Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (1889 – 1951) was an Austrian-British philosopher, professor in philosophy at the University of Cambridge (1939-1947). He worked in foundations of mathematics and on mathematical logic, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. He played a central, if ...

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The logic of indefinable variables [on hold]

Suppose that I cannot see the limit of what I am able to see. Interpreting the Tractatus when it says: our visual field has no limits It does seem that I can see the edge of things that I see ...
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Can anyone correct my understanding of “a priori conception”

Not only in judgements, however, but even in conceptions, is an a priori origin manifest. For example, if we take away by degrees from our conceptions of a body all that can be referred to mere ...
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How would Descartes respond to Wittgenstein's objection to radical doubt?

From what I understand, Descartes wrote refutations to criticisms made of his Meditations. I'm just interested in what he would say to Wittgenstein, who I think has the most compelling critique of ...
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Conflicting ideas of Wittgenstein?

I'm trying to understand Wittgenstein, but two of his most oft quoted statements seem to me to be implying contradicting things. I understand that later Wittgenstein did refute a lot of his earlier ...
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77 views

Tractatus 3.333 and Russell's paradox

Can anyone explain to a non-logician how Tractatus 3.333 refutes (or fails to refute) Russell's Paradox? Please explain his use of symbols!
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65 views

According to Wittgenstein, what is the relationship between “concept” and “definition”? What are the differences between the two?

I'm having trouble understanding the difference. I felt that concept can be reduced to definitions.
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186 views

Wittgenstein: Why is bipolarity necessary?

I do get that for a certain proposition there may be the possibility of it being either true or false, but why must this possibility exist for every proposition?
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171 views

Defenses of Descartes's rationality in regards to “cogito” fallacy?

What philosophers and in what writings, if any, have attempted to explain or defend Descartes's rationalism in respect to the "cogito ergo sum" fallacy pointed out by philosophers like Russell, and ...
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103 views

Why should one read the Tracatus?

In the introduction to the Tractatus, Russell writes: In order to understand Mr Wittgenstein’s book, it is necessary to realize what is the problem with which he is concerned. In the part of his ...
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Does Wittgensteins own solution to Russells Paradox actually work?

In the Tractatus, Wittgenstein attempts a solution of Russells paradox 3.333 A function cannot be its own argument, because the functional sign already contains the prototype of its own argument ...
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98 views

Why could Wittgenstein say that men had an idea for the law of least action?

Wittgenstein says in the Tractatus: 6.3211 Men had indeed an idea that there must be a 'law of least action', before they knew exactly how it ran. (Here, as always, what is certain a priori proves ...
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166 views

Why does Wittgenstein say that the world is made of facts, and not things?

Proposition 1.1 of the Tractatus says: The world is the totality of facts, not of things. Does this mean that he regards the world being that of propositions whose truth can be determined - that ...
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178 views

Why does the world of the happy man differ from the world of the unhappy man?

In the Tractatus, what does Wittgenstein mean by: 6.43 If good or bad willing changes the world, it can only change the limits of the world, not the facts; not the things that can be expressed in ...
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118 views

One or two Wittgensteins?

It is common opinion that Wittgenstein has two main different periods which are best exemplified by the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and the Philosophical Investigations and that these periods are ...
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180 views

For Wittgenstein in Philosophical Investigations, is all use of language in a language game?

If so, doesn't this characterize language as being within a language game, thus undermining Wittgenstein's anti-essentialism?
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618 views

What did Wittgenstein mean by saying that the belief in the causal nexus is a superstition?

In the Tractatus-Logicus Wittenstein says: 5.1361 The events of the future cannot be inferred from those of the present. Superstition is the belief in the causal nexus. I'm not quite ...
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178 views

What is the logic in the Tractatus-Logico Philosophicus in modern terms?

In the SEP entry on Wittgenstein, the description of the logic utilised in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus to describe his logical atomism appears to be at least formally classical propositional ...
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544 views

Should we not talk about ethics according to Wittgenstein?

Wittgenstein says in his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus: 6.4 All propositions are of equal value. 6.41 The sense of the world must lie outside the world. In the world everything is as it is ...
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206 views

What is meant by an Appeal?

To Appeal to a concept would seem to originally be (in the day of Greek metaphysics) a somewhat poetic device metaphorically gesturing toward whatever concept understanding might be sought from. ...
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161 views

Which works of Wittgenstein, Heidegger and Dewey does Rorty call “therapeutic”?

In the introduction to Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature Rorty speaks of later works of Wittgenstein, Heidegger and Dewey as therapeutic rather than constructive, edifying rather than ...
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213 views

How would Wittgenstein respond to Functionalist accounts of consciousness?

So far, I've only been able to dig up a partial footnote by Kripke in his essay "Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language" where he tantalizingly writes that "... Wittgenstein would regard his ...
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847 views

Why did Wittgenstein read out loud metaphysical poetry to the Vienna Circle?

In this essay by Phil Shields, Wittgenstein & Silence he relates the following story: Wittgenstein was invited to a meeting of the Vienna circle: “When he finally came, instead of ...
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123 views

Wittgenstein on algorithm decidability and Incompleteness Theorem

I found Internet resources a bit confusing, so I ask this question: What are Wittgenstein's arguments on algorithm decidability and Godel's Incompleteness Theorem?
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187 views

Given Wittgenstein's characterisation of language as essentially public, can he characterise what form thinking takes?

According to Wittgenstein, language is an essentially public activity between minds; and language is structured by a grammar so that this communication can indeed occur. I think, the notion of ...
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80 views

Wittgenstein maintains language is public, can this be correct?

I come into the world where other beings are using language. I learn this. Those beings have come into the world where other beings are using language. They learn it. Those other beings come into ...
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369 views

Are there any true Wittgensteinians?

[CRUCIAL CLARIFICATION: unless I explicitly say otherwise, all references to Wittgenstein, or W, below should be read as "the post-Tractatus Wittgenstein." I am not interested in those who could be ...
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On Wittgenstein's “grammatical jokes”

In §111 of his Philosophical Investigation, Ludwig Wittgenstein writes (my hopefully not-too-inept translation1): Let’s ask ourselves: why do we perceive a grammatical joke as deep? (And that is ...
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404 views

Wittgenstein, formal languages, logic

I'm a computer science PhD student which does some work in Knowledge Representation, and I have studied a lot of (mathematical) logic. As far as I remember from my high school philosophy classes, ...
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452 views

Does Wittgenstein's Tractatus establish serious bounds for discussions of the supernatural from a modern point of view?

In today's mathematics, we have many variants of logic (propositional, first order, higher order, fuzzy logic, etc.). These are all self-consistent formal systems that are based on some set of axioms. ...
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104 views

Intentionality: Object directed vs. 'As if in the presence of an object'

A philosophical project of mine depends on an assertion which at first seems problematic, but one that I believe is correct. Background Following Husserl, modern philosophy is in accord that the ...
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356 views

Which if any philosophers might be considered affiliated with Wittgenstein's school of thought or have expressed similar views?

Are there any philosophers who might be considered affiliated or belonging to the same turn or school, or perhaps hold the same kind of views, as Wittgenstein?
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361 views

Did Wittgenstein's maxim about doubt and knowing originate from Descartes?

Wittgenstein said, "If you cannot doubt a thing, you cannot know it." For example he said that you cannot know your pain because you cannot doubt that you are in pain. I don't quite understand this ...
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389 views

Wittgenstein on Math

I have been reading Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations and my question is how does he come to realize that we can't have a perfect language. For instance I would say math is a perfect ...
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594 views

How do we know how to follow a rule?

This question seems to either be at the forefront or the background of countless philosophical enquiries. Much has been written on Wittgenstein's rule paradox (e.g. Kirke's Wittgenstein: On Rules and ...
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677 views

Should Wittgenstein be given some credit for Godel's incompleteness theorem?

Is there a connection between Wittgenstein's argument against the "Theory of Types" and the proof of Godel's Incompleteness Theorem? Being only semi-knowledgeable, I will draw the connection of which ...
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416 views

Can Kant's Copernican revolution be viewed as an extension of Wittgensteinian language games?

Forgive me if this question is clumsily posed. The so-called 'Copernican revolution' of declaring the mind as bringing objecthood and properties to objects, rather than their perception bringing ...
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193 views

Is it true that Wittgenstein gave away most of his heritage? [closed]

It is said, that Wittgenstein wrote to Russel that he gave all the money he inherited from his rich father to his sisters. Is that true? If yes, what were the reasons for Wittgenstein to give away ...
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What are some ways to read Wittgenstein's Tractatus other than resolute/irresolute?

There are, at present, two dominant ways to read Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (TLP). One is called the irresolute reading, the other the resolute reading. The irresolute reading ...