Apio's Reviews > Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus by Ludwig Wittgenstein
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Dec 22, 2010

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bookshelves: mathematics, philosophy-and-theory
Read from December 08 to 22, 2010

** spoiler alert ** In the preface of this book, Wittgenstein tells us that "what can be said at all can be said clearly". I took him at his word, and assumed that he was trying to be utterly clear. I think he was mostly successful, though his frequent use of the symbols of mathematical logic to express himself (and what I think was a too literal translation) made it difficult for me. Toward the end of the book Wittgenstein also tells us that those who have read through the book and understood it will realize that all of its propositions are "senseless". I also take him at his word on that... Therefore, what I take from this book is my own interpretations of certain parts which I have found useful or insightful:
1)"What can be said at all can be said clearly" "Everything that can be thought at all can be thought clearly. Everything that can be said can be said clearly."
2)"If a sign is not necessary then it is meaningless." Applied to speech and writing, this is a good guideline for self-editing.
3)"Most propositions and questions that have been written about philosophical matters, are not false, but senseless... Most questions and propositions of philosophers result from the fact that we do not understand the logic of our language." Philosophy is bullshit.
4)"What can be shown cannot be said." What can be shown is what is there. What can be said can only be an abstraction from what is there. That is the nature of language.
5)"All propositions of logic say the same thing. That is, nothing." (Why this book is "senseless"?)
6)"the world is my world" and "I am my world" This is reminiscent of the way in which Stirner's "creative nothing" is also "the Unique" constantly creating and consuming itself and its world...
7)Natural laws "treat only the network", referring to the network of propositions through which one describes the world, and "not the world this network describes". In other words, these "laws" are not in the world, but in the way we think about the world. Nothing in the world is determined, but our interaction with the world requires that we have ways of interacting with it that currently take the form of "natural laws". "At the basis of the whole modern view of the world lies the illusion that the so-called laws of nature are the explanations of natural phenomena." "A necessity for one thing to happen because another has happened does not exist".
There are other interesting bits in there, but this is enough to get the point...
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