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Lecture on Wittgenstein

Sal Choudhury

on 24 September 2013

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Transcript of Wittgenstein

The form is the possibility of the structure
Foundationalists hold that there is a category of beliefs which justify all other beliefs which count as knowledge, but which do not themselves require justification in order to count as knowledge.

Coherentists deny that there is any such class of foundational beliefs. The belief that a certain experience occurred can be overturned by beliefs about supposedly more theoretical matters. For example, the belief that a certain experience occurred can be overturned by a sufficiently well-justified belief that such an experience would violate a law of Nature.
A picture is a fact
Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving oneself
What can be shown, cannot be said
Die Grenzen meiner Sprache bedeuten die Grenzen meiner Welt
The limits of my language mean the limits of my world
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen
Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent
Knowledge must either be intelligible or demonstrative
If people did not sometimes do silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done
Among others, he formed connections with prominent figures such as the philosophers of the "Vienna Circle" (whose school of logical positivism was deeply influenced by his thinking ) - architect Adolf Loos, writer and satirist Karl Kraus and economists Piero Sraffa and John Maynard Keynes. When Wittgenstein returned to Cambridge University in 1929, Keynes wrote to one of their friends: "Well, God has arrived. I met him on the 05:15 train."
Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather
Wittgensteins' home attracted intellectuals, especially musicians, including the composers Johannes Brahms, Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss. Music remained important to Wittgenstein throughout his life
The world is everything that is the case.

The world is the totality of facts, not of things.

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

For the totality of facts determines both what is the case, and also all that is not the case.

The facts in logical space are the world.

The world divides into facts.

Any one can either be the case or not be the case, and everything else remain the same.
At the core of all well-founded belief, lies belief that is unfounded
If one understands eternity as timelessness, and not as an unending timespan, then whoever lives in the present lives for all time
If we spoke a different language, we would perceive a somewhat different world
Like everything metaphysical the harmony between thought and reality is to be found in the grammar of the language
Never stay up on the barren heights of cleverness, but come down into the green valleys of silliness
One often makes a remark and only later sees how true it is
Someone who knows too much finds it hard not to lie
Philosophy limits the thinkable and therefore the unthinkable
There are remarks that sow and remarks that reap
Great philosophies can sometimes be expressed very simply: The world is like a house that we build ourselves. The material we build with is language. And: "The limits of language mean the limits of my world." This key statement sums up the thought of Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Working in philosophy – like working in architecture in many respects – is really more a working on oneself. On one's own interpretation. On one's way of seeing things
Kundmanngasse 19, Vienna
The difference between a good and a poor architect is that the poor architect succumbs to every temptation and the good one resists it
Ludwig's sister Hermine wrote that, "Ludwig designed every window, door, window-bar and radiator in the noblest proportions and with such exactitude that they might have been precision instruments. Then he forged ahead with his uncompromising energy, so that everything was actually manufactured with the same exactness."
What we can't say we can't say, and we can't whistle it either

Or What is it that's possible to say about design and architecture.

Zettel is a German word meaning a note, or a piece of paper on which a note is written. Wittgenstein collected various typescripts of Zettels in a box.

Immanuel Kant jotted down Zettels which he let lie in wait in anticipation of a book. His last Zettels awaiting a book are called Opus Postumum. They are formulations.

Heraclitus and T. S. Eliot called them Fragments.

Pascal called them Pensee.

Walter Benjamin, the great Flaneur, collected thousands of them. Called them Pearls.

Philosophical Zettel as poetry is unsurpassed in Wittgenstein.

Paul Valery called them Analects.

Rabindranath Tagore called them Fireflies.

When repeatedly requested to say something in the gatherings of Vienna Circle, Wittgenstein read them Tagore.

A tenacious critique of Hegelian historical funitude, Søren Kierkegaard left us unforgettable Zettels in his diary.

Even the greatest of the system builders, the most prolific Hegel, may be summarized by one of his own poetical line, a Zettel he left us unwittingly, "The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk."

Much of Aristotle's writings are passages; they are Zettels. Their depth does not lie in the continuity of narration, but in a sympathetic vibration of many other passages he wrote elsewhere which resonate simultaneously.

Because of their brevity, Zettels may often come across as declarative proclamations. They are far from any petrified, self-contained construct. Devoid of any finitude, they are unlike a polished diamond. Some maxims and aphorisms may resemble a diamond in their completeness. A Zettel has frayed edges, anticipative of other frayed edges to weave in and out of many tapestries we call structures. Structures must be coherent.

Any search for coherence is always at the cost of completeness. Kurt Godel said so.

Zettels are seemingly free-floating icebergs, detached floes, which make contact with each other only in the deep.

An architect's table reflecting a work in progress is an extraordinary display of Zettels in wait.
In every school of architecture students and faculty amaze themselves with profound statements they make. There could be no profound statements made, no profound thoughts constructed which lie outside the scope of philosophy. You may dwell inside a bottle, or you may wish to find your way out.
The world consists of the totality of facts. The mind is a camera, it takes thoughts whether tangible to our senses or constructed entirely in the mind.

The world is pictured by thought. The logical structure of this picture and what is pictured...the subject (reality, mental construct) is the same.
What can be thought of can be said. Nonsense can be thought of and said; stupidity, insanity can be thought of and said. Vacuous and inane pictures can be thought of and said.
The world is pictured by thought.
What can thought of can be said
My work consists of two parts, the one presented here plus all that I have not written. And it is precisely this second part that is the important point
Anthony Gottlieb wrote in The New Yorker in April, 2009. “One day, when Paul was practicing at one of the seven grand pianos in their winter home, the Palais Wittgenstein, he leaped up and shouted at his brother Ludwig in the room next door, ‘I cannot play when you are in the house, as I feel your skepticism seeping towards me from under the door!”
My work consists of two parts: of the one which is here, and of everything which I have not written. And precisely this second part is the important one
Uttering a word is like striking a note on the keyboard of the imagination
Words and chess pieces are analogous; knowing how to use a word is like knowing how to move a chess piece. Now how do the rules enter into playing the game? What is the difference between playing the game and aimlessly moving the pieces? I do not deny there is a difference, but I want to say that knowing how a piece is to be used is not a particular state of mind which goes on while the game goes on. The meaning of a word is to be defined by the rules for its use, not by the feeling that attaches to the words.
At its perfunctory Ph. D defense, Wittgenstein is described as having ended the session by clapping both Russell and G. E. Moore on the back, saying, “Don’t worry, I know you’ll never understand it,”
The world is law abiding
To refuse the chair to Wittgenstein would be like refusing Einstein a chair of Physics. Professor Charlie Dunbar Broad
The design of the window latches, door handles and radiators sum up the design of the house
Moritz Schlick, Gustav Bergmann, Rudolf Carnap, Herbert Feigl, Philipp Frank, Kurt Gödel, Hans Hahn, Tscha Hung, Victor Kraft, Karl Menger, Richard von Mises, Marcel Natkin, Otto Neurath, Olga Hahn-Neurath, Theodor Radakovic, Rose Rand and Friedrich Waismann
Bernhard Riemann, David Hilbert
The logical proposition is a picture (true or false) of the fact, and has in common with the fact a certain structure. It is this common structure which makes it capable of being a picture of the fact, but the structure cannot itself be put into words, since it is a structure of words, as well as of the facts to which they refer. Russell
2.1 We make to ourselves pictures of facts.

2.11 The picture presents the facts in logical space, the existence and non-existence of atomic facts.

2.12 The picture is a model of reality.

2.13 To the objects correspond in the picture the elements of the picture.

2.131 The elements of the picture stand, in the picture, for the objects.

2.14 The picture consists in the fact that its elements are combined with one another in a definite way.

2.141 The picture is a fact.

2.15 That the elements of the picture are combined with one another in a definite way, represents that the things are so combined with one another.

This connexion of the elements of the picture is called its structure, and the possibility of this structure is called the form of representation of the picture.

2.151 The form of representation is the possibility that the things are combined with one another as are the elements of the picture.

PI309. What is your aim in philosophy?—To shew the fly the way out of the fly-bottle. LW
Perhaps what is inexpressible (what I find mysterious and am not able to express) is the background against which whatever I could express has its meaning". C&V
It was in the autumn of l914, on the eastern front. Wittgenstein was reading in a magazine about a lawsuit in Paris concerning an automobile accident. At the trial a miniature model of the accident was presented before the court. The model here served as a proposition; that is as a description of a possible state of affairs. It has this function owing to a correspondence between the parts of the model (the miniature-houses, -cars, -people) and things (houses, cars, people) in reality. It now occurred to Wittgenstein that one might reverse the analogy and say that a proposition serves as a model or picture, by virtue of a similar correspondence between its parts and the world. The way in which the parts of the proposition are combined – the structure of the proposition --- depicts a possible combination of the elements in reality, a possible state of affairs.
66. Consider for example the proceedings that we call "games". I mean board-games, card-games, ball-games, Olympic games, and so on. What is common to them all? -- Don't say: "There must be something common, or they would not be called 'games' " -- but look and see whether there is anything common to all. -- For if you look at them you will not see something that is common to all, but similarities, relationships, and a whole series of them at that. To repeat: don't think, but look! --

Look for example at board-games, with their multifarious relationships.

Now pass to card-games; here you find many correspondences with the first group, but many common features drop out, and others appear.

When we pass next to ball-games, much that is common is retained, but much is lost. -- Are they all 'amusing'? Compare chess with noughts and crosses. Or is there always winning and losing, or competition between players? Think of patience. In ball games there is winning and losing; but when a child throws his ball at the wall and catches it again, this feature has disappeared. Look at the parts played by skill and luck; and at the difference between skill in chess and skill in tennis.

Think now of games like ring-a-ring-a-roses; here is the element of amusement, but how many other characteristic features have disappeared! sometimes similarities of detail.

And we can go through the many, many other groups of games in the same way; can see how similarities crop up and disappear.

And the result of this examination is: we see a complicated network of similarities overlapping and cries-crossing: sometimes overall similarities.

67. I can think of no better expression to characterize these similarities than "family resemblances"; for the various resemblances between members of a family: build, features, colour of eyes, gait, temperament, etc. etc. overlap and cries-cross in the same way.-And I shall say: 'games' form a family.

And for instance the kinds of number form a family in the same way. Why do we call something a "number"? Well, perhaps because it has a-direct-relationship with several things that have hitherto been called number; and this can be said to give it an indirect relationship to other things we call the same name. And we extend our concept of number as in spinning a thread we twist fibre on fibre. And the strength of the thread does not reside in the fact that some one fibre runs through its whole length, but in the overlapping of many fibres.

But if someone wished to say: "There is something common to all these constructions -- namely the disjunction of all their common properties" -- I should reply: Now you are only playing with words. One might as well say: "Something runs through the whole thread -- namely the continuous overlapping of those fibres".
Ethics and aesthetics are one
Education is the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty
Mark Twain
The only certainty is that nothing is certain
Pliny The Elder
‘Knowledge’ and ‘certainty’ (‘Sicherheit’) belong to different
categories. They are not two ‘mental states’ like, say
‘surmising’ and ‘being sure’ (‘Sichersein’). What interests
us now is not being sure but knowledge.

aber zu sagen, verstehs,
oh zu sagen so, wie selber die Dinge niemals
innig meinten zu sein

oh to say them more intensely than the Things themselves
ever dreamed of existing

You cannot teach anything without philosophy
Olivio Ferrari
What is it that's possible to say about architecture
Philosophical tradition erred in supposing that simple reports of subjective individual experience are primary sources for human knowledge
A world composed of facts, pictured by thoughts, which are in turn expressed by the propositions of a logically structured language
The house that Ludwig built was not cosy. Wittgenstein forbade carpets and curtains. Rooms were to be lit by naked bulbs, and door handles and radiators were left unpainted. The floors were of grey-black polished stone, the walls of light ochre. He took a year to design the door handles, and another year to design the radiators. Instead of curtains, each window was shaded by metal screens each weighing about 150 kg, but easily moved by a pulley system designed by Wittgenstein. When the house was nearly complete, he insisted that a ceiling be raised 30 mm so that the proportions he wanted (3:1, 3:2, 2:1) were perfectly executed. "Tell me," asked a locksmith, "does a millimetre here or there really matter to you?" "Yes!" roared Wittgenstein.
Stuart Jeffries, The Guardian
Ludwig was deeply influenced by Tolstoy and his gospel of Christian renunciation. As a result, he abandoned the philosophy of analysis (as in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus) in favour of the insipid and desiccated banality of "ordinary language philosophy" (in his late work Philosophical Investigations)
In philosophy the winner is the one who finishes last
2.033 Form is the possibility of structure.
2.034 The structure of a fact consists of the structures of states of affairs.
2.04 The totality of existing states of affairs is the world.
2.063 The sum-total of reality is the world.

Tell them I've had a wonderful life
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