Monday, December 03, 2007

6.361 In Hertz’s way of speaking, one could say: Only regular [law-like, lawful] combinations [connections] are thinkable.

This net rules out lawlessness or chance in nature. Pears & McGuinness have “subject to law” instead of “regular.” Ogden has “uniform” even though Wittgenstein said this was wrong and told him to look up the English translation of Hertz (Letters to Ogden p. 35). I have not found the relevant passage in Hertz yet.

Black (p. 362) says the allusion to “Hertz’s terminology” is obscure. He suggests (pp. 362-3) that Wittgenstein might have had in mind something like this passage from Hertz’s Principles § 109: “There exists a connexion between a series of material points when from a knowledge of some of the components of the displacements of these points we are able to state something as to the remaining components.”


Ponder Stibbons said...

Would it rule out probabilistic laws, though (a la quantum mechanics)? I suspect not, especially if Wittgenstein had in mind the Hertz quote (quantum mechanics does allow us to figure out something about other components, even if that something is a probabilistic statement).

DR said...

I think you are right to suspect not. See 5.155 and 5.156 for instance. He certainly seems to allow statements of probability. Perhaps there could be debate as to whether these were really laws or not, but I can't think of a good reason not to call them laws.