Home - Wittgenstein's Logic of Language | Bibliography

Question: Is the key to why Wittgenstein limited philosophy to logic of language to be found in his own limited aim for himself in philosophy? [Later answer: Not in the sense that he thought there to be other limits, but in what Wittgenstein classified as philosophy and why he excluded ethics from that class ("absolute value").]

Content: these are first blush "logic of language" (or, philosophical logic) remarks (Their background is the question: "How is sense distinguished from nonsense in the discussion of philosophical problems?"). About them, as always, I must add: If I know what I am talking about (and I may not know what I am talking about).

Outline of this page ...

Wittgenstein's Philosophical Code

Query: all philosophy is criticism of language. Wittgenstein.

That statement appears in TLP 4.0031, although Ogden's translation of "Sprachkritik" is 'Critique of language' rather than 'criticism of language' [Pears & McGuinness have 'a critique of language']. Wittgenstein does not say this, but it is implicit in his work that: the way a philosopher philosophizes shows how that philosopher makes (or does not make) the distinction between language with meaning and language that is mere nonsense, or in other words, it shows his view of "the logic of our language". [Wittgenstein himself later makes that distinction through his revision of our concept 'grammar'.]

Limited aim in Philosophy

Note that Wittgenstein's demonstration that "Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language" (PI § 109) is limited to a comparatively few examples. Nowhere does the Philosophical Investigations demonstrate its "bewitchment" thesis -- and such a general statement would have to be a thesis ... except that Wittgenstein was not trying to say what the essence of philosophy is. He could have instead written, "In philosophy we battle against the bewitchment of our intellect by means of language". And that particular battle was the one Wittgenstein wanted to fight; that was why his "aim in philosophy" was "to show the fly the way out of the fly-bottle (ibid. § 309) in which it, that is, we are caught because we do not understand the logic of our language. That was not a modest aim, but it is a very limited one. Recall that he told Drury that his work was only "a small fragment in the history of philosophy" (Recollections p. 160).

Finally I have cracked the code. Or have I? Is my account correct -- i.e. would Wittgenstein agree with my account of his aim in philosophy as being limited to investigations of the logic of our language? Or did he put forward a thesis -- a theory about the true nature of philosophy (and thus commit the Some therefore All fallacy)? -- How are we to know the answer to that question? If a priori there cannot be a philosophical problem, then is the "cannot" a theoretical impossibility [a thesis] -- or is it a logical impossibility: i.e. if we define the word 'philosophy' as Wittgenstein does, then .... But how exactly does he define that word? By "small fragment" or "legitimate heir" (BB p. 28), did he mean: "legitimate and only heir"? Did he mean only that (1) philosophy could not go on as it had gone on prior to his work, or that (2) philosophy, except for logic of language studies, could not go on at all? If (2), then the other two of philosophy's traditional three parts, namely, Metaphysics and Ethics, could not go on at all. But if (1), then those two parts could go on, but only if they were done with a clear understanding of the logic of our language -- i.e. with an objective distinction being made between sense and nonsense.

Limited scope of philosophy

Philosophy consists of logic and metaphysics: logic is its basis. (Notebooks 1914-1916, 2nd ed., tr. Anscombe, p. 106)

A meeting of the Moral Science Club in Dr Broad's rooms [Drury's note is dated 1929]. Prichard from Oxford read a paper on "Ethics".... So far as I could follow it, Wittgenstein's point was that although two people could always discuss the best means to an absolute end, there could be no argument about what were absolute ends in themselves. Hence there could be no science of ethics. (Recollections p. 99)

The first statement excluding Ethics from Philosophy is not justified by history, because Ethics has been part of Philosophy since Socrates. The second appears to be no more than dogma, a privately held conviction and therefore non-rational (i.e. irrational): Nowhere does Wittgenstein demonstrate its truth. Well but, if you are going to define the problem of Ethics that way, if you are going to talk about "absolute ends" -- whatever that is when it's at home, for Wittgenstein rejects as even possible a definition of 'absolute end' -- if you are going to say that is the question of Ethics (and make an answer to that question logically impossible because you refuse to define the words of the question), then of course Ethics won't be a part of Philosophy. But Wittgenstein nowhere demonstrates that is necessarily the question of Ethics.

But if you pose the question of ethics the way Socrates does, as the question of What is the excellence proper to man? (and that to be ethical is to live in accord with that excellence), then you can certainly argue about what the excellence that is proper to man is or is not. Socratic ethics (unlike Wittgenstein's) is rational. I would like to have known what Wittgenstein's response would be to that (to the question of Ethics being the one Socrates, the father of philosophical Ethics, posed), but there doesn't seem to be any way to know.

(Aside: the excellence proper to man according to his Western roots (both of which lie outside the West), namely, according to the ancient Greeks (reason) and the ancient Jews (moral sense). Both reason and moral sense are unique to man and defining of (i.e. essential to) man and, therefore, I would argue, belong to the excellence that is proper to him.)

As a thesis, "bewitchment by language" is not demonstrated with respect to Ethics (a topic it passes over in silence) or with respect to all Metaphysics (For indeed, although the word 'metaphysics' has several meanings in philosophy, Wittgenstein uses that word in only one extremely limited sense). Philosophy is no more uniquely "a critique of language" -- as I have defined that expression above -- than any other language-using discipline is: there is nonsense in every subject matter, but that does not make every subject matter as a whole nonsense.

The way Wittgenstein defines the word 'metaphysics' (which is based on his account of the logic of our language, or "grammar") predetermines his "conclusion" that metaphysical propositions are nonsense. But we cannot solve this particular problem by defining it out of existence (It is not like answering the question "What is the size of a geometric point?" with the remark that the word 'point' is not a name-of-object word in geometry), for metaphysical propositions by any other name would still exist and we would still have to give an account of them. In some senses of the word 'metaphysics', metaphysical propositions are not nonsense ... although they are also not statements about reality. They are not hypotheses [no more than the pictures of religion are hypotheses] -- for they merely state logical possibilities ("what can be described"); when they are "maps with territories", they are maps with only logically possible territories corresponding to them.

Is the key to why Wittgenstein limited philosophy to logic of language found in his own limited aim in philosophy? It may be that he thought that was the only original contribution he himself could make to philosophy ... or it may not be. (Codes have keys. [Note of 24 September 2014] Although maybe there is neither code nor key here. Maybe Wittgenstein's exclusion of Ethics from the parts of Philosophy is the direct consequence of his "absolute values" world-picture. That is a real possibility, an early idea that never changed. But it doesn't overcome the difficulty. On the other hand, Wittgenstein also, in effect, excluded Metaphysics from Philosophy because he regarded metaphysics as problems not to be solved but to be dissolved -- and, as with Ethics, he never acknowledged in his writing that there could be other possibilities.)

Wittgenstein's self-assigned area of research

This is what Wittgenstein wrote about his work after 1929 for Chambers Encyclopedia, new ed. (1950), volume 14:

Wittgenstein, Ludwig (1889- ), Austrian philosopher, was born in Vienna and educated in Vienna, Charlottenburg and Cambridge. By his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921) and numerous discussions Wittgenstein has greatly influenced the group of Logical Positivists known as the "Vienna Circle" (see Logical Positivism). In 1929 he returned to Cambridge where he became fellow of Trinity College in 1931 and professor of philosophy (1939-47). His researches since 1929 (unpublished) bear chiefly on the philosophy of psychology and mathematics.

The article is unsigned, but according to John Wisdom's letter to McGuinness (17 January 1972), "all or almost all" of the article was written by Wittgenstein himself. (Wittgenstein in Cambridge: Letters and Documents 1911-1951 (2008), ed. McGuinness, Document 364 ("From J. Wisdom, 1.4.1947), p. 409, 409n)

Query: philosophy is a product of misunderstood language.

Well, if philosophy begins in wonder = perplexity (Plato, Theaetetus 155c-d), then ... but must that perplexity be caused by misunderstood language -- i.e. by a failure to understand the logic of our language (or, in Wittgenstein's jargon, its "grammar")? But what kind of "must" would this be (Which type of necessity -- logical or real)?

That all philosophical problems are nothing more than "misunderstood language" -- is a presumption.

What I do not think Wittgenstein would have said: Precisely that misunderstanding [produced by language] is what I am choosing as the defining characteristic [the sine qua non] of philosophy -- i.e. that is how I am defining the word 'philosophy', or [rather arbitrarily] setting the limits of the subject-matter called 'Philosophy'.

"Absolute value" versus Grounded Ethics

The notion of "an absolute value" is in Wittgenstein's view the foundation of ethics (LE p. 11). The further proposition, however, that no other foundation can be given to ethics is presumption -- i.e. the thinking one knows what one doesn't know; it cannot justify -- because no argument is offered to justify it -- the exclusion of Ethics from Philosophy, no matter how definitive Wittgenstein may have regarded his view to be.

Nor do I think he would have said: Precisely that is all philosophy really is -- nothing more than the expression of a human intelligence bewitched (self-mystified) by language (PI § 109).

But if he would have said neither of those two things, then what then would he have said? (And that is the code that needs to be broken. All serious students of philosophy are system crackers.)


But what has changed since the time of Socrates?

But what seems most dangerous is to put your work into the position of being compared, first by yourself & then by others, with the great works of former times. You should not entertain such a comparison at all. For if today's circumstances are really so different, from what they once were, that you cannot compare your work with earlier works in respect of its genre, then you equally cannot compare it value with that of other work. I myself am constantly making the mistake under discussion. (CV (1998 rev. ed.) [MS 136 110b: 14.1.1948 § 1b]; cf. CV p. 67)

(1) "For if conditions nowadays are really so different from what they once were ..." But are they? In music, culturally, certainly; but in philosophy they are not. Those conditions aren't different; the questions Socrates asked about Life-philosophy ("Know thyself!", "the unexamined life is not worth living" [Wittgenstein's last words to Drury in 1951: "whatever becomes of you, don't stop thinking." (Recollections p. 170) -- Was that not, then, precisely a philosophical remark?], the indeed eternal Questions without Answers, have not been affected by changed cultural conditions. (2) "... cannot even compare the genre one's work belongs to with that of earlier works ..." Wittgenstein certainly cannot sustain that view, for his work is not that different from earlier works in philosophy, if indeed it is different at all in that respect (It is not like portrait vs. landscape painting, rural vs. city). The title Philosophical Investigations does not mislead [although the title "Philosophy of Psychology" does; that work indeed belongs to a different genre than Philosophy of X; nonetheless, it clearly belongs to Logic and such logic to Philosophy]; that work itself does not belong to a different category than 'philosophy' (or which category would that be?).

But what has changed from the time of Socrates? Since Plato what has changed? Since Descartes what has changed? It is that at least now Rationalism, that is to say a way of thinking modeled or based on the model [method] of geometry or [pure] mathematics -- i.e. the method of deductive reasoning from axioms, subjected to the test of reason alone -- without also the test of experience, that is to say of what is claimed to be purely deductive knowledge of reality, is no longer acceptable, or at least is not acceptable in these days, our times.

But what has changed since the time of Socrates? I mean the Socrates of Xenophon and of Plato's Apology, not the Socrates of later Platonic invention, or the questions of Life-philosophy? Nothing about that has changed. So that while Wittgenstein can say that the case of Rationalism in the manner of Plato what he is doing is quite different [although not entirely different], but is it also a different genre? For Plato is concerned with the logic of language: in the Sophist [257b-c] he invents the notion of "logical form" (as opposed to grammatical form; cf. Wittgenstein's surface and depth grammar). But he cannot say the same thing about Socrates [whose thinking was not Rationalist, but a thoroughgoing use of reason held to the test of experience]. Socrates in Xenophon daily discusses the logic of language with his companions: the meaning of words; that Wittgenstein's logic is different does not make it a different genre in that respect! Wittgenstein is just not asking questions about Life-philosophy, as if those questions did not belong to philosophy; but he cannot say he does this because anything has changed about human beings, for nothing has changed -- indeed, in the exclusion of Life-philosophy in the post-TLP Wittgenstein Life-philosophy is an arbitrary and unjustifiable exclusion. The riddle exists; these problems [the questions of Life-philosophy] are not going to go away. And they haven't changed at all since the time of Socrates.

Maybe Wittgenstein would reply that those are religious, not philosophical questions, for he certainly cannot say that they are not questions at all. But he has not anywhere demonstrated (The statement that "It does more harm than good to philosophize about these things" is not a demonstration, quite apart from its being utterly anti-Socratic in spirit) that they are not philosophical questions -- i.e. questions that reason can handle in a philosophical way. (In sum, again, is Wittgenstein still doing metaphysics? as in the TLP, just a different metaphysics now? The SOME to ALL fallacy is metaphysics. But there is no evidence that conclusively shows that he commits it.)


What is your aim in philosophy? -- To show the fly the way out of the fly-bottle. (PI § 309)

Inside the Fly-bottle

Query: is the educated man a cultured man?

That is an example [a good example] of the vague and confused world of thought one lives in before Wittgenstein's logic of language -- i.e. making no distinction between real definitions [statements of fact about things] and verbal definitions [conventions, rules for using words].

The form of expression of the query asks for a real definition of the educated man, as if that question were about the essence of some thing named "the educated man" rather than about mere words. "Is the educated man a cultured man?" (What kind of thing is he?) as opposed to "Is it logically possible for a man to be both educated and uncultured?" (which is a question about the rules for using the words 'educated' and 'cultured'). [The answer is that both 'educated' and 'cultured' are fluid concepts; there is no "essence of the educated man".]

An impressionistic meaning (e.g. "To me an educated man is ...") is not the meaning of 'meaning' Wittgenstein selected for his "logic of language" (and method in philosophy), because an impressionistic definition only tells us what some individual is inclined or disinclined to say when he "lets the words speak" to him, as if each man might grasp the essence of the thing "the educated man" by this method. A word may suggest many things, as does the word 'mind', for example, a word which suggests many pictures to us that do not describe the way we use the word 'mind' when it is functioning as a tool to do some work (rather than floating around in space).

From the public prints:

"Of course, everyone has his own definition of freedom."

If that is how 'definition' is defined, then philosophy may as well close up shop, and not only for today but for ever. Because if that is what we are calling 'the meaning of a word', then everyone also has "his own definition of meaning" -- i.e. his own way of distinguishing between sense and nonsense. An impressionistic definition such as "To me freedom is ..." or "To me the word 'freedom' means ..." leads nowhere but into an endless night of seeming, where whatever seems correct to the individual is going to be correct, as in the complete subjectivity of Protagoras, although in the absence of an objective standard the word 'correct' has no meaning (cf. PI § 258). Where there is no objectivity there is only darkness ("vagueness and confusion") -- for there is no sense or nonsense, and no truth or falsity either. And that is the way of thinking with which "I am honestly disgusted".

Query: Wittgenstein clarification of ideas, Socrates inquiry.

Conceptual investigations (Wittgenstein) versus Factual investigations (Socrates): seeking rules for using words versus seeking statements of fact (Z § 458); that distinction was not clear to Socrates, and Wittgenstein did not use Socrates' method of dialectic [question-and-answer]. Nonetheless, there is a resemblance, because you cannot say that the preoccupation with definition and language at Cambridge (Moore, Russell) and in Wittgenstein was new, a departure from all earlier philosophy [although it did depart from the speculative Rationalism of from Descartes to Hegel]. Philosophy at least since the time of the Sophists and Socrates has been concerned with "logic", that is, with definition and language, even if the logic of our language was not clear to it. [The Greeks tried to treat all nouns as if they were names of things, and it was for this reason that they did not (and why anyone else who holds this view [including "nominalists"] does not) understand the logic of our language.]

Query: universal definitions according to Socrates.

If 'universal' contrasts with 'particular' here, what is sought is Aristotle's account of Socrates' method of common nature definition (essential definition). Synonyms for 'universal definition' would be 'essential definition', 'general definition' and 'common nature definition'.

Query: what is the real definition of essential in logic?

"What is the essence of essence? What is the real nature of essence?" versus "What is the word 'essence' the name of?" Do I understand what distinction is being made in this particular case between a real and a nominal definition? I cannot understand nonsense (and nothing suggests itself as a possible use for the expression 'the real definition of essential'. Not every combination of words has a use in our language. Do you think that the combination of words 'Clothing slept last night during the day' must have a meaning?). Does not Aristotle's account give what is meant by the word 'essential' in Socratic logic? But that is a verbal [conventional, a statement of rules] definition -- not a real definition: it is not an empirical or any kind of metaphysical proposition either.

Query: examples of things that cannot be given a real definition.

Why things? For there is nothing "mere" about words; they are the tools we use to think. Every word that is not the name of an object cannot be given a "real definition", if by 'real definition' is meant: a proposition that states what the essence of the object named by its name is. What is the real definition of 'cow': what do all particular cows have in common? "What is the quality in which they do not differ, but are all alike", and which distinguishes them from every other type of object? What is the common nature of cows?

If we are investigating the language we use every day, there is nothing to be said in favor of the notion "real definition", for we do not define the word 'cow' that way but rather by ostensive definition: its meaning is explained by pointing at cows (PI § 43) and not by a verbal formula. That is the usual case, with the exception of the modern natural sciences.

A "real definition of cow" would not state what the essence of cows is. Rather, it would belong to a possible system of classification. But of such systems there are countless possible.

Relative Frames of Reference

Query: if an atom is mostly empty space, why does matter seem so solid?

How can an actor appear [seem to be] so large on the silver screen if when we see him face to face he is no larger than we are? When two pictures collide as they do here, it is because we have taken a picture from one frame of reference and tried to drag it into another. What may be a vast empty space relative to an atom [i.e. within that frame of reference, the atomic level of investigation] may be no space at all to us [i.e. within the frame of reference of our everyday life]. The technique (or, standard) of measurement belongs to the frame of reference; the technique is not "absolute" -- i.e. it does not transfer from one frame of reference to another.

But how is it possible for us to even try to do that? How can Arthur Eddington (or anyone else) contrast "the table I see" with "my scientific table" -- without stepping outside all frames of reference? [Note about Eddington's "two tables": but there is only one table looked at from two different points of view, although according to Eddington's metaphysics, there is in reality only one table: the "table we see" is an illusion (mere "mind spinning"); the table is front of us is in reality "atoms in mostly empty space" -- and nothing else: it really isn't solid. Despite recognizing "relative space frames", here Eddington does not recognize relative frames of reference, as if the eye of the physicist were the absolute frame of reference, the eye of God as it were.]

The notion -- for it is an analogy -- 'frames of reference' is more than simply of a picture-frame versus the picture it frames -- for it includes the grid that is laid over the picture and determines what can or cannot be perceived -- or indeed conceived -- within that particular frame of reference. [A clearer explanation: Wittgenstein's net simile.]

Behind that analogy is the notion that we cannot know reality as it is in itself, but only as it is within some frame of reference or other; it contrasts with "naive realism", of which Russell's example was the proposition 'Grass really is green'.

The expression 'frame of reference' is sometimes a synonym for 'reference point', 'point of view', 'way of looking at things', 'view point' and 'stand point'. But those metaphors -- if they are metaphors -- are each of them too vague [confusing] to be useful tools for philosophical work unless examples are used to make their meaning clear (or, indeed, to give them a meaning).

Do we as human beings by our very nature have an inescapable frame of reference, such as Kant believed us to have? We are limited by many things, our five senses, our own foreheads ("The limit of thought is concept formation"). But how, if there is a frame that we cannot step outside of, is it possible for us to distinguish between that frame and what it frames at all? One way is that we follow analogies: if we had more than five senses (as it is possible for a human being to have fewer than five senses, as in the case of blindness and deafness), if there were more than three dimensions in Euclidean space (as in plane geometry there are only two), if we imagine some very general facts of nature to be different from what they are (PI II, xii, p. 230b) ...

The above remarks are an example of the world of my youth, of the world that is "vague and confused", of the world without Wittgenstein's "you must not be contemptuous of the particular case" (cf. BB p. 18), because it is the particular case that gives language its meaning. "When philosophers use a word" -- e.g. 'frame of reference' -- "and try to grasp the essence of the thing" (ibid. § 116) rather than describe particular cases, that is the world [the way of thinking, the way of philosophizing] before "Wittgenstein's logic of language".

Query: what is the difference between frame and way of thinking?

The former is a metaphor for the latter. Frames of references is a way of picturing ways of looking at things [or, way of thinking about things]; cf. the metaphors: "world-picture" and "thought-world".

"If the atom is mostly empty space, then why do objects seem so solid?"

Is it a question of "seeming"? The statement 'The oak table seems solid' has a completely different use in our everyday language from the statement 'The oak table is solid' (Think of the circumstances in which we use those two statements). But the query confronts us with the assertion that even in normal circumstances no table is ever "really" solid but only seems to be solid. (If nothing is 'solid', then what is the word 'solid' to mean? What work is there left for it to do? Or for the word 'seems'? Because there is no use for the word 'solid' if nothing is solid, and there is no use for the word 'seems' if everything only seems.) And in our everyday language, it is not correct to say 'A solid oak table is mostly empty space'. But note: that is not a proposition that is true or false; it is a rule of grammar that connects up the concepts 'solid' and 'empty space'.

Different perspectives. Can you say that 'solid' is a relative concept like 'tall' and 'short', 'big' and 'small'? And so that whether something is more or less solid depends on what we are comparing it to? A is solid relative to B but not relative to C? Is anything absolutely solid -- any more than anything is absolutely tall? We are talking about concepts -- i.e. about the rules for using the words of our language (and to answer that question is not a matter of looking for new facts, but only of examining the facts about our language that we are already familiar with; in other words, ours is a philosophical -- i.e. a logic of language -- investigation).

Different perspectives. In one picture, say a picture of our entire galaxy, the sun is close to the earth; but in another picture, say a picture just of our own solar system, the sun is very far way from the earth.

Drury responded to the picture of absolute solidity -- in Isaac Newton's words: "particles of matter so hard as to be indivisible" [which is what the pre-Socratics meant by the word 'atom' ("uncuttable")] -- with: "My dear fellow, don't you know that we exploded that theory long ago; one fine day over Hiroshima" (DW p. 69). Be that as it may, is not the combination of words 'absolutely indivisible' either nonsense (an undefined combination of words) or a rule of grammar (because "an essence cannot be reduced", it is "indivisible"). Can you say: the meaning of the word 'solid' depends on the method by which solidity is measured? (cf. is 'time' a relative concept?)

In the picture [or, model] of reality the physicist constructs, an oak table is not solid. But as we normally use the word 'solid', objects like tables are used to define that word ostensively -- i.e. by pointing, touching [That was Wittgenstein's remark apropos of this topic (BB p. 45-46)]. Which shows that even with respect to the examples we use to define 'solid object', nothing is absolutely solid, but only relatively solid [i.e. relative to a particular frame of reference; but this was better stated elsewhere (Has my memory gotten so poor that I am now doing nothing more than stating old ideas, old insights, which I have forgotten)].

Query: if an atom is mostly empty space why does matter seem so solid, illustrations.

We might want to show a series of magnifying glasses, each one looking through the other until, after I don't know how many levels of magnification, the theoretical construct called "the atomic level" is reached. But the relative "distance" from "the table we see" to "the physicist's table", from the point of view of levels of magnification, may (or may not) be as great as the distance (if we want to see it close up, just as we want to see the "atoms" the table is "composed of") to the other "end" of the universe (or half-way around the surface of the "soap bubble", James Jeans speaks of, which is an illustration of finite but unbounded space).

What does the physicist mean if he says that the table is "composed of atoms"? Drury talks about expressions like 'speed of light' and 'the unconscious mind', about how these are taken up by people who do not know the origin of those expressions; cf. primitive people, who overhear the expressions of scientists, "put a false interpretation on them, and then draw the queerest conclusions" (cf. PI § 194). If you do not know why physicists say that the table is "composed of atoms" and that "atoms are mostly empty space", then all you are left with are idly floating pictures, pictures you don't know the application of.

Query: what does Wittgenstein mean when he says no part of our experience is a priori?

Now what would you mean by 'There is no experience prior to experience'? The question is: if anything can be known -- not prior to, but instead -- independently of experience -- i.e. are there any propositions that do not require experience to confirm [verify] their truth or falsity? This query is another example of how expressions like 'a priori' are repeated without understanding. It is an example of what Drury called "the danger of words".

Query: examples of theories that have become facts.

According to M. O'C. Drury, there are none and can never be any scientific theories that become facts. Begin with a people who can only perceive a rain-shower in two dimensions (James Jeans). A very clever scientist among these people invents a theory that can account for all the data [or, facts, evidence] ... and people come to the conclusion that this theory must be the explanation of the of rain-showers -- indeed, that the theory is the reality behind the rain drops: "It is no longer a theory; it is a fact." But in our three dimensions, the theory about rain-showers is quite different, and people say, "Those who perceive only two dimensions do not know the reality of rain-showers, for there is much data of which they are ignorant. They are under the illusion that their theory is a fact, but we know better." But now a people who perceive four spatial dimensions say the same about our theory: "That is not the reality." -- But that is the mistake: no theory is the reality: a theory is only a summary of the data -- of the known data -- and if it accounts for all the known data, then it is a valid theory ... but it is not nor will ever be the reality behind the facts. A theory is a summary of the known facts; it would be presumptuous and illogical [2-3-4-etc. possible dimensions] to say that we know all the facts, given our three-dimensional perception of the world -- or that the summary we prefer is the only possible summary. cf. The scientific world-picture of evolution in which there is no place for anomaly.


Note: about this and other pages on this site. Words that follow "Query" were "search queries" found in the referrer logs of my Web site that have suggested thoughts to me and to which I have responded.


Site copyright © September 1998. Send Internet mail to Robert [Wesley] Angelo. Last revised: 22 December 2010 : 2010-12-22

The URL of this Web page:
https://www.roangelo.net/logwitt/code-cracking.html

Back to top of page

Wittgenstein's Logic of Language - Introduction and Table of Contents | Bibliography | Site Search | Site Map