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Old 12-20-2007, 07:12 PM   #1
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Wittgenstein, Ludwig: Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. v.1, 20 Dec 2007

One of the most important philosophical works of the 20th century. It is not an easy read, but very rewarding.

I have taken the text from PG. It is the Pears and McGuinness translation. I have added a picture and a TOC to the seven propositions; also compared it with my paper copy and added some missing words and italics etc.
The logical notation is different from that in the printed version, doubtless because a PG text file can't cope with the universal and existential quantifier symbols etc. (I doubt whether Bookdesigner would like them either.) However, this notation seems consistent and is not difficult to pick up if one has some knowledge of logic.


From Wikipedia:
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is the only book-length work published by the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein in his lifetime. It was written while he was a soldier on leave during World War I in 1918. 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. The Latin title was originally suggested by G. E. Moore, and is a homage to Tractatus Theologico-Politicus by Benedictus Spinoza. Wittgenstein's "notorious" literary style—his utterly sober and succinct manner of expressing himself—was moulded by the philosophical prose of the great German logician and philosopher Gottlob Frege, whose work he greatly admired.

The slim volume (fewer than eighty pages) comprises a system of short, oracular utterances, numbered 1, 1.1, 1.11, 1.12, etc., through to 7, intended to be such that 1.1 is a comment on or elaboration of 1, 1.11 and 1.12 comments on 1.1, and so forth. It sets forth on an ambitious project to identify the relationship between language and reality and to define the limits of philosophy by articulating “…the conditions for a logically perfect language.” (Russell, p. 8 in the C. K. Ogden Translation) The goal was a philosophical system that would complete Bertrand Russell's early philosophy of "logical atomism."

The ending of the book is a bit surprising, and comes to some rather drastic conclusions regarding philosophy. Specifically, it suggests that any discussion of metaphysics lies outside the realm of sense, and that it can only be shown, and not spoken of beyond the limits of language.

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus was influential chiefly amongst the logical positivists, but it has stimulated many other philosophers.
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