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Ideas of Ludwig Wittgenstein, by Text

[Austrian, 1889 - 1951, Born Vienna. Aeronautics at Manchester, then philosophy with Russell in Cambridge. Austrian army in WWI. Teacher in the Alps, then back to Cambridge. Died in Cambridge.]

1915 Notebooks 1914-1916
37 p.28 'And' and 'not' are non-referring terms, which do not represent anything
23e p.23 A statement's logical form derives entirely from its constituents
4 p.973 We can dispense with self-evidence, if language itself prevents logical mistakes
46e p.46 Analysis complicates a statement, but only as far as the complexity of its meaning
end p.171 Absolute prohibitions are the essence of ethics, and suicide is the most obvious example
1920 Letter to Russell
p.18 The main problem of philosophy is what can and cannot be thought and expressed
1921 Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
p.6 Wittgenstein convinced Russell that logic is tautologies, not Platonic forms
p.8 The 'Tractatus' is instrumentalist about laws of nature
p.12 Wittgenstein hated logicism, and described is as a cancerous growth
p.14 Wittgenstein's picture theory is the best version of the correspondence theory of truth
p.18 What can be said is what can be thought, so language shows the limits of thought
p.35 All truths have truth-makers, but only atomic truths correspond to them
p.36 Language is [propositions-elementary propositions-names]; reality is [facts-states of affairs-objects]
p.38 Logic and maths can't say anything about the world, since, as tautologies, they are consistent with all realities
p.71 The 'Tractatus' is an extreme example of 'Logical Atomism'
p.74 The best account of truth-making is isomorphism
p.88 Wittgenstein is right that logic is just tautologies
p.228 Logical truths are just 'by-products' of the introduction rules for logical constants
p.286 The sign of identity is not allowed in 'Tractatus'
1 - 1.2 p.5 The world is facts, not things. Facts determine the world, and the world divides into facts
2.0123 p.6 To know an object you must know all its possible occurrences
2.0201 p.7 All complex statements can be resolved into constituents and descriptions
2.0233 p.7 Two objects may only differ in being different
2.1511-5 p.9 Pictures reach out to or feel reality, touching at the edges, correlating in its parts
3.203/3.26 p.12 A name is primitive, and its meaning is the object
3.328 p.16 If a sign is useless it is meaningless; that is the point of Ockham's maxim
4.0031 p.109 Apparent logical form may not be real logical form
4.024 p.21 To understand a proposition means to know what is the case if it is true
4.0312 p.22 My fundamental idea is that the 'logical constants' do not represent
4.123 p.27 A relation is internal if it is unthinkable that its object should not possess it
4.1252 p.27 The order of numbers is an internal relation, not an external one
4.1272 p.29 'Object' is a pseudo-concept, properly indicated in logic by the variable x
5.132 p.39 If q implies p, that is justified by q and p, not by some 'laws' of inference
5.1363 p.972 If the truth doesn't follow from self-evidence, then self-evidence cannot justify a truth
5.4731 p.47 Logic is a priori because it is impossible to think illogically
5.4731 p.973 Logic is a priori because we cannot think illogically
5.5301 p.52 Identity is not a relation between objects
5.5302 p.52 It at least makes sense to say two objects have all their properties in common
5.5303 p.52 Two things can't be identical, and self-identity is an empty concept
5.6 p.56 The limits of my language means the limits of my world
5.632 p.57 The subject stands outside our understanding of the world
6.021 p.59 A number is a repeated operation
6.022 p.59 The concept of number is just what all numbers have in common
6.031 p.59 The theory of classes is superfluous in mathematics
6.1 p.59 The propositions of logic are analytic tautologies
6.1262 p.64 Logical proof just explicates complicated tautologies
6.127 p.64 Logic doesn't split into primitive and derived propositions; they all have the same status
6.363 p.70 Induction accepts the simplest law that fits our experiences
6.37 p.70 The only necessity is logical necessity
6.371 p.70 The modern worldview is based on the illusion that laws explain nature
6.41 p.71 The sense of the world must lie outside the world
6.421 p.71 Ethics cannot be put into words
6.5 p.73 If a question can be framed at all, it is also possible to answer it
6.51 p.73 Doubts can't exist if they are inexpressible or unanswerable
6.53 p.-24 Good philosophy asserts science, and demonstrates the meaninglessness of metaphysics
6.53 p.73 Good philosophy should show that metaphysical remarks use meaningless signs
7 p.74 What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence
7.1 p.267 I say (contrary to Wittgenstein) that philosophy expresses what we thought we must be silent about
p.139 p.194 The identity sign is not essential in logical notation, if every sign has a different meaning
p.16 p.16 The 'Tractatus' is a masterpiece of anti-philosophy
1930 Philosophical Remarks
p.200 p.257 You can't believe it if you can't imagine a verification for it
p.85 p.326 Language pictures the essence of the world
1931 Lectures 1930-32 (student notes)
A I.1 p.1 Philosophical tries to be rid of certain intellectual puzzles, irrelevant to daily life
A I.4 p.2 Words function only in propositions, like levers in a machine
A I.4 p.3 Words of the same kind can be substituted in a proposition without producing nonsense
A V.1 p.10 All thought has the logical form of reality
A VII.2 p.13 Infinity is not a number, so doesn't say how many; it is the property of a law
A XI.3 p.19 Laws of logic are like laws of chess - if you change them, it's just a different game
B Easter p.62 A person's name doesn't mean their body; bodies don't sit down, and their existence can be denied
B I.1 p.22 Philosophers express puzzlement, but don't clearly state the puzzle
B I.2 p.22 A proposition is any expression which can be significantly negated
B I.5 p.24 Understanding is translation, into action or into other symbols
B II.4 p.27 If an explanation is good, the symbol is used properly in the future
B IX.6 p.47 Grammar says that saying 'sound is red' is not false, but nonsense
B V.1 p.35 We already know what we want to know, and analysis gives us no new facts
B VI.2 p.37 Using 'green' is a commitment to future usage of 'green'
B VII.2 p.40 A machine strikes us as being a rule of movement
B VIII p.42 Thought is an activity which we perform by the expression of it
B VIII.2 p.43 Saying 'and' has meaning is just saying it works in a sentence
B X.3 p.48 Explanation gives understanding by revealing the full multiplicity of the thing
B XI.2 p.51 Explanation and understanding are the same
B XI.3 p.52 Negations are not just reversals of truth-value, since that can happen without negation
B XII.1 p.53 We may correctly use 'not' without making the rule explicit
B XII.3 p.54 In logic nothing is hidden
B XIII.2 p.56 A proposition draws a line around the facts which agree with it
B XIV.2 p.57 For each necessity in the world there is an arbitrary rule of language
C I p.66 The meaning of a proposition is the mode of its verification
C III p.69 Part of what we mean by stating the facts is the way we tend to experience them
C V A p.74 The history of philosophy only matters if the subject is a choice between rival theories
C V B p.75 There is no theory of truth, because it isn't a concept
C V B p.76 We don't need a theory of truth, because we use the word perfectly well
C V C p.79 Laws of nature are an aspect of the phenomena, and are just our mode of description
C VII p.83 If you remember wrongly, then there must be some other criterion than your remembering
C X p.87 Talking nonsense is not following the rules
C XIII p.92 Contradiction is between two rules, not between rule and reality
C XIII p.93 There are no positive or negative facts; these are just the forms of propositions
Notes p.114 We don't get 'nearer' to something by adding decimals to 1.1412... (root-2)
p.82 p.245 We live in sense-data, but talk about physical objects
1932 Philosophical Grammar
127 p.152 Consider: "Imagine this butterfly exactly as it is, but ugly instead of beautiful"
p.468 p.255 In mathematics everything is algorithm and nothing is meaning
1935 talk
p.14 If you hope to improve the world, all you can do is improve yourself
1935 works
p.40 We accept substance, to avoid infinite backwards chains of meaning
1936 The Blue and Brown Notebooks
II.16 n p.77 The doctrine of indeterminacy of translation seems implied by the later Wittgenstein
1938 Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics
p.38 p.155 Two and one making three has the necessity of logical inference
p.38 p.155 'It is true that this follows' means simply: this follows
1945 Culture and Value
53e p.53 While faith is a passion (as Kierkegaard says), wisdom is passionless
1950 Zettel
691 p.51 'This sentence is false' sends us in a looping search for its proposition
455 p.1 A philosopher is outside any community of ideas
i.437 p.27 Causes of beliefs are irrelevant to their contents
1951 On Certainty
p.159 Total doubt can't even get started
114 p.94 If you are not certain of any fact, you cannot be certain of the meaning of your words either
152 p.165 Foundations need not precede other beliefs
1952 Philosophical Investigations
p.14 Possessing a concept is knowing how to go on
p.17 Wittgenstein says we want the grammar of problems, not their first-order logical structure
p.43 For Wittgenstein, words are defined by their use, just as chess pieces are
p.91 As sense-data are necessarily private, they are attacked by Wittgenstein's objections
p.209 Externalist accounts of mental content begin in Wittgenstein
019 p.8 To imagine a language means to imagine a form of life
043 p.20 In the majority of cases the meaning of a word is its use in the language
047 p.22 Is white simple, or does it consist of the colours of the rainbow?
049 p.24 Naming is a preparation for description
050 p.25 The standard metre in Paris is neither one metre long nor not one metre long
067 p.32 Various games have a 'family resemblance', as their similarities overlap and criss-cross
079 p.31 A name is not determined by a description, but by a cluster or family
109 p.-24 Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language
125 p.40 The problem is to explain the role of contradiction in social life
198 p.81 To understand a sentence means to understand a language
201 p.81 Every course of action can either accord or conflict with a rule, so there is no accord or conflict
202 p.81 One cannot obey a rule 'privately', because that is a practice, not the same as thinking one is obeying
202 p.93 Was Witggenstein's problem between individual and community, or between occasions for an individual?
202 p.95 We do not achieve meaning and understanding in our heads, but in the world
206 p.82 Common human behaviour enables us to interpret an unknown language
242 p.88 To communicate, language needs agreement in judgment as well as definition
244 p.89 How do words refer to sensations?
246 p.89 To say that I 'know' I am in pain means nothing more than that I AM in pain
257 p.92 If a brilliant child invented a name for a private sensation, it couldn't communicate it
265 p.94 We cannot doublecheck mental images for correctness (or confirm news with many copies of the paper)
293 p.100 If we only named pain by our own case, it would be like naming beetles by looking in a private box
293 p.100 It is irresponsible to generalise from my own case of pain to other people's
293 p.282 If the reference is private, that is incompatible with the sense being public
302 p.101 To imagine another's pain by my own, I must imagine a pain I don't feel, by one I do feel
309 p.103 What is your aim in philosophy? - To show the fly the way out of the fly-bottle
329 p.107 We don't have 'meanings' in our minds in addition to verbal expressions
353 p.112 Asking about verification is only one way of asking about the meaning of a proposition
371-3 p.116 Essence is expressed by grammar
373 p.116 Grammar tells what kind of object anything is - and theology is a kind of grammar
380 p.117 Getting from perceptions to words cannot be a private matter; the rules need an institution of use
401 p.121 Are sense-data the material of which the universe is made?
412 p.124 Why are we not aware of the huge gap between mind and brain in ordinary life?
435 p.128 We all seem able to see quite clearly how sentences represent things when we use them
473 p.134 The belief that fire burns is like the fear that it burns
510 p.140 Make the following experiment: say "It's cold here" and mean "It's warm here"
570 p.151 Concepts direct our interests and investigations, and express those interests
580 p.125 If individuals can't tell if they are following a rule, how does a community do it?
580 p.153 An 'inner process' stands in need of outward criteria
621 p.161 What is left over if I subtract my arm going up from my raising my arm?
213 p.84 How do I decide when to accept or obey an intuition?
II.13 p.231 Man learns the concept of the past by remembering
II.iv p.178 I don't have the opinion that people have minds; I just treat them as such
II.iv p.178 The human body is the best picture of the human soul
II.x p.190 One can mistrust one's own senses, but not one's own beliefs
II.xi p.223 If a lion could talk, we could not understand him
II.xi p.447 If a lion could talk, it would be nothing like other lions