[quickphilosophy] 1.21 Continued

  • From: wittrsl@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • To: wittrsl@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 22 Jul 2010 08:09:27 -0700 (PDT)

 Hi Martin:

I don't think Wittgenstein is so much an *idealist* here in the 'Tractatus' as 
he is a *rationalist* .

If I may be so blunt--and I know that we don't agree too often on things 
philosophical- -you may be confusing the two tendencies in this case. Or, 
perhaps it's just a symptom of how the discussion has evolved. Let me expound. 
Or just quote. Sorry; this is how "it must be" for now.

"A philosopher is an idealist if and only if they believe that the physical 
world exists *either* (1) only as an object for mind, *or* (2) only as a 

of mind, *or* (3) only as something itself somehow mental in its true 

a disjunction we shall sum up as the thesis that the physical is derivative 

mind." (T.L.S. Sprigge in 'Idealism,' "Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy," 

Craig,  ed.) 

OK, now, THAT IS NOT what Wittgenstein is doing in the opening points of the 
TLP. He is making statements about objects and states of affairs, not making 
statements about mental constructs, let alone their linguistic formulations in 
terms of propositions. These are metaphysical statements.

Indeed, "Rationalism is the view that reason, as opposed to, say, sense 
experience, divine revelation or reliance on institutional authority, plays a 
dominant role in our attempt to gain knowledge."

In the TLP, W. is saying initially that there is a close match between logical 
form and physical form, even down to the atomic level, so that our reasoning 
mechanisms match our understandings of objects and their properties in the 
world. But this is not to say that our reasoning mechanisms are the world. 
Wittgenstein is rationalist, if anything, not  idealist.




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