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Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus: Centenary Edition

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This renewed edition of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, exactly a century after Wittgenstein's release, presents the text in a hierarchical manner, "which is the way in which the book was composed and in which Wittgenstein arranged (selected and supplemented) the best of the philosophical remarks that he had been writing since 1913" (Peter Hacker). That tree-like reading is recommended by Wittgenstein himself in the sole footnote of his book, in which he suggests that the inner logical structure of the text is set by the decimal numbers of its propositions. "They alone - the Author will add - give the book perspicuity and clearness, and without this numbering it would be an incomprehensible jumble". Indeed, the compact and intricate sequence of the traditional presentation is only a rigorous logical bet, but only a logical machine or a robot can unravel the tangle: for an ordinary human understanding that does not exploit its numbering, the book remains "an incomprehensible jumble".

In the present disposition, instead, all horizontal and vertical references become directly manifest and any reader can enjoy the fine architecture and the elegant reasoning of Wittgenstein's work. Every page is an actual reading unit, perfectly coherent and complete. The Tractatus becomes comprehensible also to unskilled readers, of course at more or less deep levels, while a scholar or a more practised reader can detect suggestions and meanings that had remained, until now, completely hidden. A historical note shows in which manner the new structural perspective sheds new light also in the compositional manuscript we have, which "writing units" are very similar, actually, to the pages of the present edition. Besides, this allows to rebuild the list of "Supplements" (here in the Appendix) that Wittgenstein gathered after he roughly finished his manuscript, but that he used very little in the final book.

Printing the Tractatus following Wittgenstein's decimal prescriptions required meticulous philological care and some discretional conventions: for instance, at the top of each page the commented-upon proposition is printed again, to make the sight complete and self-sufficient. On the other hand, some forcing of the text by the translators in their sequential reading could be eliminated, restoring a more literal translation. Also the famous and intriguing picture of the eye and its visual field (5.6331) has been restored as Wittgenstein drafted it, making the entire page perfectly understandable and coherent. This documented and editorial work on one of the most referenced books of the last century was conceived to obtain, and in fact gained, a perspicuous and crystal clear text, philologically faithful and relaxingly readable at the same time.

250 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1921

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About the author

Ludwig Wittgenstein

353 books2,393 followers
Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (Ph.D., Trinity College, Cambridge University, 1929) 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 two of the twentieth century's principal philosophical movements: the Vienna Circle and Oxford ordinary language philosophy. According to an end of the century poll, professional philosophers in Canada and the U.S. rank both his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and Philosophical Investigations among the top five most important books in twentieth-century philosophy, the latter standing out as "...the one crossover masterpiece in twentieth-century philosophy, appealing across diverse specializations and philosophical orientations". Wittgenstein's influence has been felt in nearly every field of the humanities and social sciences, yet there are widely diverging interpretations of his thought.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 905 reviews
Profile Image for Roy Lotz.
Author 1 book8,178 followers
June 7, 2016
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 repugnant, akin to unclogging a toilet, something he would like to get over with as soon as possible.

Come to think of it, the toilet metaphor is especially apt. Wittgenstein honestly thinks that the whole of Western philosophy has been literally nonsense, and wishes to free the pipes of thought from all the years of accumulated filth. And the coup de grâce is that, after condemning the philosophical tradition, he condemns his own work. The Tractatus is almost meant to be like a purgative—you swallow it just to spit everything back up.

Wittgenstein has fully mastered the precept that the more time one spends arguing a point, the less likely that point seems. His conclusions are so sweeping, his sentences so forceful, that one is tempted to unthinkingly agree with him. Nevertheless, after some consideration, I doubt that many people accept his conclusions. I don’t. In fact, Wittgenstein’s aforementioned fear of saying something nonsensical may be have limited him. It’s almost as if he had a superstitious fear of transgressing the bounds of sense—a superstition all the more perplexing because he places its object outside the realm of thought.

But, like most good books of philosophy, the Tractatus is rewarding to read even if one doesn't accept its conclusions. So, read it, I say! Spend time on every sentence, and savor every word, and maybe Wittgenstein will unclog the toilet of your mind.
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 29 books13.7k followers
August 15, 2016
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 itself. That the world is my world, shows itself in the fact that the limits of the language (the language which I understand) mean the limits of my world.
Donald, I believe I understand what you wish to say. Everyone else is crooked; everyone else is a loser; only you are exempt. But somehow you are unable to express these self-evident truths except in your internal language. Frustrating, isn't it?
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 29 books13.7k followers
May 5, 2011
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 subconscious upside the head for its appalling presumption, but suddenly I see that it could have a point. Hm, yes, you are first struck by the amazing chutzpah of the idea, and then you are convinced that it can't possibly fly, but somehow it does. It's obviously crazy, but also quite unforgettable. And they use it to escape from an apparently life-threatening predicament which, it turns out, was only ever in their imagination.

OK, subconscious, now I see what you mean. But don't push your luck too far!
Profile Image for Adam Floridia.
583 reviews30 followers
September 2, 2011
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 case.

1.121. What is not the case cannot be named because it did not occur and cannot be a state of affairs.

1.2 What is the case--a fact--is the existence of states of affairs.

2. An interpretation of facts is a thought.

2.1 Only logical thoughts can exist.

2.11 What is logical can be thought.

2.112 What can be thought is logical.

2.2 What can be thought is the totality of states of affairs.

2.3 While reading the case many of the states of affairs were caused by interpretations--thoughts--that were not logical.

2.4 Because the thoughts were not logical, the case cannot be said to exist.

3. Therefore, this truth-function proves that Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus does not exist.

4. P'x= ~p'X (d)//N,:Q!

5. "Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must pass over in silence."
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
September 3, 2020
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 philosophical work of the twentieth century. G. E. Moore originally suggested the work's Latin title as homage to the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus by Baruch Spinoza.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: سال 2009 میلادی

عنوان: رساله منطقی - فلسفی؛ نویسنده: لودویگ ویتگنشتاین؛ مترجم: محمود عبادیان؛ تهران، جهاد دانشگاهی (دانشگاه تهران)؛ 1369؛ در 94ص؛ موضوع منطق ریاضی - زبان فلسفه از نویسندگان اتریشی - سده 20م

عنوان: رساله منطقی - فلسفی (ویراست دو زبانه)؛ نویسنده: لودویگ ویتگنشتاین؛ مترجم: میر شمس الدین ادیب سلطانی؛ تهران، امیرکبیر، 1388، در 324ص؛ شابک 9789640012468؛ چاپ دوم 1392؛

عنوان: رساله منطقی - فلسفی؛ نویسنده: لودویگ ویتگنشتاین؛ مترجم: سروش دباغ؛ تهران، هرمس، 1393؛ در 305ص؛ چاپ دوم 1394؛

کتاب «رساله» تنها کتابی است که «ویتگنشتاین» در زمان حیات خویش منتشر کردند؛ در «رساله» نام هیچ منبعی به چشم نمی‌خورد، و کتاب تنها یک پانوشت دارد؛ گویی نویسنده ی «رساله»، که پیامبرگونه اسرار نهان را بر آفتاب افکنده، به این دقیقه باورمند بوده، که راه نوینی پیش پای کاروان فلسفه ی بشری باز کرده است؛ «رساله» آیینه ی تمام‌ نمایی است، از جد و جهد نابغه‌ ای، که هم متاثر از سنت تحلیلی، و فیلسوفان نسل اولی آن («گوتلوب فرگه»، «برتراند راسل» و «جی.ای مور») است، هم میراث‌دار سنت آلمانی استعلایی (از مفاهیم کلیدی تفکّر کانت) است، و هم دلی در گرو نویسندگان «داستان‌های انجیل»، و «برادران کارامازوف»، و حکمت، و معنویت مندرج در آثار ایشان دارد؛ شاید با نگریستن بر همگی این رساله هاست، که «ایان هکینگ»، فیلسوف تحلیلی مشهور معاصر، «رساله» را، اوج خلاقیت، و نبوغ بشر غربی می‌انگارد، و بر این باور است که تا تمدن غربی برپاست، این اثر استثنایی، خوانده و نقد و بررسی می‌شود

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 12/09/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Anthony.
181 reviews43 followers
August 15, 2008
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 pages.
Profile Image for Phil.
103 reviews58 followers
August 26, 2022
For someone who said that “what can be said at all can be said clearly” and insisted that everything else was nonsense, Wittgenstein sure has had a lot of unclear nonsense written about him. This is partly his own fault. He never published a philosophical treatise proper. Instead, most of his works, including the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921), consist in enigmatic aphorisms that lend themselves only too well to flights of speculation and imagination. Yet whoever has the patience will find, beneath the admittedly mystifying presentation, all the rigor and precision that befits the “crystalline purity of logic.”

The Tractatus is straightforwardly about the relation between language and world. The core doctrine of the book is its "picture theory" of language: A proposition is akin to picture insofar as it depicts a possible combination of states of affairs (Sachverhalten) into a situation (Sachlag) in the world. A situation depicted may or may not obtain in the world. Consequently, any meaningful proposition must be bivalent: if the situation it depicts does obtain—i.e., if it is a fact—then the proposition is true; if not, then it is false.

This sets the limits of language and therefore of thought. Tautologies and contradictions do not depict anything in particular: a tautology is compatible with any picture and a contradiction with none. These are senseless (sinloss) but are legitimate constituents of our language: they show the structure of our system of representation, and so of the world it represents. Anything that fails to depict at all—including the propositions of metaphysics, theology, ethics, and aesthetics—is simply nonsense (unsinnig). It can neither be said nor thought.

In a 1919 letter to Ludwig von Ficker, Wittgenstein writes about the Tractatus that “the point of the book is ethical.” The key tractarian insight is that there can be no science of ethics. Here the influence of Nietzsche, Kierkegaard and Tolstoy is unmistakable. Wittgenstein’s point is that the meaning of life—what is good, what is right, what is valuable—cannot be the object of empirical investigation and logical deduction. As Kierkegaard puts it in his Concluding Unscientific Postscript (1846): "The highest and most beautiful things in life are not to be heard about, nor read about, nor seen but, if one will, are to be lived."
Profile Image for Xander.
420 reviews141 followers
September 23, 2020
The Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921) by Ludwig Wittgenstein breathes a very intriguing air, which draws you in and encapsulates you as you work your way through the collection of short statements towards the final conclusion. Along this path one is utterly aware of the fact that one is treading continuously on very unfamiliar ground – ground that offers much resistance to the understanding.

Wittgenstein’s project is twofold: first, he wants to develop his logical theory and, second, he wants to explain how this conception of logic relates to the world of facts. That is, the work deals with two theories, one logical the other epistemological. And the conclusions Wittgenstein draws from them are extraordinary.

As he states in his opening sentence, the world is the totality of facts – each fact is divided from each other fact. Whether this division is finite and infinite isn’t clear to me (I guess it doesn’t really matter for Wittgenstein’s theory anyway). We perceive these facts in the sense that we picture them in our thoughts, where the logical-pictorial form of each picture corresponds to the fact it represents. That is, the logical structure of our thoughts corresponds with the logical structure of the facts in the world. In short: at its foundation the world consists of indivisible, independent facts and each corresponds to a single indivisible, independent logical element.

When we think, our thoughts are translated (so to speak) in propositions. Or rather: our propositions are expressions of our thoughts, which are themselves, ultimately, pictures of facts. These propositions are either elemental (i.e. they are the most simple, undividable units of thoughts) or they are composites of elemental propositions (i.e. they are complexes). Wittgenstein applies the (then) new method of symbolic logic to unearth the fundamental logical structure underneath (and common to) all these linguistic expressions of our thoughts. He digs up the general form of a proposition – or rather truth function – which collects different elemental propositions containing variables into one complex and generates a truth value for the whole depending on the specific value of the variables.

But here there arises a fundamental issue. Logical propositions are either true or false, depending on the particular input (the values of the variables). The particular input of a variable isn’t really all that interesting to the logician – what he or she discovers is a general, lawlike structure which is tautological in the sense that, through the propositional relations, the input rigidly determines the output. These logical propositions are thus necessary, while the particular input in the formulae, since it consists of variables, is accidental. That is, all particular facts (the facts of the world) are accidental. This leads Wittgenstein to conclude that logic is the exploration of all that’s lawlike, while everything outside logic – the world of facts – is accidental.

After developing his logical theory, he applies his apparatus to physic and psychology (i.e. scientific propositions):

“[Physics] is an attempt to construct according to a single plan all the true propositions that we need for a description of the world.” (pp. 82-83)

“The laws of physics, with all their logical apparatus, still speak, however indirectly, about the objects of the world.” (p. 83)

This is a radical stance: causality manifests itself in the world but isn’t part of physics. All laws are logical necessities and are about the relations between facts, not about the particular facts (their descriptions) themselves. The key point is that we can experience and talk about the particular facts in the world but can never transcend them. The world has no sense, or rather: it cannot be discovered within the world. According to Wittgenstein all propositions (and thus our thoughts about the world) are of equal value. That is, of no value. There is no value in the world – all questions about religion, ethics, aesthetics, etc. are transcendental. Since words apply only to the phenomenal world of experience, we cannot talk about the subjects of religion, ethics, aesthetics, etc. That is, we cannot ask any questions about them in the first place.

Wittgenstein concludes in one of his final paragraphs:

“We feel that even when all possible scientific questions have been answered, the questions of life remain completely untouched. Of course, there are then no questions left, and this itself is the answer.” (p. 88)

“The solution of the problems of life is seen in the vanishing of the problem.” (pp. 88-89)
“There are indeed things that cannot be put into words. They make themselves manifest. They are what is called mystical.” (p. 89)

And he ends his work with the infamous words:

“What we cannot speak about, we must pass over in silence.” (p. 89)

It is very easy to read these final pages and accept his claims at face value. But there is more depth to these words than a superficial reader notices. In fact, Wittgenstein has ended up in a very eccentric position: along the way he has built a self-contained and tautological logical apparatus which is entirely separated from the world, the totality of facts, which we experience in life. This apparatus is subsequently used to destroy all claims of logical necessity in physics and psychology and reduce these sciences to the status of collections of statements about particular facts in the world. Finally the apparatus is used to show how only facts in the world can be put into words and everything else transcends this world and thus the possibility of speaking about them. That is, all things outside the world (including the world itself) lack sense, are nonsense. And since the logical apparatus itself is cut off from the world of facts, the final act of Wittgenstein is to throw away his tool and end up with the only thing real: the mystical. He says:

“My propositions serve as elucidations in the following way: anyone who understands me eventually recognizes them as nonsensical, when he has used them – as steps – to climb up beyond them. (He must, so to speak, throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up it.) He must transcend these propositions and then he will see the world aright.” (p. 89)

As he himself points out in the preface, after solving all the philosophical questions – by pointing out they are (literally) nonsense – there is not much achieved. He has cleared up all the human, all too human, pretence of thinking ourselves able to talk about the world in scientific and logical terms – all that rests is our living in the world. It is not surprising that after writing his Tractatus, Wittgenstein decided he had solved (or dissolved?) philosophy once and for all: all that remained was living a life that was in accord with the mystical. He was a man who was throughout his life obsessed with religion and ethics, and so he decided to work as a gardener in a monastery (he was rejected), as a school teacher (he was dismissed due to his loose hands), as a proletarian in Soviet Russia (he was rejected and offered a position as professor of philosopher in Kiev – which he rejected). Basically all his attempts at living like a saint failed miserable, and in 1929 he decided to return to Britain to return as a professor of philosophy in Cambridge. There he radically altered his views on his former philosophy and developed a whole new philosophy which was as radical and influential as the first one.

Wittgenstein was a very remarkable man, but also a very problematic character. This shows in the Tractatus: it is as unconventional, extreme and original as no philosopher since Plato. Perhaps it helped that he wasn’t trained as a philosopher but as an engineer in aeronautics – coming from a mathematical background and stepping into philosophy at a very late point in his education he was free from all the common prejudices and restrictions which education tends to foster. For example, some academic colleagues remarked that he never read Aristotle, which perhaps is rather a compliment than a dismissal. Being intellectually free he was able to invent two highly original philosophies which are more spectacular and ground-breaking than the works of most other twentieth century philosophers.

(Please feel free to add any additional info or correct any mistakes I've made in this review!)
Profile Image for فؤاد.
1,057 reviews1,724 followers
July 8, 2017
کانت و ویتگنشتاین

تحقیقات ویتگنشتاین، همچون نظریات بسیاری از فلاسفه بعد از کانت، به نوعی راجع است به معرفت شناسی کانت. کانت با مشخص کردن مرزهای معرفت انسانی، نشان داد که بسیاری از امور به صورت بنیادین قابلیت ادراک توسط دستگاه ادراکی آدمی را ندارند، در نتیجه همیشه در آن سوی مرزها و در حیطه امور رازآمیز باقی خواهند ماند. ویتگنشتاین در ادامه همین سنت، با ریزبینی در دستگاه ادراکی آدمی، یعنی منطق، سعی کرد ساز و کار آن را مشخص کند و مرزهای آن را با دقت بیشتری معین کند. به همین جهت از نمود بیرونی منطق، یعنی "زبان" آغاز کرد و به تحلیل آن پرداخت.

نظریه تصویری معنا

اساس کار ویتگنشتاین در رساله، تحلیل ساختار زبان و نشان دادن تناظر هر سطح از ساختار زبان با سطحی از ساختار جهان است.
پس نخست به تحلیل ساختار منطقی جهان می پردازد و می گوید جهان، سه سطح دارد:

سطح نخست. جهان از اشياء تشکیل شده است.
اشیاء بسیط ترین حالت امور پیرامون ما هستند، هر چند ممکن است این بساطت تا حدی نسبی باشد. مثلاً یک میز از یک دیدگاه ممکن است شیئی بسیط در نظر گرفته شود، و از دیدگاه دیگر ترکیب شده از چهار پایه و یک رویه.

سطح دوم. اشياء با هم تركيب می شوند، و می توانند تركيب هاى مختلفى بگيرند.
مثلاً "ميز" مى تواند با "قهوه اى" تركيب شود، يا با "سفيد". هر دوی این ترکیب ها، محتملند. به تركيب هاى محتمل اشياء با هم مى گوییم "وضعيت هاى ممكن امور".

سطح سوم. يكى از تركيب هاى مختلف، در واقع وجود دارد.
مثلاً "ميز" در واقع بالاخره يا "قهوه ای" است يا "سفيد". در واقع امر فقط یکی از ترکیب های محتمل وجود دارد. به تركيبى كه در نهايت در واقع محقق شده مى گوییم "امور واقع" يا "واقعيت".

اين ساختار جهان است.

ویتگنشتاین سپس به تحلیل ساختار منطقی زبان می پردازد و نشان می دهد که زبان نیز سه سطح دارد، همچون جهان:.

سطح نخست. "اسم" ها، كه بر "اشياء" دلالت مى كنند.
اما دلالت چیست؟ دلالت رابطه ایست قراردادی و جعلی بین اسم و شیء متناظر با آن. بين كلمه ى "م-ی-ز" و ميز واقعى رابطه ای وجود ندارد. بلکه این ماییم که با قرارداد تصميم گرفتيم كلمه ى "م-ى-ز" را بر میز واقعی اطلاق کنیم. رابطه ى اسم ها و اشياء اين گونه است.

سطح دوم. "گزاره" ها، "وضعيت هاى ممكن امور" را "تصوير" مى كنند.
اما تصویر چیست؟ تصویر رابطه ایست حقیقی بین گزاره و وضعیت امور متناظر با آن. به این شکل که بين اسم ها (که با ترکیب خود گزاره را می سازند) رابطه ای وجود دارد، كه شبيه همان رابطه ى بين اشياء است (که با ترکیب خود وضعیت امور ممکن را می سازند). بر عكس "دلالت" كه گفتيم اسم و شىء با هم ارتباطى ندارند و رابطه به کلی قراردادی است، در "تصوير" گزاره با وضعيت ممكن امور ارتباط واقعى دارد و این دو واقعاً شبیه به هم هستند. رابطه ى گزاره و وضعيت ممكن امور اين گونه است.

سطح سوم. گفتيم به آن وضعيت ممكن امور كه در واقع محقق شده باشد، مى گوییم "واقعيت". حال اگر گزاره (كه تصوير يک وضعيت ممكن است) مطابق واقعيت باشد، "صادق" است، و اگر مطابق واقعيت نباشد، "كاذب".
مثلاً در واقع ميز سفيد است. ما دو گزاره داريم:
الف: ميز قهوه اى است. (يك وضعيت ممكن ميز)
ب: ميز سفيد است. (يك وضعيت ديگر ممكن ميز)
از اين دو وضعيت ميز، ميز در واقع فقط يك وضعيت را دارد: سفيد. گزاره ای كه متناسب این وضعيت است، صادق است و آن که متناسب نیست، کاذب.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,967 followers
March 10, 2019
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 surprise, but he insists that all reality that is, can be explained clearly.

Unfortunately, Wittgenstein, the big brilliant man that he is, was fundamentally incapable of describing or CLEARLY STATING his philosophy. Or using any object in his philosophy for the purposes of further elucidation.

The resulting numbered tracts and use of Formal Logic were used to numb the biological minds reading it... but there is good news! It did help out with the translation problems for future AIs reviewing this work!

Difficult to read? You have no idea. Really. Or perhaps you do if you use chalkboards. But THIS work of philosophy is the target for that old joke:

"What's the difference between a mathematician and a philosopher?
Mathematicians know how to use an eraser."

The logical problem of describing only physics in any positive way while never coming down hard on absolute statements -- like the way we only hypothesize that the sun will come up tomorrow -- eventually curled around itself in very strange ways, like the problem of including your own description in with the description itself.

It keeps adding to the problem of description, mathematically, until the recursion explodes your head or makes you divide by zero. (Same difference, really.)

It presages, at least in part, Goedel's Incompleteness Theorem. Also, P=NP. As in, is it possible to include the index to your library in with the library itself, or do you need to make a brand new card catalog system every time to include the original index? The time it takes to prove a thing is disproportionately large (or impossible) compared to the FACT OF THE SOLUTION.

This goes beyond logical fallacy. It's a real thing we still deal with. And yet, Wittgenstein throws out the baby with the bathwater at the very end. He makes a beautiful house of cards and claps his hands, making us wake up after the long novel with a classic, "and it was only a dream."

Am I kinda pissed? First by having been bored to tears and misunderstanding a handful of DENSE and OBLIQUE propositions that refer to undefined and objectless other works, unlike the careful analysis he made at the start? Yeah. I am.

And like his reference to covering your right hand with your left while also covering your left with your right, this text attempts to disprove everything -- firmly.

It makes me believe, once again, that formal logic, while glorious in one way, is an absolute horseradish in another.

I recommend this for anyone in love with highly complicated logical mazes and other computer science majors. YOU MUST HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR OR YOU WILL DIE. Or kill someone. One, or the other.
Profile Image for Jafar.
728 reviews235 followers
August 31, 2008
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 the beginning of the book he says: “Perhaps this book will be understood only by someone who has himself already had the thoughts that are expressed in it.” That was bad news for me right from the beginning. I don’t think I’ve ever had such lofty thoughts – not even close.

I would have given this book one star and declared it a heap of pompous and pretentious intellectual chicanery, but Wittgenstein is not to be slighted. You see, someone like Bertrand Russell, whose genius I recognize, was so impressed by this Wittgenstein dude that he gave up mathematical logic just because Wittgenstein told him so. This was after Russell had spent years on writing Principia Mathematica and trying to defend logic and set theory against the sort of paradoxes of which Russell’s paradox is the most famous one. Russell said that he couldn't quite understand what Wittgenstein was saying, but he felt in his bones that he must be right. That’s the kind of guy we’re talking about here. I’m therefore left with no choice but humbly admit that this book was way over my head. Respect, Mr. Wittgenstein!

The book has seven main propositions, each expanded by other propositions (except for the seventh proposition that ends the book). I think I understood quite a few of them, but I couldn’t tell you what the book as whole is trying to achieve or prove. Some proposition sound just so arcane that I didn’t even bother to try to understand them. Some propositions peaked my interest, like Proposition 3.333. I read it, and then it ended with: “That disposes of Russell’s paradox.” I was like: Say what? How did you dispose of Russell’s paradox in one paragraph? I stared at that proposition long and hard, but I didn’t get it. Some propositions looked just weird to me, like Proposition 6.1203 where he proposes an “intuitive method” to recognize an expression as a tautology.

I leave it to another genius like Kurt Gödel to say that he wasn’t very impressed with Wittgenstein. You see, when Gödel published his Incompleteness Theorem (some 10 years after Tractatus) both Wittgenstein and Russell tripped over it. Gödel was a Platonist who believed that mathematics describes an abstract reality, not the empirical reality of logical positivists like Russell and Wittgenstein. Gödel proved that there are true but unprovable propositions in mathematics. That comes very close to saying that mathematical truths are independent of any human activity. Wittgenstein didn’t accept Gödel’s results, and the Dark Prince of Mathematics duly told him to “be fruitful and multiply, but not in those words.” (Sorry, I just had to mix Woody Allen into all this.)
Profile Image for Robin.
37 reviews32 followers
September 19, 2007
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.

Profile Image for Leo Robertson.
Author 38 books435 followers
February 20, 2014
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 so, that the brain was not something we were ever going to understand.

Perhaps if someone were indeed smart enough to resolve all problems in philosophy then they could only communicate it in an incomprehensible language.

Then they would decide later that they were wrong anyway.

Profile Image for Evripidis Gousiaris.
229 reviews94 followers
August 6, 2018
"Για τα πράγματα που δεν μπορείς να μιλήσεις, πρέπει να σωπαίνεις."

Όπως ο ίδιος ο Wittgenstein προλογεί στο έργο του, αν δεν έχετε σκεφτεί από μόνοι σας αυτό που θέλει να πει το βιβλίο, τότε το βιβλίο αυτό δεν είναι για εσάς. Για αυτό ψάξτε πρώτα στο YouTube ή γενικά στο Διαδίκτυο για τον συγγραφέα και την φιλοσοφία του πριν αγοράσετε το βιβλίο.

Πρόκειται με διαφορά για το δυσκολότερο βιβλίο που έχω συναντήσει. Όχι, δεν είναι κακογραμμένο. Είναι όμως το πιο μαθηματικά γραμμένο βιβλίο που διάβασα. Πριν το προμηθευτώ είχα δει αρκετά βίντεο με παρουσιάσεις και διαλέξεις με κύριο θέμα την φιλοσοφία του Wittgenstein (όπου με βρίσκει σχεδόν σε όλα σύμφωνο) και είχα ακούσει αρκετά Podcasts όπου ανέλυαν την σκέψη του(συνολικά πάνω από 6 ώρες). Σχεδόν δεν ήθελα να το αγοράσω γιατί πίστευα ότι είχα "τελειώσει" με τον Wittgenstein και ότι είχα ανακαλύψει πλέον τα πάντα από το έργο του.

Και όμως... ενώ είχα παρακολουθήσει υλικό αρκετών ωρών ανάλυσης της σκέψης του συγγραφέα και ενώ το βιβλίο δεν είναι πάνω από 100 σελίδες, ΚΑΤΆΦΕΡΕ και γονάτισε το μυαλό μου. Υπήρχαν πολλά σημεία στα οποία έπρεπε να αλλάξω τον τρόπο που έχω μάθει να χρησιμοποιώ την γλώσσα προκειμένου να αντλήσω αυτό που ήθελε να πει ο συγγραφέας.

Και αυτός είναι ο λόγος που γράφηκε το βιβλίο και πρέπει να διαβαστεί σαν κείμενο. Αυτό είναι το Point του Wittgenstein. Ότι χρησιμοποιούμε λάθος την γλώσσα συνεχώς και δεν το καταλαβαίνουμε. Ότι είναι τρομερά δύσκολο να φτάσουμε σε ένα σημείο όπου η γλώσσα θα λειτουργεί με τέλεια μαθηματική ακρίβεια. Και από την στιγμή που η γλώσσα δεν είναι τέλεια, δεν γίνεται να φιλοσοφήσουμε. Δεν υπάρχει ακόμα το τέλειο εργαλείο με το οποίο θα καταφέρουμε να περιγράψουμε την πραγματικότητα. Πρέπει να σωπάσουμε.

Ο ίδιος ο Wittgenstein πίστευε ότι με το παρόν βιβλίο τερμάτισε την Φιλοσοφία και ότι δεν χρειαζόταν να γραφεί άλλο φιλοσοφικό κείμενο. Θα χρειαστεί να περάσουν αρκετά χρόνια μέχρι να γράψει το επόμενο βιβλίο του όπου αποτελεί μια συμπλήρωση/διόρθωση αυτού...

Εν κατακλείδι,ίσως το πιο ΜΕΓΑΛΕΙΩΔΕΣ και ΜΕΓΑΛΟΦΥΕΣ βιβλίο που γράφηκε ποτέ περί Φιλοσοφίας (το επιβεβαιώνει και ο συγγραφέας του άλλωστε) αλλά δυστυχώς τρομερά δύσκολο για τον μέσο αναγνώστη. Απαιτεί αρκετή υπομονή και μαθηματική σκέψη για να αντιληφθείς το μεγαλείο της λογικής του Wittgenstein και ίσως δεν την διαθέτουν όλοι...
Profile Image for Jana Light.
Author 1 book40 followers
February 17, 2016
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 arranged like a series of proofs, with an idea or definition asserted and subsequent statements building upon or out from that assertion to go deeper into what that piece of language does or what it means. In the middle chapters he includes symbolic representations of what he says language does best (and how meaning can be found), and it is fascinating to see language reduced to such simple, sterile characters. My comprehension always faded a bit the deeper into a definition or concept he got, but Wittgenstein never lost me completely. (Although, at the end he does call all the writing that preceded to be "senseless," so maybe I should have been lost and actually was lost and only convinced myself I wasn't lost because I was too proud to admit otherwise...)

While the logical positivism reigns supreme here, at the very end Wittgenstein's tone changes and he delves into a bit of metaphysics and philosophy of ethics. He first decries causality ("6.371 The whole modern conception of the world is founded on the illusion that the so-called laws of nature are the explanations of natural phenomena"), then says that propositions have no place in ethics (6.42), that "ethics cannot be put into words" (6.421) because ethical propositions require something beyond the proposition itself (6.422) and because a proposition must contain all states of affairs (if I am understanding Wittgenstein). I did not find these of his arguments convincing, and the last few pages as a whole felt slightly "tacked on," like he felt he had to say something about a larger issue than language itself.

Finally, his most referenced idea seems to be the unexpected culmination of his thought and examination: "We feel that even when all possible scientific questions have been answered, the problems of life remain completely untouched. Of course there are then no questions left, and this itself is the answer." (6.52) At the end, he almost undermines his entire work by saying that philosophy cannot really say anything, that only propositions of natural science can say anything, that all philosophy rests on a failure to "give meaning to certain signs in ... [metaphysical] propositions." (6.53) It was almost like getting to the last page of a book and having the protagonist wake up and reveal the whole story to have been a dream. Of course I think that philosophy CAN say something meaningful, so I disagree with this conclusion.... but I have to wonder if Wittgenstein really meant that literally, or if there is some other purpose at work. I really have no idea.

Side note: it is amusing how often Wittgenstein makes known that he is refuting an argument of Russell or Frege, like through the Tractatus Wittgenstein was asserting his independence from his teachers and mentors. How fascinating to see philosophy in conversation.

This book is remarkable and fascinating as an argument about the form of language and how it communicates true things about the world. For lovers of symbolic logic, this is a treat. I have to add, though, that I did NOT enjoy the e-book version I purchased (a different version than the one pictured). The text I read from was riddled with typographical errors, and the symbolic logic passages were just a mess -- some not at all helpful or readable. Luckily, I have a little experience with symbolic logic so I was able to "translate" some of the mess, but let my folly be a lesson to you all: if you are going to read Wittgenstein, get a quality, reliable translation. Preferably in print. Wittgenstein's dissection of the form and logic of language is not a place for frugality.
Profile Image for Gabriel.
6 reviews6 followers
January 29, 2008
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 number of friends I made during that time.

An important book for everyone to read, as it shows us how NOT to write prose, what really matters in life (not necessarily what he wrote about), and the value of thought.
Profile Image for Alexander.
50 reviews38 followers
September 8, 2012
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.)

Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, as appetizing a read as frozen porridge on a stick (or those "Nutra Loaf" food-bricks served to SuperMax inmates as punishment for weaponizing their fecal matter), self-immolates in a like fashion. It is a tautology-threaded suicide-vest smuggled into the Agora of philosophy, a "friendly fire" apostasy in the heart of Cambridge -- reminiscent of that daft scene in Independence Day where Jeff Goldblum sends a trojan virus back to the mothership -- a death meme, a killshot.

For after 90 pages of eyelid-twitching mental strain we are told, with barely a smirk, that everything we've just read is nonsense, because guess what dipshits, all "philosophy" is nonsense. The Tractatus is a scaffold which, once ascended, can be junked like the Erector Set of our epistemic childhood.

"My propositions serve as elucidations in the following way: anyone who understands me eventually recognizes them as nonsensical, when he has used them—as steps—to climb up beyond them. (He must, so to speak, throw away the ladder after he has climbed up it.)" (6.54)

Wittgenstein is like some Zen asshat who makes us hold a stress position for 72 hours on a tree stump in the pouring rain to instill chastened humility before an ungraspable cosmic order. Led through the inspection-tunnels and antechambers of a vast self-annihilating hall of mirrors, we arrive at the shattered terminus of epistemological overthrow that punked Bertrand Russell so hard his pipe whirligigged in his mouth like Popeye's.

Those who've dragged the lake of metaphysics know how exasperating this type of writing can be: the rectilinear sight-lines of definition, thesis, and axiom springing the trap of an illusory cyborg's-eye view of atomic reality, the circuitous maze of tautology and self-reference which seems to lead everywhere and nowhere. Maddeningly, Wittgenstein never provides a clear definition of "object," and so the elucidatory nucleus of the Tractatus itself becomes a sucking vortex of fathomless unknowing, pulling everything into thin air like John Lithgow shooting through the glass at that goblin tearing up the wing.

A gnomic breviary for androids, prequel to the immeasurably richer Philosophical Investigations (1929-1951), it exemplifies the positivist mania Wittgenstein largely discarded like a cicada moulting its exoskeleton. As enchanting as a circuitboard schematic (for hardware that doesn't function), the Tractatus is a victim of its own tense certitudes. For the "picture theory" of realism, presuming to mirror the deep structure of the logical universe through recourse to atomic "simples," is no mere coding error, but rather the grand boffo Mega Blooper at the perplexed heart of 3000 years of philosophic tail-chasing. The burning bridge to the post-Tractatus Wittgenstein -- cognitive-therapist of language-games high and low -- appears in proposition 4.112: "Philosophy aims at the logical clarification of thoughts. Philosophy is not a body of doctrine but an activity." We inoculate against disease by introducing antigens into our bio-chem to produce antibodies. We study the history of philosophy to keep from contaminating ourselves with the well-meaning-but-poo-brained fallacies of our noble precursors. (Fallacies most of us would embrace on faith sans the contingency of being wised-up latecomers to the game. Which is another way of saying that contemporary fallacies, which no doubt exist, are largely invisible to us. Fish cannot grasp the concept of water. Fallacious cognition fuels our motivational self-esteem just as caloric intake fuels our body systems.)

And so, like Gottlob Frege postscripting Vol. II of his Foundations of Arithmetic to the effect that Russell's Paradox had undermined his entire project, Wittgenstein sweeps a resigned hand across the Tibetan sand-painting of his Cambridge apprenticeship, downsizing "the Philosopher" to mere critic, therapist, dilettante, revisionist, and pedagogue.

Which is, I think, an eminently sane place to be.

Buddhist Sand Painting
Profile Image for Isidro López.
117 reviews22 followers
May 5, 2023
Probablemente haya entendido un 5%... siendo generoso XD
Creo que ahora toca leer algún otro libro donde se explique o preguntarle a ChatGPT.
Profile Image for Argos.
1,003 reviews294 followers
November 26, 2022
Wittgenstein'in dil, dünya, etik, mantık, felsefe, ve düşünce alanında yaptığı önermelerle bu önermeleri daha açan alt önermelerden oluşan ve hayattayken yazdığı bir kitap. Dilin önemini mantık yoluyla ve matematiksel formüllerle açıklıyor. Daha derli toplu bir kitap bekliyordum, sanki olgunlaşmadan kitap haline getirilmiş düşünceler gibi bir düzeni yok. BFS yayınlarının 1985 baskısı olduğu için önceden okuduğumu düşünüyorum, ama aklımda hiçbir iz bırakmamış, muhtemelen tekrar okudum, çünkü altını çizdiğim cümleler var.
Profile Image for M.moore.
40 reviews9 followers
December 1, 2010
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.
Profile Image for Neil.
39 reviews12 followers
August 3, 2017
+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
Profile Image for مسعود حسینی.
Author 26 books135 followers
May 24, 2015
اول شرح رو خوندم بعد خود کتاب رو.
شرح از چند جنبه خوبه: نثر فارسی نویسنده پخته و جافتاده است. جز چند اصطلاح نامانوس، با نثری روان و درخور شرحی فلسفی رو به برو هستیم. موضوعات عمده رساله منطقی فلسفی از هم تفکیک شده اند و جداگانه محل بحث قرار گرفته اند که این موجب انسجام در مطالعه می شود. اصطلاح گزینی ها به استادی انجام گرفته اند. ترجمه ی متن رساله با کم ترین ابهام و بیشترین دقت ممکن صورت گرفته است. مباحثی که مطرح شده است به خوبی مورد بحث قرار گرفته اند (هرچند در برخی موارد سوال هایی در ذهنم شکل گرفت که شارح آنها را بی جواب گذاشته است). شارح به ادبیات موجود در باب رساله اشراف کافی دارد و بعضا ارجاع های سودمندی به کتاب های دیگر داده است. من با اینکه با سنت فلسفه تحلیلی همنوایی ندارم (که دلیلش بر می گردد به رهیافت عمده ی فلسفه ی تحلیلی در خصوص نحوه ی تقرب به مسائل فلسفی)، از خواندن این شرح هم چیزهای زیادی یاد گرفتم هم علاقه ای در من ایجاد شد تا دست کم ویتگنشتاین را ناخوانده بر جای نگذارم.
منتها خود رساله کماکان برایم مبهم است. کتاب کتاب دشواری است و شارح محترم به برخی از مفاهیم کتاب یا اصلا نپرداخته یا اینکه من نتوانسته ام شرح او را خوب درک کنم. ولی گمان می کنم شرح جامع نبوده است.
من این کتاب را بسیار پسندیدم و بیش از همه از این لذت بردم که یک نویسنده ایرانی شرحی بر فلسفه فیلسوفی غربی می نویسد که نه تنها به معنای واقعی کلمه "تالیف" است، بلکه تالیفی است عمدتا قابل فهم و به دور از خودنمایی ها و ظاهرسازی های مرسوم در کتب تالیفی متداول در زمینه فلسفه در مملکت ما.
Profile Image for Tosh.
Author 13 books626 followers
January 14, 2010
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?
Profile Image for Andrew.
650 reviews110 followers
November 28, 2007
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.
Profile Image for William West.
328 reviews102 followers
July 31, 2011
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. Both philosophers attempted to negate skepticism, from the context of very different philosophical traditions. This is the contextual background with which I approach the Tractatus. I am rather humble in presenting my responses to this book. When I write about philosophical works that I have a lot of background information on, I am confident in saying my responses at least represent a competent understanding of the text. That may not be the case here. Feel free to correct me.

From what I can gather, Wittgenstein starts his project in not such a different fashion as did Descartes in the Meditations On First Philosophy- by asking himself what he truly knows. What he knows is that he has an understanding of the world that he expresses to himself through language. He has a picture of the world that he can describe with words. The picture is an idea about reality that may or may not be correct but that is understood as having the potential to correctly capture reality, and that captive reality can then be conveyed with language. The picture, however, cannot depict itself. Knowledge cannot exceed itself. It cannot say what it is, because that would be knowledge picturing itself, that is stepping outside its own limit (itself) and seeing itself in a larger context.

We cannot think illogically because logic is the “shape” of thought. We can only logically acknowledge that we understand our own thoughts (our pictures of the world) and that we understand our conveyence of these pictures in language. To doubt one's understanding of the world, or to doubt that the world exists, (skepticism) is to attempt to depict one's own understanding of the world, it is to attempt to think beyond thought itself, which is non-sense. Thought can only depict its own understanding, not its non-understanding of what it has no access to at any rate.

Like Heidegger, Wittgenstein feels the Cartesian tradition is a misguided attempt to think beyond the world that the subject is already a part of. For Heidegger, the subject is already in the world that the Cartesian thinker doubts, giving shape to the world by embracing his own actions within it. For Wittgenstein, the subject has already acknowledged the world simply by having an impression of it that he can convey through language. The otherness of the world is a logical proposition that we can only acknowledge we understand.

I have always loved reading Heidegger but I had a troubling thought recently while reading Michel Lowy's interpretive work on Walter Benjamin's “On the Concept of History,” entitled Fire Alarm. If Heidegger's being-in-the-world cannot doubt the light of being that shines upon him, how was the clearing through which the sun reaches him created and shaped? Was the clearing of cultural being not cut by what Benjamin referred to as the tyranical victors of history? Was the clearing that shapes being's experience not built through the toil of slaves? Is it, then, that Heidegger's being-in-the-world cannot doubt the right-ness of the dominator in rejoicing in the sun of life? For he frolics in the architecture of the tyrant, which only poses as the “nature” of the forest.

Similarly, in Wittgensteinian language, if the other is a proposition that consciousness cannot deny it understands, can consciousness doubt its own intentions for the other. Does it not understand the other perfectly, and thereby know that it understands what is “best” for the other?

Is it possible that Heidegger and Wittgenstein managed to negate skepticism only to deepen for philosophy the primary ethical criticism of the Cartesian tradition: that if consciousness properly understands the Other it does not have to question its own (exploitative) designs on the otherness of the world?
Profile Image for امیرمحمد حیدری.
Author 1 book47 followers
September 20, 2021
ترجمه‌ی بسیار بی‌نظیری داشت که فهم کتابی به این سنگینی را برایم آسان‌تر کرد؛ خصوصاً آموزشی که برای نمادها داده بود.
این رساله، صرفا بابی بود برای ورود به فلسفه‌ی ویتگنشتاین از طریق بام ذهن خودش. هیچ‌راهی بهتر از مطالعه‌ی خود شخص برای شناخت وی نمی‌شناسم. ویتگنشتاین گزاره‌های مهمی را در این کتاب شرح داد و ذهن استدلالیِ صرف خویش را برای خوانندگان منعکس کرد. این رساله نشان می‌دهد که ریاضی و فلسفه به‌یکدیگر نزدیک‌اند (نه از آن حیث که فلسفه به‌مثابه ریاضی یا بلعکس بررسی می‌شوند) بلکه نمادگذاری و بررسی صورت مسئله، صرفاً به‌عنوان صورت مسئله و نه حقیقتش، امری جالب توجه در شاخه‌های جدید ریاضی‌ست.
Profile Image for Jon Stout.
279 reviews57 followers
July 30, 2010
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 which the rest are compounded. The nature of elementary propositions is left unspecified, except that they are empirical. They could pertain to the simplest sensations (as in Bertrand Russell’s logical atomism), or they could pertain to something appropriate to the subject matter (maybe atoms, molecules, cells, etc.).

All language can say is what is in that woodpile. Anything outside of the woodpile is nonsense. Any part of that woodpile is logically based on the elementary propositions at its base. There are limits to how high one can build the woodpile. That’s all we can know, stacked up in a neat pile of wood.

The best known consequence of this philosophical system is that some areas of discourse are nonsense, including philosophy, religion, morality, aesthetics, etc. The traditional topics of philosophy are out of bounds. We can not talk about the world as a whole, the relation of knowledge to the world, the nature of the self and so forth, because they are not part of our woodpile and we cannot get outside of our woodpile to do so.

An elegant and beautiful system, and theory of language. I will refrain from whining because I can’t, within this system, do any philosophy, As Wittgenstein concludes, “What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.” I admire the beauty and integrity with which Wittgenstein articulates his vision, so that it becomes like a Zen koan.

One quibble before I shut up. The facts in the world that propositions are supposed to mirror, seem to me to be metaphysical projections. They strangely resemble propositions, yet they are supposed to be in the world. If I look out my window, I see trees and houses, but I don’t see facts. Wittgenstein says many things about facts, enough to make me unsure if I am making a valid point. He says, for example, that they are the logical structure which propositions and the world have in common. He also says that one cannot speak of this logical structure, because to do so, one would have to be outside the woodpile. So I will stew in silence.

As a footnote, all of the above is the early Wittgenstein of the Tractatus, as distinct from the later Wittgenstein of the Philosophical Investigations.
Profile Image for Nick Black.
Author 1 book712 followers
July 6, 2008
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 Tractatus for some of the most breathtaking, heart-jarring pearls of the early century. It's not quite epigrams, and it neither follows the rules of deduction nor constitutes a valid derivation, but from that magnificent, syntactically-enigmatic first line:

The world is everything that is the case.

to the sweeping, single sentence of the seventh and final chapter:

Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.

you'll admire Ludwig for his verbal derring-do, if nothing else. An excellent transcription is available freely online here, if you'd like.
Profile Image for Andrew.
1,989 reviews700 followers
December 3, 2018
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 -- proved to be an intellectual dead end.
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