Preface

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus , as I read it, especially Wittgenstein’s picture theory of language.

I am Mika Olsson, an amateur, layman in Philosophy and Logic. Maybe that’s why my reading is straightforward. Literal, even ☺ pedantic, and comparative, looking for similarities.  –  (Pick up, for example proposition (2.11) respectively (2.203) / (4.25).  –  ”A picture contains ..” (2.203) ! )

From now on Wittgenstein’s picture theory of language shortly either PToL or ”picture theory”. If not using only (4.01) , i.e. applying ”numbers assigned to the individual propositions” (1*). When quotes from the preface of Tractatus , there is nothing but Preface (in brackets).

References simply with Wittgenstein’s notation (1 , 1.1 , 1.11 , 2 .. 7). Quotes I take both Ogden and Pears/McGuinness. Sometimes also in German (to compare). Underlines and boldings mine. As also spaces, exept propositions (4.0312 , 4.128).  –  Italics are Wittgenstein’s.

Source material with the article Something about Wittgenstein. There is also minimum information about Ludwig Wittgenstein’s career. When, where and with who he started his life as a philosopher.

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PToL did not come out of the blue, but method to realise ”the aim of the book” (Preface).  –  So, what ”the book will” (Preface) ?  –  And what is the meaning of ”the aim of the book” (Preface) ?  –  Why ”the aim” ?

While Tractatus is complex, its core can be found (easily) in Peface and then in the book / (4.112 , 4.114) , although proving then itself to be ! complex, having many moves until last line, i. e. Wittgenstein’s ”fundamental thought” (4.0312 , 4.128 , 6.4321). Anticipating, mutatis mutandis, ”.. the logic of the facts cannot be represented” (4.0312) , Kurt Gödel’s incompleteness theorem in 1931 and Alain Turing’s (negative) result (to Entscheidungsproblem) in 1936.

Showing (4.0312 , 4.128 , 6.4321) , that ”the aim of the book” cannot succeed.

”.. The book will .. draw a limit .. to the expression of thoughts .. The limit can .. only be drawn in language .. from within” (Preface , (4.114) ) .

That  –  ”.. The limit can .. only be drawn in language ..”  –  is indeed evident (simply) because of  –  ”the expression of thoughts”  –  are said, pronounced in some language.  –  (As serious as Wittgenstein is, he may have his sense of humour.)

But what is the meaning of ! ”thought” , and then secondly  –  ”draw the limit” ?

The meaning of ”thought” we have to seek from the book ☺ within. Albeit I will say these Tractatus – propositions, or ”paragraphs” as I call ”them” , even in the article, they are in place also here. (The same apply to the meaning of ”fact”. )

”The logical picture of the facts is the thought”. (3 , 3.12 , 4 , 4.06)

The sign through which we express the thought I call the propositional sign. And the proposition is the propositional sign in its projektive relation to the world”. (3 , 3.12 , 4 , 4.06)

”A thought is a proposition with a sense”. (3 , 3.12 , 4 , 4.06)

Propositions can be true or false  o n l y  by being pictures of the reality”. (3 , 3.12 , 4 , 4.06)

So, If you ask me, then  –  (3 + 3.12 + 4 + 4.06)  –  ”thoughts” are ”propositions” , which ”o n l y  by being pictures of the reality  c a n  be true or false”.

So, ”the book will” (Preface)  be an ”expression of pictures of the reality” because of … ”propositions .. only by being ..” (4.06) !

That the possibility of proposition to be ”true or false” means provable and consistent ”true or false” (4.211 , 5 , 5.01)  can here in preface to be not considered.

Also that ”propositions .. by being pictures of the reality” (4.06)  can here to be not taking into account, because of the vital thing, the basis of Wittgenstein’s ”aim” / ”the object of philosophy” (4.112) , i s  his quest for ”propositions” , which ! altogether ”c a n  be true or false” , and ”picture theory” is precisely throughout the correspondence theory of truth Wittgenstein’s method for the quest.

Here in preface it is also too early to point out, how the correspondence theory of truth derives ”picture theory” , or is ! yet in Tractatus manifestation of PToL (2.21 , 2.221 , 2.222 , 2.223 , 4.01 , 4.031).

Hence, substituting ”thoughts” for ”propositions” , which ”c a n be true or false” , answers the basic question of the meaning of ”the aim of the book”.  –  Why ?  –  The reason is Russell’s paradox.

As a corallary of Russell’s paradox Wittgenstein seems to think, that there are ! anymore, ! not yet what so ever ”true or false”* propositions.  –  Provably and consistently.  –  After Russell’s paradox a logician must say, Wittgenstein seems to argue (consistently) , that .. ”the building of Logic have to be rebuild from the very beginning”.

* ( The book’s  MOTTO : . . . alles, was man weiss, nicht bloss rauschen und brausen gehört hat, lässt sich in drei Worten sagen.  –  Kürnberger  –  Drei Worten ?  –  Wahr oder falsch !  (Underlines and boldings mine.) )

And, of course, as a logician Ludwig Wittgenstein will be complete, when  –  ”.. draw a limit .. to the expression of thoughts .. ” (Preface)  –  it concerns .. t o  s h o w  ”The totality of propositions is the language”. ( (3 , 3.12 , 4)  ←  4.001  ←  (4.06) ) :  EXPRESS  a l l  the ”propositions” , which ”c a n  be true or false .. b y  being pictures of the reality” (4.06) ; throughout some method and system in logic, based on the logic of correspondence theory.

To put Wittgenstein’s aim bluntly in one sentence, one can say, that Wittgenstein’s quest(ion) is : ”Is it possible to express in logic all the propositions, which can be provably, consistently ”true or false” ?

No doubt, Wittgenstein needs a theory of ”truth” to fullfil his aim rebuild the Tower of Logic. It is no coincidence, that a theory of ”truth” is the correspondence theory of truth, because it has to be proven sufficient ! in itself, before or on the contrary, concurrently with the quest(ion). Logically as Russell’s paradox’s corollary / ! as to overcome the paradox ; the correspondence theory of truth itself.  –  That is to say, PToL has to proven consistent.

And as said, Wittgenstein show, that ”the aim of the book” , rebuild the Tower of Logic once and for all as ! ”Babel – Tower , cannot succeed. And this (4.0312)  precisely as a result of ! ”picture theory” proven consistent : Anticipating Gödel and Turing.

That Wittgenstein’s ”fundamental thought” (4.0312 , 4.128 , 6.4321) , ”.. the logic of the facts cannot be represented” (4.0312) , is final step on the ladders of what ”the book will” (Preface)  emerge by the meaning of ”the facts” :

”The sign through which we express the thought I call the propositional sign. And the proposition is the propositional sign in its projektive relation to the world”. (3.12 , 3.14 , 4.06 , underline with bolding continues (3.14) )

”The propositional sign consists in the fact that its elements, the words, are compined in it in a definite way. The propositional sign  i s  a fact”. (3.12 , 3.14 , 4.06)

”Propositions can be true or false only by being pictures of the reality”. (3.12 , 3.14 , 4.06)

Hence, ”the facts” (4.0312)  are ”propositions” , that are ”pictures of the reality” (4.06) , and hence ”propositions” , that ”can be true false” (3.12 + 3.14 + 4.06).

And, ”.. the logic of the facts” (4.0312) means, indicates the logic of correspondence-theory. And, it is just that’s why  –  ”Logical forms are without number ..” (4.0312 , 4.128 , 6.4321)  –  the correspondence theory of truth is correct.

All ”logical forms” cannot ”.. be said beforehand .. on one occasion ..” (2.18 , 4.128 , 5.47) , i. e  ”the totality of propositions ..” (4.001)  as ”pictures of reality”  i s  undecided ≈ (4.0312) : The correspondence theory of truth is coherent  –  correct  –  and applicaple.

Why Wittgenstein’s ”aim” / ”the object of philosophy” (Preface, (4.112 , 4.114)  derives his ”fundamental idea” (4.0312 , 4.128 , 6.4321) ?

It is the main question to answer  –  Something about Wittgenstein.

An extended (proper) heading could be : Wittgenstein’s ”fundamental thought” (4.0312)  as truth-  and proof-theoretical expression of the relation between language and reality.