Wednesday, April 18, 2007

3.341 The essential in a proposition is thus that which all propositions that can express the same sense have in common.

And likewise in general the essential in a symbol is that which all symbols that can fulfill the same purpose have in common.

What is common to all propositions that can express the same sense? The ability to express just that sense. Must this ability depend on some other common feature? Not that I can see. The same goes for symbols. So 3.341 seems to be quite empty, its only purpose being to confirm the suspicion about 3.34 that it was not an important metaphysical truth.


N. N. said...

I think we can add that a propositional sign must have a multiplicity that is rich enough to represent the multiplicity of the fact. I don't think, for example, that a dot used as a sign could represent the goings on in a baseball game as opposed to some other game.

DR said...

I'm not so sure. Wittgenstein sometimes abbreviated "philosophy" to "ph". Couldn't he have used the Greek letter phi or a dot instead? And isn't philosophy something quite complex? Baseball players use simple signs to indicate fairly sophisticated ideas about how a ball should be pitched. Of course, this presupposes a lot of context, stage-setting , etc. But doesn't any use of signs?

N. N. said...

Take two baseball games, A and B. Suppose that each game was played on the same field, the same pitchers pitched, the same balls were used, etc., but that the boxscores were completely different (i.e., what each player did in the game is different).

It would be possible to represent A and B by a dot and a dash respectively, but it would be impossible (it seems to me) to represent what was different between A and B with a dot and a dash. That is, there isn't enough difference between a dot and a dash to represent the very large number of differences between A and B.

There is more to be said here, but what do you think of the general idea/interpretation?

DR said...

I can see how a point along those lines might be developed and be very plausible. As it stands, though, it doesn't seem quite right to me. If baseball were a fairly predictable game, in which games tended to follow particular patterns, then we might use a simple sign for each of the most common patterns. Two games could thus be very different and yet all the differences between them be captured by the use of two different, simple signs.