Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ludwig Wittgenstein 2

Hey, Wittgenstein fanatics (don't laugh- you should see how many visitors we had here for the last installment!), here are my notes on fumbling my way through part 2 of Tractatus Logico-Philisophicus.

In Part 1, Wittgenstein makes two major points:
"The World is everything that is the case."
Or The World= totality of facts. A fact = the existence of a state of affairs.

And: "A state of affairs is a combination of things."

Now, in Part 2, we get to those Objects (things).

Things/Objects: It is essential to them that they are possible constituents of states of affairs. They contain the possibility of all situations. Objects are what is unalterable and subsistent; their configuration is what is changing and alterable. Again, they are simple, but can be combined into more complex configurations, called 'states of affairs'.

"The totality of existing states of affairs is the world."

Okay, so we have the physical world. Now, let's move on to thoughts.

"We picture facts to ourselves. A picture is a model of reality."

A picture is a fact. It can be laid out against reality like a measure. It corresponds to what it represents. However, it cannot place itself outside of its own representational form. A picture depicts reality by representing a possibility of existence and non-existence of states of affairs.

"Logical pictures can depict the world."

Here, what I'm imagining is a map floating in the air above a landscape, with every point on the map extending into space to touch the place on the landscape that it depicts. But the map in this case would be language. And it's impossible for me, when reading this section, not to think of Alfred Korzybski's line, "The map is not the territory."

Wittgenstein's point here, however, is:

"A logical picture of facts is a thought."

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