Reasonable Logic: Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
In more recent scholarship, this division has been questioned: some interpreters have claimed a unity between all stages of his thought, while others talk of a more nuanced division, adding stages such as the middle Wittgenstein and the third Wittgenstein.
Thirdly, there is the problem of using sentences so as to convey truth rather that falsehood; this belongs to the special sciences dealing with the subjectmatter of the sentences in question. Fourthly, there is the question: what relation must one fact (such as a sentence) have to another in order to be capable of being a symbol for that other? This last is a logical question, and is the one with which Mr. Wittgenstein is concerned. He is concerned with the conditions for accurate Symbolism, i.e. for Symbolism in which a sentence “means” something quite definite. In practice, language is always more or less vague, so that what we assert is never quite precise. The essential business of language is to assert or deny facts. Given the syntax of language, the meaning of a sentence is determined as soon as the meaning of the component words is known. In order that a certain sentence should assert a certain fact there must, however the language may be constructed, be something in common between the structure of the sentence and the structure of the fact. This is perhaps the most fundamental thesis of Mr. Wittgenstein’s theory. That which has to be in common between the sentence and the fact cannot, he contends, be itself in turn said in language. It can, in his phraseology, only be shown, not said, for whatever we may say will still need to have the same structure.
Instead his methodology is therapeutic, similar to the later philosophy (Carnap, 67).
Anscombe, Introduction to Wittgenstein's Tractatus, 78
Hacker, “Was He Trying to Whistle It?,” 370.
Conant, “Must We Show What We Cannot Say?,” 274
Carnap, “Elimination of Metaphysics,” 67.