Wittgenstein: The Relation of Thought and LanguageJune 27, 2021
Wittgenstein emphasizes a variety of logical pictures, which are thoughts.
3. The logical picture of facts is a thought.
3.001 “A state of affairs is thinkable”: This means that we can picture it to ourselves.
3.01 The sum of righteous thoughts is a picture of the world.
3.02 Involves the possibility of the situation a thought is about.
As it is seen, our thoughts are also pictures according to Wittgenstein. As such, they have all the characteristics of pictures: They contain elements with a certain arrangement; hence they have a definite structure and a pictorial form, and they depict possible states of phenomena.
A question to ask in this situation is: How can thoughts be communicated? Wittgenstein answers this as follows:
3.1 In a proposition, a thought is expressed to be perceived by the senses.
3.11 We use the perceptible sign of a proposition (spoken or written, etc.) as a projection of a possible situation.
So thoughts find their expression in perceptible signs, in language. At this point, it becomes clear how Wittgenstein can draw limits to thought by drawing the boundaries of language.
A propositional sign, that is, a sentence, consists of an arrangement of certain objects. However, the structure of language is quite complex. How language represents thoughts is easily overlooked. Wittgenstein argues that when we encounter language, we may not be able to decipher the logic of language easily, and therefore language hides thought (4.002).
The essence of language may be hidden as such, but this does not mean that it cannot be opened, made evident and exposed. What reveals the hidden essence of language is nothing but logic. Wittgensten, following his teacher Russell, distinguishes between the superficial grammar of language and the logic of language. He argues that modern logic, which has developed with the work of logicians such as Frege, Russell and Whitehead, is competent to reflect the internal structure of language. This does not mean that everyday languages are excluded or demanded to evolve into an ideal-logical language. According to Wittgenstein, everyday languages, as languages, have the essence of language, even though they contain ambiguities, confusions and ambiguities. The task is not to get rid of them, but to understand them.
Revealing the thought that language hides requires an analysis. Since language is a picture, it must contain certain elements and a certain arrangement of these elements. When we consider a proposition, what are the elements that make up the proposition? Wittgenstein says that these basic elements are names. Other words that appear in everyday language are not essential elements of the proposition. Propositions consist of names and their inclusion in certain relations. The names themselves cannot be reduced to simpler elements. They are simple signs. Nouns refer to objects. In other words, the meanings of names are objects. Revealing the structure of the propositions in this way makes the aphorisms in the introduction of the Tractatus understandable.
Sentences (some philosophers identify propositions with news phrases; others describe propositions as something more abstract that can be the common content of more than one sentence. Here we use the two terms as synonyms) depict possible states of fact. Correct sentences represent facts. Sentences are made up of nouns in a certain relation. The nouns in these sentences correspond to the objects. But sentences are not a collection of nouns. Names take place in a certain structure and represent facts. In this case, since the world is represented by a set of correct sentences, it cannot be a collection of objects. The world is a collection of facts, not objects. Facts in logical space make up the world, and as such, the world is all that is.
Let us now consider complex or compound propositions, that is, propositions containing more than one simple proposition. Wittgenstein says that as a result of the analysis of such propositions, we arrive at atomic or fundamental propositions. Fundamental propositions are simple propositions with which n is directly related. An important feature of basic propositions is that their truth values cannot be derived from another proposition. In other words, the truth values of the basic propositions are independent of each other (2.061). Since the basic propositions represent the fact states, the fact states are independent of each other. Since one phenomenon cannot be derived from another, the presence or absence of another phenomenon cannot be derived from the presence or absence of one phenomenon (2.062).
These explanations help us to understand some of the propositions in the introduction to the Tractatus:
1.2 The world is divided into facts.
1.3 Something may or may not be about to stay the same.
These propositions contain a complete description of logical atomism. There are no logical-necessary links between atomic phenomena. On the other hand, there may be logical-necessary links between compound propositions. Compound