This log was inspired by "How to Read Wittgenstein" and "Ludwig Wittgenstein: the duty of genius" by Ray Monk. It is based on reading Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus by Ludwig Wittgenstein translated by D. F. Pears & B. F. McGuinness (Routledge and Kegan Paul:1963)

Friday, March 28, 2008

There is no enigma.

If a question can be framed at all, it can be answered. So if one cannot put the answer into words, then neither can one ask the question.

Scepticism is not irrefutable, but rather, it obviously makes no sense as it tries to raise doubts where no questions can be asked. For doubt can exist only where a question exists, a question only where an answer exists, and an answer only where something can be said.

We feel that even when all possible scientific questions are answered, the problems of life will be entirely untouched. Of course, there is nothing left to ask about then; and precisely that is the answer. One can tell that the problem of life is solved when it vanishes. (Isn't this why those to whom the meaning of life became clear after a long period of doubt were then unable to say what that meaning consists of?)

There is, after all, what is inexpressible. It simply shows itself - it is a mystery.

The correct method in philosophy would really be the following: say nothing except what can be expressed objectively, such as propositions of natural science, that has nothing to do with philosophy. Whenever someone wanted to say something metaphysical, demonstrate that certain signs in his propositions have no meaning. Although that person would not feel that we were teaching him philosophy, this alone would be the valid method.

Whoever has read and understood my propositions sees at the end that they have become pointless, when by them he has transcended them. (He must, so to speak, discard the ladder he has ascended on.) One must master these propositions for a correct view of the world.

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