Help me! T. L-P. : What does it mean?

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Help me! T. L-P. : What does it mean?

Unread postby guitarheroguy12 » Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:22 pm

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
(by the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein)

first, just wanna say hello, its good to be back.

now that i got that out of the way i can ask you guys for your help. over the months i talked to you i grew to learn that you are all very smart people who i had no chance in the world of outsmarting, and so i now when i need the help of smart people turn to you for help.

i asked my english teacher who is great at debating how to beat my PHD religion teacher in an arguement, and he directed me to a book called tractatus logico-philosophigus, and i must say it is the most confusing thing ive ever read. so i now ask this simple question of you all "WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN!" I Can get through the first few pages befor i am utterly lost.

thanks in advance, ghg12.
Last edited by Zo3R3tZo on Fri Oct 30, 2009 1:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Reformating for the Book Club (heading added, subject/topic expanded)
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Re: help me!

Unread postby DarthRavanger » Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:52 pm

well, i've never read that book, so I copied the wikipedia article on it.

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is the only book-length philosophical work published by the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein during his lifetime. It is an ambitious project to identify the relationship between language and reality and to define the limits of science[1].

He wrote it as a soldier and a prisoner of war during World War I. First published in German in 1921 as Logisch-Philosophische Abhandlung, it is now widely considered one of the most important philosophical works of the twentieth century. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus was influential chiefly amongst the logical positivists of the Vienna Circle, such as Rudolf Carnap and Friedrich Waismann. It is more difficult to determine the extent of the influence of the ideas of the Tractatus on Bertrand Russell, since it is frequently hard to determine who is influencing whom, but Russell begins his article "The Philosophy of Logical Atomism", by presenting it as a working out of ideas that he had learnt from Wittgenstein.

The Latin title was originally suggested by G. E. Moore, and is an homage to Tractatus Theologico-Politicus by Benedictus Spinoza. Wittgenstein later refuted many of the ideas contained in the Tractatus in his later works, notably the posthumously published Philosophical Investigations. Tractatus uses a notoriously austere and succinct literary style. Though Wittgenstein's later works were less austere, and contained notably different philosophical ideas, they retained the same basic writing style of short sentences or paragraphs rather than narrative exposition. It has also been noted that Tractatus contains almost no arguments as such; merely declarative statements which are meant to be self-evident. The slim volume comprises these statements in a system of numbering, statements are numbered 1, 1.1, 1.11, 1.12, etc., through to 7, where 1.1 is a comment on or elaboration of 1, 1.11 and 1.12 comments on 1.1 and so forth.

* 1 Main theses
o 1.1 Propositions 1.*-3.*
o 1.2 Propositions 4.*-5.*
o 1.3 Propositions 6.*
o 1.4 Proposition 7
* 2 Reception and effects
* 3 Editions
* 4 See also
* 5 Notes
* 6 External links

[edit] Main theses

There are seven main propositions in the text. These are:

1. The world is everything that is the case.
2. What is the case (a fact) is the existence of states of affairs.
3. A logical picture of facts is a thought.
4. A thought is a proposition with sense.
5. A proposition is a truth-function of elementary propositions.
6. The general form of a proposition is the general form of a truth function, which is: [\bar p,\bar\xi, N(\bar\xi)].
7. Where (or of what) one cannot speak, one must pass over in silence.

[edit] Propositions 1.*-3.*

The central thesis of 1., 2., 3. and their subsidiary propositions is Wittgenstein’s picture theory of language. This can be summed up as follows:

* The world consists of a totality of interconnected atomic facts, and propositions make "pictures" of the world.
* In order for a picture to represent a certain fact it must in some way possess the same logical structure as the fact. The picture is a standard of reality. In this way, linguistic expression can be seen as a form of geometric projection, where language is the changing form of projection but the logical structure of the expression is the unchanging geometric relationships.
* We cannot say with language what is common in the structures, rather it must be shown, because any language we use will also rely on this relationship, and so we cannot step out of our language with language.

[edit] Propositions 4.*-5.*

The 4s are significant as they contain some of Wittgenstein's most explicit statements concerning the nature of philosophy and the distinction between what can be said and what can only be shown. It is here, for instance, that he first distinguishes between material and grammatical propositions, noting:

4.003 Most of the propositions and questions to be found in philosophical works are not false but nonsensical. Consequently we cannot give any answer to questions of this kind, but can only point out that they are nonsensical. Most of the propositions and questions of philosophers arise from our failure to understand the logic of our language. (They belong to the same class as the question whether the good is more or less identical than the beautiful.) And it is not surprising that the deepest problems are in fact not problems at all.

A philosophical treatise attempts to say something where nothing can properly be said. It is predicated upon the idea that philosophy should be pursued in a way analogous to the natural sciences; that philosophers are looking to construct true theories. This sense of philosophy does not coincide with Wittgenstein's conception of philosophy.

4.1 Propositions represent the existence and non-existence of states of affairs.
4.11 The totality of true propositions is the whole of natural science (or the whole corpus of the natural sciences).
4.111 Philosophy is not one of the natural sciences. (The word 'philosophy' must mean something whose place is above or below the natural sciences, not beside them.)
4.112 Philosophy aims at the logical clarification of thoughts. Philosophy is not a body of doctrine but an activity. A philosophical work consists essentially of elucidations. Philosophy does not result in 'philosophical propositions', but rather in the clarification of propositions. Without philosophy thoughts are, as it were, cloudy and indistinct: its task is to make them clear and to give them sharp boundaries.
4.113 Philosophy sets limits to the much disputed sphere of natural science.
4.114 It must set limits to what can be thought; and, in doing so, to what cannot be thought. It must set limits to what cannot be thought by working outwards through what can be thought.
4.115 It will signify what cannot be said, by presenting clearly what can be said.

Wittgenstein is to be credited with the invention of truth tables (4.31) and truth conditions (4.431) which now constitute the standard semantic analysis of first-order sentential logic[2]. The philosophical significance of such a method for Wittgenstein was that it alleviated a confusion, namely the idea that logical inferences are justified by rules. If an argument form is valid, the conjunction of the premises will be logically equivalent to the conclusion and this can be clearly seen in a truth table; it is displayed. The concept of tautology is thus central to Wittgenstein's Tractarian account of logical consequence, which is strictly deductive.

5.13 When the truth of one proposition follows from the truth of others, we can see this from the structure of the propositions.
5.131 If the truth of one proposition follows from the truth of others, this finds expression in relations in which the forms of the propositions stand to one another: nor is it necessary for us to set up these relations between them, by combining them with one another in a single proposition; on the contrary, the relations are internal, and their existence is an immediate result of the existence of the propositions.
5.132 If p follows from q, I can make an inference from q to p, deduce p from q. The nature of the inference can be gathered only from the two propositions. They themselves are the only possible justification of the inference. 'Laws of inference', which are supposed to justify inferences, as in the works of Frege and Russell, have no sense, and would be superfluous.

[edit] Propositions 6.*

In the beginning of 6. Wittgenstein postulates the essential form of all sentences. He uses the notation [\bar p,\bar\xi, N(\bar\xi)], where

* \bar p stands for all atomic propositions,
* \bar\xi stands for any subset of propositions, and
* N(\bar\xi) stands for the negation of all propositions making up \bar\xi.

What proposition 6. really says is that any logical sentence can be derived from a series of nand operations on the totality of atomic propositions. This is in fact a well-known logical theorem produced by Henry M. Sheffer, of which Wittgenstein makes use. Sheffer's result was, however, restricted to the propositional calculus, and so, of limited significance. Wittgenstein's N-operator is however an infinitary analogue of the Sheffer stroke, which applied to a set of propositions produces a proposition that is equivalent to the denial of every member of that set. Wittgenstein shows that this operator can cope with the whole of predicate logic with identity - defining the quantifiers at 5.52, and showing how identity would then be handled at 5.53-5.532.

The subsidiaries of 6. contain more philosophical reflections on logic, connecting to ideas of knowledge, thought, and the a priori and transcendental. The final passages argue that logic and mathematics express only tautologies and are transcendental, i.e. they lie outside of the metaphysical subject’s world. In turn, a logically "ideal" language cannot supply meaning, it can only reflect the world, and so, sentences in a logical language cannot remain meaningful if they are not merely reflections of the facts.

In the final pages Wittgenstein veers towards what might be seen as religious considerations. This is founded on the gap between propositions 6.3 and 6.4. A logical positivist might accept the propositions of Tractatus before 6.4. But 6.41 and the succeeding propositions argue that ethics is also transcendental, and thus we cannot examine it with language, as it is a form of aesthetics and cannot be expressed. He begins talking of the will, life after death, and God. In his examination of these issues he argues that all discussion of them is a misuse of logic. Specifically, since logical language can only reflect the world, any discussion of the mystical, that which lies outside of the metaphysical subject's world, is meaningless. This suggests that many of the traditional domains of philosophy, e.g. ethics and metaphysics, cannot in fact be discussed meaningfully. Any attempt to discuss them immediately loses all sense. This also suggests that his own project of trying to explain language is impossible for exactly these reasons. He suggests that the project of philosophy must ultimately be abandoned for those logical practices which attempt to reflect the world, not what is outside of it. The natural sciences are just such a practice, he suggests.

At the very end of the text he borrows an analogy from Arthur Schopenhauer, and compares the book to a ladder that must be thrown away after one has climbed it. In doing so he suggests that through the philosophy of the book one must come to see the utter meaninglessness of philosophy.
[edit] Proposition 7

As the last line in the book, proposition 7 has no supplementary propositions. It ends the book with a rather elegant and stirring proposition: "What we cannot speak of we must pass over in silence." (In German: "Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muß man schweigen.") The Ogden translation renders it: "Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent."

Both the first and the final proposition have acquired something of a proverbial quality in German, employed as aphorisms independently of discussion of Wittgenstein.
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Re: help me!

Unread postby Seppe Cools » Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:51 pm

Seems a boring book to me, but i've actually never read a philosophical book in my life since Philosophy is no more than a word-game to me.
At least, the kind of philosophy you find in these books.
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Re: help me!

Unread postby guitarheroguy12 » Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:19 pm

Seppe Cools wrote:Seems a boring book to me, but i've actually never read a philosophical book in my life since Philosophy is no more than a word-game to me.
At least, the kind of philosophy you find in these books.

apparently if ur smart it should be a simple read, its only like 40 pages. but it was just a total (pardon my french) mind fuck for me. :?

besides im backed into a corner because i guess word games are the only way to win a spiritual debate.
Last edited by guitarheroguy12 on Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: help me!

Unread postby willow » Wed Oct 28, 2009 4:50 pm

Seppe Cools wrote:Seems a boring book to me, but i've actually never read a philosophical book in my life since Philosophy is no more than a word-game to me.
At least, the kind of philosophy you find in these books.

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Re: help me!

Unread postby dr210077 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 6:33 pm

I moved this thread to the "Book Club" forum as it fits better in here :)
"If we go back to the beginnings of things, we shall always find that ignorance and fear created the gods; that imagination, rapture and deception embellished them; that weakness worships them; that custom spares them; and that tyranny favours them in order to profit from the blindness of men."

"What has been said of [God] is either unintelligible or perfectly contradictory; and for this reason must appear impossible to every man of common sense." ~ Paul-Henri baron d'Holbach
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