# [Wittrs] Re: Does the Tractatus Contradict Itself?

• From: "College Dropout John O'Connor" <sixminuteabs@xxxxxxxxx>
• To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
• Date: Mon, 15 Mar 2010 15:44:30 -0400

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I am going to try and put my foot in my mouth.  From back to back proposition
in the TLP:

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4.461
The proposition shows what it says, the tautology and the contradiction
that they say nothing.

The tautology has no truth-conditions, for it is unconditionally true; and
the contradiction is on no condition true.

Tautology and contradiction are without sense.

(Like the point from which two arrows go out in opposite directions.)

(I know, e.g. nothing about the weather, when I know that it rains or does
not rain.)

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4.4611
Tautology and contradiction are, however, not nonsensical; they are part of
the symbolism, in the same way that "0" is part of the symbolism of Arithmetic.

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Here we have W saying that tautologies and contradictions are without sense,
but not nonsensical.  And it is likely from here that many have read the
difference of meaningless, nonsense, and senseless.

"What can be said at all can be said clearly"

It isn't W's point to say that tautologies and contradictions should be
avoided, but rather that they should be recognized (and, in the TLP at the
least, said clearly).

It is not his point to use these words as markers for his own opinions, such as
other philosophers might use the words.  W says that we can speak of an illogic
(or rather, unlogic).  Tautology and contradiction are as much a part of logic
as 0 is a part of arithmetic.  What can be shown is the inability to logically
differentiate between tautologies- and there are numerous methods he employs to
reveal this; from the truth table, to the duck rabbit, the sunken or rising
cube, and the beetle in the box.

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For Sean & the issue or the arbitrary (from the TLP, if ya don't mind):

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3.34
A proposition possesses essential and accidental features.

Accidental are the features which are due to a particular way of producing
the propositional sign. Essential are those which alone enable the proposition
to express its sense.

3.341
The essential in a proposition is therefore that which is common to all
propositions which can express the same sense.

And in the same way in general the essential in a symbol is that which all
symbols which can fulfill the same purpose have in common.

3.3411
One could therefore say the real name is that which all symbols, which
signify an object, have in common. It would then follow, step by step, that no
sort of composition was essential for a name.

3.342
In our notations there is indeed something arbitrary, but this is not
arbitrary, namely that if we have determined anything arbitrarily, then
something else must be the case. (This results from the essence of the
notation.)

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Cheers!
--
He lived a wonderful life.
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