    There is a distinction being made between reality and the world. The world is made up of pictures in our mind; reality is not made up of pictures and certainly not pictures in our mind.
    — 013zen
    Fooloso4

    No, read the two comments carefully. In the former, there are two concepts: "pictures of the world" and "pictures of reality" with one being in the mind and the other not being in the mind. I do not adopt this view.

    There are only pictures of reality presented in the mind. These picture, in the mind, constitute the world.
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
    ↪013zen Sure, sounds like Wittgenstein's approach is more of a style of Marriage between Science and Philosophy, where as Russell and the others were more of trying to make a baby out of Science and Philosophy?DifferentiatingEgg

    The discussion is centered around the ancient distinction between science and metaphysics, with the latter being the domain of philosophy.

    Aristotle said we engage in philosophy to explain why things happen, as opposed to science which explains how they happen.

    Bacon, calling philosophy and metaphysics the "handmaiden" of the sciences calls attention to this relation, and sets to set up philosophy in a manner which can be truly helpful to science.

    Descartes, Locke, Hume, Kant, etc all trying to establish this agenda at different times in their projects, set out to establish a course for philosophy wherein one could derive genuine metaphysical knowledge.

    Russell and others came in after this, and were concerned with the same project. They thought philosophy should mirror the rigor and style of mathematics, whereby things could be "proven" true.

    Witt, I think is commenting on this, saying that this conception of the relationship is wrongheaded. Philosophy can only aid the sciences by clarifying what science provides us. It can't, on its own, tells us what's true.

    So, to summarize, I take Russell and other's approach to the relationship between science and philosophy to be constructive in their conceptions. They thought philosophy could provide insights that go above and beyond science. Witt takes the relation to be more interpretive; philosophy can only help clarify thoughts for scientists.
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
    They say nothing about the world. Treating them the way we treat propositions leads only to confusion and fallacy. This does not mean that ethics and aesthetics and unimportant, but that they are so important that we should not regard them as something other than they are.Fooloso4

    I agree with this. What originally got me interested in Witt many, many, moons ago was my BA thesis on Wittgenstein's ethics. It's clear that Witt considered ethical considerations important, but academically stale.

    As you say, he suggests that the common theme of treating "the good" as an adjective, or something to discover about the world is entirely wrong headed, and leads to confusion.

    The ethical dimensions of the Tractatus have always been of interest to me, especially considering the letter Witt wrote to Von Ficker wherein he identifies the purpose of the work as "ethical".
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
    Would you say Wittgenstein was attempting to bridge the gap between the disciplines of science and philosophy?DifferentiatingEgg

    It depends on what you mean by "attempting to bridge the gap".

    Witt is quite clear that he considers Science as an activity involved in one type of business, and philosophy another activity....he does believe, however, that the activity of philosophy can, if anything, be helpful to the activity of science, without taking part in the activity of science itself. The relationship is mutually beneficial, but each is doing their own thing.

    "Philosophy is not one of the natural sciences.
    (The word 'philosophy' must mean something which stands above or below, but not beside the natural sciences)" (4.111).

    "The object of philosophy is the logical clarification of thoughts. Philosophy is not a theory but an activity...

    Philosophy should make clear and delimit sharply the
    thoughts which otherwise are, as it were, opaque and blurred." (4.112)

    "Philosophy limits the disputable sphere of natural science" (4.113)
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
    It doesn't. You make a distinction between the world as pictures in the mind and reality not being pictures in the mind.Fooloso4

    So, this all depends on what we take Witt to mean by "logical space". Where or what is logical space?

    For this, I draw on Frege's writing in "The Thought" wherein he wants to say that there are ideas, such as for example Pythagoras' theorem which is true regardless of what anyone thinks about the theorem, and seems to exist in its own space, therefore. It can exist in the mind, and form the content of thought, but is in some sense mind independent without being a "part" of reality.

    I think Witt has a similar conception. Logical space is like the the common playing field of thoughts, without being tied to any individual instance of thought.

    I can, for instance, imagine a purple pig dancing the macarena while smoking a joint, and despite existing in my mind at the moment, its possibility lies in logical space prior to the thought. Someone else can have the same thought, or may have already had the same thought before me; it isn't a genuine creation of my mind, but it is instantiated in my mind.

    Pictures and the world exist in the logical space...they mirror the logic of reality, but they are distinct from it and exist separate from it.

    What do you find in the text regarding pictures that is true of the world but not true of reality?Fooloso4

    "What the picture must have in common with reality in order to be able to represent it after its manner rightly or falsely is its form of representation" (2.17).

    The only commonality between pictures which compose the world, and reality, is the logical form of the picture and the state of affairs it is a picture of.

    Wheren does he make a distinction between the pictures of the world being in the mind and pictures of reality not being in the mind?Fooloso4

    This is tangled.

    The world is made up of pictures, and those pictures are pictures of possible or actual reality. The world, is a possible picture of reality.

    There are not "pictures of the world" and "pictures of reality", with one being in the mind and the other not.
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
    That suggests you agree with Russell in a way that I do not. Russell says:Paine

    I apologize, I must have been unclear in my writing. I was trying to say that, from Russell's perspective, such seems to be the case. I do not agree with Russell on this point.
  • Our Idols Have Feet of Clay
    I hardly feel that our idols are becoming less perverse.isomorph

    Well, let's consider, for a moment, some of Bacon's idols.

    1. The tribe, or the belief that our senses exhaustively tell us what's true.

    With the advent, development, and widespread adoption of Scientific inclination, with an increasingly upward trend...more and more people are utilizing precise instruments to collect and analyze data.

    2. The cave, or personal beliefs about what's true.

    Folks are becoming more open to other perspectives, it seems. This seems to suggest that people are willing to think outside their own "caves" these days, if you will.

    3. The Marketplace, or belief about the meanings of words, and the extent to which they determine what you take to be true.

    This one is trickier. I don't think I can cite any clear example of this. I take this idol to be remedied by practicing philosophy, generally speaking. But, I can't be certain that people are becoming more philosophically inclined. If anything, this idol might be getting worse.

    4. The theater, or acceptance of established truth, and what is true.

    This, again, I take to be remedied by the upward scientific trend. Insofar as a core tenant of science is that of falsification, and the acceptance that scientific truth is merely, the best we've got at the moment, I think we're doing better on that front, too.

    A starting point to see how this paradigm shift happens is in Kuhn's The Structure of Scientic Revolutions.isomorph

    I have a copy, and made it through quite a bit awhile ago :smile: I get what you're saying, but more people are starting to understand and accept that science is composed of the best guess given the data, and shifts in how we understand the world can happen at any time.

    This was not the case in Bacon's time.

    Fill up life with things that pertain to life.isomorph

    I think we take the same meaning here...more or less :smile: and I don't disagree that we really ought to fill our lives with an appreciation for meaningful engagement with one another, in order to determine how best we can all live together.

    By calling her work: The Human Condition, she's saying that this is the position we are all in, aka this is the environment that we exist in, and that enables us a unique freedom that other beings don't have. She thinks this unique position in some sense constitutes our proper place of action, which borrowing from the ancient Greeks, established one's telos.

    I don't think we have a "telos", and while I do agree we find ourselves in a unique environment relative to other beings, and that it does influence how we developed, think, and engage with the world, I am uncertain as to whether or not that's truly what makes a human a human.
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
    To your point, Witt never thought that Frege or Russell understood the work. The historical account, as documented by Ray Monk, shows he was devastated that neither understood it, which is the only reason he even sought to translate it, and have it published.

    Russell, again as you mention, had a particularly positivistic take on the work (since he himself, at the time, was more or less one). He, like many early commentators, see the work as trying to establish the logical empiricist agenda, which was born from positivism, and had many of the same tenants. From that perspective, Witt does seem to disregard his own statements, and say quite a bit about what shouldn't be said...but, that's because this isn't the agenda of the work, despite discussing many relevant positivist ideas, and problems.


    The relationship between a means of expression and what is shown by it is what is being discussed.Paine

    Wittgenstein speaks of language in the context of it doing something.Paine

    This is one reason why I, personally, see a common thread between the earlier and later work. The distinction between saying and showing in the Tractatus is reestablished in the PI by the fact that the meaning of a word is its use; how it is used shows us what it means, despite perhaps it overtly saying something else.

    In the Tract Witt says:

    "The sign determines a logical form only together with its logical syntactic application" (3.327).

    The sign, aka what an expression says, doesn't determine meaning...only together with how its being used, can we glean its meaning - what it shows through its use, or "logical syntactic application".
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
    Between the world as pictures in the mind and reality as not made up of pictures in our mind.Fooloso4

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

    "The facts in logical space are the world" (1.13).

    "We make to ourselves pictures of facts" (2.1).

    "The picture presents the facts in logical space" (2.11)

    "The picture is a fact" (2.141)

    "Thus the picture is linked with reality; it reaches up to it" (2.1511).

    "It is like a scale applied to reality" (2.1512).


    I hope this helps.
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
    What is the case is often subject to perspective.DifferentiatingEgg

    What is the case, is the case. What I believe to be the case is subject to perspective, hence the word subjective, as opposed to objective.

    ↪013zen See how facts change?DifferentiatingEgg

    A fact did not change, a belief did. The fact are the definite, unchanging, words that compose the Tractatus, in this case. What we believe about those facts, is another question entirely.

    Tractatus is positivism simply by the first few lines.DifferentiatingEgg

    If you would like to believe that the work is positivistic, that's okay. I believe that you will have a difficult time maintaining that belief once you take into account more than the first few lines :razz:

    If it's not positivism, defend how it's not with something other than a deflection? Show us how it's not.DifferentiatingEgg

    Well, there have been a few points brought up in this thread already on that subject. There are clear historical records, commentary, and textual evidence which suggests otherwise.

    With that being said, I have no interest in defending anything. I am, however, interested in discussion on the matter. It's not my responsibility to show you anything about the text; I can only provide quotes and my own thoughts on the matter. Whether or not those incline you to change your own views, is neither here nor there, in my opinion.
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus


    I said that it used to be thought that the Tract was pro positivist, which is where that belief comes from...it does seem there is a shift, if you read that Tract in that manner. But, nobody really sees Witt as espousing a pro-positivist framework in the work any longer.
  • Our Idols Have Feet of Clay
    Bacon's idols were, as Bacon thought, mental errors, and that is an appropriate human concern no matter what era.isomorph

    Yes, that's what I said :P I did say that, while I personally, think Bacon was being a tad bit extreme (for good reason, at his time), that today, these idols are becoming (I hope) less perverse. I could totally be wrong about that, I just wanted to establish that we understanding the term "idols" in the same way. :smile:

    It is apparent from the growth of knowledge about the universe that many ideas held in sacrosanct have been demolished.isomorph

    So, it is apparent then that ideas have been replaced with ideas. But, by what mechanism does this replacement occur? Do we always outrightly discard ideas, or do we instead develop and cull certain aspects of ideas like we might prune and cultivate a tree? Isn't it simply an evolution of thought over time? Taking what is useful and discarding what is not?

    Hannah Arendt gave an appropriate analysis of the human condition from the perspective of western philosophyisomorph

    Yes, and while perhaps appropriate, the question remains...she thinks that we are "apparently" beings meant to engage in praxis.


    Do you, personally, agree with this sentiment?

    I am saying there is an overarching human conditionisomorph

    Agreed :smile: What that subsists in, is the question.
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
    I don't think this distinction is correct.Fooloso4

    Which distinction? The one between reality and the world?

    "The total reality is the world" (2.063).

    This would make no sense to say if there were no distinction between the two.

    Or do you mean how I am interpreting the distinction? This might be fair...my only real thinking about it stems back to a work Frege wrote on the topic of "thoughts". I think that Witt might have something similar in mind, but I can't be certain.

    ↪013zen And of course, doesn't all of this rely upon Wittgenstein's presupposition of what a "fact" is?DifferentiatingEgg

    A fact, is what is the case.

    What do you think that a fact is? :razz:

    Doesn't Wittgenstein himself later overturns the logic of the Tractatus once he realizes the inherent bias in his presupposition?DifferentiatingEgg

    Later in Wittgenstein's life, while translating the Tractatus to English he went through the work line by line with Frank Ramsay....Wittgenstein, after much frustration with Ramsay, does say in his diaries that he saw certain errors, but he never says what those consisted in.

    In the Philosophical Investigations, he overtly refers to the Tractatus only a handful of times, and its rarely to outright dismiss a previous idea. If anything, he occasionally provides some commentary on previous remarks.

    The idea that Witt had a distinct early and late period wherein he outrightly dismissed his previous work developed when there was still good reason to wonder if the work was "pro-positivistic"....which the PI clearly is not.

    In modern discussions of the work, which take him to either be taking a "therapeutic" approach to philosophy or a truly "constructive" one, these two camps really see more commonalities between the PI and Tractatus than was previously thought.

    This also makes more sense, and passes the "smell" test, so to speak. Typically, people expand on, and make corrections to previous thoughts, rarely outright rejecting entire mindsets. PI is, I personally think, an attempt to say something similar but, in his own style, so to speak. While structurally, the works are very similiar, the manner in which the ideas are presented is clearly not only written for people like Russell and Frege.
  • Our Idols Have Feet of Clay
    From what I can gather...you're talking about a couples of things, but ultimately I take it to be an epistemological question?

    You mention Bacon as reference to your usage of idols, and to my understanding Bacon was using the term to identify examples of metaphysical thinking that really had no business in serious metaphysics, meant to assist the sciences - these idols do not give us knowledge.

    With that being said, I don't quite agree with his agenda - I think that it is a truism that can be taken as a cautionary tale, but it was ultimately written for a different audience than today. That's just an aside, though.

    I am interesting in hearing more about how you're using the term. Are you calling attention to the fact that there are degrees of certainty that we can have regarding various claims? If so, I am also curious to hear more about how this ties back to Arendt. I read the book many moons ago, but from my memory, praxis and all that jazz seems a different problem entirely.

    Supposing that Arendt is even right about the human condition, what does this have to do with the thesis?

    Also, hello :smile:
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
    This is even more perplexing then.schopenhauer1

    It's not particularly perplexing, I don't think. Considering it from the perspective of the idealism/realism debate, which was contemporaneously relevant. It's a commentary on that distinction, ultimately saying that logic bridges the gap, therefore there need not be that debate as to where we ultimately derive our knowledge from. Whether or not he is right about that is another question, but ultimately he is simply restating what he takes the dominant views of his audience to be. He isn't trying to explain every aspect of these views...this is why he says in the preface:

    "[The Tractatus] is...not a text-book".

    The work is written in a manner that its meant for those who can understand it without extra teaching...

    "This book will perhaps only be understood by those who have themselves already thought the thoughts which are expressed in it - or similar thoughts".

    He understand that it won't be for everyone, and that ultimately he failed to accomplish what he set out to do with the work.

    But he does explain why he doesn't provide sources or exegetical remarks:

    "How far my efforts agree with those of other philosophers I will not decide. Indeed what I have here written makes no claim to novelty in points of detail; and therefore I give no sources, because it is indifferent to me whether what I have thought has already been thought before me by another".

    Whether or not you, personally, think its fine for someone to choose to write a text in that manner in personal predilection. But, you can't conclude that this is a fault with the text when he states that he won't be digging into certain things too deeply in the preface to the work. He admits not everyone will understand it, or see the value in it.

    He thinks there is value insofar as he is, after all, doing philosophy - thinking through ideas that his contemporaries were dealing with.

    "If this work has a value it consists in two things. First that in it thoughts are expressed, and this value will be the greater the better the thoughts are expressed. The more the nail has been hit on the head.

    Here I am conscious that I have fallen far short of the possible. Simply because my powers are insufficient to cope with the task. May others come and do it better".


    That's how he ends his preface. His only wish for the text was that others come and do better than he did. Not that it somehow settled "metaphysics" for everyone. He is expressing his ideas, and as it turns out is reading and commenting on the ideas of others is philosophy.
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
    But then why even bring up "Substance of the world" in relation to objects? This puts it in the metaphysical camp, not simply "logical object". Which is it? You seem to mix form (the relation of objects to predicates.. how they "hang together"), and the objects themselves. And perhaps Wittgenstein is doing the same.schopenhauer1

    Remember, objects may be the “substance of the world”, but “the world” exists in logical space (1.13).

    There is a distinction being made between reality and the world. The world is made up of pictures in our mind; reality is not made up of pictures and certainly not pictures in our mind. Nowhere in the text does Wittgenstein say that objects form the substance of reality...its only ever tied to the world.

    To me that is a very anemic, yet present metaphysics in what he is conveying.schopenhauer1

    Well, let’s be clear.... Metaphysics is an attempt to acquire knowledge of reality above, or beyond, what we can directly experience. To present a metaphysical thesis is to attempt to explain some phenomena by appealing to extrasensory reasoning. This is precisely what Newton did with his theories, and why he was taken as exemplary of proper metaphysics, despite having many critiques.

    After Kant’s noumena left scientists truly left to concede that we have no, direct, access to reality folks were left to wonder how we could be certain of even Newton’s ideas. Einstein, still feeling the positivists ripples, wrote his theory of relativity to challenge the metaphysically bankrupt notion of “absolute space”, for example.

    My point is, whether or not anything has any philosophical merit depends entirely on it being a commentary on the ideas of its time. We don’t study Aristotle’s metaphysics because we think he was right about nature being made of fire, water, earth, or air. We read him to see how we have thought about these problems in the past, and take from them lessons which are applicable to our thinking today. Sometimes we do read a thinker because we think they got something right despite disregarding mostly everything else they said.

    I think, at least, we can see Witt wrestling with the ideas of his time, and he does a decent job of capturing the common-place ideas held by his contemporaries but also offers his own approach. That is philosophy, after all. Now, whether it offers us anything useful? I think yes.

    I think by applying some of his ideas, we can derive useful thought processes that aren’t nearly as anemic.

    If I’m puzzled about how its possible that a person can read a musical score and sing into a microphone, and have that sound be translated into electrical signals, which are then translated into vibrational energy before being re-translated into etchings on a material surface….and that we could then put a needle attached to another machine that would translate those patterns back into electrical signals and then back into sound again I can understand that there is a logical relation that must be what's common between them. What do I mean by logical relation? Well, in the Tract, Witt says that we can only think of uniform relations...that is logically uniform relations. To each note a specific sound wave must correspond, and to that a specific electrical signal, and a specific material vibration, and to that a specific etching on a material surface. And the total number of notes are same same total number of sound waves, and electrical signals, etc.

    Notice how the explanation makes sense because of that logical balance between parts. That’s at least a step in the right metaphysical direction when trying to understand the phenomenon.

    Anyways, you keep referencing a less anemic metaphysics, and I’m curious which might apply? Certainly by anemic you don’t mean simply more robust at the expense of being...to put it bluntly, misguided?

    At least what little Witt does provide can be reasonably said to be, like, well, “yea”, from our contemporary standpoint. Perhaps it was less so in the past, I don’t know.
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
    I'm sorry, none of this makes much sense and the only way to make sense of it is to "reach beyond what Wittgenstein provides" (to borrow your phrasing of objects :wink:).schopenhauer1

    Haha, perhaps you're right. I may be taking certain liberties with my current thinking, but once I have more time, I'll dig back into the text properly :P But, I think that we've come a long way, and the discussion has taken interesting avenues! I certainly have a fuller appreciation, and thinking regarding the work, than i had previously, I think. Hopefully, the same is true of you, as well.

    I think its interesting that you find we, more-or-less have similar ideas regarding the text, when you also admit that I might be reaching a bit here and there :P I have nothing much to say about that, I just wasn't expecting you to say that after starting out by saying the first part lol

    Anyways, to your point...

    Wittgenstein views objects of the "aboutness" of the atomic facts. That is to say, the atomic facts has to be about something (the substance of the world), and so he proposes an anemic metaphysics (objects), which is scarcely explained, but is considered sort of fundamental and brute and simple.schopenhauer1

    I don't think this is quite right. Remember, Wittgenstein gave clear examples of atomic sentences; they have to do with the underlying logic of propositions. Proposition are about something...an atomic fact is merely the underlying logical form of that "about" relation, as stated by the proposition. A Wittgensteinian object is a logical object, or rather, the manner in which its discussed is meant to show what he has in mind as his focus.

    Consider one of the areas of the work associated with dispelling "Russell's paradox". The "paradox" that caused Frege to have a nervous breakdown and, more-or-less resign his attempts at constructing a type-script in Leibniz's vision. The colloquial take:

    The barber shaves every man that does not shave himself. Does the barber shave himself? We know either leads to a contradiction. But this was a contradiction that first showed up in Russell's logical notation, and also occurred in Frege's.

    Wittgenstein's response is to look at the atomic propositions associated with the paradox. Suppose some set f(x) containing only men that do not shave themselves. Then the barber shaving them would add: F(fx). Now, if we supposed this set could contain itself, we'd write F(F(fx)). But, Wittgenstein remarks that this can't be correct, because while these two "F"'s have different meaning's entirely. By re-writing the atomic facts in his own notation:

    (∃ϕ) :F(ϕu) . ϕu = F u

    He says the paradox vanishes.

    Russell originally thought about the problem as:

    {x | x ∉ x}

    The set of all sets that don't contain themselves. Does it contain itself? If it does, then it doesn't and if it doesn't it does.

    Using Wittgenstein's comments, we see that he find's Russell's take rather wrong headed. We must conclude

    1. The original set has one meaning, and the outer an entirely different one, but the two sets are equal to one another: they contain the same members.

    2. Because of this, we cannot even ask the question that lead Russell to the paradox in the first place: "Is the set a member of itself?" Well, if you're asking about all the sets that do not contain themselves, I'm not sure what you even mean. A set is a mathematical concept containing elements. Russell supposed that any set could have the property of either containing itself or not. While weird, it doesn't appear wrong. We can, actually, think of sets that either contain themselves, or not. Okay, whatever, so what? Well, could we have a set of all sets that don't contain themselves? Wittgenstein says this doesn't even make sense to ask. If so, containing is being used in two different senses, but nonetheless, the members between the two sets is equal.

    In the barber example, we see when it's drawn out properly...

    The set of men shaved by the barber has a different meaning than the set of all men that do not shave themselves, and are also shaved by the barber. They may have the common expression "shaved by the barber", but really, they are two different sets, in a logical sense.

    I think Wittgenstein thought the "paradox" itself was a great example of an instance of unclear thinking leading to too much time and effort on the part of his mentors.

    I think that at Wittgenstein's time, there was a huge identity crisis in mathematics, science, and philosophy...an erosion that took centuries to wear away at the foundations of some of these disciplines.

    Serious scientific and philosophic metaphysics was reduced to postulations of "simple elements" composing an experience of reality divorced from the reality which its supposed to be an experience of.

    Wittgenstein's approach suggests, despite not overtly saying that much of the concerns at this time were ill-founded. We might not experience reality "directly", but how we experience it shares the same logic. We can be certain that we will not discover a paradox in reality, only a paradox in our understanding. But we can tease it out by properly analyzing what's going on. Russell's hiccup was in some sense, short sighted. The question was formulated incorrectly.

    Perhaps the same is true of the simple objects of Mach which influenced Russell. We might not be able to say what the ultimate constituents of reality are, but we can be certain that their logic will be contained in how the operate within our minds if and when we understand them. In some sense, the question doesn't make sense: "Is my experience of reality identical to reality?" Of course not, but whatever you understand of reality at least came from reality, and therefore must contain the same logical relation amongst its parts. The sets contain the same logical relation amongst elements, but the sets are different.
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
    What's the point of "objects" for Wittgenstein, if he already has "atomic facts" as the primary constituents of his language?schopenhauer1

    From my understanding...

    Objects form the substance of the world. Witt tells us:

    "Substance is what exists independently of what is the case" (2.024).

    And several lines later:

    "The object is the fixed, the existent; the configuration is the changing, the variable" (2.0271).

    Consider it this way...

    Pseudo concepts are in some sense, fixed. What can fall under them is changing and variable, and this is what's shown in atomic facts.

    I can say: "Socrates is mortal" or "schopenhauer1 is mortal" or "013zen is mortal" the logic expressed by the atomic sentence these analyze into is the same; it exists beyond individual instances of the atomic sentence.

    A particular atomic fact either obtains or it does not obtain. We can imagine it obtaining, even if it doesn't. But, there are possible atomic facts outside of our imagination, and yet the logic will persist to cover those new examples when we discover them. The "objects" reach past our experience, and past the atomic facts. This allows the pseudo-concept to be open to change and creation.

    Suppose we had a world with 1 ball. We'd have perhaps a handful of atomic facts.

    One about a ball existing, one about its shape (identifying it as a ball), one perhaps about its color. We'd have simple pseudo-concepts that supply the base level of the analysis. Things like existence, shape, color, number, would be within the pseudo-concept's logical framework, so to speak, ..if, somehow later on, some other entity came into existence, the simple pseudo-concepts would still contain the new complex object. The logic pervades all possible reality, in a sense. I cannot imagine an entity without some shape if it exists in space. I cannot imagine an entity existing without being able to count it.

    Or consider hearing a melody. There is a specific vibration in your ear translated by a particular agitation in the air. This same agitation can be translated onto a record which is just scratches in a record caused by the agitation as translated by some device. We can also write the melody out on a musical score. In each instance, we can imagine the atomic facts associated with 1.) the original sound wave 2.) the vibration on your ear drum 3.) the scratches in the record 4.) the written notes of the musical score.

    each has its own associated atomic fact, but the form between them must be the same, right? The logic of the scratches in the record must correspond to the logic of the air molecules being agitated by a sound wave, as must it correspond to the logic of a particular vibration on the meaty apparatus of your ear drum, or notes on a written musical score. To wildly different atomic facts, belong the same internal logic between individual aspects that compose the atomic facts.

    I want to state that I am still working through this, so don't take what I am saying as definitive in any sense, but thus far this is how I am imagining it.
  • A Summary of the "Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus"
    The above discussion was very helpful, and I agree with a lot of what was said.

    The way I understand it, when Witt is talking about the distinction between formal or pseudo-concepts, and proper concepts he is trying to get the reader to understand the logical form of each one, but he's running into problems due to language.

    Its as Fooloso pointed out, I think, when he uses variable names such as "x", in proper analysis, the variable would be replaced by a proper concept which could logically fall under the pseudo concept. Because of this, we can see that pseudo concepts like "number" or "fact" cannot be talked about in the traditional sense. We can't say what a "number" is - we can give examples of proper concepts that fall under it...like 5 or 3, but we can't define their structure in any meaningful way. We either know what they mean, or we don't, but we bring this knowledge to the table, so to speak.
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
    Again, I want to emphasize that I do think that Witt saw value in the project, but maybe had his doubts regarding it being possible in the sense that Leibniz and perhaps Frege envisioned such a language. They thought it could do more work perhaps?

    I think Witt def shows us certain things - the isomorphism between thought, language, and reality.

    Language can be analyzed into atomic statements featuring simple objects that are indefinable, and to these can correspond simple parts of thoughts - logically simple thoughts. But, knowing this doesn't teach us anything new or helpful...except, perhaps, for clarification purposes.
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
    Sorry, I've been busy with work lately.

    Leibniz did present a 'universal character' suitable for a principle of sufficient reason to be up to the task of sorting out what things are. Or at least provide a ground for talking about the fundamental elements in a coherent way.Paine

    To my understanding, Leibniz did at least provide the coherent framework for what he envisioned. So, in that sense, I agree. He tried to express what he imagined as being possible. Thinkers definitely tried to develop this, with Frege being one of them; other thinkers, like Mach, might have even been influenced by this, because I know that he, like Leibniz, thought this "possible language" should be something like differential equations.

    Wittgenstein is taking a step backwards. Regrouping after failed attempts.Paine

    I get the sense that Witt might be trying to challenge the idea a bit. He seems to follow after Frege's and Russell's attempt, but ultimately seems to conclude that the idea is actually incoherent. It seems, at face value, that the idea has merit, but if you try and develop something of the sort, you're left with nothing more than a framework for parsing language syntactically, but you don't learn anything new, like Leiniz envisioned. I can only show you, for example, that an argument is valid - that it has the proper truth preserving form - but, I cannot determine its soundness; I only fancy it sound if already presuppose its truth.


    Anyways, interesting post :)
  • Trying to clarify objects in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
    What leads you to say this? He does say:

    It is impossible to tell from the picture alone whether it is true or false.
    Fooloso4

    This is what I'm trying to get at. He's doesn't seem to be putting forth a correspondence theory. At least not in the traditional manner. He seems to want to say that while we might measure a proposition against reality in order to determine whether or not it's "true", we don't ever get, say capital T "truth" insofar as the picture tells you nothing about the reality it presents.

    I can, for example, refer to electromagnetic "waves" as waves, and it seems true to refer to them as such. It seems obvious, in fact. But, calling them waves is just a way we conceptualize what's going on, and it seems to in some sense get at what's occurring, but we can be almost certain that they aren't behaving like traditional waves.

    Perhaps this is a bad example, but hopefully you can understand what I'm trying to get at. Or I'm not making sense... I'm tired, I was out late last night lol