Which philosopher is the most difficult to understand?

It was another beautiful day in the library.

My mind was ready to conquer another reading session. As I scoured the bookshelves to find something that piqued my interest, one book seemed to stick out a little bit more than the others.

“TRACTATUS LOGICO-PHILOSOPHICUS”

The book’s title made it sound like an ancient tome that could have been owned by Merlin or King Solomon.

I opened up to the first page.

The first thing that tripped me out was the fact that all of Wittgenstein’s ideas in this book are divided by numbers, and then decimals to add on to the ideas that relate to the number. For example.

“1. The world is everything that is the case.”

Okay, that makes perfectly reasonable sense. All we see is the world, so yeah, I would say that it is everything. So understanding this, I moved on to the next decimal for 1, 1.1.

“1.1 The world is the totality of facts, not of things.”

Hmm, so the world is a bunch of facts. Like a maybe a cat is only a cat because we deemed it so? Moving forward to 1.11 -

“1.11 The world is determined by the facts, and by these being all the facts.”

So the world, that is everything that is, is comprised of facts, not things, and the world is determined by all these facts, so the world is just a bunch of facts??

Sorry, now i’m just spitballing ways to wrap my mind around some of what Wittgenstein writes in this book. The more you read it, the more you feel like you are reading a translated version of the binary code that operates the universe, which for me is wayyyyyy above my level of comprehension.

Want a better example? Let me just quote 5.3.

All propositions are results of truth-operations on the elementary propositions.

The truth-operation is the way in which a truth-function arises from elementary propositions.

According to the nature of truth-operations, in the same way as out of elementary propositions arise their truth-functions, from truth-functions arises a new one. Every truth-operation creates from truth-functions of elementary propositions, another truth-function of elementary propositions i.e. a proposition. The result of every truth-operation on the reults of truth-operations on elementary propositions is also the result of one truth-operation on elementary propositions.

Every proposition is the result of truth-operations on elementary propositions.

Yeahhhhh… Have no idea what he is trying to say there. I would probably have to study Wittgenstein for years to even come close to scratching the surface of this book.

As the great Tim Allen in his hit show Home Improvement would say, “Eughhh?”

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (English)

Originally published at http://quora.com.

I’ve written on Quora for 2+ years. I enjoy writing about Philosophy, History, and other random things.

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