[quickphilosophy] Re: 1.12; 1.13; 1.2 & 1.21

  • From: wittrsl@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • To: wittrsl@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 22 Jul 2010 08:08:36 -0700 (PDT)

Hi Neil:

Thanks for your comments. I'm not sure that I understand what you're getting 

and if I do, then I think we're disagreeing on what W is saying here. 

OK, so if "X is red" is not atomic, then how are we going to analyze it? I 

see a good way to analyze "red". It just is or it isn't. Now, maybe you might 
want to say that my car can be analyzed into doors, seats, engine, hood, tires, 
and so forth. It's true that it's a thing that is composed of other things, 

then, what isn't? Quarks? Was Wittgenstein saying that our atomic facts are 
about quarks? You can't really be suggesting this, can you?

So, what is an example of an atomic fact? Russell can give them and 

didn't. Does that mean Wittgenstein can't?

Later, W. is going to explicitly  refer to predicate logic notations for facts. 
And the atomic statements are just like in first-order predicate logic: r(x) 

unary predicates ("x is red") and R(x, y) for binary predicates ("x is a blood 
relative of y") and so on. So, the constants have to name something and the 
relation has mean something about the named objects. So, again, let's have the 

You say there are multiple properties in my example. This is not true. There is 
one property: red. There is one object: my car. Now, you could argue that "my 
car" is compound, but we could give my car a name: Betsy. Now, we have "Betsy 


You seem to egregiously misquote me, as follows, and then make a logical 

Your example, not mine, is "X is red or green", and that's a disjunction. Not 
simple. Also, you write that "if X is red or green, then X is red", but this 
does not follow. A maple leaf  could be red or green, depending on the season. 
From that, though, it does not follow that the leaf is red.

On trees and logic: some comments I'd be inclined to make:

I would not say that logic is the traversal of a binary tree, as you seem to 
assert. Logic consists of a syntax for forming statements in a formal language, 
a semantics for interpreting these statements, and a set of rules of derivation 
for deducing statements from others in the language. There might be a method 

deciding whether a sentence is a tautology by constructing a binary tree 
according to some algorithm, but that's not really what logic is all about. Or 
perhaps I'm just missing your point.

A non-binary tree has a node N with more than two children. There is no way to 
construct a binary tree from it, that replicates the parent-child relationship 
of the nodes, because there is no way to know where to put  the third child of 
node N. I'm not sure how this bears on whether W's statement that something can 
be the case or not be the case and all else remains the same is defensible or 

The best I can say in W's defense, though, is that he either overstates his 
case, and "all else remains the same" refers only to propositions about other 
named objects, or, it's really not about the propositions but about the facts 

the world. That is, Betsy can be red, and that does not affect whether the 
Batcar is black or not. So, W. could be saying that the properties of one 

are independent of those of another object, unless those objects form a 

of some sort. So, he's making a metaphysical statement about the world, and not 
making a statement about our ways of describing the world through language.

Thanks again; this is a difficult area of the text for me & it's good to argue 
these things  out.

--- On Tue, 7/20/10, iro3isdx <xznwrjnk-evca@ yahoo.com> wrote:

>From: iro3isdx <xznwrjnk-evca@ yahoo.com>
>Subject: [quickphilosophy] Re: 1.12; 1.13; 1.2 & 1.21
>To: quickphilosophy@ yahoogroups. com
>Date: Tuesday, July 20, 2010, 8:42 PM
>--- In quickphilosophy@ yahoogroups. com, Ron Allen <wavelets@...> wrote:
>> responding to http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/quickphilo sophy/message/ 43
>> Ron:
>> My car can be red. But it can't be anything else that would conflict
>> with red as a property, because then the fact or not of it being red
>> would affect the truth of the possible fact that it's green. This
>> is ridiculous.
>I don't think that's a killer argument.  It just means that "X  is red"
>is not atomic, so would have to be decomposed into atomic  components. 
>You could, for example, have:
>X  is red or green;
>if X is red or green, then X is red;
>From a mathematics/ graph theory perspective, logic is just traversal  of
>a binary tree.  When you have multiple properties, as in your  example,
>then you have a non-binary tree.  But you can always  construct a binary
>tree to represent the same facts.  And then the  atomic facts are just
>the leaf nodes of that binary tree.
>There is still a possible problem.  The construction of a binary  tree
>from a non-binary tree is not canonical.  That is, there  are multiple
>ways of doing it, and there isn't any preferred way.  I'm not sure to
>what extent that would have been a problem for  Wittgenstein' s
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