Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The title

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

Remarks in black are my comments. Words of Wittgenstein are in red.

The title was suggested to Wittgenstein for the English translation of his Logisch-Philosophische Abhandlung by G. E. Moore. It is a pretty literal translation of the German into Latin, meaning something like ‘Logico-Philosophical Treatise.’ It is interesting, though, that Wittgenstein considered a Latin title to be more appropriate than any English one he could think of. Perhaps he liked the fact that this title echoes Spinoza’s Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, and perhaps he liked the idea of replacing talk of theology and politics (or theological politics) with a discussion of logic and philosophy. But we should probably not read too much into the title, since it was not his idea originally and he seems to have accepted it slightly reluctantly, in the absence of any better ideas. See Ray Monk's biography of Wittgenstein, p. 206.]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

some idle speculations: Moore, who proposed the title, was interested in ethics and has probably perceived some spinozistic trend in the Tractatus, starting with its world that is seen sub speciae aeternitatis and noting the peculiar sayings about good and evil (commented at 6.43); the main point of Spinoza's Ethics at V.42
'Beatitudo non est virtutis præmium sed ipsa virtus' is echoed(?) at 6.422; there is some crooked symmetry between Spinoza's book which, despite its title, is mostly about knowledge and the Tractatus which despite its title is ultimately concerned with ethics