[quickphilosophy] Props 2 through 2.0211 (at breakneck speed)

  • From: wittrsl@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • To: wittrsl@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 22 Jul 2010 15:36:11 -0700 (PDT)

Continuing with the text now, but here I'm just using excerpts from Richter's 
Wittgenstein` sTractatus: A Student`s Edition, which is a nice on-line 
resource. I don't add anything here,just cut.
2 What is the case, the fact, is the existence of states of affairs. 
[Black (p. 39)says that it might be better to speak of the holding of a fact 
than the existenceof a fact. He prefers 'atomic fact` for Sachverhalt. A 
Sachverhalt is―the objective counterpart of an unanalysable contingent truth 
(see, forinstance, 4.2211)(pp.39-40). However, Black notes, Wittgenstein uses 
Sachverhalt in seeminglyinconsiste nt ways. Most of the time he uses it to mean 
an actual combination ofobjects, but he also sometimes uses it to mean a 
combination that does notexist (e.g. at 2.06 and 4.3).
 Stenius (p. 31) says that ―a Sachverhalt is something that could possibly be 
the case,but 2.0124 talks of possible Sachverhalte,which would be odd in that 
case. (This objection is Black`s.) Black argues (pp.41-45) quite convincingly 
that Sachverhalte should be understood as facts rather than possibilities, at 
least most of the time….  Frascolla writes: ―states of affairs and 

in two ways: first, a state of affairs is merely a possible combination of 
objects, whereas a minimal fact is an actual combination; second, when a fact 

spoken of, it is not necessary that it be thought of as one obtainingstate of 
affairs: several obtaining states of affairs can constitute a fact.On p. 85, 
though, Frascolla notes that Wittgenstein` s distinction between facts and 
states of affairs is weakened byhis introduction of the term ―negative 

2.06), since now facts are not necessarily actual.] 

2.01 The state of affairs is a combination of objects. (Items, things.) 
[Hacker (p. 66): ―Wittgenstein` s conception of a simple object was, I 
suspect, an heir to Russell`s notion of a term in The Principles of 

itself a development of Moore`s notion of a concept.Hacker`s reference is to G. 
E. Moore, ―"The Nature of Judgment," Mind viii (1899), pp. 176-193. InThe 
Principles of Mathematics, Russell writes: ―Whatever may be an object of 
thought, or may occur in any true or false proposition, or can be counted as 
one, I call a term. This, then, is the widest word inthe philosophical 
vocabulary. I shall use as synonymous with it the words unit,individual, and 
entity. … A man, a moment, a number, a class, a relation, a chimaera, or 
anything else that can be mentioned, is sure to be a term; and to deny that 

and such a thing is a term must always be false‖(p. 43). 

Pears (p. 89): ―The question, 'What kind of thing did he take objects to be?` 
is often made to appear simpler than it really is. Commentators usually ask 
whether he took them to be material points (point-masses) or sense-data. The 
Notebooks,which record exploratory work, canvas both possibilities, and in the 
Tractatus,where he might have been expected to make up his mind and choose 
between them,he does not do so, and does not even formulate the question to 
which of the two categories objects belong.On p. 142 Pears concludes: 
―However, it is really safer to accept his professions of agnosticism about 
the nature of the objects of the Tractatus,and to take the evidence to show no 
more than that he allowed for the possibility that they might include relations.
Bearn adds that it is therefore misleading to call Wittgenstein a realist with 
respect to objects and equally misleading to call him an anti-realist in 

of them. See Bearn p. 55. Objects are unchanging (see TLP 2.027) and whatever 

can experience could always be otherwise (see TLP 5.643), so we cannot 
experience objects. Bearn makes this point on p. 60. 

Fahrnkopf argues that Wittgenstein' s objects include universals. He points out 
(p. 7) that Moore's notes on Wittgenstein' s lectures (1930-33) report that 
Wittgenstein spoke of colors as if they were Russellian individuals. On p. 8 
Fahrnkopf points out that in the Blue Book Wittgenstein characterizes his 
Tractatus view as being that redness, roundness, and sweet-ness are elements or 
individuals. He certainly seems to be talking about the universal redness 

than aparticular red sense-datum here.
Hintikka (p. 14)identifies Wittgenstein` s objects as ―objects of my 
experience. He quotes Frank Ramsey: ―Wittgenstein says it is nonsense to 
believe in anything not given inexperience… . For to be mine, to be given in 
experience, is the formal [definitory] property to be a genuine entity (quoted 
on p. 14 of Hintikka, from item #004-21-02 of the Ramsey arc-hives of 
Pittsburgh). Hintikka (see p. 15) calls these objects phenomenological entities 
but denies that they are mere phenomena.That is, they are what is given in 
immediate experience, but they are not only the contents of our consciousness. 
We have immediate experience of physica lreality (which still remains to be 
defined), not only of the contents of our own minds.
Page 31 of the BlueBook refers specifically to the Tractatus and the idea that 

factis a "complex of objects." The discussion there sounds like adiscussion of 
Plato's idea of universals. Talk of facts as combinations of objects, 
Wittgenstein writes, springs from the following confusion: "We are misled by 

substantives "object of thought" and"fact", and by the different meanings of 

word"exist". " So Wittgenstein came to think of 2.01 as a mistake.(And perhaps 
he already thought this way in the Tractatus, given what he writesat 6.54.)] 

2.011 It is essential to the thing that it can be a constituent part of a state 
of affairs.
2.012 In logic nothing is accidental: if a thing can occur in a state of 

then the possibility of the state of affairs must be already prejudged in the 
2.0121 It would,as it were, appear as an accident if there were later to be a 
state of things suitable for a thing that could [already] exist for itself, on 
its own. If things can occur in states of affairs then this [possibility] must 
already bein them. (Something logical cannot be merely possible. Logic deals 
with every possibility, and all possibilities are its facts.) As we cannot 
conceive of spatial objects at all without space, or temporal objects without 
time, so wecan conceive of no thing without the possibility of its uniting with 
other objects. If I can conceive of an object in the context of a state of 
affairs then I cannot conceive of it without the possibility of this context. 

2.0122 The thing is independent in so far as it can occur in all possible 

of things, but this form of independence is a form of connection with the state 
of affairs, a form of dependence. (It is impossible for words to appear in two 
different ways: alone and in propositions. ) 

[On objects being independent, see Russell`s Logical Atomism (p. 179): 
―Particulars have this peculiarity, among the sort of objects that you have 

take account of in an inventory of the world, that each of them stands entirely 
alone and is completely self-subsistent. It has that sort of self-subsistence 
that used to belong to substance, except that it usually only persists through 

very short time, sofar as our experience goes. That is to say, each particular 
that there is in the world does not in any way logically depend upon any other 
Stokhof (pp.46-47) notes that Wittgenstein` s reference to dependence here 
―strongly suggests that [objects] cannot be conceived of as material atoms 
(elementary particles, or wave packets, or whatever), since for such objects 

very possibility of an independent existence, however short-lived this may 
be,cannot be ruled out a priori. Much the same goes for sense data: ―For such 
objects, too, it holds that no logical property prevents their independent 
occurrence, even if other properties would‖(p. 47).] 

2.0123 If I am acquainted with the object then I am also acquainted with all 

possibilities of its occurrence in states of affairs. (Each such possibility 
must be in the nature of the object.) A new possibility cannot be found later. 

[On p. 59 of Letters to Ogden Wittgenstein says: ―to know here just means: I 
know it bu tI needn`t know anything about it.‖Presumably he is making use if 
Russell`s notion of knowledge by acquaintance. ] 

2.01231 In order to be acquainted with an object, I need not of course [be 
acquainted with] its external – but I need to be acquainted with all its 
internal properties. 

[McManus says (p.31) that objects` external properties ―are their forming 
particular combinations with other objects, the existence of these combinations 
being the holding of particular contingent facts. He refers to 4.123 in 
connection with this, although his focus is on what ―internal propertiesmight 

Frascolla (p. 61) says that internal properties are what an object 
―necessarily can be, while external properties (see p. 62) concern an 

involvement in states of affairs that happen to obtain. He gives one object`s 
being taller than anotheras an example of an external property.] 

2.0124 If all objects are given then therewith all possible states of affairs 
are alsogiven. 

2.013 Each thing is, as it were, in a space of possible states of affairs. I 

conceive ofthis space as empty, but I cannot conceive of the thing without the 

[Black (p. 50) points out a possible echo of Kant CPR A 24/B 38 here.] 
2.0131 The spatial object must be in infinite space. (A spatial point is an 
argument-place. ) The speck in a visual field of course need not be red, but it 
must have a color: ithas, so to speak, color-space around it. The note must 

a pitch, the object of the sense of touch a degree of hardness, etc. 

2.014 Objects contain the possibility of all states of things. 
2.0141 The possibility of its occurrence in states of affairs is the form of an 

2.02 Objects are simple. 
[Cf. Leibniz Monadology1, where simple is defined as meaning without parts. 
2.0201 Each statement about complexes can be analyzed into a statement about 
their components and into those propositions that completely describe the 

[Ostrow (p. 27)says that this remark must be compared with 3.24. The central 
purpose of 2.0201,he says (p. 28), is to make evident the fundamental 
distinction between complexand object. Complexes cannot be treated as entities 
or objects. According to2.0211, a proposition about a nonexistent object is 
nonsense, but, by 3.24, a proposition about a nonexistent complex is false, not 
nonsensical. White (pp.38-40) notes an important difference between the 

from 2.0201-2.0212and that running from 3.23-3.24. One starts from the need for 
the world to have substance, while the latter is based on the demand that sense 
be determinate. Each concludes that there must be simple objects.] 

2.021 Objects makeup the substance of the world. Therefore they cannot be 

2.0211 If theworld had no substance then whether a proposition had sense would 
depend onwhether another proposition was true. 

[Mounce presents Wittgenstein` s reasoning here as follows (p. 21): ―whether 

proposition has sense cannot be a contingent matter. What is contingent is 
whether it is true(or false). But in order to be true (or false) a proposition 
must already possess a sense. The sense of a proposition, in short, must be 
independent of whether it is in fact true or false. Consequently, there must be 
a contact between language and the world which is prior to the truth or falsity 
of what we say.Such a contact is to be found in the relationship between a 
simple name and a simple object, the relationship being such that the name just 
stands for the object independently of description. 

Schroeder (p. 42): ―The meaning of a name is the object it denotes. Hence, if 
there is no such object, the name will be meaningless, andthe sentence in which 
it occurs will have no sense. But if a name is supposed to stand for a complex 
object, the decomposition or non-existence of that complex is a real 
possibility. So to ascertain that the original proposition does have a sense, 
one would have to check whether the complex in question did in fact exist, 

whether another proposition describing that complex was true.]
When it looks like discussion of the material here has played out, I'd like to 
start in on the picture theory.  If anybody has questions about the sources 
Richter uses, I think I can supply them.


Other related posts:

  • » [quickphilosophy] Props 2 through 2.0211 (at breakneck speed) - wittrsl