[Wittrs] [quickphilosophy] "Propositions are Pictures"

  • From: wittrsl@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • To: quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 26 Jul 2010 13:48:05 -0000

This is from an Anscombe paper called "The Simplicity of the Tractatus":

Propositions are pictures.  If this means that there is a projective
relation between propositions and possible or actual facts, must not the
fact presented by a proposition, if it is actual, be as much a picture
of the propositoin as the proposition is of it?  Projective relations
can be seen as going in both directions.  So isn't the reality as much a
picture of a possible proposition--which if actual, is itself also a
fact--as it is of the reality?  The answer to this objection is that the
elements of a proposition (completely analysed) are names.  So if the
reality represented by a true proposition were a picture of that
proposition, the simple objects of which it was composed would have to
stand for names.  That some object is a name is not to be seen by
looking at the object--the mark on paper or the bit of furniture or
whatever is doing duty as a name.  You have to understand the
configuration of those objects as a logical configuration of names in
order to understand it as a proposition.  I don't mean that every
picture is a proposition, its form of representation may be spatial and
it a picture of a spatial arrangement somewhere; or temporal and a
pciture of a temporal arrangement.  But every picture, according to the
Tractatus, is at any rate also a logical picture and propositions are
only logical pictures.  This is so even though they represent by means
of a spatial arrangement.  A representation by a spatial
arrangement--like a musical score--can be a rerpesentation of something
temporal, i.e., of a succession of sounds.  Here the 'form of
representation' is not the spatial form, because it isn't a
representation of anything spatia; there is no form of representation in
question except the logical form....

W's solution to the ancient problem of the connexion between language or
thought and realty: Thoughts (we learn from a letter to Russell) consist
ultimately of elements, just as propositions consist ultimately of
simple names: these are sprinkled on a logical network--so W described
his earlier doctrine in a later notebook.  The ancient problem is solved
by the thesis of the identity of the possibility of the structure of a
proposition and the possibility of the structure of a fact.

We can derive from this the astonishing thesis that the structure of
reality within the world is a logical structure.  See 2.18:

What any picture, of whatever form, must have in common with reality in
order to be able to represent it truly or falsely, is the logical form,
that is THE form of the reality.


Other related posts: