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Tractatus explained

Posted: Sat May 14, 2011 8:54 am
by JohniJones
Wittgenstein's Tractatus presented the philosophical community with an enigma:

Wittgenstein said of his Tractatus that
"..anyone who understands me eventually recognise [my propositions] as nonsense" (T. 6.54)

He also said of the Tractatus that
"the truth of the thoughts that are here communicated seems to me unassailable and definitive" (T. preface)

No-one can adequately explain this mystery, this contradiction. The two camps of opinion suggest that either the whole work was in Witt's eyes mere nonsense, or that he used "elucidatory" "nonsense" to display what would otherwise be a mystery.

I can now reveal what he meant, and put at rest, for our members, this well-known philosophical fidget spot.

"Truths" pertain to syntactical truths. The syntax of the Tractatus that are subject to assesments of truth are his logical propositions. These are modelled on a physical syntax or behaviour, like the syntax of mathematics. Truths refer, then, only to the elements of that syntax, their structures, position and behaviours. Thus for Witt, Tractarian truths really are truths. Just like, for example, it is true that this element or object is behind that element or object. These are physical syntactical truths.

"Nonsense", on the other hand, refers to the necessarily failed attempt of any elements (propositions in this case) of any syntax to describe, syntactically, the framework that selects them. Thus the propositions or syntax of the Tractus could not of themselves describe their framework. That framework could only be shown.

So Wittgenstein's "truths" and "nonsense" both pertain to the propositions of the Tractatus, and this without contradiction. This is why Wittgenstein said in the body of the Tractarian text that his propositions were nonsense, and why he could say, outside the body of the text and in the preface, that his propositions, in the body of the text, were true.

Re: Tractatus explained

Posted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:52 pm
by Arising_uk
Not quite an explanation of the TLP but a damm good post Johni.

Re: Tractatus explained

Posted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:56 am
by John
JohniJones wrote: I can now reveal what he meant
Don't you mean you can reveal what you meant?

Re: Tractatus explained

Posted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:43 am
by Arising_uk

Re: Tractatus explained

Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 6:49 am
by fiveredapples
The OP didn't explain what he attempted to explain, which was disappointing after suffering through his writing.

Re: Tractatus explained

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:54 pm
by The Voice of Time
Wittgenstein didn't mean with the word "nonsense" what ordinary people mean. I once read about it, can't remember what was the actual meaning he had, but it, as far as I remember, got nothing to do with falsehood or unintelligability. Instead, as far as I remember, it had something more to do with languages lack of power.

Re: Tractatus explained

Posted: Sun Apr 01, 2018 11:32 pm
by Ism
I am sorry but I think the issue here actually arises in the very first statement(proposition) when LW states ....The world is all that is the case...see the real problem of Tractatus( a series of propositions, a language- isomorphic etc...) is it cannot be used as a picture of the problems it aims to solve because it is itself constricted by the very isomorphic structure created to solve the problem: This why LW can affirm it and deny it as actually solving any philosophical dispute. it is a hard concept to grapple with but it is shown in the entire enterprise of Tractatus.
To put it simple... if the world is all that is the case then we cannot assert or make any claims that any "is-ness"outside all that is the case is at all- no being, non existence, nothingness and most importantly the logically impossible are not possibilities of all that is the case- because they do not fall into the catergory of the "world" those are the things( this isn't the right word here but that is itself a gesture towards the problem) that we must pass over in silence. The problem here is that for all that is to be the world we need some way of affirming it to be that which it is- we need to stand outside it to make an assertion about it as whether or not it is true or false but you cannot do so because that would require you to not be ( or make any propositions about it) in it - the world that is- but that is precisely the problem if the world is all that is then you have no way of affirming or denying that it is in fact all that is because you cannot know outside that- its the line that one can't cross because there is no line in the first place. So what do you do, what does LW do he states you must pass over it in silence yet if you call into question the first proposition- you doubt, you deny etc... then the rest of Tractatus falls apart because the initial correspondence cannot be a matter of logic at all.