Showing posts from July, 2021

Wittgenstein's Tractatus: Now With Examples

Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is a century-old this year. It deserves its reputation as one of the most difficult books in modern philosophy. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus Part of the difficulty is down to its subject matter. The book is about how language represents reality: how sentences like ‘The cat is on the mat’ manage to tell us something about the world. Exactly because we’re so accustomed to using these kinds of sentences, it can be hard to grasp just what Wittgenstein’s worry is. We’re like fish reading a book about the nature of water. Another part of the difficulty can be chalked up to self-reference. Wittgenstein uses language to conduct his investigation into the nature of language. The book is thus a kind of ouroboros eating its own tail, with all of the trouble that involves. A third part of the difficulty stems from the book’s length. It’s just 80 pages of cryptic, tweet-length remarks – sometimes precise, sometimes vague – covering everything

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