"it's true enough"
This nOde last updated September 19th, 2003 and is permanently morphing...
(3 Cauac (Rain) / 7 Ch'en (Black) - 159/260 - 126.96.36.199.19)
Austrian-born British philosopher noted for his analyses of language and meaning. Among his writings are Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921) and Philosophical Investigations (1953).
Wittgenstein, Ludwig Josef Johan
Wittgenstein, Ludwig Josef Johan, 1889-1951, Austrian philosopher. He studied (1912-13) at Cambridge Univ. under Bertrand RUSSELL. In Vienna in the 1920s he came in contact with adherents of LOGICAL POSITIVISM; they were profoundly influenced by his first major work, the Tractatus Logico-philosophicus (1921), which posits a close, formal relationship between language, thought, and the world. Language and thought work literally like a picture of the real world, and to understand any sentence one must grasp the reference of its constituents, both to each other and to the real. Language, however, can indicate an area beyond itself; unsayable things (e.g., things not demonstrable) do exist, and sentences whose structure of meaning amounts to nonsense can result in philosophical insight. Thus Wittgenstein, unlike the logical positivists, allowed for the possibility of a metaphysics. He returned to Cambridge in 1929, and his philosophy entered a second phase, represented by Philosophical Investigations (1953). Revising his earlier analysis of language, he now saw language as a response to, as well as a reproduction of, the real. His work greatly influenced what has come to be called ordinary-language philosophy, which maintains that all philosophical problems arise from the illusions created by the ambiguities of language.
"The mystical is not how the world is, but that
- Ludwig Wittgenstein
A new word is like a fresh
seed sewn on the ground of the discussion.
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), Austrian philosopher. Culture and Value (ed. by G. H. von Wright with Heikki Nyman, 1980), 1929 entry.
Whereof one cannot speak,
thereof one must be silent.
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), Austrian philosopher. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, sct. 7 (1921). Wittgenstein had elaborated in the book's Preface: "What can be said at all can be said clearly, and what we cannot talk about we must pass over in silence." Karl Popper, in his Conjectures and Refutations (1963), reported Franz Urbach's rejoinder to this: "But it is only here that speaking becomes worthwhile."
What has history to do with me? Mine is the first
and only world! I want to report how I find the world. What others have
told me about the world is a very small and incidental part of my experience.
I have to judge the world, to measure things.
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), Austrian philosopher. Notebooks 1914-1916, entry for 2 Sept. 1915 (ed. by Anscombe 1961; later refomulated in Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, sct. 5:63, 1921, tr. 1922). Wittgenstein paraphrased: "I am my world. (The microcosm)."
Our greatest stupidities
may be very wise.
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), Austrian philosopher. Culture and Value (ed. by G. H. von Wright and Heikki Nyman, 1980), 1940 entry.
Language is a part of our
organism and no less complicated than it.
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), Austrian philosopher. Notebooks 1914-1916, entry for 14 May 1915 (ed. by Anscombe, 1961; later reformulated in Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, sêct. 4:002, 1921, tr. 1922). Also published in Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, sct. 4:002 (1921; tr. 1922), "Everyday language is a part of the human organism and is no less complicated than it."
Death is not an event in life: we do not live to
experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite
temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those
who live in the present.
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), Austrian philosopher. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, sct. 6:4311 (1921, tr. 1922).
You must always be puzzled
by mental illness. The thing I would dread most, if I became mentally ill,
would be your adopting a common sense attitude; that you could take it
for granted that I was deluded.
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), Austrian philosopher. Conversations 1947-48 (published in Personal Recollections, ch. 6, ed. by Rush Rhees, 1981).
Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?
Ludwig Wittgenstein: The
possibility of "crossing" was encoded into the objects "chicken" and "road",
and circumstances came into being which caused the actualization of this
Wittgenstein had the concept of the unspeakable. He said "philosophy operates in the realm of the unspeakable but eventually we must confront that which cannot be said." The dizziness of things unsaid, and there's where real authenticity then flows back into the world of community and speech but it comes from a place of utter silence and unsayability. How could it be otherwise? What hubris would it be to expect that the small-mouthed noises of English could encompass being. That's a primary error that all philosophy chooses to make at the beginning of it's enterprise in order to set up shop at all. No, these are lower-dimensional slices of a reality that is ultimately unitary, ineffable, unspeakable, and dazzling.
- Terence McKenna lecture on Alchemy