Wednesday, January 24, 2007

3 A logical picture of facts is a thought.

So, what has so far been called a picture is now being called a logical picture, making clearer its non-physical (and non-metaphysical) nature. It is now called a thought, which is surely a Fregean idea, being more to do with propositions than anything psychological. But it may be premature to assume that Wittgenstein is thinking in such a Fregean way here.

Black (p. 96): “I think W. deviates from Frege in regarding a ‘thought’ as the propositional sign in use, i.e. as the sentence with its sense, i.e. as the significant proposition. The ‘thought’ is not, as with Frege, the ideal sense of the proposition.” Black also quotes Ramsey (Foundations, p. 274): “As to the relation between a proposition and a thought Mr W. is rather obscure…”


N. N. said...

Consider the following comment from Philosophical Remarks:

"Is it an objection to my view that we often speak half or even entirely automatically? If someone asks me 'Is the curtain in this room green?' and I look and say, 'No, red', I certainly don't have to hallucinate green and compare it with the curtain."

This seems to suggest that "my view" involves "hallucinating" the sense of the sentence to compare with a fact. Could "my view" refer to the Tractatus? (Cf. Pears' "The Relation between Wittgenstein's Picture Theory of Propositions and Russell's Theories of Judgment").

DR said...

The short answer is: I don't know. When Wittgenstein refers to "my view" he might mean the view he put forward in the Tractatus, but he might not. And a view that he put forward there might or might not be one that he meant the reader to hold on to afterwards.

The passage you quote could also be read as saying that "my view" does not involve such an hallucination, but might be thought to. Or that there might be thought to be something wrong with it, but that once one realizes that it does not entail any such hallucination, then one can see that this supposed problem is not real.

Perhaps you have in mind the idea that if a thought is a logical picture of facts, then anyone who thinks something must have such a picture before his or her mind. But a logical picture is not (need not be) a spatial picture, or a color picture, or any other particular kind of picture. So a logical picture of a curtain's being green need not involve any image of green. But the stuff about speaking automatically does not seem to be directly about this, so I'm not sure what Wittgenstein is getting at exactly here, nor how it relates to the Tractatus.

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