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Tractatus Logico Philosophicus

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  9,562 ratings  ·  297 reviews
Originally published in German in Annalen der Naturphilosophie, 1921 under title: Logisch-Philosophische Abhandlung. In it Wittgenstein defined the object of philosophy as the logical clarification of thoughts & proposed the solution to most philosophic problems by means of a critical method of linguistic analysis. Beginning with the principles of symbolism, the author ...more
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Published (first published 1921)
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Richard Stevko I would not presume to say what Wittgenstein meant by "multiplicity", but am glad to share what it brought to my mind:
1. In trying to find a synonym…more
I would not presume to say what Wittgenstein meant by "multiplicity", but am glad to share what it brought to my mind:
1. In trying to find a synonym for a word, the thesaurus has a range of meanings, some of which are not near my intent, but carry one of the uses of that idea; the legitimacy of all the synonyms is multiplicity to me.
2. A lexical definition of a word often needs the original meaning (etymology) to get full appreciation of why that word exists.
3. In diagnosing a patient, a physician needs to evaluate the symptoms from the patient's personal experience, and evaluate it in terms of the physiology of the affected system, and evaluate it in the context of the chemicals in that system, and evaluate it in terms of how it operates psychologically and socially.Holding all those factors in mind is applying multiplicity.
I hope this helps.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Manny
What can I say about Tractatus that hasn't been said a million times before? Crystalline... gnomic... dense... wrong. Well, I don't disagree with any of that, but it would be nice to have an image. I ask my subconscious if it can come up with anything, and while I'm in the shower it shows me the sequence from Terry Gilliam's 1988 movie The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, where John Neville and Eric Idle build a hot air balloon made entirely from women's lingerie.

balloon

I am about to smack my subconscio
...more
Lotz
Wittgenstein was deathly afraid of uttering nonsense; whereas I, clearly, am not—how else could I stomach writing so many book reviews?

This book is a work of high art—beautiful, austere, and sweeping. Wittgenstein is self-consciously attempting to speak the unspeakable—in his opinion, at least—which is why the language is so succinct and severe. He has no use for literary niceties, flowing prose, or extended exposition. One gets the feeling that, for Wittgenstein, writing philosophy is repugnan
...more
Adam Floridia
Hmmm...how to rate a book you didn't understand at all--that is the question. Maybe like this: (?)

1. Here the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is everything that is the case.

1.1 It is the case because it is the subject of this review.

1.11 This review is determined by facts. In this case, all the facts that I came up with while reading the case.

1.12. The subject cannot include facts that are not the case because the totality of existent facts determines what is the case, and whatever is not the ca
...more
Anthony
Like many young American readers, I made the mistake of reading the bulk of this text in an In-N-Out, and now it is difficult for me to think about elementary propositions without thinking about someone ordering a cheeseburger, and, subsequently, thinking about the relationship between the sign of "cheeseburger" and the atomic fact of the cheeseburger it refers to. Wittgenstein orders his cheeseburger with the totality of everything that is the case. And he eats the whole thing in under 100 page ...more
Robin
Sep 19, 2007 Robin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: students of 20th Century philosophy
Shelves: philosophy
The ingenious work which, had it been true, would have provided a firm foundation for Positivism and provided justification for Philosophy's existence. It also would have pretty much been the last word on the nature of and philosophical limits of language. Instead Wittgenstein repudiated this view and put a nail in the coffin with P.I.

Elegant, minimal, logically crystalline. And mostly wrong.

Jafar
I was just going to write, “Of what we cannot speak we must remain silent,” as my review. The book ends with this rather affected proposition, which actually would make a perfect book review for me as well. However, it’s an abomination to read (or pretend to have done so) a book of this stature (supposedly the most important philosophical book of the 20th century, no less) and not write a paragraph or two about it.

Wittgenstein wrote this book in the trenches and P.O.W. camps of World War I. At t
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Leo Robertson
What the hell am I supposed to say about this?

The parts I understood were hugely inspirational to my own thoughts, if I did indeed understand those parts, which I suspect I did not.

What a shame that someone so clever who had decided that this book was the be-all and end-all to problems in philosophy could only communicate them in a form that often eludes human comprehension.

It's like the saying that if the human brain were simple enough for us to understand it then we would be too stupid to do s
...more
William West
First of all, it should be acknowledged that my entire philosophical background is in continental, rather than analytic, thought. I come to Wittgenstein with very little context. The only other philosophers Wittgenstein directly references in the Tractatus are Frege and Russell, neither of whom I have studied. My only preparation for reading this was a (very good) book by Anthony Rudd that compared Wittgenstein's work with that of Heidegger, finding unexpected similarities in their projects. Bot ...more
Alexander
In 1992, the SF writer William Gibson published Agrippa (a book of the dead) in floppy-disk form, a poem about his late father and the Memento-ish evanescence of memory, which encrypted itself after reading (i.e. you could only read it once). A rarer, analog edition was even printed with photosensitive chemicals that would degrade the ink upon exposure to light. (Two copies had to be sent to the Library of Congress, one to read so it could be catalogued, the other to be archived, forever unread. ...more
Gabriel
Jan 29, 2008 Gabriel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Gabriel by: Nick Smaligo
Wittgenstein says explicitly in the introduction of the book that no one has not already had these thoughts will be able to understand it, and should therefore not read it. No doubt this had a great affect on the size of The Tractatus' readership.

I, having not fully had many of these thoughts, was nonetheless absolutely THRILLED by the book--it's abstruseness notwithstanding--to the point where I would bring it up in conversation with absolute strangers, which, needless to say, affected the num
...more
Graeme
David Markson made some funny aphorisms regarding Harold Bloom's claim to The New York Times that he could read 500 pages in an hour (highly dubious):

"Writer's arse.

Spectacular exhibition! Right this way ladies and gentlemen! See Professor Bloom read the 1961 corrected and reset Random House edition of James Joyce's Ulysses in one hour and thirty-three minutes. Not one page stinted. Unforgettable!

... What's this? Can't spare an hour and a half? Wait, wait. Our matinee special, today only! Watch
...more
Jon Stout
Jul 30, 2010 Jon Stout rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: poets and evangelists
Recommended to Jon by: Ambi Mani
Shelves: philosophy
If I may use a crude simile for illustration, Wittgenstein says that knowledge, or language, or science, is like a pile of cordwood. Each piece of wood is a proposition that mirrors or pictures a fact in the world. The pieces of wood are stacked on top of each other according to the logical rules for concatenating propositions, including implication (for causation) and universal quantifiers (for scientific principles). The pile of wood rests on a bottom layer of “elementary propositions,” of whi ...more
Andrew
Patience is necessary if you're not within philosophy academia, like myself. It's not light reading but, conversely, Wittgenstein is not heavy material. In fact, it's the strict, disciplined simplicity of his ideas that adds some difficulty. The book ends on a fantastic note, either an affirmation or a haymaker to the field of philosophy. I'm still unsure which.
Grig O'
First, there are some very good reviews of this book on this very site, go read them.

For my part, the statements in this book divide into three categories:
1. "OK, so what" - banal sentences that seem to lack any insight
2. "wait what why?" - huge conclusions that seem to come out of nowhere
3. the rest - a captivating logical construct

Now, for (1) and (2) the problem mostly lies with me - maybe I should've read up on the Russell/Frege mathematical logic he keeps referencing, because the notations
...more
John Doe
I don't know if it is true that you can't tell a person how to live. People seem to do it all the time. That is what mentoring and psychotherapy are. But, Wittgenstein wanted to die for some reason, so during the first world war he joined the Austrian military and volunteered for the most dangerous assignments (hoping he would be killed in the line of duty). He was given metals.

In an Italian POW camp, he wrote this book wherein he claimed to have solved all of the problems of philosophy (at lea
...more
Tosh
I love this book, and I am not sure why. I actually pick it up time-to-time and it is really a book that can't be defined by words - I think about it and it's almost abstract. And that is the essence of the book. How do you define something abstract into words - and are words enough to describe something that can't be said, but can be felt?
Sebastian  Stange
The quintessential Ni-nonsense philosophy book.

This is almost as much a book of a creative mind than of a scientist. I somewhere read that is an ongoing challenge to understand Wittgenstein, that is certainly correct. The most important word when thinking about that book is - nonsense. For not only is the Tractatus a book that closes by acknowledging that it is nonsense, it makes recognizing that it is, a requirement of 'understanding' it. So lets think about that nonsense. A famous quote from t
...more
Les Johnson
The TLP is probably just about the best account of a wrong idea about how language functions. Wittgenstein's later work attacks the fundamental idea in TLP and replaces it with another that was also hugely influential, not least because it also represented a new attitude to doing philosophy.

We can read the TLP as though the question it answers is: "How does language get a grip on the world?" As though language was like ivy on a wall and we ask what is under the surface of leaves that we can not
...more
Rowland Bismark
Mathematics is a logical method derived from the repeated application of operations. The number 2, for instance, is the exponent given to an operation that is applied twice. Thus, the propositions of mathematics do not say anything about the world, but only reflect the method in which propositions are constructed.

The laws of science are not logical laws, nor are they empirical observations. Rather, they constitute an interpretive method, by means of which we can more accurately describe reality.
...more
Nick Black
A beautiful little book about language and thought, done in by Wittgenstein's lack of mathematical training to this point (it was written in the trenches of the Austro-Hungarian ostfront and the Italian POW camps of Cassino, and published only with the help of Russell and Ogden -- indeed, Ogden gave the book its title). Look to the Philosophical Investigations for "Wittgenstein II", the much more useful side of Ludwig's career (well after he'd left Logical Positivism behind), but read the Tra ...more
James
This is a classic of the era of logical postivism. With the blessing of Bertrand Russell it became an influential text at least until its author threw it overboard for a new approach with his Philosophical Investigations.
The early Wittgenstein was concerned with the relationship between propositions and the world, and hoped that by providing an account of this relationship all philosophical problems could be solved; these problems arise, he thought, because the logic of language is not evident
...more
Jamie
A friend told me that someone bringing Wittgenstein up in a conversation was the very definition of pretentiousness. So I'm pretentious. Live with it. Even though part of the reason that I read this was to impress my friends, I also hoped to gain something from it. Wittgenstein, after all, is an interesting character. In the end, I'm not sure that I gained much from the book---I don't feel bad about this, since Wittgenstein told the philosophers of his day who had embraced the book that they tot ...more
La pointe de la sauce
The seminal work of Ludwig Wittgenstein and it reads like poetry. There is something inherently wrong with Tractatus, it seems logically sound when you take its elements or logical propositions one at at time, however when you work it all into one unified body there are many conflicts. Wittgenstein bothers me because there is something snotty about how he presents his work, its like he's trying to pick a fight and has set the playing field exactly how he wants it.

Anyway, it sounded a bit too pr
...more
Ian Klappenskoff
An Unutterable History of Complete and Utter Stuff and Nonsense in Reverse

"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent."

Wittgenstein, 1922

"Thou canst not know what is not - that is impossible - nor utter it; for it is the same thing that can be thought and that can be."

Parmenides, a long, long time ago (before 450 BC)
M.moore
Absolutely trite and unconvincing. A bloodless and conceited bore, organized as though by a severe autistic. The assumptions about cognition are laughably archaic, and the popularity of this work is a thorn in my throat.
Matthew
I had a hard time thinking of how to rate this book. It was, literally, amazing. It also made me miserable.

Do I recognize its genius? Yes, to the extent possible. Do I like it? Only in the abstract.
Marts  (Thinker)
A pivotal philosophical work by Wittgenstein, which must be approached with an open mind and carefully reviewed and pondered on.
Apio
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Frankie
Tractatus gave me a dull, achy throbbing behind my eyes. I have to admit most of it is beyond me. I made attempts to research the sudden downpour of terms, but even wikipedia was no help. I flashed back to my struggles with Baudrillard and his nonsense. He does appear to be pretty pompous when he makes adjustments to Russell's and Frege's work. Thankfully, by the fourth of seven points, I began to grasp a little of his thinking, though I may never understand what's going on with those formulas.

T
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bilingual edition? 5 69 Mar 29, 2013 06:31PM  
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius
  • Naming and Necessity
  • Word and Object
  • Language, Truth, and Logic
  • The Foundations of Arithmetic: A Logico-Mathematical Enquiry into the Concept of Number
  • A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge
  • Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge
  • Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature
  • Principia Ethica (Philosophical Classics)
  • The Problems of Philosophy
  • The Logic of Scientific Discovery
  • How to Do Things with Words
  • Truth and Method
  • Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics
  • Basic Writings: Ten Key Essays, plus the Introduction to Being and Time
  • Phenomenology of Spirit
  • A Treatise of Human Nature
  • The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1
7672
Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (26 April 1889 – 29 April 1951) was an Austrian-British philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language.

Described by Bertrand Russell as "the most perfect example I have ever known of genius as traditionally conceived, passionate, profound, intense, and dominating", he helped inspire t
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“Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.” 276 likes
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