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Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  15,014 ratings  ·  569 reviews
Perhaps the most important work of philosophy written in the twentieth century, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus was the only philosophical work that Ludwig Wittgenstein published during his life. Written in short, carefully numbered paragraphs of extreme brilliance, it captured the imagination of a generation of philosophers. For Wittgenstein, logic was something we use to ...more
Paperback, 142 pages
Published September 1st 2001 by Routledge Classics (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)
Caleb E. Having at least some knowledge on the fundamentals of Logic is absolutely necessary to understand this work. Even after taking a Logic course in…moreHaving at least some knowledge on the fundamentals of Logic is absolutely necessary to understand this work. Even after taking a Logic course in college, I'm still not equiped to fully grasp everything this book expresses. Regardless, this work is endlessly fascinating, and I seriously enjoy studying it.(less)

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Donald Trump's latest protestations about having to fight the "crooked media" remind me of a famous passage from §5.62 of the Tractatus:
Was der Solipsismus nämlich m e i n t, ist ganz richtig, nur lässt es sich nicht s a g e n, sondern es zeigt sich. Dass die Welt m e i n e Welt ist, das zeigt sich darin, dass die Grenzen d e r Sprache (der Sprache, die allein ich verstehe) die Grenzen m e i n e r Welt bedeuten.

In fact what solipsism means, is quite correct, only it cannot be said, but it shows
Roy 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
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.


I am about to smack my
Adam Floridia 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
Ahmad Sharabiani
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus = Logical Philosophical Treatise = Treatise on Logic and Philosophy, Ludwig Wittgenstein
The Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (abbreviated and cited as TLP) is the only book-length philosophical work by the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein that was published during his lifetime (1921). The project had a broad goal: to identify the relationship between language and reality and to define the limits of science. It is recognized by philosophers as a significant
Aug 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy-etc
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 ...more
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Get your P's and Q's ready, folks, because we're in for the ride of our lives.
Or not.

Wittgenstein was living proof that androids were around and functioning during WWI. That at least this single android had a sense of humor dry enough to turn the Mariana Trench into the Mojave Desert, too.

Or was this a joke at all? Let's see.

Most of the numbered propositions were imminently clear and devoted to a single purpose: describing reality.

Language is the big limiter, which should never be a big
Jul 24, 2008 added it
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
Sep 19, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  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.

Leo Robertson
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 01, 2010 rated it did not like it
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.
Luís C.
Jun 16, 2017 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Luís by: João TGC.
Lisbon Book-Fair 2017.
Aug 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
+5 for writing this (apparently while serving in WW1)

-1 because not enough examples. That would've helped to clear up a ton of confusion (for example, what exactly is the N-operator)

-1 because I CAN

Final grade: 3/5
Sep 08, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mind-games
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 ...more
Jana Light
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book, my first by Wittgenstein, a book about the essential function of language and a sort of "theory of everything" of meaning. It starts off as a very cool, clear-eyed, incisive look at what language is, what it does, and how we can cull it to its essence to say something meaningful and true, then ends on an oddly metaphysical note that seems to throw everything that preceded it to the wind.

The format is as economical and mathematical as Wittgenstein's arguments. It is
Jun 10, 2013 rated it did not like it
Boring, Absurd, False. The foundation for the most mindless philosophy to have ever subsisted.
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. ...more
Nov 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
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.
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is, alongside Heidegger's Being and Time and Wittgenstein's own posthumous Philosophical Investigation, one of the most important works of 20th Century philosophy. It is also one of the very few - the only? - "Great Books" or "Classics" in the analytical tradition. I would further maintain - and have always maintained - that it is among the most beautiful books ever written.

Composed in the trenches of the First World War, the Tractatus is as much a
Jun 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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?
Sure, it's not the easiest thing to comprehend given Wittgenstein's autistic-child writing style, and sure, it's not something I agree with that often, given both my materialist leanings and my greater love of Wittgenstein's later repudiations of his earlier work. Is this important and influential? God yes. Does that make it worth reading? Probably. Did I enjoy it? No, not at all, especially given that the logical positivist program it inspired -- while equally important and influential -- ...more
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
After reading the Tractacus, reading Russel's summary is a MUST. What Witty says in 10 pages, Russel can say in a paragraph, with half the difficulty. Nontheless, the little parts I was able to understand where truly astonishing. I will definately come back to it sometime in the future.

Also, it is false that you can read this without reading anything before(as some online forums may lead you to believe). Reading Frege and Principia Mathematica before reading the Tractacus is essential.
Jon Stout
Jul 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  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 ...more
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Revisiting this with formal logic and knowledge of Frege and Russell under my belt changed the experience tremendously. It reveals a work as strange and idiosyncratic in approach as it is insightful. For example universal generality, a very basic operator (i.e. -all- men are moral), is something Witt provides good reasons for being skeptical of, though the point presses more on what we assume when we use them rather than their use, and I feel you first have to take (x) for granted before finding ...more
Jun 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
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
Nick Black
Jul 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
May 07, 2008 rated it did not like it
The Tractatus is a mesmerizing pile of poo. I spent a semester trying to understand whatever it was that Wittgenstein seemed to have stumbled upon... it turns out that this is just nothing more than an engineer writing bad poetry. Crap. Absolute crap..

"Whereof that which we cannot speak we must pass over in silence." What the devil is this? It's a coward's way out. Translation: "I can't roll with the big dogs so I'm going to take my ball and go home."

If you want to read some philosophy, go
Feb 04, 2009 rated it did not like it
It was like reading bad poetry written by an engineer who cannot think outside the box. I did not really enjoy it.

But I do admit that I have not read too many philosophical essays yet, so this book might not have been ready for me yet (yeah, Wittisteini, how do you like the logical form of THAT sentence? =D )

So sadly, although I had asked myself a few of the questions Wittgenstein claims to deal with in his little book, I could not really take useful inspiration or substance with me from his
Ian "Marvin" Graye
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)
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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.

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