Adam's Reviews > Notebooks, 1914 - 1916

Notebooks, 1914 - 1916 by Ludwig Wittgenstein
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's review
Jan 27, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 1900-1969, philosophy
Read in January, 2012

some thoughts I had:

“A proposition can express its sense only by being the logical portrayal of it.” Does he really mean this, or does he mean something like “we can only use a proposition to express a sense if the proposition has the structure required to be a logical portrayal of said sense”? The latter is both more reasonable and more in line with the Tractarian system.

“One often makes a remark and only later sees how true it is.” This remark is presumably a picture of reality. The Tractarian idea is that a picture depicts reality by representing its sense, which is a possible state of affairs, fact, or situation. The quotation seems to indicate that there are measures of correspondence of a picture’s depiction of reality with reality itself, and so logical degrees of truth and falsity (and not really in the sense that part of the picture is true and another part is false)? I’m making a mistake somewhere?

“Even in a picture we could represent a negative fact by representing what is not the case.” Negative facts show up in the Tractatus as well. But how is the picture not just representing what is the case, as that is pretty well the only way to get at anything like a representation of what is not the case? Note that this negative fact exists, according to W. We are not, then, talking about a representation of the impossibility of something, but of a representation, quite literally, of something that is not the case, but nevertheless exists. In the Tractatus, W. states that “the world is all that is the case,” which means that something that is not the case lies outside the world, outside reality, but we can nevertheless represent this something that is not something?

“The negative proposition excludes reality.” Hmm...

“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world. [5.6] There really is only one world soul, which I for preference call my soul and as which alone I conceive what I call the souls of others. The above remark gives the key for deciding the way in which solipsism is a truth. [See 5.62.]” Contrast with Tractarian comments on solipsism. A key, perhaps, to refuting phenomenological readings of the Tractatus?

“Art is a kind of expression. Good art is complete expression.” Hmm...

“The work of art is the object seen sub specie aeternitatis; and the good life is the world seen sub specie aeternitatis. This is the connexion between art and ethics.” Interesting articulation of the relationship between morality and art... It might be extrapolated from this that it is the manner in which some pursuits or foundational parts of life operate in relation to the world that determines the presumably necessary connections between them?
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